BearingPoint had another great year with all important KPIs hitting double digits: We saw a 13% increase in revenues in comparison to the previous year, reaching the record result of 712 million euros in 2017. Bookings even grew 14% on last year, showing strong momentum in business development. Regarding utilization rate, the firm ran at capacity, and we increased our workforce by 11% compared to last year to allow for further growth. Despite significant investments in people and the creation of new IP-based assets, growth was highly profitable with an EBIT increase of 18% year over year. As a result, we are in good shape to reach our goal of one billion euros in revenues by 2020.
We certainly had a good market environment in 2017, but BearingPoint’s performance was particularly strong. The firm grew much stronger than the 7% growth forecasted by research company Gartner for consulting worldwide in 2017. It was the continued execution of the firm’s long-term strategy to combine business consulting and technology solutions that again paid off in 2017. We saw growth across all regions, industry segments, and service lines.
The firm also continued to invest in innovation ecosystems that bring technologies, ideas, and financing together to create rapid solutions for changing market environments through a steady flow of new IP assets. Against this background we acquired the supply-chain specialist LCP Consulting in the UK, integrated an automotive consulting team in Italy, and invested in the Norwegian insure-tech start-up Tribe. With our “Be an Innovator” process, we generated more than 100 ideas for new services. Innovation labs were used to develop and validate innovative services with clients. BearingPoint created ten new Accelerators, our technology packages with rapid market impact, which led to 56 million euros in new bookings in 2017.
Our workforce grew double-digit, and there is a good reason for our success in attracting talent. We understand that it’s all about the ecosystem of work: the company culture, the way you experience leadership, the quality of the projects you are working on, and the environment you are working in. We are trying to improve the experience our people have when working at BearingPoint by viewing them as what they are: our internal clients. In addition to our extensive training offerings, we are matching our people’s lifestyles with the projects they are working on whenever business permits, and we are pushing diversity as a great way to refresh our perspectives.
All these drivers are interlinked in our ecosystem of success, which is ultimately rooted in our unique combination of business consulting, technology, and IP-based assets.
2017 as a whole was a highlight year, and I’m proud of what we achieved as a team. However, there are two aspects I’d like to mention because they are particularly close to the entrepreneurial mind-set that drives our firm.
We further developed the infrastructure of our Solutions unit to better match its focus on software products. It now also includes P&L responsibility, creating more room for entrepreneurial initiatives in this unit.
We also admitted 19 new Partners into the firm’s partnership, 16 of which were promoted internally and three that joined from the market. Admitting new Partners to BearingPoint is great news for our clients and for us: it’s great for our clients because the Partners are at the heart of our independent partnership. They make sure that we keep our client focus as our first priority at all times. It’s also good news for us because stewardship is a core principle of our partnership: we are determined to develop our people and our capabilities in order to build a stronger, healthier, and wiser organization for the benefit of future generations of employees. I’m also happy to report that four of our newly appointed Partners were women, which was an important step toward our target of 20% of Partners being female by 2020.
We are at our best when enabling European leaders to become global leaders because Europe is our core territory. However, with our offices outside Europe and our global consulting network, we are in a good position to serve our clients wherever they need us. Regardless of their location, our clients will always benefit from our combination of business consulting, technology, and IP-based assets. It enables us to advise them on new business models, but to also put the strategy into action and validate it for the rapid impact our clients need.
Like most companies, we aim to evolve our brand and design profile continuously. We had not made any major updates to it since 2013. Our firm has developed a lot since then, and so we decided in 2017 that the time was right. Our brand should emphasize our creativity and our innovative and collaborative agency-like approach. And it should also represent the diversity we embody. We are bold, fresh, and modern, and updating our brand profile will make sure the world sees us as we are.
In May 2018, the BearingPoint Partners will elect a new global leader. After three terms, I won’t stand for reelection as the Managing Partner again, and I feel collected about it because we have been preparing for this generational change for years.
In Q3, the new Managing Partner and the new management team will then come up with a strategy update, which will provide a perspective beyond 2020.
The process is well on track, and I’m confident that the new leaders – whatever they come up with – will keep the independence of the firm and stick to the founding principles that made us great: one firm – one partnership, one Partner – one vote, with the spirit of stewardship at the core of everything we do.