Digital Power tunes structure to accommodate growth and culture

06 February 2024 6 min. read
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Following years of rapid growth, Digital Power re-tuned its organisational structure to accommodate its expansion. spoke with leaders of the firm to understand what the changes mean for the company and its people.

Founded in Amsterdam in 2016, Digital Power is a consulting firm dedicated to data and analytics. The firm’s team members specialise in data engineering, data analytics, technical web analytics, customer experience, UX research, and data strategy.

To meet growing client demand for its services in the Netherlands and internationally, Digital Power saw its team grow to around 135 people by the end of last year. Double the size of three years ago, the firm’s governance and people management mechanisms became stretched – triggering the management team to re-align its organisation structure.

Digital Power tunes structure to accommodate growth and culture

According to Robin de Kramer, People & Operations Manager at Digital Power, the firm needed a structure with “more focus on the individual employee and different domains” to suit the needs of the enlarged organisation. As such, Digital Power introduced a structure around nine domains – each with its own team leader, who leads and supports a group of likeminded individuals.

“The Team Lead is the pioneer when it comes to the further development of their domain,” De Kramer says. “They combine their role with their work as consultants. So they still participate in practice. This way they can optimally bridge the gap between the organisation and the daily work of a consultant.”

Professional development

Having joined Digital Power in 2020, the firm’s new structure saw Andana Borcan become one of the Team Leads for the technical web analytics domain. In her role, she has a particular emphasis on capability development.

For Borcan, that is a remit she warmly welcomed: “I’ve always liked bringing concepts and people together and with this new role I am empowered to do so. Understanding my colleagues’ challenges and finding solutions to support them in their work is a puzzle that I like solving.”

Like many consulting firms, staying ahead of market trends to help clients adapt is key to Digital Power’s work. “Professional and personal development is a key focus for our organisation,” says De Kramer. “Our Team Leads want to empower everyone to develop themselves in a way that suits them, while ensuring our people have the capabilities to remain at the forefront of their respective domains.”

“So we encourage our colleagues to regularly follow trainings. Digital Power has a large curriculum of trainings on offer. And if needs go beyond that, consultants can always reach out to the Development Manager and jointly agree on external training.”

With the aim to maintain a multi-disciplinary lens on learning potential, Digital Power stimulates its consultants to co-learn with colleagues with different areas of expertise. This happens along the lines of the firm’s so-called  ‘golden triangle’ model – an approach that blends internal learning with coaching and support from colleagues or external facilitators.

Recently, this saw Borcan help to organise sessions for the firm’s teams to work together across its domain goals, and decide on which solutions the firm collectively wanted to focus on, moving forward. This involved weighing up what the firm’s clients need, but also factoring in (disruptive) market shifts.

Supportive culture

René Westerdijk has been with Digital Power for close to a decade. Like Borcan, when he became the Team Lead for data analytics, it felt like a natural progression.

“I was already coaching and guiding consultants in their development for a few years, so that part of the role is not totally new for me,” Westerdijk says. “The big difference is that the role in coaching and guiding was more of a reactive one, while as a Team Lead, you are expected to be on the front foot. Pro-actively talking to consultants and understand their needs and struggles is key.”

By having this space to plan ahead, Westerdijk believes he can make more impact for the consultants, Digital Power, and the firm’s clients.

“It really helps to offer a listening ear and take the time to truly understand what goes on in the minds of our consultants. And when we then take good action, consultants are delighted – which boosts engagement and commitment.”

In his role, Westerdijk tailors the approach to the situation team members are in. One classic example is when consultants are ‘on the bench’ – consulting jargon for in between projects. If this period becomes too long, it could impact staff morale. “I then increase the frequency of the check-ins, just to make sure we have a close pulse to the community.”

For Max Tijdeman, who has been with Digital Power since 2017 and co-leads the Data Analytics domain, that key part of the role is no different. “With all my team members I have a responsibility to signal things and to act upon them. I do this through one-on-one’s every two-to-six weeks, depending on the need of the team member.”

“We discuss all kinds of things, both work and private. Key objective is to listen that we can proactively our consultants deal and solve any situation they encounter. With that comes counsel and sometimes also more longer-term coaching.”

Learning by helping others

For all three Team Leads, the added responsibility has not just helped their team advance, but also themselves. 

Westerdijk: “The combination of doing project work with HR responsibilities gives me the possibility to do what I love: solving client problems and working with people and coaching them.”

For Borcan, the dual role adds another layer of development to her own personal growth. “The role develops the management and entrepreneur side of us. It empowers us to be conscious of creating an environment where people can thrive.”

“I learned a lot in the couple of months that I have been working in this role,” adds Tijdeman. “On a personal level I have grown in asking the right questions and finding the balance between coaching, motivating and instructing depending on the situation. I also learned how to better balance the needs of individuals with that of the organisation – and myself.”

In doing so, Tijdeman values the strong cohesion between the nine Team Leads within Digital Power. “The culture among us is very supportive, and inspiring. I have learned a lot from experiences from the other (more experienced) Team Leads.”

Helping Digital Power grow

Now six months into the new governance, De Kramer contests the firm is reaping the benefits. “As a firm, we have continued growth ambitions, including helping more clients advance their data and analytics. The move to introduce new Team Leads ensures that we keep the close-knit culture that is part of our DNA, while enables us to keep the organisation responsive and forward-looking. We ready for what’s coming next in 2024!”