Inflexion helped us to manage and steer that transformation plan.
Chief Strategy Officer,Chambers and Partners
Chambers and Partners is the world’s leading legal ranking and insights intelligence company supplying insights and rankings to the global legal profession since 1990. The strength of its brand is predicated on the quality of its core research team. Inflexion backed Chambers’ buyout in 2018 to build on its strong brand, focus on accelerating its growth and transitioning the business towards a ‘digital-first’ proposition.
“When I joined in 2019 there was limited commercial application and no real tech. The journey was about investing in strengthening Chambers as a business,” recalls Tim Noble, who was brought in as CEO of Chambers by Inflexion following their investment. Under Tim’s stewardship, a full leadership team was installed and commercial growth prioritised; a team of five salespeople when Tim joined has grown to 55 by the end of 2022. “We built the team, we built the infrastructure, and we are building the business,” he enthuses.
Jemma Hodson joined in 2020, bringing two decades’ experience in strategy and transformation. “I was really struck with the long list of opportunities that management were considering. Chambers has such a strong brand, but we needed to prioritise what to run with.” Inflexion worked with Jemma and Tim to build the strategic foundation, analysing Chambers’ core assets and capabilities, and taking internal and external market views into account.
This fact-based decision making helped lead to a crystal-clear growth strategy, whittling down the long-list and making difficult choices about where to focus effort, for example on product development and international expansion.
Ready for action
With clear priorities, the next step was to translate the strategy into a programme with actions and milestones. The plan has 10 workstreams which cover most aspects of the Chambers’ business and draws inspiration from the Inflexion Value Acceleration toolkit. These workstreams cover core themes from product enhancement, pricing and packaging, international expansion, digital, and a new operating model.
As it was evident it needed a full-time focus, Tim formed a centralised “transformation” team led by Jemma, with monthly steering meetings to track progress and KPIs, and unblock issues.
Chief Strategy Officer,Chambers and Partners
Throughout the whole process, Jemma highlighted the importance of internal stakeholder management and communication. “We needed to align the team with the strategy and communicate the opportunities – we have put a lot of focus and internal management time into getting there.” The overhaul is paying off, bookings and EBITDA are both growing at c 20% per annum, with notable successes in aligning pricing with value, alongside significant improvements in retention.
Four years in, Tim reflects on the journey and offers advice: “You absolutely cannot transform part-time; you need to manage it centrally with the right person. Additionally, do not underestimate the importance of selecting the correct external partners to support you; we’ve had a couple of false starts.”
Jemma nods to the importance of a clear focus. “Have a small number of priorities underpinned by a clear rationale of the what and the why and be prepared to make difficult decisions about what you don’t do.” She also notes the benefits from the investments in the core business and is wary of putting too much focus on tangential adjacencies, saying, “growth in the core is where the chance of success is highest.”
Chambers’ transformation has touched on most aspects of the business, driving innovation across the organisation whilst preserving the strong brand pivotal to success.
Significant investment in strengthening the core product, building the sales and customer success teams, and aligning pricing to value delivered.
“Investing in our commercial capability has helped us improve customer retention, up-sell and conversion.”
Launched products into new target markets in the US and Latin America.
“Inflexion’s international team have been tremendously helpful at helping us access our priority markets. Having the local presence was key to unlocking the facts, nuance and connections we needed.”
Moved traditional paper-based directory online and full website re-build.
“Chambers’ website wasn’t the most usable. It is imperative that every touchpoint and customer experience is premium, so we focused a lot on our new directory to ensure the user experience worked well."
Significant investment in a new management team to drive the transformation agenda, and re-built the operating model for the research team.
“The research team are the engine room of the business, so the new model had to be thought about like performing open heart surgery.”
Strong focus on D&I internally with D&I being part of the external rankings submission process.
“ESG is integral to everything that Chambers does and we are proud of our strong focus on D&I.”