Strategy consultancy LIRA launches in the Middle East to accelerate business ecosystems

22 April 2020 3 min. read

Former Accenture Strategy Middle East managing director Raffaella Campagnoli has established a new boutique strategy advisory based in the UAE and soon KSA; LIRA Strategy Partners.

Founded on the premise that building up internal capabilities is no longer sustainable in an age of rapid ongoing disruption, former Accenture Middle East managing director Raffaella Campagnoli has launched LIRA Strategy Partners, a cross-industry boutique strategy consultancy focused on accelerating business ecosystems. While based in the UAE, the new advisory is intended to serve the wider Middle East, with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia.

A more than twenty-year consulting veteran with experience across four continents, Campagnoli has spent the past nine years leading the Strategy Products practice for Accenture Middle East & Turkey, an offering she helped to build from the ground up and which covers the Consumer Goods, Fashion & Luxury, and Hospitality, Retail, Travel & Tourism sectors. Naturally, these will be among the industries where LIRA will seek to apply its expertise.

According to the consultancy, accelerating ecosystems entails offering an end-to-end service, from strategy to execution, such that LIRA is an ecosystem itself. Specialised operators in various functional and vertical areas, its experienced partners have to date served clients on AI and Analytics projects, startup and venture capital, market entry strategy, digital services design, and innovation and system integration among a number of other areas.

“Our mission is to support companies in building their competitive advantage by orchestrating specific capabilities provided by a network of expert partners,” says Campagnoli, adding that continuous innovation and the capacity to scale rapidly will be fundamental for sustainability in the long term for every business, as well as the ability to operate with agility and through variabilised costs – a technique which can enhance business model flexibility.

Raffaella Campagnoli, Managing Director at Lira Strategy Partners

The need for such flexibility is now more pronounced than ever in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has in particular rattled companies operating in sectors such as hospitality, retail and fashion. Understandably, when launching a new consultancy in the middle of a global crisis, the question of COVID-19 is likely to come up. The technology to respond is available says Campagnoli, but players will need to build the capabilities to capture its full value while balancing the impact on customer journeys.

Writing in Entrepreneur magazine about competitive agility in the hospitality industry, Campagnoli, who altogether spent 14 years with Accenture in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, gives the example of self-serve kiosks for check-ins and other services, ‘smart rooms’ with customised settings, and facial recognition, voice technology and chatbots just to name a few of the simple existing technologies supporting the seamless and personalised experience demanded by modern consumers.

Then there the range of back-of-house technologies such as predictive maintenance which will also be necessary to further optimise costs and ensure a speedier and more sustainable return to profitability, while also creating a safer working environment. But here, Campagnoli notes for example a finding from Gartner that 85 percent of AI-driven projects across different industries are expected to fail because companies do not have the foundations or the capital to implement such technologies.

“Hospitality players can overcome these challenges by setting up an ecosystem, and leveraging an orchestrator who seeks to captures value by not only facilitating interactions among startups and other innovation partners, but also other hotel operators,” concludes Campagnoli, with the principle driving the design of an ecosystem being specialisation and orchestration. “Making it happen is not complicated, but it requires a cultural change across the entire organisation.”