Cinode inaugurates Netherlands launch at Amsterdam event

03 May 2024 Consultancy.eu 6 min. read
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Cinode has formally inaugurated its expansion into the Netherlands at an event in Amsterdam, welcoming consultants and experts from across the country to discuss the state of the consulting industry.

Established in 2010, Cinode is a Stockholm-headquartered provider of technology platforms to professional services. The firm’s SaaS platform helps small and mid-market advisory firms run their operations and boost their growth through optimizing sales, delivery, and skills.

Having established itself as the market leader in Sweden, the firm has now set its sights on the Dutch market.

Cinode inaugurates Netherlands launch at Amsterdam event

Cinode CEO Anders Hagberg during his keynote

Taking place at Amsterdam’s Olympic Edge, around the corner from the city’s historic 1928 Olympic Stadium, Cinode’s launch event welcomed relations from across the country. Over the course of the event, three leaders from the firm spoke about the similarities and differences of doing business in the two countries, while explaining how the trends in both markets present opportunities to consulting firms leveraging Cinode’s “lightweight champion” platform.

Speaking to Consultancy.eu at the event, CEO Anders Hagberg explained, “Over the years, we’ve built this platform to be super niche – for consultancies in a very particular size, with between 50 and 5,000 employees – there are very few firms doing what we do for that audience.”

“From doing business with our clients in the Nordics we’ve learned that consultancies with such a size first and foremost benefit when we support them with skills management services. When we do that, we set the scene for growth.”

Further expanding on the idea of being a “lightweight champion” for such firms, Hagberg noted that small and mid-sized consultancies often find the ERP systems their larger competitors rely on too heavy and expensive. Part of that is because those systems tend to come with tools that aren’t relevant to what smaller consultancies need – so some of the fee they would end up paying is for an offering they don’t use.

“Our platform focuses on an important combination of core processes: skills, sales and delivery,” Hagberg said. “Around 85% of the specific management needs of our clients fall in those areas, while the remaining 15% tend to be things they don’t need a digital solution for, and can live without. “So we really come very close to offering the ‘true sauce’ of what they need – real value!”

Three key areas

In his wide-ranging address to the audience, Cinode Co-Founder Mattias Loxi identified three major changes across the Nordic and Dutch economies, and highlighted how Cinode’s platform can help consultancies get ahead of the curve.

First, with a growing number of consultants going independent – particularly in the Netherlands – there is a growing need for consulting firms to foster collaboration with freelancers, or even other firms, to meet changing client demands. This includes the need to build a strategic ecosystem of partners and subcontractors.

Cinode’s platform offers the opportunity to connect with an expansive network of over 7,000 consultancies, helping mid-market firms to build collaboration around deals and skills, and compete with larger firms in the process.

At the same time, the rapidly shifting technological picture means that firms are constantly playing catch-up when it comes to skills gaps. Cinode’s platform allows for a transparent overview of an organization or an individual’s skillset – enabling firms to see areas of strength and weakness, and make the right decisions around staffing.

Such insights can also help to determine when to recruit internally versus when to leverage external skills such as subcontractors, or help shape capability upskilling plans, Loxi added.

And of course, there is the matter of responding to artificial intelligence. AI is affecting the consulting industry in multiple ways.

Internally, AI can help streamline and automate internal operations, and serve as a companion for consultants on projects or with building pitches. Loxi referenced one study conducted by Harvard Business School, which found that consultants using ChatGPT managed to realise a 40% improvement in their quality of delivery versus those not using large language models.

From a business perspective, AI is considered the largest commercial opportunity in the sector alongside ESG, with consultants playing a key role in supporting their clients with concepting and adopting AI-driven solutions. Loxi contended that Cinode can play a central role in helping mid-tier consultancies hone the role of the ‘hybrid consultant’ to this end.

Looking ahead

Entering a new market is never an easy ride. Hagberg even acknowledged in his own speech to the crowd that Cinode is facing a new challenge with this latest step – its “biggest competitor in Sweden was Excel” after all. But in the Netherlands, even small consultancies already tend to leverage ERP-like solutions.

Looking ahead, Hagberg said Cinode positions itself as the ideal fit for small to mid-sized consultancies, a belief that he expects firms will eventually find out for themselves.

Echoing his words, Lisa Larsson (Marketing Growth Specialist) highlighted the agile and light-touch setup of the Cinode platform. “This is particularly important when you look at making new deals.”

“With Cinode, you can easily see what capacity you have for a project, and quickly accommodate expansion. You don’t have to work within sales teams to get an overview of the opportunities coming up with potential clients – if you hear about it, you can just go to the platform, and flag up that you have the right skills for it. You can also use it if you’re with a client and they need something new to be done, put that up in Cinode so that everyone can quickly see – and staff the new project.”

Larsson outlined during her own speech at the event how this capability has already helped deliver huge results for Cinode’s clients. Citing one example, she said a client used the platform’s skills and sales functionality to grow its revenue by more than 300%, while its profitability rose from 15% to 29%. “A unified overview of skills meant that the firm could reduce its sales process from typically several days down to a matter of hours.”

At the same time, the heightened engagement with employees, and improved overview of the work available with the firm, boosted employee retention – and amid the continued war for digital talent, that is no small thing for a mid-sized firm either.

The event in Amsterdam concluded with drinks and bites against the backdrop of the city’s bustling financial district.