Has technology ended the need for search firms to have international offices?

Promoted by Has technology ended the need for search firms to have international offices?

Erevena has successfully delivered searches in over 30 countries from our offices in London. Over the past 10 years, we have dedicated ourselves to developing knowledge of the technology industry, building our international networks and increasing brand visibility.

Technology has certainly assisted in our internationalisation. Social media and particularly Linkedin have given increased visibility and access to senior Executives. The world is undoubtedly a smaller place because of technology and that impacts Executive Search. The game may have changed in our industry: less time is spent understanding who is responsible for certain functions in businesses vs. how well the individual performs. However, technology cannot replace context or reference-ability. 

Should we only rely on social media to conduct international search, it would inevitably become a transactional, volume driven process where the success of the project is determined by unpredictable response rates. In reality the ability to conduct international search from a single location, rests on having a trusted network across key international centres and a deep understanding of the community in which you operate.

Technology is a global marketplace.  Every engagement requires an international lens or more specifically a focus on the epicentres of technology talent – San Francisco, New York, Berlin, London. Erevena has spent time developing an understanding of key cities from which so many technology businesses originate and talent flows between. Cultivating those relationships takes dedication, real knowledge about your subject matter, and a good Airmiles account!  When you aren’t a “global” brand, you certainly need to work harder at every phone call. Through intelligent, well-informed discussions on the mechanics of different business models, international expansion, investment cycles or trends we aim to develop relationships that are of value to both parties and stretch farther than a single search.

The ability to execute search internationally is ultimately determined by your network of contacts and the depth of relationship you have with them. Technology assists your capacity to build that network from a single location, but cannot replace it as a means of executing search successfully.

So why are we opening offices in San Francisco?  International search can be successfully delivered remotely, but when you focus on how best to serve a concentration of clients, a local office makes sense.  Opening a new location is a natural extension of the network we have developed in the US and a means of deepening the intimacy with that network going forward.  In 2015 35% of all the searches we conducted were based in the U.S.  As a British born technology search firm, this journey began by supporting non-U.S. businesses launching stateside. As the volume of work increased, successful delivery afforded us the opportunity to work with U.S businesses on their U.S based searches from London.  The decision to launch Erevena Inc with a base in San Francisco came naturally and is a reflection of the network we have developed over time. In order to gain real intimacy with your customers you must become embedded with them, and being where they are eases that progress.

Also as a dedicated technology search provider, it is important for us to have a physical presence in the largest, most vibrant and innovative hub of technology evangelism in the world. We believe that search firms must have their fingers on the pulse of current market trends.  Not having an office in the epicentre of technology industry would be like being a financial services search firm without an operation in London. 

Being a global search firm requires global offices. It is clear that to serve multiple industries in multiple sectors, a federated model is most effective.  As a boutique, we position as a sector expert. We also benefit hugely from the collaboration that having the majority of consultants concentrated in small number of locations fosters. Developing international search capability is neither reliant on a physical presence or on technology.  It is certainly enabled by technology, but nothing replaces the value of building deep and trusted relationships with a network, that in turn are reliant on a deep understanding of the market in which you operate. Achieving that from a single location, particularly in the technology sector that is acutely centred on a small number of key cities, is infinitely possible and executing great search from London is something we will continue to do for our clients. 

Sharing knowledge and passion for your market with your network, and ensuring the interactions you have are genuinely additive, underpin great search success internationally and elevates your ability to be a genuine advisory partner wherever your desk is based. But physically being where the majority of your clients are headquartered, should be a long term aim.

Comments (2)

  • Nev.
    Thu, 7 Apr 2016 10:56am BST
    Well done Nicola.
  • Karen Mann
    Karen Mann
    Thu, 7 Apr 2016 8:13am BST
    Excellent article, Erevena are clearly visionary and I wish them all the best in San Francisco.

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