In conversation with Martin Bos - "Making chocolate out of complex problems, wonderful!"

In conversation with Martin Bos: "Making chocolate out of complex problems, delicious!"10 Minutes estimated reading time

Categories: Partners & Team

Meet Martin Bos, EPM expert with 20+ years of experience and an independent partner at Bart & Partners. He studied artificial intelligence at a time when it was not yet hip. For years, he was responsible for Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) developments at Ahold-Delhaize. He possesses a burning curiosity for everything new. And since 2021 he has been an independent partner at Bart & Partners: Martin Bos. Enough reasons to get acquainted with this experienced EPM expert from Naarden.

How did you get into the EPM world?

After my university life, I started working in the police and then at Ahold Delhaize, which was then called Ahold. There I came into contact with Hyperion Enterprise, the predecessor of HFM. That's how I got into financial consolidation.

At the time, I was involved in managing Hyperion Enterprise and financial reporting both domestically and internationally. I lived for a time in Poland and the Czech Republic. In 2004, I left Ahold to work as a consultant at a consulting firm. In 2008 I returned to Ahold and in 2021 I quit there and joined Bart & Partners.

You've been in the EPM business for over 20 years now. What makes this profession so appealing to you?

I like puzzles. And with EPM software, you can solve complex puzzles. The issues are often complicated and I find that challenging. I didn't study finance but technical computer science, I'm an engineer with a specialization in artificial intelligence. That wasn't as hip then as it is now. So originally I'm not a financial expert, although of course I built up enough financial knowledge during my studies. By now I am completely up to speed and understand very well what is going on in the financial world.

What is your specialty?

HFM is the tool I have worked with the most. Since 2008, I was responsible for the entire HFM domain at Ahold Delhaize. I expanded that domain enormously, from one or two applications to eventually about twenty. For example, financial planning was added, cash forecasting and information gathering on sustainability. With the merger in 2016, the entire planning domain of Delhaize was also added. So the environment became increasingly extensive and complex. And you get to make technical chocolate out of it. Delicious!

You graduated in artificial intelligence, you told me. Did you ever think: I'm going to do something with that within EPM?

I certainly have ideas about it, and I did research on it at Ahold at the time. I would like to get involved with it at a customer's site if there is a concrete issue there.

In 2021, you started as an independent partner at Bart & Partners. Why?

I actually wanted to start for myself much earlier. What always held me back was not so much the work, but that you always do it alone. And I love working with others. At Bart & Partners, I found that. Here I can do it on my own terms and in my own way. Building a strong network together.

Did you not hesitate for a moment?

No, I didn't have any doubts, not even to do it as an independent partner. I thought: now is the time, now I have to do it, otherwise I'll never do it. And I'm very glad I did it too.

And do you like it so far?

Yes, very good. I'm having a great time, with great colleagues. They are very knowledgeable and all have the same attitude to do something meaningful for the client. Nice and down to earth. I can just come up with concrete workable solutions here. Without all the fuss, without all kinds of commercial interests. I just want to be able to give independent advice. Offer an independent solution that benefits the client. That is what I find at Bart & Partners and with all my colleagues. Yes, it is very nice working together.

What client are you with now?

I am currently with two clients. A few days a week I reinforce - together with another colleague from Bart & Partners - the team at GrandVision, which was recently acquired by EssilorLuxottica. Here we mainly provide support and help with the further development of HFM and integration with the new systems. The other days of the week I am now at Ingram Micro in Utrecht, where several Bart & Partners colleagues are also active.

Ingram Micro runs on OneStream, while you have an HFM background. Isn't that awkward?

Yes, it's definitely difficult and challenging at the same time. The client is new to me and the tool is new to me. And I'm halfway into an existing project, a complex allocation issue with a lot of data. It's about being constantly curious to learn something new. I try to absorb everything as much as possible and make valuable contributions to the outcome.

Absorbing everything is only possible if you also clear your head from time to time. How do you do that?

I am indeed busy with my head a lot. But to really relax, I love running. That's always a great time to clear your head. Not thinking about anything for a while. Just enjoying the woods and the heath. Then I can get back to work.