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Cedar – consulting services to help businesses through challenging economic cycles

Cedar – consulting services to help businesses through challenging economic cycles

Sanjiv Anand outlines his recommendations to clients for 2016

Cedar is a global consulting, research and advisory firm. The company has its headquarters in the United States. Some of our practices originate as far back as 1985. It was formerly part of Renaissance Worldwide, co-founded by the creator of the ‘balanced scorecard’.

Even though the firm is US-based, through its network of 16 global offices –ever since the mid 1980s – we have assisted global corporations to enter international markets such as China, India and Latin America. A significant part of our growth has come from the Middle East since we opened in Dubai in 1999. Growth has also come by virtue of creating a consulting practice that is focused on execution excellence in strategy, process, people and technology.

The Middle East has played a significant role in our success. Since 1999, we have worked with over 200 clients within the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Turkey – developing their growth strategies.

A significant part of our practice is in the financial services sector where we help banks to transform and grow. This workhas also included mandates to merge banks including RBS-ADCB, Barclays – ADIB, Dubai Bank – EIB and Emirates Bank with NBD.

Cedar has always had expertise in financial technology (fintech), advising banks on their IT strategies and the implementation of key systems. IBS Intelligence, which has a 20-year track record, has been known for its independent perspective on banking technology.

The acquisition of IBS Intelligence gives Cedar a strong fintech research platform that it can grow globally as a financial services research business. In addition, IBS Intelligence has a monthly news journal and 11 different banking technology reports.Cedar will grow the research base using its own consulting expertise and, at the same time, bring to its clients the global research of IBS.

Our primary focus for 2016 is on significantly growing the IBS Intelligence platform globally. In addition, Cedar is rebuilding its ‘balanced scorecard’ expertise.

Additionally, we have successfully incubated a ‘business intelligence and predictive analytics’ division – Cypress Analytica – that it is looking to grow further. Cypress has developed a BSC automation solution called ‘the accelerator’.

For the Middle East, the impact of oil prices will continue. Infrastructure development will slow down and credit will be tight. The region’s growth is driven by liquidity and the lack of liquidity does not help it.

In terms of Asia, China is slow and Japan is back in recession. India is growing well but not at the levels expected from the new government.

Europe for various reasons is in a difficult situation. The European Union model has not fully worked from an economic standpoint.

Lastly the US, the world’s largest market, does continue to grow. But there is no job growth and that is never a good sign. So my recommendation to clients is to risk manage their businesses for 2016. And for those who have good liquidity, this may be a time to buy some businesses on the cheap.

Cedar has always been known by its clients for execution excellence and high-quality work but more importantly for its integrity. Clients often say: “If you want the truth, go to Cedar.” Helping boards and chief executive officers transform their business for both growing and challenging times is what we are all about. We will be with our clients as they go through these cycles.

Sanjiv Anand is the chairman of Cedar – he is an alumnus of New York University Stern and Harvard Business School

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