Consulting: the hidden art of pulling everything together

Europe Economics logo and Alexandros

Europe Economics is an expert economics consultancy providing services in economic regulation, competition policy and the application of economics to public policy and business issues.  The company advises a wide range of clients including companies large and small, trade and professional associations, regulators, competition authorities, governments and supra-national organisations like the European Commission..

We met up with Alexandros Iakovidis, Managing Director of Europe Economics.

He talked about the inspiration for his consultancy, the way he manages Europe Economics and its projects, and decision-making.

“Everybody engages with the software much more than before. It delivers a single source of information, so everybody interacts a lot with Synergist.”

"Accessing all the information easily has helped us in very many ways."

Our approach

“I am particularly inspired by what these three brilliant thinkers have said about their own work.”

Garry Kasparov

Karry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov is a Russian chess Grandmaster and former World Chess Champion, considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time.

From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, he was ranked World No. 1 for 225 out of 228 months.

He said: “To play chess on a truly high level requires a constant stream of exact, informed decisions, made in real time and under pressure from your opponent.

“What’s more, it requires a synthesis of some very different virtues, all of which are necessary to good decisions: calculation, creativity and a desire for results.”

Van Gogh portrait

Vincent Van Gogh had a profound influence on 20th-century art. He was one of the greatest and most recognizable painters in history and his works are hugely admired today, reflected in their enormous auction prices.

What he said:

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum

Frank Lloyd Wright was considered one of the greatest architects who ever lived. He believed in designing structures in harmony with humanity and its environment. He designed offices, schools, skyscrapers, and museums, and wrote 20 books.

What he said: 

“Get the habit of analysis — analysis will in time enable synthesis to become your habit of mind.”

What I take from these thinkers

“These are great and original thinkers. Yet they don’t talk about vast leaps of imagination. Instead, they talk of synthesising different skills and pulling many things together into one cohesive solution."

“I like that. In our own way, it’s what we do. Only by painstakingly identifying and applying the right analytical tools, validating the data, and distilling the results into one coherent position can you see the real picture."

“It’s also how we manage our consultancy. Many skill sets, complex strands of data, projects, clients, time, deadlines – all are pulled together into one system where everything is controlled in real time.”



"We didn’t always have one system here. We previously used an array of spreadsheets, one for each major process, for example:"

  • Project specific files for recording key details of new projects
  • Client and supplier contact details
  • An excel file for keeping track of the progress of live projects
  • The schedule of sales invoicing
  • The order book
  • Work in progress
  • Cash flow
  • Availability of staff
  • Opportunities and proposals
  • Various Excel files for project budgeting, planning/scheduling
  • Dedicated software for time recording
Van Gogh art

"We had all sorts of difficulties juggling all these spreadsheets:

  • They were created by different people at different times, using different approaches
  • Few spreadsheets were linked up
  • There were inconsistencies, making them hard to reconcile
  • There was a lot of chasing that had to be done to update the files
  • They didn’t include the secondary files
  • A lot of time was spent trying to maintain the files and cleansing the data
  • The fragmented nature of our systems made the processing of available information more difficult and time consuming
  • They were not providing real-time information and this was sub-optimal from a management perspective
  • All these shortcomings also caused our team frustration as issues of that sort would not allow us to focus on what we enjoy the most, economic analysis
Van Gogh art

“After a long search we took a look at Synergist. Jay Neale of Magnifeye (part of The Agency Works team) gave us a demonstration. We quickly saw that we could:

  • Get rid of the vast majority of those spreadsheets
  • Have one single source of information
  • Be able to find information far more quickly
  • Identify projects that are overrunning
  • Set up alerts to identify issues that need addressing
  • Give project managers far better tools to use

"So we chose Synergist. Magnifeye did a good job in analysing our needs and carrying out the implementation and training for us."

Van Gogh art

And today?

"Synergist has definitely done what it should.

1  We have seen a reduction in project overruns.

2  It allowed us to have a more timely view of costs and profits.

3  Time entering has greatly improved now. The system reminds those who are late.

Everybody engages with the software much more than before. It delivers a single source of information, so everybody interacts a lot with Synergist.

Before, not everyone could see the point of entering their time. Now they see it.

4  Accessing all the information easily has helped us in very many ways.

5  It also helps in our decision-making as reporting is easily available.

This helps make on-the-spot decisions on many varied issues as well as more strategic ones regarding focusing more on the most profitable areas of our work.

Van Gogh art

Why 'The hidden art of pulling everything together?'

“It’s because it is indeed an art. There are all sorts of ways you can try to pull information together, but finding a comprehensive solution that works properly for you is not so easy."

“But when you do find the right one, there are huge benefits to be had, for your consultancy and your team and your clients too. Certainly Synergist delivers for us.”

Time to see it

Whatever your business looks like – 10 to 500 people, design to digital to consultancy –
Synergist can be shaped to the way you work.

See it for yourself.

Synergist consultants, Agency Works, will be in touch to arrange your bespoke demo. Their experience working with hundreds of businesses means they can help you work out what's right for you.