Comatch completes 40 consulting projects in first year

15 October 2015

Comatch, a German consultancy s-commerce start-up, has provided 40 clients with expertise in its first year, of which 95% is willing to recommend the service. The platform seeks to connect its community of more than 470 top tier handpicked freelance consultants with clients seeking creative solutions.

Online platforms that provide s-commerce services are on the rise as a channel of matching professionals with clients. According to a recent study from McKinsey & Company, digital talent platforms are set to revolutionise business, holding the potential to add $2.7 trillion to GDP by 2025. The professional services industry, including accounting, engineering and management consulting, is one of the largest beneficiaries of the forecasted value added. Not surprisingly, across the globe platforms are being established to tap into the market potential, including the likes of blur in the UK, Expert360 in Australia, Newcoventure in Germany and VirtualCC in the Netherlands.

Comatch experts

Another platform that has recently made headlines within the industry for its service, is the Germany based Comatch. The service seeks to create a similar market place to other s-commerce platforms, such as blur and Expert360, within the German speaking market, with its first year footprint already expanded further into Europe and beyond.

The service, set up in 2014 by ex-McKinsey staff, Christoph Hardt and Jan Schächtele, offers an online platform whereby clients seeking consulting, financial and IT expertise can place projects. The experts accepted into the community have been vetted by the platform, and for the most part have strong backgrounds within tier one firms within their respective industries. For consulting for instance, 40% of the community members have a history with The Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company or Roland Berger, while for financial expertise, most have Big Four backgrounds.

The service has taken off, with more than 470 freelancers taking part in the community from around Europe and the rest of the world. Consultants make up 50%, financial experts 20% and industrial experts 30%. Over the past year, a total of €17,000,000 in projects has been posted, with 40 realised.

Comatch projects

The service selects a small number of suitable freelance candidates for a client job – which allows the company to pick based on the tender offers, creates the relevant contract and provides customer support if required. Comatch takes a 15% cut on top of the fee that clients pay to the freelancers.

For community members, benefits include flexibility and being able to pull in double the pay for similar work than from work through an established firm, as well as a wide variety of projects across a wide range of industries and company sizes. For clients seeking consultants, top tier consultants can be found at 70% below offerings available from established firms, with contracts, payments and other considerations already streamlined.


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

18 April 2019

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.