Schuberg Philis books record revenue and prepares for next growth phase

23 May 2018 Authored by Consultancy.eu

Netherlands-based Schuberg Philis has booked double digit growth last year, thrusting its revenue by 18% to €59 million. Fee income now stands at the highest point in the firm’s 15 year history, and three times the size of revenue generated a decade ago. Schuberg Philis’ management however has bolder ambitions, stipulating the ambition to lift the digital transformation specialist to the next level. 

From its office located at the outskirts of Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, Schuberg Philis works for clients in a range of sectors, including financial services, utilities, online retail the public sector. The firm thanks its name to the three co-founders – the Dutchmen Philip Dries, Gerwin Schuring en Pim Berger. In 2003 they acquired the firm through a management buy-out. Since, the privately-held IT services company has gone from strength to strength.

An analysis of Schuberg Philis' Annual Report for 2017 shows that revenue neared the €60 million barrier last year, while its headcount grew from 224 to 285 employees. In comparison: in 2007, just before the outbreak of the financial crisis, now ten years ago, Schuberg Philis generated an income of around €20 million. Over the past decade the consultancy and technology firm, which specialises in complex IT transformations, IT outsourcing including managed services, and IT infrastructure, managed to ramp up its reputation in the local Benelux market and add a significant number of large clients to its roster.

Schuberg Philis has a year-long relationship with Rabobank, between 2008 and 2013 among others LeasePlan Bank, Moneyou, Nuon ASR Nederland and Syntrus Achmea joined the firm’s roster, in 2014 for instance supermarket player Jumbo was added, while in 2016 Argenta and NIBC were welcomed. The stellar growth of 2017 builds in particular on the addition of several new large accounts, including PostNL, Enexis Groep, Business Lease and Geld Service Nederland.

Revenue and profitability of Schuberg Philis

Asked what helps Schuberg Philis stand out in a market which is highly competitive, Pim Berger, the director of Schuberg Philis, said a few years back: “We notice in the market that the delivery of leading quality goes hand in hand with cost effectiveness. Intelligent automation can drastically lower costs, while it simultaneously improves the maturity of services.” Schuberg Philis has embedded this principle in its approach, says Berger. The Dutch consultancy does not work with a first, second or third line of support, instead uses fixed client teams consisting of experienced engineers. Every team is led by a Customer Operations Manager, who is the lead accountable for a respective client.

Digital transformation

The firm naturally rides on the back of an expanding market. Digitisation is being embraced by practically every organisation that is serious about remaining competitive in an era marred by disruption, with as a result that the demand for IT services is booming. The consulting segment of IT work, digital transformation consulting, is currently estimated to be worth $44 billion globally, nearly double the size of the market ($23 billion) just a year ago. While Schuberg Philis provides digital advice, the firm is more so tapped for IT services including: executing digital transformation (project management, scrum, DevOps, etc), developing complex application landscapes, supporting (public) cloud transitions, migrating away from IT legacy solutions and managed services.

One of the largest projects the firm worked on last year, an engagement the firm still is committed to, is helping Enexis Groep with its transition to a more agile ICT organisation, a journey which leans heavily on agile working and a transition to cloud-based working. Schuberg Philis is one of the three parties that was selected to advise on the programme, together with Sogeti (an independent subsidiary of Capgemini) and First Consulting. On DevOps projects, Schuberg Philis works together with the Technology wing of McKinsey & Company.

While the revenue rose spectacularly, profitability (net profit) dropped to €3.2 million. Berger says that this is mainly the consequence of higher employee costs. He also points at the investments made into learning & development. Cloud native and serverless computing, and the effects of the trend for software development, security and data management, was one of the L&D pillars last year. “In addition we have put energy into developing competencies aimed at collaboration with the client, as our specialists increasingly work closer with business teams.”

Preparing for a bright future

Looking ahead, Berger says that, fifteen years since its launch, Schuberg Philis now is ready to transition to its next phase of growth. To facilitate this, the three co-founders have refined the company’s governance structure, in a model which shows more similarities to holacracy and autonomy within specialised business units. “By passing on the responsibilities coupled with daily operations and the other organisational changes, we are ready for the next step, while maintaining our client-centric culture. We [the thee co-founders] will continue to work full time, however in a different role, setting our sights more on the long term strategy of the firm.” 

The leadership team of the organisation has been extended toe eleven professionals. The 22 client teams have been regrouped into three Greater Customer Teams (GCT’s), of which each has their own mandate and 3-person strong leadership. The combined GCT leadership team carries the overall responsibility of Schuberg Philis, a task which previously was held by the three co-founders. 

For 2018 the outlook is “extremely positive” remarks Berger, pointing at the contracted revenue of €116 million which already sits in the firm’s books for its 2018/2019 financial year. 

* The leadership team of Schuberg Philis consists of: Philip Dries, Mark van 't Kruijs, Michel van de Coevering, Arjan Eriks, Arthur van Schendel, Tom den Hartog, Gerwin Schuring, Erik-Jan Kool, Jeroen Borst, Janot van Wegen, and Pim Berger.

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