Challenging the business consultancy status quo

New Cambridge-based advisory firm brings decades of Big 4 experience to contribute to regional Phenomenon

CAMBRIDGE (26th February 2018) –

There’s a new game-changer to Cambridge businesses and it isn’t bound by industry or technology. Catering to the most ambitious scale-ups to those established industry heavyweights, this team of innovative forward-thinkers is ready to shake things up.

Cambridge Advisory Partners (CAP) is a boutique practice of highly-experienced consulting partners who work with entrepreneurs to accelerate business growth and routinely win in the market. They’ve been quietly perfecting their craft since setting up in 2017, but now CAP is ready to take the Cambridge business world by storm, opening eyes and minds to unimaginable possibilities. CAP is all about creating industry leaders through differentiation and agile opportunism.

CAP Managing Partner Stephen Warburton said,

“Having led Big 4 consultancy businesses for as long as I have, I could see a better way of working and with Cambridge Advisory Partners I have an excellent team who all share the view of looking for answers where different industries collide, and in the spaces in between.”

Cambridge is a hub of knowledge and innovation, but amongst its expertise opportunities are missed to turn them into business strategies due to a lack of overview. CAP is addressing this problem with its industry and technological neutrality, and distributed network of international experience in various capacities.

In their new approach to consulting, CAP wants to get to the very essence of business consultancy in the ever-connected digital society we live in. The art of going slow to go fast, a part of the Business Growth Paradox they subscribe to, is a difficult one to master but as a team of experts CAP knows its strengths and plays to them unashamedly.

ABOUT CAMBRIDGE ADVISORY PARTNERS

CAP is a boutique practice of highly-experienced consulting partners comfortable with success and accustomed to ensuring clients accelerate business growth and secure market leadership.

CAP is all about creating industry leaders, ensuring our clients achieve significant differentiation and secure unrivalled market leadership, and then driving home that advantage.

CAP knows that when the most relevant insights are assembled, shared and challenged from multiple perspectives, the best opportunities and outcomes will emerge. CAP knows this is best achieved when you harness both behavioural drivers and technology differentiators to truly motivate, and when you are unbiased towards industry norms and perceived wisdom.

www.CambridgeAP.com

Are you wondering if we can do this for your business? If yes, please contact us and we'll be happy to help.


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Case Study: Global B2B services client

Following 20 years of continuous growth, a successful market listing and establishing itself as one of the world’s top 5 organisations in its sector, our B2B services client wanted to capitalise on its global scale and the learning gained since its highly entrepreneurial beginning.

Developing both a revised Target Operating Model and associated governance structure, CAP utilised all four perspectives to:

  • Raise barriers to entry and exit through making investments only possible with size, enabled by the transition from autonomous regions to corporate structure
  • Create greater customer satisfaction through globally supported and consistent front, middle and back office structures
  • Create senior executive cohesion and significantly raise wider leadership motivation
  • Develop a cost leadership position through continuously aligning internal support to customer facing needs with a commissioning structure
  • Ensure greater effectiveness with a clear line of sight throughout the organization, with an agreed corporate portfolio mix and strategically aligned balanced scorecard

With our Organisational Development and Behaviours perspective and Motivational Maps, we profiled the whole Senior Leadership team, using this insight to understand ambition, aptitude and #UniqueContributions©. We engaged the whole team to identify the need for diverse career paths, different to the homogenous “me-centric” approaches of the past. With this we were able to utilise the Commercial perspective to look at alternative ways to contract, both internally and externally, and with a focus on driving the innovation and dynamism that the Digital and Data and Customer Experience perspectives demanded.

We accelerated the genuine appreciation of diversity and set the organisation well on the road to integrated collaboration, with a belief in the vision that No.1 status in its chosen markets is not only achievable, but expected.

Are you wondering is we can do this for your business? If yes please contact us and we'll be happy to help


CAP30

CAP30

CAP30 is an exclusive, client-centred development community for leaders of local businesses who are focused on scaling up during 2018, and for whom a tailored and flexible workplace-based approach works better than an MBA.

CAP30 is for businesses that are looking for faster, more reliable growth, and a robust strategy to support their business goals.
CAP30 delivers increased skills, confidence, business focus, and the opportunity to direct more of your time to the things that matter most to you.

If you are interested in finding out more about CAP30 please contact Nicola.Mullarkey@CambridgeAP.com


Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Exploiting new technologies - Repurpose your governance

The World Economic Forum “The Global Risks Report 2017: 12th Edition” initiated a discussion on Emerging Technologies. It commenced with “The emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will inevitably transform the world in many ways – some that are desirable and others that are not” and went on to discuss the following twelve key emerging technologies.

WEF 12 emerging technologies

  • 3D printing
  • Advanced materials and nanomaterials
  • Artificial intelligence and robotics
  • Biotechnologies
  • Energy capture, storage and transmission
  • Blockchain and distributed ledger
  • Geoengineering
  • Ubiquitous linked sensors (IOT)
  • Neurotechnology
  • New computing technologies (quantum and biological computing, neural network processing)
  • Space technologies
  • Virtual and augmented realities

Whilst we may disagree with some of the perceived benefits or adverse consequences of the technologies that made the list, it is clear there are significant risks for all enterprises with the accelerating emergence of new technologies.

How to govern these emerging technologies is a complex question. Governance regimes need to be sufficiently robust without being constraining. As the report makes clear, the governance of emerging technologies is patchy, both from a regulatory point of view, where the legal profession just is not keeping pace, and commercially.

Emerging technologies exacerbate both global and enterprise-wide risks, but their potential benefits are also huge if managed correctly. To do this you’ll need to assess the risks and manage them. Independently test and, where needed, refresh your governance arrangements. The old accepted norms don’t give you the balance and agility required. They will either impede progress or expose you to unintended consequences. Be prepared to embrace new thinking and exploit emerging technologies better than your competition.

Cambridge Advisory Partners was founded to provide clients unfettered access to the type of innovative thinking only possible when you’re constantly observing and analysing how different worlds intersect and collide, and when you are informed by experience but energised by the future. CAP doesn’t provide “repeatable propositions” delivered en mass. Everything we do is re-imagined for your specific circumstances and delivered by Partners recognised for their relevant expertise.

2018 has to be the year to revolutionise your business. Be bold, stand out and lead from the front. Contact us to find out how we can help you realise this.


Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Our year in review

For us, 2017 will forever be remembered as the year that Cambridge Advisory Partners was founded. A year of seriously hard work but rewarding in ways we could never have expected. The creation not just of an organisation, but the founding of a completely new way of working, embracing diversity because it makes us whole, exploring different because that’s where development thrives and creating collaborative systems that morph and evolve.

By February 2017, we had the nucleus of a vision. By March the leadership team was emerging and in May we were officially formed. The energy was immense and the team dynamics truly creative. We had a web site up and running within a month and, three months ahead of plan, we were delivering engagements. It can be honestly said that across three of the “Big 4” partnerships, nothing has been so exhilarating, so real and so meaningful.

By the start of September we had signed a lease on new office space and by the end we were delivering engagements in Cambridge and London for SMEs through to FTSE 100s. We were doing it through Specialists, experts in their own fields, each committed to giving practical, pragmatic advice that was always advancing through a commitment to continuous development. Not the “repeatable” propositions that are the domain of large scale consultancies, but tailored, partner led, targeted interventions that got to the heart of matters without delay.

In October the concept of “consultancy repurposed” was gathering pace and after our mid-year partner strategy review in November, we concluded that we needed to redevelop our website to deliver the full #ConsultancyRepurposed experience. The focus for December was developing our “capability” offer for earlier stage growth companies.

So, roll on January and 2018 for more momentous developments here at Cambridge Advisory Partners! If you want to be part of our journey then let us know!


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Case Study: Governance in £bn business

Our client is a high profile £bn+ business. Three months before we were engaged it had been involved in a major public incident that had seriously undermined its credibility and reputation, leading to a number of high profile exits. This bore heavily on remaining management and few were willing to put their heads above the parapet, resulting in a culture of long hours and decision making paralysis. At the point that we were engaged, the organisation was at a standstill with executives spending 12-14 hours per day in committee meetings and almost no time running the business. Decisions were being passed from committee to committee, everything was being escalated and morale was ebbing away.

Using our #UniqueContribution© suite of approaches, within a six week period we had managed to:

  • Free 60% of management’s time spent in committees
  • Unblock the decision making jam
  • Create clear guidance on what decisions could be taken where and by whom
  • Produce decision templates that forced clear articulation of “the ask”
  • Increase staff net promoter scores by 40% due to increased confidence in management

We knew that people don’t go to work to do a bad job, but are very often not empowered, directed or equipped to do the required job. Missing skills, capability and competence, to a greater or lesser extent, can all be developed. But if a person’s core skills, values and passions don’t align or there is inadequate direction or empowerment, they will simply not thrive, which is what was happening here.

Using our Organisational Development and Behaviours perspective we looked at a number of things:

  • Were management setting goals and objectives that were achievable with the resource, skills and talent that existed?
  • Was management supporting the development of a company culture to which the employees’ values aligned?
  • When goals were set, could they be delivered entirely within the control of those given the task?
  • Where control was not with those given the task, but required co-operation or enablement from others, was this feasible without undue stress?
  • When it became clear that goals and objectives could not be achieved either alone or with the support of others, was it possible to explore alternative options or to re-set goals and objectives?

In the case where goals and objectives could not be achieved either through existing means, alternative options, negotiating revised targets, or when doing so would compromise the individuals’ values, what choices were being made to prevent “overwhelmed” individuals and teams?

Based on the evidence we found, it was clear that there was nothing to gain from being a slave to a corporate business plan that was undeliverable in its current guise with the existing operating model.

Working with the leadership we utilised the #UniqueContribution© test to develop clarity about:

  1. What are the goals and objectives and who sets them
  2. What decision is required and where is it best taken
  3. What delegations have been allocated and what empowerment is required

In addition, we defined what should constitute adequate management information, a process to reasonably identify and address risk, and proportionate assurance to give comfort that processes would operate as intended.

What had been missing is what we call “boundary” management. That is to say, before goals and objectives are set or accepted, that they are checked for achievability. If they require input or contribution outside of personal or team control, how can you get it? What empowerment is needed? Are there any “sacred cows” that can’t be challenged?

We ensured that when escalating a matter, there was clarity on what the “ask” was and why it wouldn’t be within an individual or team’s gift to resolve it. Equally, we ensured that when a decision was escalated, it was clear what was being asked and why it couldn’t be decided below, or what delegations and empowerments could be put in place to allow the decision to be taken sooner and “closer to the action”.

Six weeks on, the organisation started to function. Six months on and productivity is up by 30%, NPS continues to improve and churn is down by 80%.

What do the next six months hold for you? Contact us if you want to see these same improvements.


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A transformative view

With a vision to challenge the Consultancy status quo, we aim to redefine how our clients achieve their business outcomes, creating greater value sooner and in ways that are difficult to replicate.

#ConsultancyRepurposed©

#ConsultancyRepurposedCAP knows that when the most relevant insights are assembled, shared and challenged from multiple perspectives, the best opportunities and outcomes will emerge. We do not re-invent the wheel unnecessarily, but instead use a range of techniques to capture, analyse and repurpose this breadth of insight, looking at where worlds collide and also the gaps between. A small but perfectly formed suite of approaches enhanced exponentially by perspective. Creative thinking across industry boundaries to give our clients transformational results, quickly. We have the inside-the-box thinking of the big consultancies, but the unique ability to deliver outside-the-box thinking without constraints.

#BusinessGrowthParadox©

#businessgrowthparadoxWhen we look to grow and scale organisations, we talk about go slow to go fast. By this we mean helping businesses to move with speed, but importantly to get the right building blocks in place from the outset, #SettingUpForSuccess. This is an important part of business growth and we are proud to work as a critical friend to help challenge, resource and commission your path.

 

#UniqueContribution© and #SettingUpForSuccess

#uniquecontributionEntrepreneurs by their very nature are dynamic able individuals, capable of doing most things that they put their mind to. But just because they can do something, it does not mean they should do it, especially if it stops them from doing what only they can do. Equally, in larger organisations time is often wasted and poor decisions made where there is insufficient consideration of who or where it’s best to take a decision, where delegated authority is inappropriate or where the clarity of the “ask” is missing. Our #UniqueContribution© test addresses each of these concerns, as well as applying a behavioural layer to prevent people becoming overwhelmed.

We will help you to stop doing what others can do equally well and give you the time back to be unique. We know how to ask the right questions to get the right answers and we do it in an interesting and engaging way.

#KillingComplexity

#killingcomplexityHow often does that ‘quick fix’ or ‘workaround’ become embedded? How many of those “but it won’t take a minute” compromises become the new norm? Add these together, layer upon layer, and you rapidly get to ways of working that are compromised in so many ways; unnecessary complexity. The impact on profitability is obvious, the impact on people is often catastrophic and your ability to comply efficiently with regulation, devastating.

At the heart of what we do is #KillingComplexity©. Technology itself (inside the box) may be extremely complicated and intricate, but there is never a good reason why any organisation’s processes need to be complex. A well thought through operating model, which is simple to operate yet “genius” to design, is the nirvana. And this is what we do.

Outcome focus is essential. This means being clear on what is to be achieved and open to the ways in which that is delivered. It needs to recognise the #UniqueContribution© of individuals and refuse to compromise on optimising these or their motivational drivers. Done well, this releases huge amounts of untapped potential, exponentially increases productivity and associated profitability, whilst at the same time eliminates untold levels of stress. We call it #KillingComplexity©.

For a different approach, come and talk to us and be part of the change.


Business growth

Scaling up? Yes you can in 2018

Scaling up? Yes, you can

We are delighted to invite you to our breakfast event Scaling Up? Yes you can in 2018, on Friday December 15th at 8.30am.

At this event our CEO and Founding Partner, Stephen Warburton, will share his insights on the challenges that businesses face when accelerating growth, from the strategic to operational, whilst optimising profitability.

“I am often asked questions with a common thread from entrepreneurs and business decision-makers relating to concerns such as 'no one can do it as well as me', 'how can I protect the fruits of my labour', and 'how can I make best use of my time?'" Stephen said,

"As well as answers to these, here is what you can also expect from this complimentary session. I will help you to do the can-can with 'the Devil', understand what my 'unique contribution' test can do for your business, and how you can seize the day…today.”

You can with CAP

For aspirational small to medium businesses with leaders committed to inspire, we are developing a limited membership programme to advance Cambridge networking. This annual subscription service will provide highly experienced consultancy, communities of interest and advice, which is often inaccessible to companies at this stage of their development. On a favourable commercial terms.

Features will include 1:1 coaching, workshops, masterclasses, peer discussions, behavioural and personality tools (such as motivational maps), bespoke planning and business reviews, all underpinned by a dedicated personal relationship manager. This manifests as having C-level executives on your team without the commercial restrictions this talent normally attracts. So, you might say, you can have your cake and eat it.

An introduction to Stephen

Based out of Cambridge, Stephen is passionate in his support of high growth companies, drawing on a wealth of relevant experience stretching back to before the "Dot Com" boom. With over 25 years working across commercial finance and consulting, Stephen has been involved in many high-profile assignments, including large scale business transformation, IPOs and fund raises, cost reduction, risk management and governance, investigations, pricing and commercial strategy, and programme delivery and assurance.

As a partner within the “Big 4”, Stephen dedicated his career to working with start up and growth companies, leading FTSE and Fortune 500 telecoms and high-tech companies, and building professional service practices. He is now focused on leading the uniquely positioned Cambridge Advisory Partners (CAP) to bring accessible partner-led services to this very important market.

If you can't make the event but want to know more, get in contact with us today.


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Case Study: Services TOM

Working with a major national service business, we developed a Target Operating Model (TOM) which has fundamentally re-defined the customer relationship and expectation of value, whilst at the same time re-setting the industry standard of excellence. As a result:

  • Additional value-add services are being delivered, increasing both revenue and retention
  • Customer response times have been drastically reduced, with a more consistent positive user experience and at lower cost
  • Work in progress has been virtually eliminated, resulting in lower cost and reduced working capital
  • Back office costs have been reduced by over 60% whilst improving customer satisfaction
  • Reliance on individuals and retained knowledge has been eliminated

To do this we undertook a fundamental review of what customers really wanted and how existing processes contributed or detracted from this. Using this analysis we were able to identify that there was a fundamental mismatch of expectations, which was industry-wide. We also realised that the processes in place were not sustainable within existing ways of working, leading to excessive stress levels, increased churn and low levels of productivity. Having framed the problem and defined the desired outcome, we deployed a collaborative approach to build the solution.

We knew that the only choice was #KillingComplexity©. We did this by applying each of our four perspectives.

Through our Customer and User Experience perspective we focussed on speed to fulfilment and effective communication (not cost per hour as was the perceived wisdom) as this allowed our clients’ customers to utilise their assets for longer and reduce their customer disruption. We used the Digital and Data perspective to demonstrate there was real value in collecting trend analysis, which could then be used to support pro-active maintenance.

This was supported by the Commercial perspective which not only drove the payment terms from hourly rates, estimated in advance, validated afterwards and billed monthly, to fixed price work packages authorised in advance and billed on completion, but also allowed the creation of trend analysis for defined work packages which simply wasn’t possible when all that had been previously captured was the number of hours charged. And finally we looked holistically at what was detracting from performance and motivation using the Organisational Development and Behaviours perspective.

Our client now has a discernibly differentiated offering, has established an industry “new norm” which it is exploiting through 1st mover advantage, and is rapidly creating clear blue water between itself and other industry players.

Are you ready for #KillingComplexity©? Is so get in touch today to find our how we can help you become a market leader.


Cambridge

Contributing to The Cambridge Phenomenon

Our modus operandi is to be the breathing embodiment of the Cambridge cluster. We’ve embraced the well documented Cambridge Phenomenon, paying it forward where we can and sharing selflessly.

Part of the phenomenon’s success is to engage academia and entrepreneurship and be able to translate opportunities into real world strategies, and it is here we are playing a pivotal role:

  • We provide access to a distributed network of partners who have worked internationally in companies of all sizes
  • With many of our home-grown SME’s destined to be unicorns of the future, we help articulate the journey from start-up to industry-leading business and co-develop an achievable and supported route map
  • We actively build initiatives to connect growth businesses with exceptional executives, relevant communities and complimentary organisations looking to embrace new challenges

Find out more about our commitment to Cambridge.