We are looking to further grow in management consulting and solutions, expand outside SEE

Marko Marković,
Partner in consulting
company Egzakta Advisory

Egzakta offers a wide range of services ranging from go-to-market strategies to IT and digital transformation consulting. What are the most common problems you must solve?

Egzakta is designed as a high-quality management consulting company with a wide range of expertise and services for its clients from different industries. The market has recognised management consulting as a powerful partner for future stabilisation and growth. Southeast Europe has been developing in the area of consulting for years now. The market has reached the maturity level required to acknowledge the benefits of consulting. In the last couple of years, we have been working on various assignments from procurement and product cost to go-to-market and growth strategies. However, more or less all our projects are either related to, or they comprise, IT and digital components. Furthermore, clients buying consulting are no longer satisfied with recommendations and roadmaps, or advice on how things should be done. There is a clear demand for consulting to go along with solutions and implementation. If we, for example, work on process improvement, the task is not completed with the design of a map of the proposed process. We need to go further in setting up those processes, designing and implementing software solutions for digital (internal and/or end-user), and piloting or full implementation for the client.

Do you see a change in your clients’ needs following the Covid pandemic?

The fact is that the pandemic changed everything both in our private life and business. Our clients’ focus moved to organisation, digital and process efficiency, and IT systems connected to the new reality of working from home, social distancing, and lockdowns across Europe. Every business that wanted to survive had to fully change towards a new way of work and that was their main issue we were trying to solve. We had several IT and digital projects followed by process improvements and change and implementing digital business models. On the other hand, many of our clients used this opportunity to optimise their organisation and improve efficiency. The future perspective and opportunity assessment were also very much present and even though we believed that we would not work too much on strategy with our clients, we had many strategy projects in 2021.

Egzakta has two lines of business – financial advisory services and management consulting. In what direction do you see the company’s business evolving in the future and where will your focus lie?

We started with financial advisory years back and we are keeping this line of business in response to the needs of our clients. But we see further growth in management consulting and solutions as our clear path in the future. Our growth has shown us that we are on the right track. We are the fastest growing management consulting company in the region. Our portfolio of projects and clients and our compact team allow us to compete against global big players on the market. Along with the methodologies and practices of big names, we are bringing the local flavour and local knowledge that has proven to be the best combination for our clients. We do not pretend to be as big as our global competitors playing in the SEE market, but in our region we can for sure offer as much as they do, and even more. Specialising in management consulting related also to IT and digital, we are fully capable to offer a wide range of services that are generating our steady growth. Building our team was the name of the game in the last couple of years. Now, we see our investment bring us triple-digit growth in the last three years. SEE being our playground, we plan to expand into new markets, looking in the CEE neighborhoods but also in the Middle East, Russia, China, and other emerging markets. The steady base we must build is allows us to grow also outside SEE.

Supply chains have been heavily disrupted due to the Covid 19 pandemic. How do you see the effect of this on Southeast European economies?

Many indicators are showing that the prices for transport have been growing significantly in the last year, by x2 or even x3 multiplicators. We are also witnessing a sharp increase in prices of raw materials such as aluminum or copper, as well as iron, wood, and wooden products. These changes are also affecting prices in construction and other sectors. This change can no longer be considered as minor but rather as tectonic, especially for small economies like the ones in Southeast Europe. This is the price we are all paying for globalisation, shifting production to the east, and overall neglect of our local economies. The answer to what needs to be done is localisation of the economy. Most of these products that are now hard to import, transport, or pay were at some point produced either in our country or our region. Local, smaller players with the right access to financing can fully take over the place of the large players on local markets. Competitiveness is no longer an issue since the disruptions in supply chains have increased prices and produced major shortages of certain products and materials on the market. The digitalisation and the startup community can be one of the pillars of the local growth but governments in Southeast Europe will have to recognise this opportunity fast and switch the logic from globalisation FDI and foreign investor support to support for local companies, startups, and investment into regional cooperation.

The M&A scene in Southeast Europe has been very active in the past year. How do you support market players in this process?

Before the Covid 19 pandemic large private equity funds and major M&A players were not so active globally. When the crisis related to the pandemic started, activity in this field intensified significantly. The same story happened in Southeast Europe. This was to be expected since the funds had lots of capital to invest but the prices on the market were relatively high, so everybody waited for better opportunities. Every crisis is the same. Some companies are struggling but some are able to expand, grow and use the opportunity to rise on the market. M&A in this pandemic, as well as further on in the post-pandemic era, is going to be the main lever for bringing the economy back on track. Most collapsed companies are going to change their owner.

Egzakta supports many mergers from the beginning and commercial due diligence projects up to post-merger integration projects. Again, our main playground is SEE and most of our clients are either global players or local players expanding their business through M&A in the region.

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