Relevant and adaptive in a changing world

Nothing is impossible here at Conclusion. Our ecosystem employs experts in every field. Be that as it may, a digital transformation only delivers genuine value when the right choices are made along the way. For that exact reason, we never simply stack one technology on top of another. Instead, we look at what works for your organization. That's why, in times where everything needs to be done yesterday, we never promise the world. Instead, we promise lasting results. In this blog post, M&A and Integration Director Bas van Berkum and Senior M&A Associate Milou Saraber explain how Conclusion manages to stay relevant and adaptive in an uncertain world that's always evolving.  

November 10th, 2023   |   Blog   |   By: Conclusion


Milou Saraber & Bas van Berkum

Conclusion aspires to become the most client and employee-focused IT and business transformation ecosystem in Europe. According to Bas: 'That means we need to listen carefully to what's going on in the lives of our clients and employees, and what their requirements are. We can then use what we've learnt as input to help us plot our strategy. If a certain technology, service, or topic is gaining in importance on the market or for our clients, we decide whether or not to change or enhance our portfolio in response to these changing needs.'   

Milou continues: 'We respond to the complex business issues faced by our clients using a multidisciplinary approach, combining the services provided by each of our companies. If we discover any weak spots or gaps in the services in our portfolio, we explore what investment is needed to add that expertise to our ecosystem. In most cases, the gaps can be filled by companies already in our ecosystem, all of which are constantly striving to stay relevant in their field of expertise. In other cases, we may decide to set up a new business: Conclusion Mission Critical, Conclusion Low Code Company, and Conclusion AFAS Solutions serve as examples of the latter. When time-to-market and minimum size are important — or when certain other access restrictions apply in a specific market — an acquisition may prove to be the best way to quickly gain a foothold in a dynamic market in which client needs are always evolving.' 

Building lasting client relationships through co-creation 
On a dynamic playing field, remaining aware of the developments happening around you is crucial, as is being prepared to adapt your ways of working in response. As Bas puts it: 'You need to be highly observant and listen carefully to what a client wants. As far as you're concerned, that means you need to adopt a flexible and entrepreneurial approach to bring a project to a successful conclusion together with a client. That sense of teamwork and shared responsibility is deeply embedded in our culture. Through co-creation, we endeavour to build lasting client relationships, instead of dictating how things should be done. After all, the way to stay successful in a changing world is by sitting down with your clients to chart a course that is in line with their specific challenges.' 

Milou continues: 'In doing so, we challenge ourselves and our clients to think carefully about their current IT and business transformation challenges. Changing market dynamics and client demands are the main drivers behind our portfolio strategy — a strategy that serves as the basis for the broad range of services we provide. Using innovation as a starting point, we look at what's best for our clients, instead of what's best for us in the short term. And that's what enables us to build resilient and sustainable long-term relationships.' 

Milou Saraber & Bas van Berkum

Adaptive through our ecosystem model 
We live in a world that has gradually become more and more uncertain. As Bas sees it: 'The pace of change is increasing exponentially. Over the last few decades, being adaptive has gradually become more and more important. And our ecosystem serves as the perfect formula to help us do just that. Our decentralized model with more than 25 companies — every one an expert in their field — leaves us extremely agile in the face of developments on the market and in the world at large. One way to look at it is as follows: we're a fleet of speedboats able to move in an extremely agile and successful manner, while other firms operate more like a cumbersome oil tanker.' 

Milou continues: 'We can shift up a gear really quickly, because we decentralize entrepreneurship and responsibility to each individual business. In fact, entrepreneurial spirit and a keen eye for opportunities is at the core of every single one of our companies. As such, we not only need to remain resilient and agile from the perspective of our acquisition strategy, but from an organic growth viewpoint too. Business development is the leading factor in the operational strategies or our labels and one of the main elements behind the success of our formula.' 

Bas adds that: 'Optionality is another element. If you want to be adaptive and agile, you need to be able to respond to market trends and different client issues. That's why we often provide multiple options to reach a single point in terms of a solution, such as Mendix and OutSystems in the low-code domain, and SAP, Dynamics, and AFAS in the ERP domain. This might cause a little friction in-house every now and then, but given the times we live in and the market we operate in, organizing yourself around the principles of effectiveness and agility, instead of efficiency, is usually key.’  

Sustainability as a precondition  
Another major management priority in the way we do business is sustainability. Milou explains why: 'Across all sectors, sustainability is one of the main topics that gives businesses continued purpose in the long term. Fortunately, we're seeing more and more clients take steps in the right direction for their own sake, not just because the law tells them to. At Conclusion, we're approaching this topic from a proactive, entrepreneurial starting point. That way, we can ensure it becomes an integral part of the way we do business.' 

Bas agrees: 'I can fully get behind that. Primarily, we are intrinsically motivated to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of our services and activities. On top of that, through our services and by acting as a connector, we proactively help our clients achieve their sustainability objectives. Finally, this topic is extremely relevant in terms of our position on the labour market. It's clear to see that sustainability has become a crucial factor in whether or not to work for a company, especially for the younger generation.' 

Near and offshore strategy  
Despite the fact that we offer an attractive home for talent, we were not immune to the struggle to find sufficient capacity to meet the full needs of our clients. Milou elaborates: 'With the labour market getting tighter all the time, we started noticing over the past few years that it was becoming ever more difficult to meet the changing needs of our clients. On top of that, clients were asking for dynamic and international teams more and more frequently. These developments called for a different approach, in which it became more and more logical to roll out a near and offshore strategy alongside our services. At Conclusion, we refer to that strategy as OneShore.' 

Bas goes on to say: 'This ties in perfectly with the theme of being relevant and adaptive. Over the past few years, Conclusion has gone through a major evolution in terms of its clients, portfolio, and size. Larger clients have joined, and they often operate internationally. These clients are also increasingly adopting English as a working language. Aside from that — especially after the coronavirus pandemic — people are more prepared to work together on international teams, independently of their location. We're also seeing our competitors adopt international delivery models more and more frequently. In response to these developments, we decided to recalibrate our delivery strategy, devising a near and offshore model in which Portugal and South Africa play a key role. Our “customer intimacy” model remains the guiding principle in this at all times.' Milou adds: 'Our near and offshore model is “blended”: we act as a single team. Our colleagues in Portugal and South Africa form an integral part of our teams. Guaranteeing quality is our top priority, with shared responsibility for delivery. OneShore is an integral part of our service package in the Netherlands and enables us to remain resilient and agile, while also providing a distinctive factor. All with ongoing local entrepreneurship in Portugal and South Africa, of course.' 

Business done differently

We approach things from a slightly different angle. The wide range of services offered by Conclusion is based on a very simple concept: to have the best experts in house in every field. Every expert firm in our ecosystem is an authority in its field. Our dynamic ecosystem mainly focuses on business transformation and IT services. With our wealth of expertise under one roof, we are your one-stop-shop for every digital journey.