Benefits of Integrated Digital Toolbox for Consultancies

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 22/05/2022
digital toolbox

Our targeted audience for this article is owners, MDs and partners of the consultancies. We want to talk to you about how an integrated digital toolbox can change your business, improve your processes and help you scale. Digital transformation is accelerating in full swing, and not starting it now means being left behind.




An already highly competitive landscape of consultancies is getting more saturated as we speak. Since aggressive advertisement tactics are no longer working, the new age strategy is to win clients by proving you will continuously serve them quicker, better and in a more personalised way than your competitor would. Some are insisting it means the exclusion of automation as you are meant to rely on relationship building - but those people are gravely wrong.

Automation doesn’t mean the exclusion of human touch - in fact, it is precisely what allows you to be more human in building meaningful business relationships. Digital transformation enables consultancies to get to know their target audience better, understand their pain points and then apply that data in tailoring personalised experiences - alas entrusting it to the machines where applicable. A stand-alone piece of software, however, is only capable to achieve so much. An integrated digital toolbox, on the other hand, is an unstoppable business generation machine. And so in this article, we will be helping you to build one. 

How Big Should My Digital Tool Stack Be?

As a decision maker, you don’t want to be dazzled and fed promises - you want to have a clear understanding of what exactly is needed and how much it costs. This is why we want to start this off by saying the size of your digital stack shouldn’t go over 5 - 6 tools. In fact, we would recommend sticking to 2 - 3 solutions, but some businesses have bigger teams and may therefore require more diverse functionality.

Price, on the other hand, will fully depend on the vendor you select. Some tool creators sell their software as a package, inclusive of pre-decided features for a pre-set price. Others offer the entire digital stack in one go - think of companies such as Microsoft Office or Zoho. And then there’s a model we offer at Timesheet Portal - you only pay for the features you need. Essentially, we give you the power to put your version of our software in the way you want it to be. You can easily upgrade and downgrade whenever you please. Our price model is designed to adapt to you and is, therefore, the best for consultancies that seek to scale. 

Improve Your Overall Performance

Consultants wear many hats and are therefore exposed to a diverse variety of tasks. From collecting and polishing data to putting together strategies based on it, it’s a mixed bag of repetitive manual chores and progress-driving work. Naturally, you want to focus on the latter, although some dreaded tasks, like reporting, cannot be left out. Having a designated digital stack of tools addresses this very dilemma by taking the burden of manual tasks off your shoulders. 

Quicker and Smoother Workflows

According to the Carleton University survey, an average knowledge worker spends one-third of the workweek answering emails. Long email threads in order to gather required materials or set meetings or discuss any less urgent matters are part of day-to-day life in any consultancy. Occasionally, workflows get delayed by having to request needed data and then waiting to have it sent. However, you can easily win these hours back by building a digital toolbox that is a centralised hub for data any authorised team member can easily access and update. This way the data is always stored at the same location and the involved parties get notified if there are any new changes or additions.

One of the key benefits of integrated digital solutions is the creation of seamless data transfer across all departments, allowing the teams to be aligned through visibility of one another’s progress. This minimises the risk of delayed or lost emails, which in turn improves the overall communication and speeds up both internal and external processes. Such workflows increase your consultancy’s efficiency and nurture a teamwork-oriented environment. 

Automation-Driven Efficiency

The business world is finally beginning to recognise the true power of automation and the benefits it brings. Since the early adopters have long since mastered the art of it, they are far ahead of the game. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to catch up if your company is only starting to dip its toes into it now. What it means, however, is that the basic means found within stand-alone solutions will keep you on the same level as other companies entering the game now. To get ahead, your approach needs to be a tad more sophisticated.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds - and an integrated digital toolbox is what you need. Simply put, when you integrate several solutions that use automation, you unlock additional automation options that would otherwise be unavailable. The extra features depend on the software you link, the processes you run through them and, really, your creativity. This is one of the key reasons why you should always question the vendor on not just the software they integrate with, but how the integration work - is it something as simple as data transfer or does it unlock the creation of multiple workflow sequences? In other words, by adopting the right software, you put yourself in a position to take automation to a new level - and in turn, your process efficiency will skyrocket. 

Personalisation Brings Success

The key difference between an agency and a consultancy is that while an agency specialises in a specific area, its approach to the clients is often generalised. A consultancy, on the other hand, is to dive deep into their client’s individuality to understand their unique needs, pain points, reservations and areas of improvement. In other words, while an agency may offer the same service package to multiple businesses, a consultancy must tailor a personalised approach for each. To achieve that, they first need to collect a lot of data on the client’s current situation and the events leading to it. An integrated digital toolbox offers extra depth compared to what stand-alone software would give. 

Unlock New Valuable Insights

Similarly to how software integrations expand your automation capacities, they also deepen the pool of data insights gathered. Very often different solutions might be collecting data from the same source but prioritising different aspects of it. That way when you have several tools investigating the same source from different perspectives, you end up with in-depth insights.

What’s more, digital solution integrations give you the opportunity of reviewing the same data in different contexts, therefore discovering new information. For example, when an employee fills their timesheets in a time tracking solution, you gather data on how much time they’ve spent on specific tasks, and how much money you are to pay them. If you export this data to project management software, you will see how it compares to the overall project progress and costs. In other words, while you get to analyse individual performance in one software, checking the same data via another tool gives you insights into the bigger picture. 

Understand Your Client Better

The more data you have, the better you can understand your client’s needs, pain points and objections. It can therefore allow you to tailor your processes in accordance with that information, so what you do directly ties into what your client needs. Of course, that includes automated workflows. To put it shortly, by knowing your audience you will know to what extent can the communication be automated and at what point will the live person need to step in. For example, you can have an automated chatbot on your website that is programmed to either answer frequently asked questions or to take the user to a relevant page.

However, if the bot is inquired about something outside of its program, the user will be transferred to a live consultant. This way you will never stop collecting data on what issues and questions your clients run into, constantly updating both the chatbot and processes they are facing issues with.

Of course, no client is the same and while some areas can be generalised, you still need to remember each company is an individual entity. We strongly recommend using a centralised CMS like HubSpot that can be used by everyone across the team to exchange notes on clients, how they prefer to be approached, what issues they’re dealing with and what interactions have been had. 

Core Software to Include in a Tech Stack

As we’ve mentioned earlier, you want to limit the number of solutions your stack includes to avoid being counter-productive with your approach. Additionally, even if you’re using competitively-priced tools, the price can accumulate very fast if you onboard too many at the same time. The trick is to separate your must-haves from would-be-nice-to-haves based on what your organisation is trying to achieve and how it’s running. However, there are some solutions every digital stack needs to include as a pillar. 

Online Time Tracking Solution

We may be biased given Timesheet Portal is an online time tracking software, but this is one of the apps every consultancy needs to have included in its stack. Whether you charge your clients an hourly rate or work on a retainer, it’s crucial to know how long your team spends on the tasks. There are multiple reasons why you need to have such visibility, but to summarise it can both better your service and improve internal processes.

First of all, time tracking is required to bill your clients correctly. Some solutions, including ours, allow you to generate automated invoices based on the tracked time data in the timesheets. You can then easily export them and the timesheets themselves into your accounting software through an integration. The reports you generate within the software can also provide heaps of valuable insights into where you may have gaps in workload distribution or process efficiency within the consultancy. Tasks that prove to eat up a lot of time become highlighted when analysing timesheets and the processes involving the said tasks should be reviewed in terms of possible optimisation. 


Due to their competitive nature, consultancies are one of the few industries that have been actively adopting digital transformation. However, this also means that the early adopters are far ahead now and opting for simple stand-alone solutions means losing out on a competitive front. It doesn’t mean you can’t catch up though - it means you need to build a well-thought-through, integrated digital toolbox.

While your build shouldn’t go over 6 solutions overall and will highly depend on the unique traits and goals of your business, there are programs that must be included as they are responsible for the core operations: accounting software, time tracking tool and centralised document management platform are essential for every consultancy. Having these solutions linked together bill become a bottomless pool of opportunities for they will be constantly collecting data, presenting it in an easy-to-analyse format and unlock further automation features to keep your business becoming more and more efficient.

Are you ready to start building your toolbox?  Start with the basics, start with time tracking.

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Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.