November 05, 2003 NEWLINK CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF SUCCESS
lowest cost and time to quality business outcome
A little over 10 years ago, a group of senior independent consultants met to explore a new business model for management consulting services. All were veterans of various partnerships and consulting firms, with a focus on financial services, and shared a belief that there had to be better means to achieve greater value for clients and consultants alike.
Excessive overhead costs, time and cost overruns, lack of specific business knowledge, lack of experience, and restricted consultant opportunities were some of the issues perceived at traditional suppliers.
There was an old adage that, "You can have speed, quality, or low cost -- pick any two." The founders of NewLink believed strongly that clients could have all three -- speed to market, with optimal quality, and the lowest cost to required outcome -- and that entrepreneurial consultants could optimize their potential at the same time.
The group settled on a mission and core operating principles that have survived to this day: "create lasting value for our clients in their products and services, distribution, business processes, and information technology applications"
* singular focus on financial services
* a targeted set of service categories
* a virtual corporation -- outsource everything
* a senior, highly experienced consultant force
* a knowledge-based, learning organization
* maximum entrepreneurship -- no employees
* minimize overheads, mercilessly -- less than 5%
* no sales force or full-time managers
* treat each project as a self-fulfilling business venture
In other words, a WIN-WIN-WIN for clients, consultants, and NewLink.
An initial hypothesis was that large companies were heavily served by the 'Big x' consulting firms and IT providers, and that a great opportunity existed to provide value to the broad middle market of insurers and financial services firms. This hypothesis was quickly dispelled as Bank of Montreal, Manulife, Zurich Insurance, Ontario Insurance Commission, Toronto Stock Exchange, and Royal Bank of Scotland became clients in the early weeks.
The client base expanded to include all sizes of client entities, and all aspects of the financial services value chain -- distributors, third party administrators, financial institutions, insurers, service providers, IT solution providers, and even other consulting firms. The consultant base was also grown to a network of 100+ with various financial service specializations.
The model has worked exceptionally well, as evidenced by our long term relationships with clients and consultants, our reusable methodologies and knowledge bases, the fact that there have been no rate increases since inception, and overheads that have been managed to industry lows.