Alsbridge aims to triple its UK operations in 2015

03 April 2015 Consultancy.uk

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.

Alsbridge

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.”

Alsbridge aims at growing its UK operations to 50 professionals by the end of 2015

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.

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Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

05 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

A Newcastle-based consultancy has announced it will open its first office in Iraq. The news comes despite warnings that the area remains “high risk” for businesses.

16 years after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the nation remains a shadow of its former self. The continued chaos wrought by the Iraq War – which eventually played a role in the rise to prominence of Daesh, further destabilising the region – means that even now, the nation’s capital is deemed to have the lowest quality of living in the world. According to a recent survey from Mercer, Baghdad ranked last overall – immediately below Bangui of the Central African Republic and Damascus in Syria – despite the other two being determined as the worst cities on the planet for personal safety.

However, as with the wider Middle East, the oil-rich state presents a lucrative destination to businesses willing to take the risk. To that end, a Newcastle recruitment consultancy has announced the opening of its first presence in Iraq’s capital city. Samuel Knight has taken the decision to open its Baghdad locale in order to grow its business in the Middle East.

Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

While businesses remain wary of the region, Samuel Knight specialises in recruiting talent in the energy and rail sectors, and in a release it said the new office would continue to focus on these areas. It will also allow the firm to make sure it abides by local compliance laws. The new location will be headed up by Haider Kadhim, Samuel Knight’s Iraq country manager, who will work as the first point of contact for clients and candidates. Representatives from the Department of Trade Industry are expected to attend a launch event for the office, which will be held this month.

Commenting on the new office,  a spokesperson for Samuel Knight said, “We probably don’t see it as a risk, but more of an opportunity, as we operate in the Middle East extensively already. We have contacts in place in the country location and with the consultants we have. We felt it was a great opportunity to expand into a country we are already doing work in. It means we have an on-the-ground team to help our clients. From our perspective, it is that we are looking to expand into new territories, but we are also supporting countries that are starting to redevelop after years of warfare.”

Steve Rawlingson, CEO at Samuel Knight, said, “Our aggressive five-year growth plan is manifesting at  an impressive rate, taking the company to exciting new territories. The team is working diligently to surpass expectations set out in the plan, and to ensure Samuel Knight is cemented as the leading global energy and rail recruitment specialist. Our Baghdad office will give us a distinctive edge over our competition and allow for more exciting business opportunities. Once the office becomes more established and client acquisition develops, we will certainly be adding more consultants and manpower in the city.”