photo: Courtesy of AIMS
AIMS President Christian Nitsche said that his firm would help Appel Counseling by giving the Slovak firm access to western know-how. He added that AIMS had been surprised by the level of human resources professionalism it had found in Slovakia, and that Slovakia should not be considered a second-rate member.
"We were really quite astonished at the high level of services and quality in Slovakia," Nitsche said. "We in the west tend to think of Eastern European countries as far below the norm in these terms. But Appel Counseling is almost equal to [their western counterparts] and it shows, because almost 50% of their clientele are international companies."
The AIMS consulting network was created in 1992 by Swiss consultant Kurt Schindler and German Peter Rohda. According to Nitsche, AIMS is the seventh largest consulting network in the world and the biggest in Europe, but he added that the firm expects to improve to fifth largest in the world by the start of next year.
Approximately 26 countries have now been included in the AIMS network after completing the required application procedures. While Nitsche said that expansion of the network was one of his priorities as president, he noted that countries had not been included simply to inflate membership. "Some countries were not accepted, such as Greece and South Africa," he said. "Also Ireland was rejected because of non-professionalism."
Inclusion in the network will provide instant name recognition for Appel, said Juraj Vrabko, senior consultant for the H. Neumann International management consultants firm in Bratislava. "Each company involved in the network has different roots, systems and backgrounds. The benefit [of Appel's inclusion] is that they can use the name immediately. Now they can say, yes, we're members in the biggest network in Europe. For people who don't know any better, this makes a difference."
Vrabko also said that he thought the AIMS selection of Appel a poor one. "I don't like to criticize, but Appel is not a good company," he said.
For their part, Appel Counselling said that the inclusion served to reaffirm that the political and social re-orientation to the west occurring in Slovakia had been begun by their firm long before anyone else. "We do business according to western standards," said Tomáš Turanský, director of Appel Counselling. "There has always been a belief that we would be in the west. Our time of integration just happened before the state's."
Although Nitsche touted the Slovak firm as nearly on par with western firms, he said that Appel's membership would give them access to areas they could improve on, such as "the standard of IT. Slovakia could really learn from Denmark in that area and Austria [in terms of] how to handle a data base."
"Other countries in the network can learn from Slovakia [in terms of] the areas of public relations and marketing," he added. "Slovakia seems to excel in these areas."
10. May 1999 at 0:00 | Chris Togneri