‘We’re helping incubate a new institution’

Matt Cheung, founding Director of Clarasys, a consultancy firm specialising in business analysis, process improvement and change, suggests that 2015 was a good year for the firm, though a little bumpier than anticipated. “We had a very good 2014, with 90%+ utilisation. We’ve continued to grow in 2015, employing 50 consultants at the end of the year compared to 35 at the start. But we experienced a bit of a slowdown in the summer, with a few project delays and some cancellations. However, those related to specific client issues and not to anything connected to the general health of the economy or our markets. Overall, the picture was a positive one, across our full range of sectors and offers.”

Matt says that a strong final quarter in 2015 points to a good opening in 2016. “To keep growing, however, the existing client base we are working with now and will continue working with into early 2016 will need to be complemented by new clients throughout the remainder of the year.” Matt says that business adoption of Digital is plainly helpful to Clarasys’s growth objectives and the pursuit of new clients. “Of course, it’s a crowded marketplace. However, we maintain our differentiation by being pragmatic, emphasising our track record, and avoiding being dependent on or associated with specific technologies. Instead we focus on the implications of Digital for firms’ processes and their change strategies. We also try to partner with complementary firms of a similar size to mutual advantage.”

Matt also points to other offers that will help Clarasys find new markets. “We help firms in financial services and other sectors with compliance: how to withstand and adapt to the organisational and cost pressures as regulators impose additional requirements on them.”

Clarasys plans to employ around 200 people by 2020. “The challenge for us is not capability and competence. It is having the necessary scale and capacity to execute on client requirements. At the moment, if you’re a Fortune 500 company you’re unlikely to be using Clarasys. We want to change that. So we’re deploying a dual strategy of recruitment and effective sales and marketing to spread the word about the strength, expertise and reliability of what we do.”

Matt believes that the principal contribution Clarasys can make to growth is in creating new businesses and propositions for clients. “We’ve recently helped Thomson Reuters develop a new business offer. Currently, we are also assisting a challenger bank through launch. In the latter case, we’re helping incubate a new institution that brings additional capacity into the economy and may help transform the conservative banking sector. And in the case of Thomson Reuters, the development of new and effective business propositions is the essence of a successful growth strategy.”

Matt says that in helping to develop new business propositions, which provide firms with competitive advantage, Clarasys can nevertheless face considerable internal resistance. “Firms may have rigid and old-fashioned thinking, and possess a waterfall mentality in an agile age. We challenge those assumptions tactfully, helping to move them towards a new target operating model that it is in their interests to adopt.

Matt Cheung, founding Director of Clarasys, was interviewed for the MCA End of Year Report 2015.