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How beaton is putting our foot on the digital transformation pedal

Around the time the pandemic was taking hold in Australia, I came across this brilliant Tom Fishburne cartoon.

My partners and I used the COVID-19 wrecking ball cartoon as stimulus material in the Zoom-cafes we ran with small groups of CEOs and CMOs from nearly 40 professional services firms in Australia and New Zealand during 2020. Most of these firms were starting to accelerate the digital transformation of their operational backbones and/or their client interfaces [1].


It feels so good for beaton to be putting our foot on the digitalisation pedal and feel part of a community that is seizing this opportunity during the pandemic.


The professional services ecosystem

To borrow from CSIR [1], "digital transformation is not about technology—it’s about change. And it is not whether that change will come, but a question of when and how. In the new digital economy, many enterprises won’t succeed by merely tweaking the management practices that led to past success. To thrive in a digitized universe, businesses of all sizes will need to reinvent themselves and substantially change their organizations". To which we would add "as part of the professional services ecosystem".


beaton has become the leading researcher, industry analyst, consultant and thought leader in the professional services ecosystem of Australia and New Zealand. We are doing this through:

  • The world largest research syndicate which has been running since 2005 in the guise of the Client Choice Awards involving more than 550 larger professional services firms and over 340,000 survey respondents.

  • In 2021, instead of the traditional gala dinner for 400 guests to celebrate winners in the Client Choice Awards, we have moved online. In May we will present the first-ever online Client Choice Festival celebrating excellence and thought leadership in professional services. Lots more on the Festival is coming soon!

  • We are expanding and automating these client feedback and benchmarking services to 10s of 1000s of medium-small firms in conjunction with FirmChecker, our corporate spin-out.

  • This year we are offering and expanded range of year-round, digitally-produced services and information products.

  • Investing in our digital and content marketing and a soon-to-be-announced expansion of our team of client-facing partners from six to eight to ensure our clients receive the very best hi-touch guidance when this is needed.

  • And more…

beaton can only make and grow these contributions with the goodwill and engagement of others in ecosystem. At the start 2021, as executive chairman of beaton, I thank the following for their support, collaboration and encouragement:

  • Our clients,

  • Our 13 sponsors of the Client Choice Awards and the Client Choice Festival,

  • Our 21 professional association partners in the the Client Choice Awards and the Client Choice Festival, and

  • beaton's research, administration and partner team based out of Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Governments' support

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to recognise the financial support beaton received during the first six months of the pandemic from the Federal Government, the Government of Victoria and the Australian Taxation Office, all of which enabled our team to put our foot on the digital transformation pedal.



[1] I pay tribute to Professor Peter Weil and Dr Kristine Dery – old friends from Melbourne Business School days – for inspiring me through their MIT Centre for Information Systems Research (CSIR) seminars and Peter's and Stephanie Woerner's book, What's Your Digital Model: Six Questions to Help You Build the Next-Generation Enterprise.


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