Comatch plots further growth after three years in Nordics

10 May 2019 Consultancy.eu

Having launched in the region in 2016, independent consultant matchmaking service Comatch has grown rapidly in the Nordics. Speaking to Consultancy.eu, Comatch Director Toby Toudal Nielsen and client Jerôme Baltzersen reflect on the expanding consultancy and interim consulting market of the Nordics, as well as how Comatch expects to increase its foothold in the region in the coming months.

Since commencing operations in the Nordics three years ago, Comatch has shown substantial growth and success both in Scandinavia, and as a whole, across its various operations in Europe. The company is now in size the leading access point for independent management consultants and experts in Europe, boasting more than 8,000 network members, including more than 400 in the Nordics.

According to Comatch’s Director for the Nordics Toby Nielsen, the regional consulting market has traditionally been very stable, following suit with broader economic developments. Having joined the firm in February 2016, Toby Nielsen has been at the helm throughout its three years in the region. He contended that traditionally, advisory business in the region is conducted in an orderly way, with companies well-networked with consulting firms and with relationships on average more long-term oriented compared to London or Paris, where substitution effects in consulting partners are more common. In addition, Scandinavia’s freelance market lags the maturity of for instance that of the UK or the Netherlands.

Comatch plots further growth after three years in Nordics

Historically then, it might not have seemed like the ideal place to set up a new player in the form of Comatch. Nielsen, however, said; “This is changing, steadily but definitely. The Nordic markets are gradually becoming more aware of the benefits of independent consulting: technology has made it possible to access the best possible consultant and expert quickly, and also enabled the creation of ‘flash organisations’, creative short-term project teams which are designed to tackle problems using the best expertise in the world. This was never possible before, as companies had to rely on the networks of known-experts; not the network of best experts.”

Copenhagen native Jerôme Baltzersen has seen the majority of Comatch’s rise in the region from the client side. Having become the Director/Head of Pricing and Revenue Management at Nets in 2017, Baltzersen soon saw first-hand what Comatch’s systemic approach to staffing brings to the table.

“We had a quite specific need looking for a pricing manager for payments accounts for around 12 months to help us during a maternity leave,” expanded Baltzersen. “It was impossible for us to recruit a skilled person on a temporary contract… finding someone with both pricing and payments industry experience turned out not to be feasible. Yet, Comatch was able to find a strong interim candidate with pricing affinity, strong business acumen and a sharp mind. Within weeks, the candidate was able to add value, and is only getting better along the way.”

Changing market

Beyond the effective staffing of projects in the Nordics, there is an increased demand for candidates to take on interim positions. According to Baltzersen, there are a couple of reasons why the interim work market is growing in the Nordics.

“Firstly,” he explained, “the Nordics are highly competitive job markets with low unemployment. Good candidates are already in great, permanent jobs and it is hard to lure them away, not to mention expensive to do so. This means that if I am looking to fill a maternity or paternity leave with a strong performer, it’s nearly impossible finding a regular employee. That is because even if the temporary position is competitive, the candidate would have to forego permanent opportunities to fill it.”

“The Nordic markets are gradually becoming more aware of the benefits of independent consulting, providing access to the best possible teams and experts quickly.”
– Toby Toudal Nielsen, Comatch

Meanwhile, in uncertain economic times, and with a strong economy potentially at the end of a business cycle, many companies are looking to restrict their full-time employment budgets, and one of the most effective ways to curb growth in fixed costs it by using interim resources. By hiring a temporary expert they can on-board quickly, companies can ensure they solve their interim needs in an effective, low-risk and low-disruption way.

Further, he added, “In addition, there are advantages for the line manager. Interim positions are typically easier to recruit (particularly with platforms such as Comatch) since there are fewer internal processes to go through, and the line manager can change a low-interim resource faster than they could a low-performing employee. Furthermore, it is often less time consuming to manage interim resources since the line manager will need to focus solely on the targets and not on the employee’s near-term development and career plan as well as performance evaluation.”

In the future, Comatch expects these trends to further drive demand from companies for independent consultants and experts to undertake roles in all types of projects. In the Nordics, as with the global market, the firm anticipates that companies will apply project-organisations that scope, execute and implement new initiatives, to an even greater extent. According to Nielsen, this has not only seen clients adopt a digital model for sourcing consultants, but also increasingly align to Comatch’s pool of talent in particular.

Nielsen concluded; “Companies see a great opportunity in the Nordics to work with a more international workforce, and to open up or expand operations in different geographies. These organisations retain their existing FTEs in the Nordics, and accentuate their workforce with the Comatch pool to work in, for example, Brazil or China with experts of those regions. In this sense, Comatch has enabled these firms to experience the best of both worlds.”

Related: Comatch breaks through 200 consultants barrier in the Nordics.


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