Embracing digital to challenge the executive search sector

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Savannah’s Managing Partner Vicky Maxwell Davies is in no doubt about the vital contribution being made by the firm’s adoption of Invenias, the cloudbased platform for executive and strategic hiring.

“We launched as Savannah in June 2017, as a fresh, modern and innvotive brand” she explains. “It is how we differentiate ourselves against the competition. If we’re going to tell our clients that we do things differently, we have to prove it to them. Invenias allows us to do so.”

Savannah was previously Boyden UK, part of the Boyden international network specialising in executive search and interim management. In setting up as an independent entity, Savannah’s leadership sought to embrace a new, digital way of working and to establish itself as a true challenger brand.

Creating an entirely new business is a hugely challenging task and Savannah needed to get it right from day one – for both its 50-strong team and its global client base. “We’d been using the FileFinder solution in our previous incarnation,” says Vicky. “But we recognised that we needed something different – a more agile platform built on best-in-class technology that would align with our digital strategy and offer quicker and easier reporting.”

Savannah chose to go with Invenias and John Ellis, Group Chairman described the migration process as “straightforward, even though the firm only gave Invenias two months to complete the task. We’ve been impressed by the way the migration project was carried out. The smooth process was critical when trying to minimise business impact, in such a short space of time.”

Savannah created a small group of super users and empowered the project team to take decisions quickly, rather than having to wait for executive approval on key aspects of the migration. “This was a critical success factor,” says Rachael Dormer, Project Manager . “As was the support we received from the Invenias project managers.”

“Our super users tested the platform to the hilt and had daily conversations with Invenias to ensure the resulting solution aligned with our processes. There was a huge commitment on Savannah’s part internally and from Invenias.”

Data integrity was an important consideration during this process and Rachael says that Invenias proved extremely helpful in this respect. “We were the 100th search firm to migrate from FileFinder to Invenias, so knew we could rely on the experience of the Invenias team. They suggested approaches that we might not have considered, and advised on which datasets would be the most powerful to move first. 

“We have invested in a new, modern system that forms a critical component of our offer to our clients – and they are delighted. Invenias has given us that digital engagement with our clients.”

Vicky Maxwell Davies, Managing Partner

“We’ve always relied on our data, but with Invenias we now have so many different ways to use it. Invenias is a far more sophisticated platform than FileFinder. Everything in the data fields can be used, with metrics and structured searches, as well as powerful analytics, adding further to the value of our data.”

Savannah’s Head of Marketing Alex Martin also comments on the support given by Invenias. “This was a challenging project, due not just to the speed of the transition but its complexity as well. Invenias was behind us every step of the way. They directed us proactively, drawing attention to any potential shortfall in our processes. Put simply, we knew we were in safe hands.”

The outcome for Savannah is the perfect partner in what Group Chairman John Ellis has described as “a rapidly changing and competitive market, in which the executive search sector needs to adapt and capitalise on the digital age”.

With Invenias, Savannah can deliver a better client and candidate experience, as well as benefiting from tighter cross-team integration internally. Head of Marketing Alex believes it will reduce friction in the services delivered. “It enables transparency. Our clients don’t want to wait for information about the searches we’re conducting on their behalf; they want real-time information on the progress we make. And they want to access this from anywhere. Invenias enables that.

“This is what businesses are used to as they become increasingly digitised. Clients expect a more responsive, immediate process that’s more in line with their own ways of working. At Savannah, we expect to use all the functionality within Invenias to deliver a differentiated service built on digital.”

With data at the heart of this differentiated service, Savannah is also relying on Invenias to help with its GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance activities. Managing Partner Vicky says: “It is heartening to know that Invenias has invested so much time in understanding and responding to the compliance requirements of the the GDPR.”

As a challenger brand, Savannah has established a culture of empowerment and energy. Vicky continues: “Invenias is contributing to that culture. We chose Invenias to give the team the best tools so that they can be fully focused on finding the best candidates for their clients.


Vicky Maxwell Davies

Managing Partner
  • Formerly Boyden UK, launched as Savannah on 1 June, 2017
  • Core team has worked together for 10+ years
  • Clients: FTSE 100, Fortune 500, FTSE 100, 250, Public Sector and Private Equity backed businesses
  • Cross industry expertise: digital, energy & industrial, financial services, hospitality, travel & leisure, and media
  • Previously using FileFinder