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Patrick Palmgren
Chief Development Officer

In 2016, BearingPoint embarked on a journey from strategy to results. Did you keep the focus on execution in 2017? And how is the execution coming along?

We had a good market environment in 2017, but even with that tailwind our performance was outstanding! Our revenues grew by 13% in comparison to the previous year, which means that we grew much faster than the 7% growth forecasted for consulting worldwide by research company Gartner in 2017. And yes, we continued to focus on executing our strategy in 2017, and it lead to great results. Many of our strategic bets paid off and we have definitely marked our position as leading business consultants for European companies who want to become global leaders.

Given that BearingPoint and its clients are operating in an environment that is increasingly hard to predict, how does the firm keep its strategy execution on track?

There is certainly a lot of pressure on our clients to transform and to do so very quickly, but their traditional organization silos quite often stand in the way of quick adaptation to their ever-changing market environment. Our strategic capabilities combining business consulting, technology, and IP assets enable us to support our clients with quick responses. We can advise on new business models and, at the same time, support them all the way through to piloting and testing new technologies. This combination is critical in a market where it is not good enough to put a strategy on paper. Our clients need to be able to put the strategy into action and validate the impact before scaling up.

What does this mean for BearingPoint’s own setup of Consulting, Solutions, and Ventures? Do you also have to transform?

Definitely. We are similar to our clients in the sense that we also need to transform ourselves. It’s not sufficient to deliver the services in the way we have always done it. In our strategy we made some clear choices about where we want to invest so that we can become better at meeting the demands of our clients. That’s true for all our capabilities.

For example, in business consulting, we are investing in the way we drive innovation, both in terms of culture and in terms of capabilities. We develop our people to nourish a mind-set of innovation. And we build on our capabilities such as with our innovation labs where we can bring together a lot of different capabilities, inside and outside BearingPoint, to develop new business models and operationalize them to leverage new technologies. It takes a lot to bring all this together, but as an independent partnership, we have the power to make it happen.

You said it takes a lot to bring all these capabilities together to create and test new business models. What does it take?

There are two challenges to be addressed. Firstly, you have to build an ecosystem that integrates all the capabilities needed to match the demand at hand, be they internal or external. Secondly, you have to manage this ecosystem for a tangible business outcome.

We found that the best way to make the benefits of our ecosystem tangible and specific to our clients was to run innovation labs with them. They provide a platform for bundling all our capabilities together and also engage the clients in collaboration and cocreation on a hands-on level. In working together with clients to uncover innovation, we can reap the benefits of our ecosystem, but also make sure that there is an outcome for their business. Since our capabilities also include technology and IP assets, we are able to quickly move to testing and validating the solutions we co-create with our clients.

BearingPoint also made the strategic choice to focus on the areas of digital transformation, regulatory technology, and advanced analytics. Can the firm keep this focus in a time of seemingly open-ended transformation?

You need to make some bets on where you will be leading and we made our bets around those topics. We have very good assets including Digital Ecosystem Management (DEM). If we combine our consulting with our technology capabilities and the DEM asset, we can advise our clients on new business model development. Through DEM we can give them a platform where they can bundle their different capabilities and partners together in new ways and quickly commercialize them. If you only strategize about new services but don’t have a platform to actually take them to market, your innovation stops at the writing desk. Many companies struggle with exactly that.

For example, in segments like utilities and telecommunication, businesses have to start leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) by connecting different devices to offer new services to their customers. The challenge is that even though it sounds good on paper, if you don’t really enter into a market in a way where you can commercialize it and all partners benefit from it, then it doesn’t go anywhere. With our combination of consulting on new business models, technologies to make them happen, and assets to accelerate the process, we can help. DEM is a visionary example because it’s very much based on developing platform economies. However, it’s just one example of how we can tap into our client’s business in a very efficient way in order for them to transform themselves. There are also, of course, many other examples.

Can you give us an outlook in terms of strategy for 2018, for both BearingPoint’s clients and for BearingPoint?

We are constantly developing. We are gathering insights from all our capabilities, from Consulting and Solutions, but also from all the different research, industry, and functional teams. We cannot stand still, that’s for sure. We are also investing in emerging technologies. For example, we added two to three emerging topics to invest in during 2018.

However, our strategy is to execute what we decided on, to stay focused on that, but at the same time watch out for emerging trends so we can adapt quickly and help our clients capitalize on these. It’s a balance of executing what we decided on and at the same time staying humble, learning, and developing based on what we see from our clients and in the market.

We don’t believe it’s good practice to serve everyone everywhere with everything. We are focused on our clients that have their headquarters in Europe, and we support them in becoming global leaders – something we do relentlessly. And we believe that the combination of capabilities is proven to deliver results for clients and accelerate client transformation.