Market growth challenge – competition mapping – talent pipeline creation – strategic hiring
Faced with the challenge of scaling up from start-up in the CIO / CTO advisory consulting space in the UK, a Nordics consulting firm retained Eric to map the UK landscape at Senior Manager, Director and Partner level, encompassing both local multi-service firms and boutique specialists. As well as market growth, the firm was seeking service line transition from IT project management to higher-value strategic CIO advisory consulting. The aim was to ascertain the viability of providing executive search and associated services as the primary mechanism for growth. This would involve:
· Identifying the strongest talent pools at these levels
· Building a pipeline of possible hires at each level
· Identifying the viability and hiring complexity involved
· Building market ‘buzz’ about this new entrant
· Creating brand awareness across the client CIO community
· Upskilling the firm through the injection of outside experience and talent.
The brand was as good as unknown in the UK market, since the local activity up to that point had been only in related Systems Integration and IT Project Management rather than strategic IT consulting.
It was agreed to split the programme into Mapping and Hiring components; Eric initially focused on Mapping and:
· Made a full UK market map of CIO Advisory services, identifying larger (eg. ‘Big 4’) competitors and smaller independents / boutiques
· Identified named candidates in those companies who might help grow the business at Senior Manager, Director and Partner level
· Scanned the CIO community for where the most effective practitioners and the ‘rainmakers’ were believed to be operating
· Made anonymous and confidential approaches to assess the attractiveness of the proposition to suitable candidates would be at all levels.
The report and findings identified a pipeline of talented target candidates, and also suggested ways in which the market entry proposition could be ‘fine-tuned’ and perfected to reduce risk of failure; the project then progressed to the Hiring stage, involving:
· Establishing which kinds of candidate were likelier to be attracted and well integrated based on background and skills, and the optimal positioning of the proposition for maximum up-scaling
· Prioritising candidate approaches according to their potential market impact, based on their credentials and level of operation
· Securing Director-level talent which enhanced market credibility and in-house skills and expertise
· Introducing and negotiating potential Partner-level hires, involving both UK and Nordics leadership stakeholders.
This ongoing partnership between Eric and the firm has helped the firm to transition credibly to its new higher value-added consulting proposition; it has also helped give it the additional ‘tools’ and capability to generate enhanced revenues and deliver higher-profile, more complex projects.