Synechron Business Consulting aims at size of 300 staff by end 2017

18 October 2016

Synechron Business Consulting – the consulting arm of parent company Synechron – has set the goal to grow its team to the size of 300 consultants by the end of 2017. Six months into his new role, Bas Heijnen, Managing Director of Synechron Business Consulting, reflects on the firm’s strategy, approach and on what makes the consultancy stand out from the rest of the crowd. 

In April this year Synechron – an international services firm with a pure focus on the financial services industry – launched a separate consulting arm: Synechron Business Consulting. The unit, created from the joining of forces between several businesses acquired and the bundling of existing consulting capabilities within the firm’s global footprint, today spans around 200 consultants across seven countries.

Synechron’s push into the consulting industry builds on the firm’s ‘Power of 3' strategy launched early 2016, which seeks to grow its global revenue base from the current $400 million to $1 billion by the year 2020. “An ambitious goal, for sure, but we are well positioned”, says Faisal Husain, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the New York-headquartered company. Husain however finds strong encouragement from Synechron’s track record since its inception fifteen years ago. The Synechron story is one of impressive growth and global expansion, but too one of belief and friendship – Faisal met co-founder Tanveer Saulat when he was a teenager and the third co-founder Zia Bhutta just after he started working. The three decided in 2001 to take the plunge, and, without the support of venture capital or external financing, built the firm to what it is today. 

Synechron wants to grow its revenue

The ‘Power of 3' strategy is the firm’s overarching plan for realising the next stage of its growth ambition, one which down the line should turn the firm into the preferred “trusted business and technology adviser” for decision-makers at banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions. To bring the bold goals to life, Synechron reshuffled its organisational structure into three distinct service lines: Digital, Business Consulting and Technology. With the move, the professional services firm aims at, among others, better meeting the changing demands of its global customers, bolstering the cross-practice alignment between its 6,000+ employees base, and supporting the further diversification of its portfolio towards consulting and design – both segments have been earmarked as high growth areas. 

Synechron Business Consulting

The management consulting unit, Synechron Business Consulting (SBC), has been fabricated on a string of acquisitions which Synechron completed in the advisory space over the past 18 months. The foundation was laid in April 2013 when it purchased Double Effect, a management consultancy with offices in the Netherlands and Singapore. The move saw around 80 consultants transfer to the privately held company, with Double Effect serving as Synechron’s stand-alone consulting wing.

Early 2015 Team Trade, a Paris-based firm that specialises in business consulting and software integration, was picked up (250 employees in 10 countries) and in August that year, usable, a US-based digital design consultancy, was bolted on to its network. One month later Synechron – which is derived from the words synergise, synchronise and surpass – pushed deeper into the UK market with the acquisition of Crossbridge. Around 60 financial services consultants, including a number in New York, transferred. The latest deals were that of Hatstand (5 offices globally) and Cityfront Group (London and Paris) – both are financial services consultancies and capital markets specialists.

The inception of Synechron Business Consulting saw Double Effect and Crossbridge merge and rebrand, while at the same time management and technology consultants working across other areas of Synechron’s business were recruited into the unit. SBC supports clients with resolving challenges in areas such as Digital Strategy, Target Operating Model redesign, Regulatory Change, Workforce Transformations, Risk, Finance & Control, Data Management, Client Life Cycle Management, Financial Crime and System implementations. The consultancy today has, according to Bas Heijnen, Managing Director of SBC, circa 200 consultants working from offices in London, Amsterdam, Charlotte (US), the UAE, Pune, Singapore and Hong Kong.

To understand more about SBC’s strategy, positioning and plans going forward, posed five questions to the unit’s CEO:

Bas Heijnen - Synechron

What is the benefit to SBC of operating under a single, global consulting brand?

Many of our clients are large global banks operating in multiple geographies who have both global and regional business challenges they need addressed. As a global consulting firm, Synechron is able to deliver the scale and breath needed to execute any global project while at the same time offer regionalised expertise into the local business and regulatory landscape, operational best practices, workforce demands based on the local economy, etc. With the recent rebranding of all our existing consulting capabilities into Synechron Business Consulting our clients have the added benefit of being able to work with one and the same company across the different locations from which we are servicing them. It goes without saying that having all of our capabilities (technology, digital and consulting) operating under one brand ensures we can build a strong global position for the company as a whole.

What are the ambitions for SBC in the coming years?

Synechron Business Consulting now has well over 200 consultants globally in major financial hubs. We’ll continue to grow our global team with the aim to have over 300 consultants globally over the next year or two. Obviously Synechron Business Consulting is an integral part of the overall Synechron Group which gives us the ability to leverage our digital and technology capabilities when providing solutions to our clients globally.

As a fully financial services focused firm we will keep building on our strong domain knowledge, keeping on the fore front of regulatory, technological and business developments and ensure all locations can service our clients across the project value chain and cross all core content areas. We will – and are already – much more visible in pushing out our views on trends and developments in Financial Services and are bringing our clients together during our client conferences (InSync events) across the globe to share knowledge and know how.

The Power of Three strategy builds strongly on close collaboration between Technology, Digital and Business Consulting. Can you provide us with concrete examples on how alignment and cooperation between the lines can lead to bottom-line impact?

One of our most recent examples of the power of three has been Synechron’s blockchain accelerators initiative. In September 2016, Synechron launched six blockchain accelerators that bring together consulting services, live blockchain applications and a strong UX approach for this transformative digital technology to deliver an end-to-end blockchain capability.

We believe much like cloud came in and changed the financial services industry, blockchain – as well as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Robotics – has a truly transformative potential. While change will not happen overnight, over the next 5 years, leading global financial institutions will partner in consortiums and small working groups with 2-3 banks and intermediaries to develop blockchain projects that co-exist alongside existing business operations. These accelerators will be instrumental in giving these firms first-mover advantage to accelerate their blockchain initiatives.

Digital, Consulting, Technology

In addition, we see many change initiatives across the globe where the three lines of business are working closely together to deliver results for our clients. This spans everything from workforce transformations, regulatory change, operating model overhauls, digital banking initiatives and large scale finance and risk programmes. Our clients highly value the seamless internal cooperation and team-spirit across the globe which significantly reduces the delivery risk of major strategic change initiatives.

Besides the range of internal skills SBC can tap into, how does SBC differentiate itself in the marketplace from the rest of the competition?

In addition to our deep expertise in financial services, Synechron Business Consulting is also working with clients to understand how to apply the latest technologies to their business strategies. We have invested in multiple global financial innovation labs (FinLabs) in for example London, Amsterdam and Dubai which enable clients to touch, play with and feel the latest digital innovation, work toward developing real-world business applications and assess the latest innovative start-ups entering the market where our clients might achieve additional value. In addition we have strong offshoring capabilities that allow us to scale any global project for clients.

Even though the name Synechron Business Consulting may be new to the marketplace, the combined experience and knowledge of the teams working under the new SBC-brand is extremely strong. The leadership team acts as one-team globally and our consultants consistently deliver high-quality projects. We believe in low hierarchy, strong and dedicated training and career development programmes for our consultants, high-intensity mentoring programs and creating an amazing team-spirit to ensure everyone in the company is empowered to make a difference.

Lastly, as a fully-independent and privately-held company we believe we can be completely delivery focused, quick on our feet and fully dedicated to our clients, our staff and the long term strategy of the firm.


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Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019

Following a lengthy spell as a General Manager at an international materials corporation, Robert Park was keen to rediscover his inner entrepreneur. With the launch of his new consulting firm, RWG Enterprises, Park spoke with to outline his hopes for the future of the company, and how he believes his boutique will be able to challenge the market.

Robert Park commenced his career in retail, taking up a string of General Store Manager positions with companies – including Poundstretcher and The Gadget Shop – before making the 2005 move that would lead him to a 13-year stay with Morgan Advanced Materials. First taking up a role as Production Supervisor with the organisation, Park quickly worked his way to the upper echelons of the group. By 2013, he held the role of UK Operations Manager for the company’s UK ceramic core business, Certech UK, before seeing out his final four years at the firm as General Manager, leading the senior management team and strategic direction of the business.

Despite his success with the firm, however, Park found himself getting itchy feet. A change of career seemed increasingly appealing, and by February 2019, the time to take a new path had arrived.

Park explained: “I was losing the ability to to use the entrepreneurial flair that I had enjoyed in the past; the organisation was moving more towards a structured and common approach for doing things, and that made me feel restricted. I also really enjoy the troubleshooting, problem solving side of my role. However, having been in my last post for four years, the troubleshooting and firefighting was long behind me. I realised that I am really energised by tackling difficult issues or turning around things that are clearly struggling.”

New consulting firm RWG Enterprises launches

His criteria for a new career seemed to point conclusively in the direction of management consulting, and while his CV has no formal experience in the sector, Park believes his career to date has provided him with a wealth of transferable skills. During his time with Certech at Morgan Advanced Materials, he became a Senior Manager at the age of just 21, and went on to succeed in a harsh factory environment where six former candidates had previously failed to deliver results.

Later, he became the group’s youngest General Manager in its history, and was involved in the turnaround of numerous departments. He also developed vast experience dealing with a wide range of ‘people’ challenges, including re-organisation, talent development, talent acquisition and leadership development. Along the way, Park noted that he learned to deal with large, blue chip organisations such as Rolls Royce, securing major long-term contracts worth upwards of £25 million.

Now, he hopes to take that know-how and apply it to the diverse world of consulting work. Park elaborated: “I really want to be able to help organisations that feel that there is no hope or have lost faith in the business… Having been there myself I know how helpful it would have been to have someone to refer to in times of crisis… The firm will also focus on leadership development, as I spent a lot of time with the global graduate program during my corporate career… and I was really motivated to see these individuals grow and develop… helping them to find their own way through challenging situations.

New enterprise

Park’s new Derby-based consultancy, RWG Enterprises, will focus on five key operational fronts. As stated, leadership development and business rescue will be two of these areas, as well as manufacturing – where the firm will tackle challenges such as new product introduction. RWG will also offer financial advisory services and strategic business planning offerings.

While Park is understandably guarded about the firm’s initial engagements, he revealed that he has been “speaking at length to a well-known university and business school about providing mentoring and coaching support to students.” In the long-term, the aim is for RWG Enterprises to take on engagements from clients across the industrial spectrum. He added that as “the company is very embryonic”, it would be “foolish” to become too focused on target clients at this stage.

When asked how RWG Enterprises intends to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, in an ever-more-crowded UK consulting sector, Park is undaunted by the task ahead. He stated, “I think the main differentiator is that we are small... I have operated at a very senior level for many years but I have enjoyed a very diverse background having worked in most functions within my last organisation. I also won’t take on any work or clients that I feel I cannot deliver value for, I am honest and ethical and am really motivated by seeing others become successful… The main thing I am focused on is 'can I add value' and 'can I help?'”