Our practice areas
Only an implemented strategy is relevant!
As former line managers, experienced strategy consultants and board members, we know that only an implemented strategy is relevant! This is why we go down the road with our clients until the new strategy is operational. We are also ready to “walk our talk” and take a part of our fees in shares. This is the ultimate proof that we believe in what we do!
We are only active where we can really make a difference and add substantial value; our base is a set of interrelated functional disciplines leveraging each other in a limited number of industry sectors.
Since 2003, we have been active in the IT-Technology, Banking, Media, Energy and Manufacturing industries in the intersection with our functional skills, accumulating leading, sometimes market-making expertise.
Counting on specialised associate partners and network companies, the partners act as general contractors from strategy development to strategy implementation.
Strategy is about looking well ahead to secure the long-term development of the company. This starts with a ruthless assessment of the products and services in relation to the customers’ needs and the competitors’ position.
Today more than ever, it is crucial to understand the mechanisms that will transform your industry: disruptions and the effect of new technologies. Over the years, value migrates and what was an asset yesterday may become a commodity tomorrow.
Looking ahead towards putting the strategy in place, it is important to understand whether the required means are available; this goes from financials, eventually M&A, over capabilities and up to the capacity for cultural change.
Thanks to our broad background, we are able to make a full assessment from all the different angles, substantially reducing the risk of failure.
Complying with the law and with certified governance processes is not nearly enough: the shareholder structure and the composition of the board are also key elements that can be responsible for success or failure.
We have very successfully helped clients to change ownership structures that were hindering the development of the company by real and perceived conflicts of interests between the shareholders and existing and, more importantly, potential customers. This leads to a substantial improvement in market performance.
After more than 15 years of “Best Practice in Corporate Governance”, we still encounter massive shortcomings regarding the composition of boards.
We have developed a comprehensive method that results in clear profiles produced from the requirements given by the nature of the business and the markets in which the company operates, rather than from fuzzy network mechanisms.
When the private or institutional investor is not satisfied with the performance of his investment, we generally step in and take an executive co-management role, thereby legitimising our participation by putting “our skin in the game”.
Taking full advantage of the broad scope of our skills, we start hands-on “consulting and managing on-the-go” with the improvement of the operational performance, a business model check, and a thorough assessment of the go-to-market approach. We take care of the liquidity management on a daily basis and organise stepwise capital rounds and loans as and when needed.
We don’t waste precious time with lengthy restructuring but rather coach the crew in place, create a quick “interim” strategy to determine value-adding business activities, and refine strategy and personnel issues later.
When it comes to the exit, we have aligned interests with the investor, being investors ourselves. We then choose carefully the best transaction and tax advisors from our network.
Business model transformation
We firmly believe that business models need regular maintenance! Too much is going on in society, customer behavior and the economy, often generated by digitalisation. Disintermediation and value migration has also been the undoing of many companies.
In our experience, companies still wait much too long to review their business models and some of them are already condemned before they realise they have been victims of disruptors. The root causes for this fatal deficiency are many: inertia at board level, lack of skills and understanding of the market evolutions, an arrogant company culture and more.
However, business model transformation needs to be addressed carefully to avoid putting all your eggs in the same basket. Each company has to evaluate its own migration path in the context of a strategy reassessment.
Conducting this process successfully requires open minds, the best possible external specialists, and looking over the fence to understand how others – including those in other industries – have successfully mastered this challenge.
Digitalization & IT
Disintermediation, FinTech, Social Media, Crowd Funding, Internet of Things, Cyber Security, … – all these developments were made possible through Information Technology. IT is probably one of the most prominent disruptors of business models. Classified ads have almost completely left the newspapers to go online, travel agencies have massively lost ground, music is sold predominantly online, payments no longer need banks.
Many companies still have an “old style” attitude towards their IT. They think that the IT department will generate IT-led innovation of business models, that outsourcing will “solve the IT problem” and they tackle IT cost reduction instead of the improvement and digitalization of the end-to-end processes through the use of IT.
We bring decades of IT management experience, as much in operations and software development as in the context of strategy and business model transformation. Based on this asset, we help boards and top management to understand how to take full advantage of digitalization to better access clients, to optimize the processes and to reduce cost.
Over the years, we have learned that M&A is not purely an exact financial science! It all starts with the ability not only to understand the advantages but also the risks of a transaction. On the other hand, too often egos and particular interests stand in the way of a sensible, and sometimes necessary, transaction. This can jeopardise the future of the company.
For many reasons, only a few transactions succeed in fulfilling expectations. Thanks to our experience with numerous transactions, we have identified the main causes for these poor outcomes. A pure financial and legal approach is not enough: we systematically address the complementary but decisive factors, such as deep industry knowledge, social and negotiation skills, creativity and the ability to create a win-win solution, while considering the different human and cultural aspects.
The conditions for a successful post-merger integration should in fact already be designed to a large extent along with the transaction process, tackling from the beginning “the hot potato” issues and sorting them out. This effort will be largely rewarded by a smooth and results-oriented integration process.
Our Program Management practice addresses the challenge of implementing a new strategy, as well as turnaround situations in large complex, technology driven projects. It is about orchestrating different projects and initiatives; changing established structures and processes within a given timeframe and budget.
Most companies do not have the type of skills needed for such a program of change because it only occurs from time to time. It is about setting priorities, choosing and sometimes changing people, complexity reduction, applying in all circumstances the 80/20 rule, and sometimes, when needed, being very tough.
The program manager needs to be able to act at board level and have the courage to express his judgements very clearly, even if this does not please everyone, and rapidly make the changes needed. Acting as described could cause a significant conflict of interest for an internal person, as transformation is often a painful endeavour.
Having been in charge at executive level, we know what it takes for a successful transformation, from technology to people – our references speak for themselves.
Independently of the strength of their strategies, there are numerous areas where companies can jeopardise their existence at an operational level. Very often, the main problem is not the strategy of the company but its poor execution.
This starts by having the right people in key managerial and technical functions. Taking into account that any money distributed down the road has to be earned on the market first, the sales process, bid management, customer satisfaction and retention are all crucial. On the financial and legal side the pitfalls are many, such as the lack of back-to-back contracts, and poor management of cash and suppliers.
Other than the classical cost-cutting approach, and based on our effectivity model, we systematically go after the main levers of operational improvement, including a review of the key processes with the goal of making them more efficient.
Our associate partners are highly experienced professionals in these fields and are able to locate the source of inefficiencies very rapidly due to this extensive professional experience.