Ilse Spoelstra on a career in digital business consulting at BearingPoint

05 January 2018 4 min. read

At BearingPoint, Ilse Spoelstra supports companies as they navigate digital disruption and technology-driven change. By combining her business and change management skills with creativity and empathy, she supports her customers in providing a more seamless and personalised digital experience to their customers.

What do you do as a business consultant at BearingPoint?

I joined BearingPoint in the Netherlands three years ago after my graduation. As a business strategy and transformation consultant, I see the impact of digital disruption every day. In many sectors, disruptive startups are quickly gaining market share, and businesses that have been around for decades are suddenly losing their relevance. Combining my business and change management skills, I guide companies like these through their digital transformation.

More and more, our customers are asking us, ‘We see that the world is changing, and our customers have different expectations of us. What should we do?’ My colleagues and I on the digital strategy team help them determine how they can use technology to provide a more seamless and personalised digital experience for their customers. We help them with challenges ranging from introducing differentiating products and business models to guiding them in accelerating their digital initiatives. For example, we may help a company explore possibilities to increase their market share through e-commerce platforms or drive customer engagement through the use of mobile applications.

At the moment, my team is helping one of our international clients transform its digital customer experience in Central America. We are talking to local executives about the tools and services they want to provide, and at the same time, we are asking their customers what technology they need to be successful. I enjoy projects like these, as they give us the chance to design consumer-centric digital experiences. I also have the chance to travel and collaborate with people all over the world.

Ilse Spoelstra, Consultant, BearingPoint

In addition to my client engagements, I am involved in developing our innovation workshop methodology. Although our clients are C-level executives with a great deal of experience, for them digital is also a new world with new opportunities. Our breakthrough workshops help guide executives in making decisions about the future of their organisations. These workshops will take place in BearingPoint’s innovation centre, where we will not only host client workshops but also invite speakers to deliver TEDx-style lectures, collaborate with start- ups and host events for students. We see ourselves as part of a larger digital ecosystem, and this centre will play an important role in bringing the various elements of our work together.

Through my work at BearingPoint, my goal is to help customers seize their digital potential and provide a superior customer experience to their consumers. Ultimately, this contributes to creating a better- connected world that gives everyone more time to spend on what matters.

What skills and competences are needed to work in digital consulting?

Digital consulting requires a holistic way of thinking. As a digital consultant, I need to think creatively and from different angles about how my customers can improve their customer journey. I also need empathy to understand their end users. Developing comprehensive, customer-focused solutions to these highly complex challenges requires an understanding of both business and technology. My bachelor’s degree in international business and my master’s degree in change management have given me a well-rounded skillset that is very suitable for this kind of consulting. My academic background combined with the experience and technical knowledge I have gained over the course of my projects have shaped me as a digital strategy consultant. 

However, many different skillsets are needed to answer the challenges of digital transformation. I work with a diverse group of colleagues to generate innovative ideas and visualise solutions. My multidisciplinary team includes mathematicians, psychologists and entrepreneurs, and by combining our perspectives and knowledge, we are better able to serve our clients.

What do you want young people to know about pursuing a career in digital technology?

In digital transformation, creativity and empathy are just as important as understanding technology. We cannot change the digital world with information technology alone: we need our right brain, too. So, if you are like me and you feel excitement about working in these dynamic, diverse and creative environments, then digital strategy and transformation might just be the right place for you.

This interview was conducted in partnership with RightBrains, a platform for women in digital technology.