“Professional services are set for a shakeup, with substantial consolidation,” says Chris Boreham, group head of Business Development at Highworth, which provides payments, recruitment, outsourcing and other solutions for companies in Cyprus and abroad.
Boreham, a Cypriot, has been working in Cyprus for about 30 years, many of those in banking, which brought him to wealth management and finally, in 2014, to professional services. Highworth was founded in 2017.
“The pandemic has been devastating for our sector,” he complains. “But we are emerging from it, although much about the way we work is changing as a result. The pandemic is a catalyst for change. This will lead to a substantial consolidation in the sector here. Those who adapt with digital transformation will be the survivors.”
Boreham notes that most of the market for professional services in Cyprus is ready to expand. “For years, professional services in Cyprus has depended on Russia and Eastern Europe,” he points out. “But we are ready to expand to a much bigger market from Western Europe to the Middle East and then even Asia. We can do this because our online reach is growing. We will also use these digital tools to target specific clients in these new markets.”
Professional services in Cyprus have been known for good value, along with a high level of quality. But being less costly and offering quality are no longer enough by themselves, Boreham explains.
These expanded markets demand the efficiency provided by digital transformation. “Service firms must offer the highest level of efficiency expected by these customers. To build our customer base, we have to have high-level solutions like CRM for marketing, or Artificial Intelligence and machine learning,” Boreham says.
Boreham sees Cyprus becoming a technology hub, and he applauds government plans to push digitalisation both in the public and private sector. “Cyprus will become a service centre for both Europe and the Middle East, as the government increasingly incentivises high-tech companies. We are upgrading the level of our offer, and this will make us attractive to new markets.
Key to these changes is the adaption of automation. “Much of what we do involves providing access to information. For example, clients need legal specifics for a great deal of their work. This kind of data can be easily worked into digital formats that make it easy to access.”
Overall, professional services can be made more viable, more cost-effective and enabling us to streamline our internal operations, Boreham insists.
“It’s all about quality of services in this business. We need to emerge from the pandemic with a vastly improved quality of service, to digitise our operations, and to focus on building our customer base,” he concludes.