Christoph Hagmann quote

Structuring Win-Win Consulting Partnerships: Lessons from EY Germany

In this article, Christoph Hagmann, Technology Consulting Lead at EY Germany, teaches how partnering with and acquiring small to medium-sized consultancies helps the company access niche talent, drive growth while remaining flexible, and ready itself for innovation You'll also learn how you can approach EY to become their next partner.

In this article...

  1. EY's partnership spectrum
  2. 3 benefits of strategic partnerships in consulting
  3. Partnering with EY: a win-win for both parties
  4. How to approach large consultancies for a partnership
  5. Navigating Governance and Processes
  6. Create win-win solutions with joint business relationships

Read time: 4 minutes

In a world where niche expertise and scalable talent are invaluable, partnerships among consulting firms are increasingly crucial. But how do large consultancies like EY approach collaboration with smaller firms?

Christoph Hagmann, the Technology Consulting Lead at EY Germany, recently shed light on this very topic.

EY's partnership spectrum

"In terms of partnering, we do have various approaches," Christoph explained. Partnerships can range from casual, case-by-case relationships to more structured partnerships where they have a regular exchange and governance body.

Partnerships are not one-size-fits-all. They can be:

  • Opportunistic or case-by-case
  • Long-term and structured
  • Acquisitions

Understanding the type of partnership your company needs is the first step toward building a successful partnership.

3 benefits of strategic partnerships in consulting

Collaborating with the right partners can unlock limitless possibilities and foster innovation.

Here are 3 main benefits Christoph mentioned during his conversation with Sammy on the LEADERS IN CONSULTING Podcast:

  • Access Niche Talent: Collaborate with smaller consultancies to tap into specialized skills and elevate your team's capabilities.
  • Flexible Scaling: Demystify demand fluctuations by partnering with nimble experts, enabling agile resourcing without overheads.
  • Future-Ready Innovation: Embrace emerging trends through low-risk partnerships, ensuring your consultancy stays ahead of the curve.
"Niche skills, which we cannot afford to build up because the demand is not constant, is obviously an area where we are looking for partners." - Christoph Hagmann, Technology Consulting Lead as EY Germany

Partnering with EY: a win-win for both parties

Christoph also made a point of mentioning that these partnerships aren't only beneficial for them, but greatly benefit the subcontractor too, pointing out, "We create a win-win solution, which sounds easy, but obviously it's not."

Fostering a partnership where both parties benefit may sound straightforward but requires careful planning and negotiation.

Takeaway: A successful partnership needs to be beneficial for:

  • Both partners
  • Clients
  • Employees involved in the projects

How to approach large consultancies for a partnership

EY spends a lot of time looking at the market and screening potential partners.

But what if you want to reach out to them?

Christoph provides a simple 4-step guide for smaller companies looking to partner with large consultancies like EY:

  1. Value Proposition: Define your unique strengths and how they can benefit EY.
  2. Process Understanding: Prepare to work within EY's process-driven framework.
  3. Patience: EY's processes might be complex, but they're crucial for success.
  4. Joint Vision: Align your business objectives with EY's goals.
"If you want to approach us, it should be clear what is the value you bring to us." - Christoph Hagmann, Technology Consulting Lead as EY Germany

Takeaway: When approaching a large consultancy for a partnership, focus on:

  • Clear value proposition
  • Aligning with their needs and gaps
  • Demonstrating expertise and reliability

Navigating governance and processes

It's normal for decision-making processes to become longer as companies grow. If you're interested in forming a partnership with a large consultancy like EY, patience will be key.

Christoph warns that smaller firms must adapt to the governance processes of larger organizations. "Sometimes you need to forgive us that we are a little bit of pain in terms of processes, but we take it seriously," he says.

Be prepared for:

  • Complex governance structures
  • In-depth due diligence
  • Time-consuming negotiations

Create win-win solutions with joint business relationships

In a rapidly evolving industry, the ability to form strategic partnerships is more valuable than ever. As Christoph Hagmann from EY Germany puts it, "There is pretty much every kind of relationship which you can imagine, from first contact up to potential acquisition or joint business relationships."

With the right strategy, smaller consultancies can find their place in this continuum, creating win-win solutions for all parties involved.

Armed with these insights, consultancies of all sizes can better navigate the partnership landscape to mutual advantage.

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