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How the service industry is turning to digital technologies

Rebecca Merrett | May 4, 2015
Real estate agents, legal firms and professional consultants are using digital technologies and data to meet the needs of ever-more demanding and connected clients.

EY professionals are using its 'Growing Beyond Borders' tool to harness country-specific data coming from numerous databases to have more in-depth discussions with clients about their overseas business strategies.

A professional enters a country and the fields they are interested in analysing such as country GDP, tax rate, mobile phone penetration and population. It then visualises that information through heat maps, for example.

"Then you can map or rate that country with others. So when the client is thinking about going to a new country, this tool enables us to leverage that data really quickly and have a conversation around some for the risks they need to consider and some of the opportunities," says McGregor.

Segmenting customers

EY's professional staff are also tapping into advanced data analytics to help digital clients better segment their customers and understand their behaviours. The capabilities were introduced into the Australian business in January following EY's acquisition of US-based analytics consulting group, Semphonic, in 2013.

Kennedy explains one area of investment is "inferred predictive". "If you have enough data, you can extrapolate an outcome that may represent 90 percentile towards where you are heading," he says.

"This area of artificial intelligence and predictive analysis on data is obviously expanding very rapidly with the use of big data sets.

"It's also the interpretation of social data, which is becoming a big part of this through Facebook and Twitter feeds. Just because two people like something and click the Like button, doesn't mean it's absolute. But they may be telling us other things in their comments and their tweets."

Digital documentation

With lawyers often working with piles of documents on an everyday basis, management systems are crucial to making life easier and ensuring the business runs smoothly. At Clayton, Clarke has implemented HP WorkSite to digitise documents that can be accessed through a tablet. He's also looking to add an electronics signatures function with DocuSign.

"That's going to certainly save a lot of time when large deals are happening and you need copies to be sent and signed," he says. "There's no paper that needs to be printed, no couriers and the expense of shifting paper around just for the sake of executing documents."

Deloitte's CIO, Tim Fleming, says many companies spend a lot of time checking numbers when it comes to bookkeeping and keying data into internal systems. He saw an opportunity to respond to this problem and helped develop Deloitte Private Connect, a cloud-based bookkeeping application that integrates with Xero, MYOB and Intuit. It also uses Salesforce's platform and the 9 Spokes admin dashboard that holds all the online applications.

"There have been online bookkeeping services around for a while and accounting providers like Xero, whereas we've gone that one step further with the piece of software in the middle, which we call 'Transact'," Fleming says. "The customer will see tasks that are awaiting them, such as approving a payment or a form to sign


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