CommonSense Blog

The Emergence of the S²aaS Firm and the Future of Consulting

By Bob Pearson | May 09, 2013

Our industry is undergoing a tectonic shift.  It looks subtle on the outside, but its impact is massive.

A new type of consulting firm is emerging, that we call S²aaS, in an industry that only had one S previously.

Within our firm, we like to say that we are in the process of creating a software firm within a services company.

It’s not a question of if…it’s a question of how.

Clients want relevant insights for paid, earned, owned and shared media, anywhere on earth, anytime of the day, for as far back as it may matter to understand an issue.

  • Technology is allowing us to see what people say at the store level via their phone right now, while algorithms enable us to know who has driven share of conversation for the last five years.
  • Customers are making decisions on their own terms.  How we reached them in the past is decreasingly effective.
  • Competitive advantage will go to those organizations who are expert at identifying issues, opportunities, trends and competitor actions more quickly than their peers.

Hardware (physical labor), alone, is incapable of harnessing this combination of data and insights.  Software helps solve the problem.  Yet, in an industry where customers decide whether a brand is truly relevant, it will always be a combination of software and hardware (our brains) that wins in the marketplace.  Neither alone is enough.  Together, we enter a new age of strategic insights.

It means that communications leaders should look at the programmer in their office like they have looked at the creative director for years. They are the new artists, who can create solutions that were unimaginable a few years ago. Programmers are realizing that without the insights of client-facing teams, they will not build what is most relevant to the market.  It’s why we have creative and digital together.  We want our artists to know each other exceptionally well.

And all of us, when we strive to provide the best client service, will realize that fluency in software and “hardware” will lead to the best ideas and solutions.

The result is the emergence of the S²aaS consulting firm run by communications engineers. We are providing “software and services as a service”.  We’re in the cloud and on the ground.

Of course, none of this happens without two key ingredients.  Innovative clients and entrepreneurial agency teams.  When we were selected this week as the digital agency of the year and the specialist agency of the year by The Holmes Report, it made us realize why we are so fortunate.  It’s simple.  We work with some of the most innovative clients in the world and we are building a team of super smart entrepreneurs who believe in pragmatically disrupting the status quo.  This formula is leading to the creation of a S²aaS firm of the future.

Our goal is to help redefine the future of our industry day by day, client by client, as we figure out how to create software that makes a difference and “hardware” that knows how to achieve the right results.

We’re just getting started…time to get back to innovating with our team.