Q&A with Amancio Torres, Head of Sia Partners in the Middle East

18 July 2023 Consultancy-me.com 6 min. read
More news on

Amancio Torres is the Middle East managing partner of Sia Partners, a global management consultancy with 40+ offices worldwide including 3 in the region. We spoke with Torres on the firm’s growth since its merger-driven market entry, its growing roster of clients and projects, and the ambitions for the years ahead.

It has been five years since Sia Partners doubled down in the Middle East through the purchase of ShiftIN Partners. How has the firm evolved during this period?

Over the past five years we have witnessed remarkable growth and evolution in our firm’s presence in the Middle East. Under the Sia Partners mantle, we have been able to expand our capabilities, client base, and talent pool significantly.

Leveraging our global capabilities and footprint, we have been able to establish several business lines on top of our strategy & management consulting business, such as our AI & Data Science business line (and Heka AI platform), our cybersecurity business line, our SiaXperience digital & design agency, and more recently, our biopharma and healthcare practice (building on the acquisition of Latham Biopharm Group).

Q&A with Amancio Torres, Head of Sia Partners in the Middle East

One of the key indicators of our growth is the expansion of our consulting team, which now has reached 70 consultants, operating from our regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia, plus with significant presence in the UAE and to some extent in Qatar.

Furthermore, our client portfolio has expanded significantly, encompassing diverse industries across the region. We are working on many of the most impactful engagements in the region on topics including strategy, innovation and transformation.

We are delighted to see our footprint and brand recognition continue to grow. We are on track to cross the 100 consultants mark within the upcoming 12 months.

On the AI & Data Science business line, what is the focus of the practice and how does the capability boost the firm’s other offerings as well?

At Sia Partners, we have been investing in AI capabilities for over a decade.

We have now a global team of 250 data scientists and we master major segments of the AI value chain and are able to provide augmented management consulting services and help with the implementation of AI technologies and solutions. We also have our own proprietary DevSecOps AI platform, which offers several off the shelve AI solutions for our clients.

We are slowly but steady introducing this business line into the Middle East market, with a couple of big implementations of AI solutions currently ongoing in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. As a firm, we are betting strongly on the future of Industry 4.0 where AI is playing a main role.

How does the firm’s portfolio of services and client engagements look like in the Middle East? Can you give some examples of work?

Our portfolio of services and client engagements reflects the dynamic and rapidly transforming nature of the region. The GCC countries are experiencing significant economic growth and diversification, and many of the world’s most interesting strategic and transformation work in the public sector is happening here in the region.

The nature of work tends to vary by country. In the UAE, we are driving some of the most innovative initiatives being undertaken, while in Saudi Arabia we are strongly focused on strategy and transformation. In Qatar, our focus is on two industry verticals: government and Energy. Meanwhile, in Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait, projects centre around strategic and transformation work.

Some of our notable projects include helping an oil company with the end-to-end delivery of its loyalty and customer excellence program. This program combines our strengths in different practice (Business Transformation, Strategy and Innovation) with the capabilities of our digital agency SiaXperience.

In Saudi Arabia, we are helping a government fund with the development of new real estate projects. We are also helping a government agency with the creation and startups and scaleups in sectors as diverse as fashion, tourism and renewable energy.

In Qatar we are helping to redesign government services through co-creation and hackathons. In Oman we are working at the core of the energy value chains helping to review pricing mechanisms, and in Kuwait we are helping one of the main state-owned investment holdings with their strategic development process.

Globally, Sia Partners is one of the world’s fastest growing management consultancies (now at 2,700 staff, up from 1,000 staff 5 years ago). How is the global evolution helping the team on the ground in the Middle East?

Indeed, the firm has being doubling its size every 3 years, and we intend to keep on doing so! The global leadership team aims to grow further to 5,000 consultants globally and become part for the €1 billion revenue club by the end of our current strategic plan.

We strongly believe the Middle East will have a significant contribution to this ambition, reaching at least 150 consultants on the ground.

The past years and the outlook in the region inspire confidence that we can achieve this goal. Our operating model fosters collaboration, and the Middle East leadership team is strongly connected with key leaders in main geographies and capabilities. Being able to leverage global experts and capabilities on innovative topics helps us deliver cutting edge results at our clients.

Originally from Portugal, you’ve been living in the UAE and doing business in the Middle East since 2008. What has impressed you most on how the region has progressed?

Since landing in the region, I’m continuously astonished with the social-economic progress booked across all fronts. The speed with which innovation and creativity is fostered and realised is a lesson learned for modern societies around world.

The economic diversification strategies (part of Vision 2030 agenda’s) are making a significant impact on GDP growth (oil and non-oil). The digital transformation sweeping through the region is being the trigger for a unique way to deliver citizen services, to facilitate doing business and to support social achievements, without jeopardising the native Arab culture.

If you are looking for a region where the macro-economy has a clear link with the micro-economy, GCC is a region to study. In the region, major economic drivers and KPIs such as GDP growth, employment rates, demographics dynamics, fiscal policies, and so on are actually being converted into a higher quality of living for all citizens and people that choose GCC to live and work.

I’m honoured and grateful to have the opportunity to participate and contribute to the Middle East’s economic and societal transformation.