The top strategy consulting firms of the Netherlands

07 May 2019 Consultancy.eu

Strategy consultants advise CEOs and their board teams on their most pressing, strategic challenges – from corporate strategy and business model design amid a disruptive landscape, to mergers & acquisitions, commercial strategies and organisational design. The Netherlands is home to over 500 large and mid-sized management consulting firms, of which most fiercely compete for work at the very top of the advisory chain. Meet the country’s top strategy consulting firms. 

According to a survey among around 4,500 decision-makers of organisations in the private and public sector, all of which have worked with a consulting firm in the past year, when it comes to strategic services, Simon-Kucher & Partners boasts the highest overall client satisfaction score. The researchers asked the respondents to evaluate their strategic consultants on a range of ‘quality’ factors, including customer excellence, product leadership, expertise and engagement delivery. By evaluating all responses, a list of the Netherlands’ top performing strategy consulting firms was created. 

Simon-Kucher’s rapid ascendance in the scene is notable. The consulting firm, headquartered in Germany, has been active in the Dutch market for just a decade, considerably shorter than the likes of McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Roland Berger and Strategy&. Under the leadership of country managing director and office founder Onno Oldeman, the firm’s Amsterdam operation has grown to a team of nearly 50 consultants, serving corporates, larger midsize enterprises and several scale-ups.

In the strategy consulting space, Simon-Kucher & Partners is a niche provider. The firm specialises in what it calls top-line growth, helping clients with growth-related strategies and commercial improvements including sales & marketing effectiveness, pricing and digital monetisation. The accolade for the consultancy, established in 1985, comes at a time when the group has been growing at an impressive rate: last year the firm generated €309 million in revenues, up from €150 million five years previous.

Commenting on the recognition, Oldeman said, “We regard this number one position as a confirmation of our strong growth in recent years, but above all as a big compliment from our customers regarding our growth strategy, revenue model and pricing services.” The firm was lauded in particular for its ability to translate strategy into delivery roadmaps, and tangible results.

The top strategy consulting firms of the Netherlands

In second spot is Atos Consulting, the strategy and management arm of French IT services firm Atos. Atos Consulting commands a strong position in the Dutch market – last year the firm was named the Netherlands' top provider of strategic consultancy services – building on its consulting heritage which stems back to the days of KPMG Consulting. When Atos in 2002 acquired the Dutch and UK divisions of KPMG Consulting for a €657 million price tag, the IT giant muscled its way into the consulting arena, and the company has maintained a leading position since.

Deloitte Consulting ranks third, excelling particularly in product leadership and the quality of its offerings. The firm is one of the largest consulting firms in the Netherlands with over 1,000 consultants, a tally including Monitor Deloitte (the firm’s strategy consulting arm established following the acquisition of Monitor Group) and Deloitte Digital (the firm’s digital wing). Rounding off the top five are Ecorys, an international economic research and consulting group headquartered in the Netherlands, and KPMG Advisory, the consulting unit of KPMG. 

The two other Big Four firms – EY and PwC – made the top 10. EY Advisory, which also consists of the dedicated strategy consultancy EY-Parthenon (formed after EY bought OC&C in the Benelux) and EY VODW (established in the summer of 2018 after VODW was picked up), ranks eighth, with PwC Advisory, along with its strategy consulting subsidiary Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) in ninth. In between are Squarewise, a local Dutch boutique consultancy specialised in the energy sector, and Berenschot, one of the largest and oldest consultancies of Dutch origin. Rounding off the list of top ten strategic consulting firms is Capgemini Invent, formed in September last year after Capgemini merged its Capgemini Consulting brand with several other digital and creative labels.

In the top 20, several large global names in the strategy consultancy landscape are found. The globe’s largest player, McKinsey & Company, ranks thirteenth, while its closest rival, Boston Consulting Group, ranks nineteenth. McKinsey first opened its office in the Netherlands in 1964, and is currently based in the heart of Amsterdam, while BCG entered the Dutch consulting market in 1993 when it merged with a local player. Both firms have a team of over 200 consultants in the country.

Other global strategic players voted into the top echelon of the ranking by consultancy buyers include A.T. Kearney, a specialist in strategy & operations, which ranks eleventh; Arthur D. Little, the world’s oldest management consultancy according to its records, in seventeenth; and Roland Berger, a German-origin firm which has over 50 offices globally. Two local players which focus on strategic offerings rank twelfth and eighteenth respectively: Strategy Development Partners, a boutique firm founded by former OC&C partners, and Gupta Strategists, a healthcare strategy consultancy founded by an alumnus of Roland Berger. 

Also among the Netherlands’ strategic consultancy elite are Kirkman Company, a company with around 70 consultants, Accenture (strategic services are provided through Accenture Strategy), Eden McCallum (a provider of independent consultants with backgrounds at tier-1 consultancies), Twynstra Gudde (one of the larger Dutch-origin management consultancies) and BDO Advisory (the consulting arm of accounting firm BDO). 

The survey of decision-makers was conducted by the Erasmus Centre for Business Innovation (part of RSM Erasmus University), commissioned by business magazine Management Team. 

Late last year, Consultancy.eu featured a ranking of the Netherlands’ 25 top ranked management consulting firms

Related: The top 20 strategy consulting firms to work for in France.


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