Fact based decisions with Cmotions

Cmotions is a fast growing consultancy firm with a focus on advanced analytics, data science and implementations. Their multidisciplinary vision and approach helps them reach optimal results. On February 12, we, Juliette and Stephan, travelled to Cmotions headquarter in Amersfoort to get to know this interesting and impressive company. We spoke with Yvette van Breukelen, a senior consultant at Cmotions, to get her insights into the firm. text by: Juliette Tillie & Stephan Sparreboom

When entering the building of Cmotions, situated in Amersfoort, we were welcomed by one of the recruiters. With our coffee in our hands we were guided to a closed room in the back of the stylish office. Soon Yvette entered. She had made some time free to talk to us about her experiences working for Cmotions. She told us right after she finished studying Econometrics, a recruiter approached her and convinced her to start as junior consultant at Cmotions. After a period (three years to be exact) of working there, she decided to give another company (Capgemini) a try and she left Cmotions. This decision came because she thought that she wanted something else. But this was not for long. Yvette decided to go traveling, during which she realized that she wanted to go back to Cmotions. Why? The working culture fits her style, the coziness of a team of 65 people suits her desires and the projects she faces include challenging assignments. It is now five years later and Yvette is still working joyfully for Cmotions. She is one of the forty consultants active at the company and has even been promoted to Senior Consultant.

Cmotions is a very young company. It was founded in 2002 by the four partners and has grown steadily to the company it is now. Currently there are 65 people working of which 40 are consultants. Their main goal is to predict developments which are important for the managing of organizations. Cmotions believes this can be achieved by analytics and not by a gut feeling, therefore their motto is “Fact Based Decisions”. A lot of companies still rely on this gut feeling, but want to change this, however they do not have the required knowledge and experience to make this change. At that moment they will go to Cmotions who will help the company not only with advice but also with the implementation of given advice.

This implementation is also what distinguishes Cmotions from other consultancy companies. Normal consultancy firms will only give advice, however Cmotions can be of additional value with its expertise in applying the given advice. When a company goes to Cmotions, most of the time they have heard of terms like big data, Artificial Intelligence and data science. However, they do not really know what these terms mean, but want to implement them into their business. Cmotions will then work together to make a clear data-driven strategy for the company. The strategy will look at things like the improvement of the governance structure, key performance indicators, earning models and much more. It is clear that they are quite good at their work, as they work for a lot of big, well-known companies. On the site we found a list and we were really impressed. It for example included Bol.com, Ikea, the Dutch bank ING and the Dutch telephone company KPN. Even Nespresso, every student’s dream to be drinking all day, makes an appearance. Furthermore, they work for insurers, energy suppliers and even charities.

In addition to advice, Cmotions also offers the recruitment and selection of data-professionals. With their expertise in the data market recruiters will help you as a starter find the job you want and that fits you. Together you will find out what your strengths, interests and goals are. Because of their broad horizon of knowledge about the different data driven companies, they make it possible to find your perfect job. Cmotions also offers interim personnel, which we find very interesting. When a company is in need of a manager, engineer or analyst, Cmotions will lend one of their employees to work temporarily at that firm.

To make it clear what Cmotions really does, Yvette told us about their work at IKEA Belgium in 2014-2015. IKEA wanted better insight into their data and better customer loyalty program. In discussions a specific goal became clear: a better data-driven CRM structure for IKEA, this would be reached through means of data of the IKEA family card. Then IKEA and Cmotions set up a marketing campaign with the marketing division of IKEA. Cmotions used RFM market research to find data about customers and give advice about the marketeers to set up the campaign. While it was ongoing, Cmotions also tested and monitored the results, which are very positive. IKEA was so happy with Cmotions that they are still working together as of today.

Since 2019 Cmotions is part of Broad Horizon, an ICT partner for organizations in retail, finance, education and more. With the technological knowledge of Broad Horizon and the analytics knowledge of Cmotions they are able to help businesses. Because of this take-over the employees of Cmotions also have the chance to attend meetups in all kinds of fields. Next to the big companies that Cmotions now has as customers, they will also be able to help medium-small companies with their data-analytics.

Cmotions made the papers (AD) and radio recently with something that is typical for them. The team inside Cmotions, advanced analytics, wanted to educate themselves about text mining. In case one is unfamiliar with this term, following is a definition: “Text mining is the process of exploring and analyzing large amounts of unstructured text data aided by software that can identify concepts, patterns, topics, keywords and other attributes in the data.” (Rouse, 2018)

The team set up a project which was aimed on learning how reviews on The Fork can be used to predict what restaurants will receive a Michelin star the year after. Although text mining was not included in the bachelors or masters of all of the employees working on the project, they got good at it quickly. From 11.000 restaurants, Cmotions made a prediction of the top 25 restaurants receiving stars, of which two indeed did! 

This is an example of the projects that a consultant working at Cmotions does in his or her spare time. It is a good way for the crew to connect, expand their knowledge and have fun together. Working on these kinds of projects happens on Fridays. On other weekdays, consultants visit their clients and work on location, but on Fridays mostly everyone will be present in the office. Therefore, this day includes, next to working on your own projects, these sort of learning processes. Cmotions thinks it is important to keep learning new skills which may not have been included in any bachelor or master because the field of work is ever changing. It is important to be able to offer your (potential) clients the full package including some of the most recent data techniques like text mining. 

So working at Cmotions means you will forever be learning new skills and theory. This starts as soon as you are employed. The company has set up the Talent Academy; a 6-week kick-start program which teaches new employees, who may have little to no experience, the necessary skills. This not only includes learning useful techniques and soft skills but also advisory skills like ‘How do I know what exactly the client wants and needs?’. Via different cases and with the use of tools like R new employees with all kinds of background are prepared for their potential future at Cmotions. Potential since after Talent Academy, recruitment will decide if working at Cmotions fits you and otherwise you will be helped in your search for other employers.

Cmotions not only invented their own Talent Academy, but also has a program called ‘Who Cares?’. By organizing small projects like giving lessons about data to high schools or sports events for the employees themselves, the team fulfils their social role and Cmotions takes care of their own employees. In the future, Cmotions aims to provide more and more educational aspects via this program. Think of Python tutorials and master classes in giving advice.  

It is clear that Cmotions has a lot of layers to the company. As a starting econometrician you may be employed as a junior consultant, being the most logical step. Of course there are growth opportunities in length, for example in becoming a senior consultant, but Cmotions also gives loads of opportunities to its employees to grow in ‘width’. Within Cmotions there are teams in data visualization, data science, data management, strategy and organizations and more. As an employee, one’s basis is working with the client and from there on there are possibilities to look beyond and learn something about new and exciting fields!

The fact that Cmotions is a company of 65 is a positive note, according to Yvette. Everybody helps each other and the hierarchy is hard to find. The director is literally sitting on the same floor, not even in their own office. To give an even better description of what working at Cmotions is like; it is a young company with a 50/50 male/female ratio. Working here means that you are able and want to work with data. Another big part is the customer. Most customers do not know what they want since they are not aware of the possibilities. During the first conversations with the clients it is the aim to find out and decide what is best for them in order to deliver a wanted and (maybe even more importantly) needed product! 

We asked Yvette what the most important skills are for us econometricians. Next to the computational skills you already acquire during your study, it is really important to expand your skillset as a person and explore your talents and possibilities. Your soft-skills are at minimum as important as your hard skills. So go do a boardyear, join a committee, go on exchange or find a really challenging internship.

The combination of consultancy and data science with learning all kinds of new soft skills and even fulfilling your social role is what makes Cmotions special. Judging from her positivity and smile (which she had during the entire interview), Yvette van Breukelen is definitely not planning on leaving the company soon. And on Friday we may expect her to have a small drink with her colleagues to toast on another great week!

Rouse, M. (2018, May 31). text mining (text analytics). Retrieved February 23, 2020, from https://searchbusinessanalytics.techtarget.com/definition/text-mining