New institute launched for management consultants in UAE

22 May 2017 Consultancy.uk

A newly-established institute has been launched in the United Arab Emirates aimed at elevating standards in the region’s management consultancy and training profession, while working to develop practitioners to meet international benchmarks. The board of the UAE Association for Management Consultants and Trainers (AMCT) has elected consulting specialist Dr Ali Sebaa Al Marri to the position of Chair.

The AMCT, which is based in Dubai and licensed by the national Ministry of Community Development, serves as an umbrella entity for management consultants and trainers across the UAE. The Association is the first of its kind in the Gulf Cooperation Council region and the second in the Arab world, with a similar organisation in existence in Jordan, and has received official recognition from the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI), a global professional body that aims to enhance cooperation among management consulting entities.

At the maiden meeting of the new association, held at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) premises in Dubai, the group selected Dr Ali Sebaa Al Marri to lead the committee after a decorated career in business and legal consultancy. The group also approved Dr Abdul Salam Al Madani, the chairman of Index Holding, as Al Marri’s new deputy. 

Since 2013, Dr Al Marri has served as Executive President of Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG), a school established and named after the country’s incumbent ruler in order to build the skills of the next generation of elite in the region. Al Marri’s work there is aimed at developing educational, training and research activities aiming to help the school train future policy makers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as the broader Arab World.

New institute launched for management consultants in UAE

Earlier in his career in the professional service sector, Dr Al Marri worked as the Director of Strategic Planning at the Dubai Police Academy, gaining orders of merit for his role in advising the design and development of new strategies within the department. During his stint with the Academy, Al Marri earned a post-graduate degree in Law, before travelling to the UK to complete a doctorate in Leadership and Strategy at Bradford University.

New Challenge
In his new role, Dr Al Marri is set to link up with members of the high-ranking advisers of law enforcement once more, as Secretary Dr Ibrahim Sebaa Al Marri and Chief Financial Officer Mohammed Bouhnad were also appointed to the committee, currently both hold positions within Dubai’s law enforcement department.

The remaining board also contains a thick with a Police presence, including Abdullah Jasem Al Zarooni, the director of Administrative Affairs at Dubai Police; Mansour Yousef Al Gergawi, the knowledge director at Dubai Police; and Dr Saleh Rashed Alhamrani, the director of the Quality Office and Assistant Professor of Commercial Law at Dubai Police Academy. They are joined by Dr Ahmed Ali Al Shehhy, the CEO of ThinkPlus Training and Consulting, and Dr Ahmad Tahlak, the chairman and president of Levenbert Consulting. 

Following his election to Chair, Dr Al Marri sated the importance of the Association in meeting rising demand for management consulting and training professionals across all sectors in the GCC region. “Management consulting and training professionals need a framework that ensures the highest level of standards according to global best practices. AMCT aims to define the legal and ethical frameworks of the management consulting profession, and create a detailed plan to develop professional skills in the field in line with global trends.”

According to data from Source Global Research, the consulting market of the UAE is worth $788 million, roughly 30% of the GCC consulting market.

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Accenture's push into the creative sector is an identity crisis

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

In its latest push into the creative sector, Accenture Interactive acquired New York and London-based ad agency Droga5 earlier this month, adding illustrious clients such as HBO, Amazon and The New York Times to its roster of clients. With the latest in a long line of similar purchases, Accenture Interactive further demonstrated its ambition of becoming the globe’s leading trusted advisor to chief marketing officers. Yet according to Ben Langdon, Chairman of Class35, Accenture’s strategy may be heading in the wrong direction.

A press release on Accenture’s website announcing the acquisition sits next to a quote stating that “brands aren’t built through advertising” – a huge contradiction from a consultancy firm hell-bent on becoming the ‘CMO agency of choice’. It’s not alone of course. The entire consulting industry wants a piece of the creative pie right now. In addition to Accenture Interactive, recent acquisitions by PwC Digital, IBM iX, and Deloitte Digital meant that in 2017, for the first time ever, four of the world’s ten largest creative agencies were consultancies.

So just what it is that Accenture wants to achieve from this? For one thing, it’s clearly trying to be a digital transformation business. A one-stop creative shop rivalling more traditional models, it wants to lure CMOs in with the promise of lower ad spend and a “more impactful customer experience”. At the same time, though, it’s still in thrall to those same slinky, shiny branding and advertising agencies it’s attempting to disrupt. The Droga5 acquisition and that of Karmarama a few years before are both testament to this.

There’s a fundamental problem with this, though. Digital transformation businesses don’t sell to CMOs. These people have enough on their plates trying to transform their own marketing skills in order to keep up with an ever-changing market – they just don’t have the time or the energy to concern themselves with digitally transforming a whole business. If Accenture’s purpose is digital transformation, then going after creative agencies is barking up the wrong tree.Is Accenture's push into the creative sector an identity crisis?

Worlds apart

Perhaps more importantly, these two industries are worlds apart in terms of the way they think. Creative agencies are all about ideas, campaigns and consumers. Digital businesses, on the other hand, are customer-driven – they think in terms such as lifetime value, measurement, and efficiency. Customer-led thinking is an entirely different beast to consumer-led thinking.

The reality is that the arrival of digital and an all-encompassing obsession with technology, measurement and social has led to the death of agencies in a reductive, zero-sum, efficiency-focused battle with brands. Indeed, agencies have become so obsessed with the latest tech fads, they’re beginning to forget how brands work. Worse still, they’re beginning to forget how brands are built. And, by forgetting, they’re destroying their own values.

Killing creativity

All things considered, it really feels to me as though Accenture is a chip leader in a game it doesn’t understand. Expensive acquisitions like these show that they’ve got the big money, but they don’t appear to have any idea what they’re doing with it. Take talent, for example. The best talent in the creative industry right now is out in the market; it’s not tied to any one agency. Both agencies might well be at the top of their game, but why would a consulting firm waste so much money on buying them when they could hire high-quality creative talent on a contingent basis instead?

As their presence in the top 10 creative agencies shows, there is a growing trend in which Accenture, like many of the other big players, are buying up agencies as if they were nothing more than keywords. What they’re really buying, though, is a collection of credentials, clients and IP. Unfortunately, the talent that created those credentials aren’t going to stay at the business, the clients that hired the agency in the first place won’t be interested in buying what is basically just another part of Accenture, and the IP never really existed to begin with.

Droga5, for example, was one of the few agencies that did great brand work the old-fashioned way – undoubtedly something that made it attractive to Accenture in the first place. The irony, though, is that by leading it further away from the way of working that made it so special, the consulting giant will kill its creativity.

“Accenture Interactive has been dazzled by its ambitions to become the CMO agency of record…. But, in flashing its cash, it is spending millions on acquiring nothing of any value.”

If pressed, the recently acquired agency staff at Accenture will tell you just how dysfunctional the new arrangement is. They’re largely unfulfilled. Rarely do they feel their work has any sort of meaning or purpose. What’s more, the different disciplines have found little or no common ground, and find it hard to work together as a cohesive whole. It’s not surprising, then, to see talented people leaving in droves.

Beyond the window dressing 

It’s clear, then, that consulting firms and creative agencies are no easy bedfellows. But in his company’s defence, Accenture Interactive’s Senior Managing Director for North America, Glen Hartman, described its culture as being “far, far away from what a stereotypical consulting firm would look like. Our office and studios look a lot like Droga5’s.”

In demonstrating a belief that office design equates to workplace culture, this statement serves as an illustration of how confused Accenture is right now. It wants to justify its new strategy so badly, it’s started dressing like a creative agency. But if you look beyond the window dressing and see that you and your partners are speaking a different language with a different purpose, selling to different people in a different market, there’s no getting away from the fact that you’re different.

Accenture Interactive has been dazzled by its ambitions to become the CMO agency of record, and it wants to dazzle others with its new direction. But, in flashing its cash, it is spending millions on acquiring nothing of any value.

Related: Space between consulting firms and creative agencies is converging.