Telecoms consultancy Flint International enters Benelux with joint venture

12 June 2018 Authored by Consultancy.uk

Flint International, a UK-headquartered consultancy and interim firm for the telecom sector, has expanded its network’s footprint into the Benelux through a joint venture with Netherlands-based Naumac. 

Founded in 1999 by four former professionals of Ericsson’s Telecommunications division, Flint International is specialist professional services firm providing consultancy, resourcing and managed services to the telecommunications and IT sectors. The firm, which has been led by Managing Director Neil Burbidge since 2002, today employs approximately 250 consultants and technical specialists and generates revenues of $75 million. 

From its base in Watford, Hertfordshire, Flint International works for mobile and fixed-line operators and global vendors in the UK and Europe. The firm’s offices in Ireland and Poland support its European activities, while the locales in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Botswana and Kenya support the firm’s engagements in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. 

Market entry into the Benelux 

Following the more recent expansion into the German-speaking market of Europe – Germany, Austria and Switzerland (known as DACH) – the UK telecoms consultancy has now pushed into the Benelux. The joint venture established with local player Naumac adds an established track record of over 12 years of business in the Benelux to Flint International’s roster. “Similar to ourselves, Naumac specialises in staffing telecom and IT professionals. The firm has run a successful business in the Benelux for over a decade now,” said Neil Burbidge.

Telecoms consultancy Flint International enters Benelux with joint venture

The two have already been working together for roughly three years, among others on projects for Cisco. “Our period of collaboration has confirmed to both sides that we share a similar approach and beliefs,” said Tjeerd Nauta, who founded Naumac in 2006 after working for years with Dutch telecom firm KPN and research institute TNO. “Besides the complementarities in client service, there is also a strong interpersonal click between the Boards of both firms,” he added.

By working together with Naumac, Flint International aims at capitalising on the growing demand for external expertise in the Benelux telecom market. The industry is following the previous shake-up years ago (the transition from voice to data) said to be ripe for major disruption, with digital transforming the face of the industry, consumer behavior seeing millennial-driven shifts and growing competition, including from startups and rivals incumbent players have never faced before (e.g. technology companies). In a bid to stay ahead of the curve, telco’s are revamping their business models, embracing digital transformation and stepping up collaboration within their broader ecosystems to accelerate innovation. 

Transitions such as these are lifting demand for consultants and interim managers, with Flint International and Naumac stating that their joining of forces will better position them to serve their clients in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The Benelux management consulting market is estimated to be worth €2 billion, with the Netherlands taking the largest share, at nearly 58%. The region’s telecom consultancy sector is, according to the research arm of Consultancy.nl, estimated to hold a 5% to 8% share of total client spending on external consultancies. 

“Business in the Netherlands and Belgium is picking up, so it seemed obvious to take the next step with Naumac,” said Neil Burbidge. He added, “With a presence in the region, we can now better serve our international customers that also do business in the region with an on the ground team, and we can benefit from the local expertise of an established player.” Among the multinational clients Flint International serves are Cisco, Juniper en Ericsson. 

Quote Neil Burbidge

Being able to comply with local regulations was another driver of the joint venture. In order to operate in the Benelux, Flint International needed to ensure its operations and staffing is complaint with local legislation. “Naumac is NEN 4400-1 certified,” explained Neil Burbidge. 

The strategic partnership between Flint International and Naumac comes hot on the heels of bumper years for both consultancies. Testimony to its double digit growth, Flint International was last year in the UK listed in the Sunday Times Lloyds SME Export Track 100 – a ranking of Britain’s 100 small and medium-sized (SME) companies with the fastest-growing international sales over the latest two years. The Watford-based company scooped a 39th position. Meanwhile, Naumac earned a fast growing recognition in the Netherlands by the Dutch Financial Times (‘FD Gazelle’) in 2017, a repeat performance on the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. 

“We much look forward to our collaboration,” concluded Tjeerd Nauta, who runs the privately-held firm together with partner Frederike Fennema.

Related: Telco’s that invest in innovation and collaborate reap the returns.

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