Sopra Steria Scale up’s Tobias Studer Andersson on going into the ‘battlefield’ with clients and startups: — It’s really all about connecting the dots
Launched during Oslo Innovation Week of 2018, Sopra Steria Scale up has been built on the ideas that collaboration, partnerships, and win-win situations are the new competitive advantages.
Head of Sopra Steria Scale up, Tobias Studer Andersson’s vision for the business consulting firm says connecting startups to clients is all about “connecting the dots”. Why should Sopra Steria waste time and energy on creating a solution that already exists, but has been created by startups that are struggling to showcase their solution, or get it into new markets? The idea behind Sopra Steria Scale up is to build great partnerships with startups and help them scale through working together and create value for the client.
One of the companies we got in touch with was Convertelligence. We were working with some of our clients when we realised they probably needed a chatbot which could bring them closer to — and make better dialogues with — their customers. We discovered that Convertelligence already were onto this, and approached them with the intent of doing a partnership. The goal is for us to get a collaboration which in the end can provide a service or solution, co-created with Convertelligence where they deliver the solution and Sopra Steria Scale up takes charge of the consulting activities such the innovation process, change management and integration.
It might sound like mindfulness advice — that building others can help in building you as well — but that is indeed the idea behind Sopra Steria Scale up. As Norway’s largest consulting firm they have expertise and clients within seven different business sectors: Retail, Defence and homeland, Banking and insurance, Government, Health, Energy and industry, as well as Transport. Having framework agreements with the largest buyers of technology in Scandinavia and Europe ease the procurement process and put them in a position where they can start to scale up projects faster together with the startups.
It’s really all about ‘connecting the dots’. The clients have their needs, and there are startups or scaleups who already have a solution available, but the solution isn’t put to use unless they get to meet each other where Sopra Steria Scale up acts as a bridge-building platform. Another company in the Scale up program is Bilagos, who are creating AI solutions for accounting systems. Right now we are working together with Bilagos to deliver a MVP for The Norwegian Government Agency for Financial Management (DFØ).
This collaboration wouldn’t necessarily have happened without Sopra Steria Scale up’s “bird-view” position in the market. At the moment they are also targeting other clients across Europe.
Targeting startups in the acceleration phase
Targeting startups and scaleups in the acceleration phase, Sopra Steria Scale up are looking for startups with a product-market fit and at least some paying customers, proving the startup is somewhat validated.
When we are to work together and deliver, the solution must be ready to put to use. With this focus, we do not compete with Oslo House of Innovation, StartupLab, Mesh, Katapult and so on, Sopra Steria Scale up is rather a complement to the startup ecosystem offering client proximity.
Hence, trust is vital in any partnership Sopra Steria Scale up is entering. Recently, Sopra Steria Scale up presented Sunnaas Hospital with several startups that were eager to partner up in order to further innovate in the health sector.
Innovation sometimes can be that easy to bundle already existing startup-solutions to something new. Right now we are screening startups to fit Sunnaas Hospital’s needs and who knows, we might end up with a solution that combines two or more startups?
Innovating the industry of consulting
Launched during the Oslo Innovation Week 2018, Sopra Steria Scale up has the ambition to help their customers become better, more efficient, and faster at what they do.
We realised that we are unable to trail all trends and have all competence in-house. The clients have business challenges and want innovative solutions. Innovation often takes place in smaller environments where speed and agility thrives. With Sopra Steria Scale up we can bridge the gap between innovative startups and our clients and make sure that the right startup is chosen. Our role is to provide our innovation process focusing on co-creation and rapid implementation, to make sure the client can validate the solution and thereafter scale up and evolve.
Scaling beyond the borders
And scaling through partnerships, that is also something Sopra Steria Scale up want to contribute with. Studer Andersson says they aren’t looking for investments but we will rather be a partner that can enable growth through clients — as they would rather help with bringing in networking opportunities and connections that otherwise would’ve been difficult to create. Scaling beyond the Norwegian borders — which potentially could mean scaling to all the 25 countries where Sopra Steria today is present.
If there is a great startup in Germany, the UK, Sweden or in one of the other countries we are present in, we are absolutely up for checking out the possible partnerships. As a client from Norway could potentially have their challenges solved by a startup from one of the other countries, and vice versa.
Sopra Steria Scale up at Startup Extreme
And this is also part of the reason why Sopra Steria Scale up is coming to this year’s Startup Extreme.
The Startup Extreme festival is something different from anything else — and that’s your edge. Sopra Steria Scale up is different and something no one else has done before us. Therefore, there is a perfect fit for us to come to Voss and a great opportunity to show how we can contribute to the startup ecosystem. Above that I love the concept of hanging out in the wild and combine activities and networking.
And Startup Extreme provides exactly that kind of extreme networking opportunities. Something as simple as observing how a founder or client deals with stress, adrenaline, and unforeseen situations might give indications as to how they would deal with similarly stressful and unexpected situations in their work.
If we are going into the “battlefields” with startups and clients, we need to know what the brilliant startups and scaleups are doing. It’s about having a lot of faith in others, and have knowledge about products and solutions, but also knowing how we can combine each other’s strengths to make 1+1 = 3.
Sopra Steria Scale up — and Tobias Studer Andersson — are coming to Startup Extreme this year, where they’ll be hosting cable car pitching, and be a speaker during ‘Partner for Growth’. To get your hands on one of the tickets for this year’s event — which entails the opportunity of meeting key people from Sopra Steria Scale up — go to this link and apply!