Global sourcing consultancy Alsbridge has unveiled bold plans for its UK operations. Just a few months after the firm’s former UK operations left the group, the US-based advisory has reconfirmed its commitment to the UK market and built a 15 man-strong business. By thy end of this year, Alsbridge forecasts to have a team of 50 on board.
Alsbridge was founded in 2003 as the Trowbridge Group, and rebranded to Alsbridge in 2005 after the merger with London-based ALS Consulting*. The merger between the two however did not involve cross shareholdings, with both firms operating under a brand sharing construction. In December last year the UK team of Alsbridge decided to leave the group and re-branded as Aecus**, leaving its North American parent with a limited on-the-ground presence in the UK.
In recent months the private equity-backed firm – in 2013 PE-firm LLR invested a substantial amount in Alsbridge – has been working on rebuilding its local footprint. Under the leadership of Homan Haghighi, responsible for Alsbridge’s Northern European operation, the sourcing expert has grown its employee base to the current size of fifteen. With the team and fundament in place, based in Hillswood Business Park, Chertsey, Alsbridge has now revealed ambitious plans for the months to come. According to CEO Chip Wagner the firm is now in a better position to autonomously pursue growth in the UK, stating: “The pseudo franchise model in the UK made sense for us in the past, but it constrained our growth in this important market. We look forward to the opportunity to invest directly and bring our full suite of services and the capabilities of our 250+ strong firm to UK enterprises.”
Wagner and Haghighi have together agreed the plan to grow the team to 50 professionals by the end of 2015. “The decision to expand our operations here is a mark of our long-term commitment to delivering insight, innovation and value to clients in the UK, mainland Europe and the Nordic countries”, comments Haghighi. Achieving the target will not be easy admits Haghighi, saying that the UK market for IT, network and business process sourcing is “one of the most advanced and competitive in the world”, yet at the same time he is convinced of the edge his firms brings to the table. “Alsbridge has a proven consulting methodology based on global outsourcing and networking data built up over many years. This mean that we have the strategic vision, project tools and operational detail needed to deliver meaningful change while minimising risk.”
Haghighi also points at the recovering market, which is expected to boost demand across the ITO and BPO landscape. A survey from KPMG last year showed that outsourcing is recovering its place on the executive agenda, with more than 70% of companies planning to increase their investments in outsourcing and shared services. Another factor which will facilitate growth is the increased scope of the new UK business. Under the franchise agreements with the former UK team the advisory was constrained in offering its traditional sourcing advisory services in the UK, focusing mainly on benchmarking services. With the barriers to trade up in the air, outsourcing consultancy services forms a key growth area.
With the move, Alsbridge – recently named one of the best outsourcing advisors of the globe by the IAOP – will be up against the likes of sourcing giants ISG and Gartner, as well as the sourcing practices of the Big Four and more boutique firms such as Elixirr. Whether or not the firm will be able to successfully establish itself in the UK and achieve its targets will depend on a plethora of factors, in the view of Robert Morgan, director at sourcing consultancy Burnt Oak Partners, Alsbridge possesses the right ingredients mix to in fact do so.
* ALS Consulting was established in London in 2002 by a group of former partners from EY and KPMG.
** Aecus focuses exclusively on the outsourcing/shared services advisory business in the UK and Europe. The Lon-based consultancy is led by a management team of seven partners, and has a team of roughly twenty professionals.