In an environment of intense competition and increasing change, employers, customers and partners have increasingly significant expectations of their consultants and Professional Services (PS) teams.
Consultants and other PS professionals have long relied on technical skills in order to address requirements of clients and typically have a number of both vendor (CCIE, Microsoft Professional) and/or non-vendor (ITIL®, PRINCE2®) certifications.
However it takes more than technical skills to stand out in today’s increasingly complex professional services world and there has been little in the way of a clear development path for developing crucial non-technical, personal and commercial skills and competencies. It is these ‘softer’ skills that are often neglected and the most challenging to develop.
The more rounded professional needs to be commercially savvy and possess a customer-centric focus to thrive and progress in modern business and deliver optimal results for both clients and employers.
With ever-increasing expectations, the days of being able to rely purely on technical expertise are fast disappearing. A 2016 report from global management consulting firm Hay Group highlights the importance of engaged, developed and more rounded employees:
“Firms rated highest for engaging and enabling their staff achieve four and a half times the revenue growth of their lowest scoring counterparts and see up to 54% improvement on staff retention”.
“Collaboration, agility, transparency, innovation and productivity are the five key challenges facing global companies over the next five years, according to data based on more than five million employees worldwide by global management consultancy”.
Results of a 2015 survey by The Institute of Engineering and Technology identify the key skills gaps facing organizations:
“Employers say the main skills gaps across all candidates are business acumen, practical experience and leadership and management skills – and, more generally, the ‘soft’ and ‘work ready’ skills”.
The potential benefits to both employers and clients of more rounded, commercially-savvy and customer focused professionals are significant:-
- Imagine the technical solutions architect who is not only a master of the solution itself but can also identify additional sales opportunities because they are trusted and have credibility with the customer.
- Part of the role of the technical consultant is to explain the solution but to convince people to come with you on the journey; adding personal & commercial competences to technical depth will immediately leverage the consultant’s effectiveness.
- The average win rate for an opportunity is 30%. This means that 70% of the time a deal is lost and precious time wasted. What if the win-rate could be increased by cracking the code on customer insight, uncovering the clues to what drives their behaviour and their buying pattern?
The PS Professional certification scheme
Adding professional breadth to technical depth – developing the consultants of tomorrow
PS Professional is the world’s only non-vendor certification that addresses the need to develop personal and commercial competencies, whilst recognizing and complementing existing technical qualifications.
Developed by respected and well-known industry authorities, PS Professional is a set of highly relevant certifications created for consultants and PS professionals. Monitored by an independent board of key industry stakeholders, the certifications are designed to help professionals unlock their potential and stand out from the crowd.
Whilst recognizing existing technical certifications, PS Professional aims to shape the consultant of tomorrow, expanding upon their technical expertise to offer greater commercial insight and personal effectiveness through a practical and respected training and certification programme.
The certification scheme is aligned to the five core characteristics that make up a Professional Services Professional:
- ATHLETE (improve personal effectiveness)
- EXECUTIVE (understand business and industry)
- RAINMAKER (be more commercially savvy and sales oriented)
- CATALYST (manage and exceed customer expectations)
- AUTHORITY (master professional documentation and proposals)
Each of the five characteristics represents a module of the certification programme, each supported by a syllabus and Foundation-level certification (Practitioner and Professional levels for each module will follow). The programme has been carefully designed to offer a development path for various levels of professionals operating in the professional services field.
Each of the modules and syllabus is supported by popular publications, well established in the business world for the valuable knowledge, tools, processes, practices and insight they offer.
Training and certification offers the opportunity to gain immediately usable skills and competences to help you become a more rounded professional, allowing you to improve results and client satisfaction.
Benefits of PS Professional training and certification:
- Gain and develop immediately useable skills and competences
- Complement existing technical skills with broader personal and commercial
- Demonstrate progression and career development
- Contribute beyond technical circle of influence
- Improve productivity and personal effectiveness
- Become more customer-focused and build stronger relationships
- Be more commercially-savvy for more effective and profitable outcomes
- Gain a broader understanding of the business environment
- Demonstrate your ‘all-round’ professional capability
- Independent recognition of your personal and commercial skills
- Deliver more value for both clients and employers
- Become a more rounded professional and stand out from the crowd
- Become a consultant of tomorrow!