Head of Mid-Atlantic and Mid-Western Region
In the corporate secretarial sector, outsourcers are driving digital transformation with tailored software-as-a-service solutions
Digital transformation is a term that can sometimes seem so vague as to be almost meaningless. One company may identify an investment in new communication software as evidence of digital transformation; another will see it in a new focus on e-commerce.
In reality it is both things and much more. In simple terms digital transformation might be defined as a holistic approach to technology to integrate digital processes in almost every area of business.
What is certainly clear is that the pandemic has added urgency. By some estimates, Covid-19 accelerated the process in business by several years. Lockdowns and employee absences created a sudden need to do more with less remotely. Communication and collaboration among remote teams was facilitated by technology such as Zoom and other conferencing platforms.
Transforming corporate secretarial services
Business services outsourcing companies are now offering software solutions that aim to drive deeper digital transformation in corporate secretarial, subsidiary governance and entity management services. Incorporating software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms can certainly help clients go further and faster in their digital transformation.
Corporate services providers, however, are also in the business of helping clients become more efficient and the pandemic challenged multinational organisations to look at further streamlining their operations.
Digital transformation is an SaaS transformation
SaaS is hugely popular because it takes away the headache of maintaining and upgrading on-premises software. It is often an easier, more cost-effective way of adopting technology that can drive business efficiency.
In a typical SaaS model, software is licensed by subscription, hosted in the cloud and accessed via web browser or app. It is easily scalable and updates automatically. Obvious examples include Zoom, Salesforce and Office 365.
SaaS is usually offered as a standalone product by a technology provider – and that has typically been the case with global entity management services platforms.
Corporate legal teams overseeing the governance of multiple entities in diverse jurisdictions would invest in an off-the-shelf technology platform that helped them gather, organise and update the information they needed for efficient corporate governance and compliance.
There is certainly sense in that. But too often, corporate legal teams, without specialist support, use complex, off-the-shelf entity management services software as nothing more than a basic administration tool, underestimating its importance and ignoring its more sophisticated features.
Benefits of ‘all-in-one’ SaaS transformation services
Corporate services providers can offer that specialist support, integrating SaaS solutions more deeply into client operations and driving a more fundamental SaaS transformation.
They can also use their experience to develop software to meet their clients’ real-world challenges. They can design and implement solutions that are, to some extent, tailored to the needs of individual organisations.
Having a proprietary software platform can further streamline the management of international entities, freeing up legal teams’ bandwidth to better allocate their resources on more important business objectives.
In effect, corporate outsourcers that develop their own technology platforms are offering an “all-under-one-roof” service, providing both the technology and their services together.
Ideally – crucially for many companies – that service includes expert knowledge across jurisdictions and sectors that is continually updated to meet local legal and regulatory requirements.
Limits of technology for corporate services providers
At the same time, as a corporate services provider, we need to be realistic about the limits of technology as a differentiator.
A technological component is likely to become the “new normal” for corporate services providers. Some will offer that technology as a standalone service, putting them in direct competition with dedicated software developers. Others will offer it only as part of a wider service.
At Intertrust Group, we think that our integrated technology can help clients drive SaaS transformation, creating new efficiencies and cost savings.
However, not all clients will be ready for it – or want it. Some clients may be reluctant to discard their existing software, or wary of tying themselves even more closely to a third-party service provider.
In which case, they need expertise, guidance and support to help them make the most of their current platform.
SaaS transformation is impossible to ignore
Clearly, an SaaS transformation can be hugely beneficial for clients that need to create more digitally driven businesses – and that need is becoming ever harder to ignore.
Digital processes are making organisations in every sector more efficient and productive while driving down costs. Businesses that fail to make the most of technology are liable to fall behind.
Clients need to approach every investment decision with a clear purpose in mind and an understanding of what the technology can achieve, and be sure the options under consideration meet those requirements.
The evolution of corporate service providers into SaaS vendors offers a new route to digital transformation for multinational organisations. If the quality of the underlying service is high, the combination of expertise and technology can be a compelling proposition.
Why Intertrust Group?
- Expertise within the corporate legal sector
- Global experience and delivery capabilities
- A robust framework supported by proprietary technology
- System-agnostic and able to integrate with your systems
- Providing global entity portfolio-specific reports
- Intertrust Group’s proprietary software platform further streamlines the management of international entities, freeing up legal teams to focus on business objectives.
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