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Eric Falque
Leader of the Go Digital Initiative

Everyone in the consulting industry is talking about digital transformation. What makes the BearingPoint approach different?

Indeed, the topic of digital transformation is often addressed in the marketplace, but mostly from a technology perspective. We have a more holistic view on it, including business management, change management, social impact, and, of course, technology. The technology perspective alone is not enough, and we always felt that – it’s in our DNA.

Being research driven is also typical for us. Whenever possible, we are supporting our approach with research. A good example is the research we did on 3,500 companies in the US and Europe to find out how they can compose their business models in the digital era to be more prepared for the future. 

And, we focus on key drivers for the digital transformation rather than being all over the place. For instance, we are helping our clients move to the platform economy combining our business understanding with our leading edge Digital Ecosystem Management product to allow for rapid impact. The future will be about this kind of augmented consulting, combining consultancy with IP assets. We not only know that – we are on the way, and further than most.

What kind of progress did BearingPoint make in 2017 with the digital transformation of and for its clients?

In 2017, a trend gained a lot of momentum that had started in 2016. Our projects were increasingly moving from a front-office to a back-office focus. In the past, we had been busy transforming the clients’ front offices (e.g. reshaping their websites and customer interactions). 2017 brought a lot of back-office transformation with the automation of internal processes. These kinds of projects drive a lot of business benefits for our clients, and that will only increase over time, since the next step will be to add intelligence through analytics, allowing for a whole new level of productivity.

What kind of progress did BearingPoint make in 2017 with its own digital transformation?

We expanded what we call our Digital Factory. It’s a way to present our projects more illustratively and even more provocatively. In 2017, we not only added new use cases to the Digital Factory, but also created prototyping capabilities and, for instance, delivered prototyping work to a large car manufacturer.

Another important initiative was to give all our people access to our advanced analytics tool HyperCube. I’m not only convinced that the future of consulting will be data driven, I also believe that BearingPoint’s digital transformation will come from the people on the ground using new approaches to consulting rather than people at the top talking about them. So, training everyone in the firm with our own IP through HyperCube was a step in this direction. We started with France as a pilot; now, we are expanding to the rest of the firm, and the results are extremely encouraging. Promoting new approaches also included training on design thinking workshops for clients at our Be.School for new participants and hosting a couple of shark-tank events to nurture a culture of innovation.

Digitalization is one of the major forces driving the unpredictability of the business environment. Can you offer some advice on navigating through the rough waters of the digital era?

First off, traditional companies need to think seriously about their future in the digital economy. Continuing with optimization strategies has been the story of the past decade. To be competitive, organizations need to create new business models that generate growth by benefiting from today’s network-based, ecosystem, and data-driven dynamics.

Secondly, whatever clients do, they have to understand that digital transformation doesn’t stop at the companies’ boundaries. They need to consider the social consequences. Just think of the area of data privacy: while the opportunities of data analytics might be enticing for better targeting, the setback can also be very significant when there are negative reactions from associations, the government, or society at large. The more we understand the social implications, the better it is. I believe that the companies that have a sustainable approach to digital transformation will be the successful ones.

What is your personal vision for BearingPoint and the Go Digital initiative?

We don’t know what the future will look like, but what we do know is that consulting in the digital age will need at least three ingredients: agility in project management and client engagement, understanding the social impact of digital transformation, and looking beyond the improvement of operating models. Because, at the end of the day, digitalization is not only about the technical automation of processes; it’s about progressively changing our clients’ business models in cycles of quick responses to the market, but with a good understanding of the social consequences. So, the end of this dialog leads us back to what we started with: a holistic view on digital transformation.

The future will be about augmented consulting, combining consultancy with IP assets. We not only know that – we are on the way, and further than most.

Diversifying business model portfolio

Blending traditional business models with network effects creates growth and value that differentiates successful digital players from incumbent organizations.