Australian headquartered management consultancy ADAPTOVATE is emerging post the COVID shock with global ambitions as it was awarded the “Business Services Growth Company of the Year” at the Australian Growth Awards.
ADAPTOVATE was started in 2017 by Boston Consulting Group alumni Doug Ross, Alex Rebkowski and Paul McNamara. Focused on delivering practical, lasting business improvements, its mission can be encapsulated by quickly transforming organisations to meet changing market conditions and customer demands.
ADAPTOVATE’s 2020 experience is instructive and inspirational. Despite workflow effectively halving overnight in March, the Firm did not lay any employees off, instead asking staff to reduce hours, take leave and work part time. At the same time the Firm’s people focused strongly on sales and collaboration with existing clients and prospects. By August activity levels had returned to pre-pandemic levels and the Firm started adding more clients. In September, the Firm actively started hiring and expanding capabilities and services.
ADAPTOVATE’s Co-Founder Doug Ross expanded on the Firm’s strategy and action when the full impact of COVID was felt in March this year. “Our whole Firm had to be agile, recognise the changed environment, and quickly adapt. By eating our own dogfood, we took the skills that we bring to our client work, and internalised it.”
Specific steps that recognised the changed environment of little to no direct contact, the global work from home (WFH) environment, and the need for immediate solutions included:
- Adapted 100% of client delivery to virtual only techniques in eight countries
- Became an Atlassian partner, extending the business agility offering and tools that can be sold to clients
- Developed over 20 hours of online business agility training to make the business model more accessible to remote and WFH workers
- Started a global contracting community business in eight countries as a low-cost option for staff augmentation for clients
- Rapidly pivoted our research program into mobile application development that measures business agility improvements in clients
These specific steps were underpinned by a commitment to maintain staff globally, with many staff reducing hours in the second quarter, while extra business development initiatives were undertaken and prioritised. Transparency being a core value of ADAPTOVATE, staff were kept fully appraised of the initial decrease in sales and workflow, and were integral in the rapid turnaround effort. By July the business was on track with staff fully engaged, and new opportunities and clients being converted, and a strong pipeline of profitable assignments secured.
“We were, and remain, very open to all our staff about the situation and what we were doing in these challenging times. We only lost a handful of staff through this period and our tracking showed our staff remained engaged and appreciated our transparency.”
With revenues now running at an annualized $20Mn run rate and 60+ staff in six offices around the world, ADAPTOVATE has recovered strongly and is now pursuing a growth strategy, aiming to increase staff levels to over 100 in the coming months.
ADAPTOVATE opened offices in Warsaw, Toronto and Los Angeles in the last 12 months. “Currently just over half our revenue is generated in Australia. Though the Australian based business will continue to grow, we see great potential internationally and expect strong growth rates offshore,” Doug Ross said.
ADAPTOVATE differentiates itself through its creed “Success Sustained” by delivering and enabling changes managed and executed by existing management and employees, rather than outside consultants. Typically, the firm’s approach is to work with a client’s existing management and staff to drive change and improvements, rather than sit apart or be “parachuted” in and out of assignments.
“We view ourselves as enablers and creators, encapsulated in our philosophy of Success Sustained,” says Alex Rebkowski. There is a genuine collaboration and knowledge transfer and we leave behind a better, more sustainable and agile enterprise. We think our offering and collaborative philosophy is particularly relevant for these extraordinary times,” Paul McNamara added.