PwC opens Experience Centers in Amsterdam, Brussels en Luxembourg

27 July 2018

PwC has in recent months opened three new Experience Centers in the Benelux. The new spaces have been created to better support customers in their innovation challenges, supporting them with an integral blend of strategy, experience, design and technology expertise. 

The business landscape has changed rapidly in recent years, and as a result innovation is becoming an increasingly important recipe for success. Research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that today, innovation is the most cited strategic priority of executives, and nearly in all cases commands a top-3 position in terms of priorities. Another study, by PwC, held among 1,400 CEOs, in fact found that innovation is the top focus area of CEOs (mentioned by 23% of the respondents), followed by human capital (15%), digital and technological capacity (both 15%), competitive advantage and customer experience (both 10%).

A mix of trends and factors is also changing the way organisations approach innovation, with new approaches and skills needed today to successfully realise transformations. “In order to cope with the complexity of large transformation projects, more is needed than purely strategic or technological capacities. Our experience shows that the biggest challenges revolve around three key points: Business, Experience and Technology [PwC calls this approach the BXT model]. New business models always stem from a combination of business insight, a unique customer experience and the integration of future-oriented technologies,” said Olaf Acker, an expert at Strategy&, the strategy consultancy practice of Big Four firm PwC. 

PwC, which is a frontrunner in the field of business and strategy, has seen technology take a leap in recent years in the strategic agenda of directors. “Previously, many problems could be solved without the help of technology – this was the exclusive area of the CIO. Today, no business strategy can do without a vision of technological change,” remarked Acker. 

PwC opens Experience Centers in Amsterdam, Brussels en Luxembourg

'Experience' is a new ingredient in the mix, a development which is in line with broader developments in the market. Acker: “Experience is everywhere. People are looking for design, because that works. And people are looking for creativity, something that embodies the vision of a company.” To integrate experience in the firm’s approach in the Benelux and to help customers embrace – as PwC describes – “one of the three pillars of transformation”, the professional services firm has opened three Experience Centers in the region: Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg.

Prototyping, mock-ups and simulation

Working towards innovation is at the heart of what the Experience Centers want to achieve: “In our Experience Center, stakeholders experience the impact of organisational change works on customers, suppliers or employees. Through prototyping, mock-ups and simulation, they quickly gain insights into the next step in their transformation process.” Multidisciplinary work forms the starting point. “Imagine a data specialist, a cyberspecialist, a consultant, a programmer, the end user and a facilitator sit down together to develop a cyber security app within one week, from the first idea and the prototypes to the implementation. Such processes have to be fast and efficient nowadays. These teams need physical space in which they can innovate. We offer exactly that in our Experience Centers,” said Acker.

Patrice Witz, a technology expert at PwC, added, “The Experience Center breaks down silos, promotes collaboration and creates an environment where people can think creatively, co-create prototypes and test solutions.” 

Following previous launches in the US (Chicago, Miami), Europe (Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, Rome, Belfast), Asia (Bangalore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo) and Australia (Melbourne), PwC’s country organisations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg have now followed suit with the launch of their own Experience Centers.

For PwC, the new way of working also means that the firm will have to attract new talent while fostering a culture of more collaboration between practices and teams. “Talent with a background in economics, mathematics, IT and science will remain remain extremely important to us, but colleagues with this profile do not answer the question of how people deal with creativity and technology. PwC has therefore started to hire more creative people and consultants who are able to realise optimal design – as a competitive advantage – for our customers,” concluded Acker.

BCG launches BrightHouse and Digital Ventures in France

15 April 2019

Global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has launched two of its subsidiaries in France.

Launched in 1973, BCG’s Paris office is with 400 consultants one of the firm’s largest in its footprint of 90+ offices globally. The hub, led by company veteran Guillaume Charlin, plays an instrumental role in developing BCG in Western Europe, francophone Northern Africa, and Israel and Lebanon, which have close economic ties with France.

Having focused mainly on strategy consulting services over the past decades, Boston Consulting Group’s French arm is branching out to other services areas. BCG Platinion – BCG’s IT solution wing – and BCG Gamma – BCG’s advanced analytics arm – have been active in Paris for a while, and now two of the firm’s other subsidiaries – BCG Digital Ventures and BrightHouse – have landed in the French capital city. 

BrightHouse is a creative consultancy that support clients with the development of purpose-driven branding strategies. The firm has helped companies like Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, KPMG and American Express discover and articulate their purpose, and then helped them activate and embed their purposes within their organisations. BCG acquired BrightHouse in June 2015, and since then the consultancy has been operating as an independent business division of the US-consulting giant. BCG launches BrightHouse and Digital Ventures in FranceFollowing the opening of a new office in Berlin last year, Paris becomes the firm’s third hub internationally (the firm is headquartered in Atlanta) and second in Europe. BrightHouse France will be managed by Mathieu Menegaux, a senior partner who has been with the firm since 2001. The HEC graduate focuses mainly on clients in the energy & utilities and industrial goods sectors.

BCG Digital Ventures is BCG’s corporate investment and incubation firm. The division invents, builds, scales and invests in startups, often in collaboration with the world’s most influential companies. Founded in 2014, when a large team of digital experts transitioned from Booz & Company (now Strategy&) to Boston Consulting Group, BCG Digital Ventures currently has offices in the US, (Los Angeles, New York, Seattle), Europe (Berlin, London, Paris) and Asia (Sydney, Shanghai and Tokyo). Since inception, the unit has (co-)founded over 60 ventures.

Among the projects BCG Digital Ventures has delivered include the development of a new blockchain-powered platform for transparency in the food chain for fish (together with the WWF in Australia) and the launch of Hey.Car, a platform for the used car segment (together with German automotive giant Volkswagen).

In France, BCG Digital Ventures will be led by Caroline Vion, who joined BCG in 2014 as part of the founding team that joined from Booz & Company. Earlier in her career, she worked for companies in the media and luxury retail sectors. Vion has relocated from Los Angeles to head the new venture in France. 

Last year, BCG was named one of France’s top strategy consulting firms to work for.