Top digital marketing | e-business consulting firms in the Netherlands

10 April 2019

New research has identified which consulting firms in the Netherlands provide the best services in the area of e-business, e-commerce and digital marketing. A select group of thirteen consultancies lead the pack, headed by local player SparkOptimus, followed by strategy giants McKinsey and BCG, and the Big Four firms Deloitte and KPMG. 

Data sourced from Emerce, a Dutch platform which surveyed over 1,000 decision-makers that have in the past year hired consultants, outlines the consulting firms regarded as the country’s top e-business consultancies.

Amsterdam-based firm SparkOptimus, founded in 2010, received the largest number of plaudits. A rapidly growing client portfolio and stature has seen the consulting firm grow to a team of over 80 consultants, specialised in digital strategy and implementation. “The acknowledgment is further proof that our pragmatic and ‘getting it done’ approach to digital transformation and disruption is widely recognised,” said Tom Voskes, Managing Partner of SparkOptimus.

The presence of McKinsey & Company and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in shared second position is no surprise – the pair have consistently ranked in the top echelons of the list for several years now. McKinsey provides its digital marketing services through its Marketing & Sales and Retail (responsible for the firm’s e-commerce and omnichannel propositions) practices, while digital support is provided by McKinsey Digital. BCG has similar practices, with its digital capabilities bundled in the firm’s BCG Platinion (technology build and implementation) and BCG Digital Ventures (incubation and prototyping) arms.

Both Deloitte and KPMG also rank among the leaders in the Dutch consultancy space for e-commerce and digital marketing. They have similarly grown to be regular names in the ranking, with the duo of Big Four firms making the top 10 for the past three consecutive years. KPMG offers its digital marketing and e-commerce services from its Customer Advisory practice, which is part of KPMG Management Consulting, a unit within KPMG Advisory. The service line offers six main propositions, including Customer Experience, Marketing, Customer Data & Analytics, and Customer Centric Organisation. At Deloitte, the relevant services are provided by the Customer Strategy and Sales & Marketing units, both part of Deloitte Consulting. Technology and creative support falls under the responsibility of Deloitte Digital.Top digital marketing | e-business consulting firms in the NetherlandsHot on the heels of the top ranked digital marketing consultancy players is a group of six consulting firms. EY and PwC complete the presence of the Big Four, with Accenture another global giant that has made the cut. EY has several service lines that cooperate to cover its e-business portfolio, including Customer, Strategy, Program Management, People Advisory Services and Technology. At PwC, strategic work is picked up by Strategy&, while PwC Consulting houses the expertise around implementation and technology. Accenture meanwhile uses its Strategy division to provide management consultancy to its customers, while Accenture Interactive and Accenture Digital take on creative and technology work respectively.

Also on the list, Boer & Croon is a management consulting firm and provider of young executives with a track record of over four decades in the Benelux, DigitalWorks is a specialist in the field of digital marketing, branding and campaign management, while Online Dialogue specialises in conversion optimisation from digital channels and marketing campaigns.

Completing the list of the Netherlands’ top consulting firms for e-business and digital marketing are EY VODW – formed late last year when EY acquired local player VODW, a leading marketing & sales and digital consultancy – and Cognizant, a US-headquartered technology firm that has a strong presence in the digital customer experience landscape. 

The ranking comes at a time when investments in the field are booming. The rapid digitisation of business models, the rise of new consumer demands, and the emergence of online as the mainstream channel for business means that organisations face a burning need to adjust – or else risk losing their competitive edge. From the development of new online strategies and business models to the integration of e-commerce within a broader brick-and-mortar approach, or the optimisation of the customer journey to the implementation of supply chain systems to ensure on-time delivery to clients, external consultants are playing a key role in helping clients successfully navigate the challenges. 

Related: The 25 best management consulting firms in the Netherlands.

Working as a young professional at ACE Company

19 April 2019

Janco Jordaan joined boutique consulting firm ACE Company seven months ago. The young professional reflects on the highlights of life with his new employer, as well as what he has learned since arriving at ACE.

ACE Company is a boutique consulting firm from the Netherlands that focuses on regulatory change in the financial services industry. The firm’s clients typically are financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, asset managers and pension funds, as well as regulators and supervisors. Having enjoyed growing demand, the firm has been on a recruitment drive in recent months.

Having spent five years in the legal sector, Janco Jordaan decided that the time was right for a new challenge in consulting. He joined ACE as a Junior Consultant, driven by a desire to broaden his business knowledge. “ACE’s area of expertise – implementing regulatory change in the financial sector – promises for an exciting challenge, which I am definitely up for. I wanted to surround myself with experts; ACE was a perfect fit in this regard.”Working as a young professional at ACE CompanyDuring his first seven months, Jordaan, who holds a Master’s degree in International Business Law, has mainly been focused in the banking sector, working on analysis enabling a cross-domain understanding on the planning and maturity of regulatory topics throughout the bank. His work takes place at a time when regulatory change has grown into one of bank’s top strategic focus areas for the coming years. Amid a growingly complex landscape, and in a bid to curb reputational and operations risks, getting compliance right has elevated itself into a boardroom topic – the recent media attack on ING on the back of its AML blunder demonstrated just how important scrutiny can be.

Asked how he is able to keep his knowledge up to speed in order to operate at the forefront of change, he pointed to the full-fledged support from the team. “The seniority and diversity of ACE’s team means that there is a great deal to be learned from team members.” He added, “ACE embraces diversity. This means we have a team with all sort of different backgrounds e.g. different cultures and various career paths.”

Training on the job and a fixed curriculum for training ensures that knowledge and capacities are lined up with client demands. Jordaan: “We also have internal projects and knowledge sharing initiatives to ensure up to date knowledge. And every Friday, ACE organises a team meeting focused on knowledge transfer and team-building.”  

According to Jordaan, one of the best things about working at ACE however is the firm’s open culture. “To me the culture at ACE is best described by the words: balanced, sophisticated and real.”