After the merger: Probably the best consultancy

ProData Consult has joined forces with Raft Consulting.

ProData Consult has joined forces with Raft Consulting to add top-level business consultants to our team of expert IT consultants. This will make the company one of the country’s strongest consultancies.

Interview with CEO Søren Rode and COO Claus K. Rasmussen.

The company headquarters are still located at Stamholmen in Hvidovre, but a wall has been knocked down to make room for 30 new colleagues. As a result of the merger, ProData Consult’s staff has grown to 90 administrative employees and full-time consultants – and over 700 freelance consultants placed with the company’s clients. This means that ProData Consult is now one of Denmark’s largest suppliers of business and IT consultants, and by far the largest supplier of consultants to the financial sector. Claus K. Rasmussen, former CEO of Raft Consulting and now COO of ProData Consult, states:

“Our shared vision for the company is to supply something unique: our goal is to be a strong full service supplier and to build on the powerful synergies that lie in the combination of Raft’s specialized business consultants and ProData’s many experienced freelance consultants.”

Two strong companies – one dream team

But the merger will not only create synergy. The two companies complement one another on a variety of levels, from the two executive management teams and corporate culture to a focus on quality. What’s more, a large proportion of ProData Consult’s total revenues are generated from some of the same areas that Raft specializes in.

“We are two strong companies that are joining forces to become a unified dream team, instead of fighting over who’s going to take first and second place,” explains COO Claus K. Rasmussen.

Prior to the merger, Raft Consulting was a specialized consultancy with a focus on sectors in which industry insight, business processes and IT go hand-in-hand, particularly the financial sector. But in light of the increasing complexity of clients’ IT needs, a merger with ProData Consult makes good sense – the consultancy has a unique ability to meet its clients’ needs for experienced IT consultants.

The new ProData Consult

Both consultancies achieved their best results ever in 2015: ProData showed 10% growth, and Raft grew 33%. ProData Consult has a larger portfolio now, which in itself will increase growth this year. But the driver of development has to be quality, not growth. In the words of CEO Søren Rode:

“Raft and ProData complement each other well, which will result in deeper knowledge and even better quality services to our clients.”

Many companies fail to live up to their potential after mergers, which is often due to the fact that the merger was motivated by an attempt to save the companies from failure. This is not the case here. Søren Rode emphasizes that both companies could have easily continued to stand alone:

“What we have here are two strong companies that will be be even stronger together. That makes a big difference. We’re not laying people off – we’re hiring.”

Another benefit of the merger is that it will make the company even more international. According to Søren Rode, ProData Consult is a sound business with great potential that can now be realized, thanks to the company’s high-powered additions to its management team and additional resources.

Even better service for consultants

Even though Raft is contributing full-time industry specialists to the company, this doesn’t mean that ProData Consult will be reducing its focus on freelance consultants. On the contrary. The company’s foundation remains its large team of freelance IT developers, testers and project managers. Søren Rode states:

“In reality, over 80% of Raft’s consultants were also freelancers, so we’re gaining a larger volume overall – and because we’ve grown, we can create closer relationships to our consultants and provide even better service.”

With the addition of the knowledge of the industry specialists, ProData will also become a better sparring partner for freelancers, who can get advice on trends in the business areas the company specializes in. And a larger company means a broader palette of projects, which in turn lead to exciting jobs and opportunities for competency development for associated consultants.

The merger is an upgrade

The new ProData Consult has deep insight into its clients’ reality, which is strongly affected by change: new legal requirements are being implemented, clients must handle the need for new competencies, redundant IT, the need to revise business models and an intensely competitive environment in which parts of the industry are under enormous pressure.

“The merger is the upgrade that means that we can meet our clients’ needs and ensure that they are in an optimal competitive position,” says Claus K. Rasmussen.
ProData Consult’s focus on internationalization is yet another facet of this upgrade. CEO Søren Rode explains:

“It’s important for our clients that we have the most up-to-date experience, both technically and in terms of business insight, and to a large extent, this is something we gain outside Denmark’s borders. For example, we can supply consultants who have just handled a Basel III implementation in Tyskland, or the latest Big Data solution in Poland, which is a major advantage for our clients.” 

Unique advantages for clients

Internationalization is far from the only advantage the merger will mean for the consultancy’s clients. By supplying quality counseling and services, ProData can function as a trusted advisor to our clients. Broad IT expertise combined with the full-time specialists’ deep experience provides unique advantages – and makes the company a more complete supplier.

“Our full-time consultants are some of the best in the business. They keep us up-to-date on developments in different industries, what products we need to have, and how we can best support our clients’ businesses,” says Claus K. Rasmussen.

This anchors important knowledge in the company, which also gives account managers the insight they need to create value: instead of only asking what the individual clients needs, ProData Consult can provide more industry-specific expert sparring. As the COO explains:

“We have an interest in developing along with our clients. The better we understand our clients’ world, and the better our clients understand how they can use us both as brains and brawn, the stronger our partnership will be, and the more value we can generate.”

A strong profile on the market

The greatest challenge for the company now is to stay focussed on the vision, because both Rode and Rasmussen agree that there are many potential distractions.

“You can’t answer the door every time opportunity knocks if you want to have a strong profile on the market,” says Claus K. Rasmussen.
Søren Rode adds:

“We have to stay true to our value proposition – both in relation to our clients and our consultants. Every new service we provide has to make our core business stronger.”