Innovation Update

Build it right, and they will come

When we think of innovation, certain industries spring to mind: electric vehicles, fintech, medtech, space exploration, to name a few. But innovation and change are just as prevalent in the professional services industry, where consultants must stay up to speed to best advise their clients. Learn how professional services firms can stay competitive and relevant through technology innovation.

Today’s world is fraught with geopolitical sanctions, fraud, corruption and cyber warfare, and fueled by rapidly emerging technologies that continue to change how we approach business and risk mitigation. Companies large and small are enduring a costly, but necessary, shift to digital, while transitioning operations to the cloud and scrambling to protect their systems from intrusion. With change comes risks, which is why companies often look to anti-fraud and/or forensic technology professionals to help them build the preventive and detective anti-fraud controls needed to protect their business and align with regulatory expectations.

In many cases, companies turn to professional services firms that can add additional horsepower (like more CFEs) to their risk mitigation objectives or assist with an internal investigation or litigation matter. This often includes specialized forensic technology solutions where professional services firms can really go deep. However, yesterday’s innovation is today’s norm. What was relevant a few years ago may not have the same market need as today’s fraud risk or investigative technologies. That’s why professional services firms, especially leading mid-to-large firms and the Big Four, are constantly seeking to innovate new fraud risk management solutions and technologies to stay relevant with their clients.

In Fraud Magazine’s January/February 2019 edition of “Innovation Update,” I collaborated with my friend Eric Johnson, managing director at EY, to apply a common framework known as the “innovation funnel” to innovate and create new anti-fraud products. The framework walks through six phases summarized as follows:

  1. Ideation: Brainstorming market and client needs and services.
  2. Evaluation: Frequent yet short meetings to narrow down the list of options.
  3. Acceleration: Selected proof of concept is designed and modeled out, and more research is gathered.
  4. Incubation: Solutions are tested in a pilot environment in development sprints, and solutions are compared.
  5. Iteration: Finalizing activities and plans to roll out the new service or solution.
  6. Launch: New service offering or product is launched in the market.

While the above framework can be helpful in spurring innovation, there are still many questions a professional services firm needs to consider, especially when it comes to technology.

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