Portera Welcomes Mustafa Aktas – VP Business Development

Waleed Siraj, Consultant

Portera, technology and business transformation consultancy announces the appointment of Mustafa Aktas as its new Senior Partner and Vice President of Business Development.

Bringing a distinguished background in Data & AI and lecturing at Groningen University, Mr. Aktas joins Portera from Accenture. In his last role as Head of Banking and Financial Services – Go to Market, he led transformative initiatives on various strategy, management, tech consulting and operations / BPO programs that did lead to significant growth and high client satisfaction.

His decision to join Portera reflects his alignment with the company’s visionary growth approach and dedication to customer excellence, addressing both business and technology challenges hand-in-hand


Q&A between Mustafa Aktas & Waleed Siraj

1. Please share a bit about your professional background and explain why you chose to join Portera?  

Thank you, Waleed, for the warm welcome. This decision marks a pivotal moment in my career journey, spanning nearly two decades from my roots as an engineer to my evolution into a business leader. Having navigated through prominent organizations like Veritas, Symantec, HP Oracle, and Accenture, joining Portera holds a special significance for me due to our longstanding professional and personal connections.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the evolution and progress of the Portera team. Engaging in highly creative and innovative discussions about partnerships, go-to-market strategies, and bespoke offerings for clients has underscored the company’s commitment to excellence.

At an intriguing juncture in my career, I contemplated returning to academia part-time, driven by my enduring passion for engineering and business leadership, particularly in the realms of data and AI. However, the opportunity to contribute my expertise, continue learning, and grow within the dynamic environment of Portera proved irresistible.

Following insightful discussions with various stakeholders, I was drawn to Portera’s compelling vision. I am excited to join forces with exceptionally talented individuals to enhance the business development capabilities of the company.

Reflecting on why I chose this path, it ultimately boils down to the people and the culture of creativity and diversity that permeates this organization. I see in each member of the team a shared commitment to making a tangible impact on our clients, driving business growth, tackling complex challenges, and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in all endeavors.

 I am truly eager to embark on this new chapter and contribute to the collective success of Portera and its valued clients.


2. What does Portera stand for, and what can clients expect that is different?

Portera boasts a robust clientele both within the Netherlands and beyond, competing in a market where specialization and differentiation are paramount.

Examining Portera’s portfolio, it’s evident that we possess a diverse array of skills and expertise. From cloud computing to data analytics and AI, as well as specialized proficiency in enterprise platforms such as Salesforce, Microsoft Technologies, and OpenText, our capabilities are extensive. Additionally, our ability to not only build and implement but also provide ongoing application management and support instils confidence in our clients. 

Moreover, Portera’s adaptability and flexibility in addressing client needs have been pivotal in gaining acceptance within the market. As our clients’ requirements become increasingly complex and varied, our team’s ability to swiftly respond and deliver tailored solutions sets us apart.

 In light of the evolving technological landscape, with a shift towards data and AI-driven initiatives, Portera stands poised at the forefront of these advancements. With a wealth of expertise spanning various domains and a deep understanding of emerging technologies, our team is primed to drive impactful transformations for our clients.


3. You come from a strong consultancy background. What are the most common misconceptions about tech consultancy that you have encountered?

I perceive consulting as a practice centered on comprehending clients’ needs and offering tailored solutions to address them effectively. While technology consulting traditionally focuses on technical aspects, the crux of many challenges lies in the evolving landscape of business needs.

 In today’s scenario, technology serves as a means to solve increasingly complex business problems. Companies are categorized into those primarily focused on resolving business strategy issues and others specialized in technical problem-solving. Portera embodies a unique blend, boasting a team equally adept at driving business change and implementing technical solutions. This balanced approach encompasses change managers, communication specialists, and professionals bridging the gap between business and IT realms.


4.What excites you about the intersection of technology and enterprise-level innovation?

 Our strategy encompasses exploring upsell and cross-sell opportunities while prioritizing active engagement with clients. Through attentive listening and understanding of their priorities, we position Portera uniquely to address their most pressing challenges. This client-centric approach forms the cornerstone of our business development plan, fostering sustainable growth and lasting partnerships.

 Looking ahead, while IoT once dominated discussions, the focus has shifted towards emerging technologies such as data and AI. Portera remains agile, ready to embrace these shifts and drive meaningful transformations for our clients, propelling them towards future success.


5. What key challenges do your clients typically face?

Clients seek alignment between business objectives and technological advancements, a synergy Portera excels in delivering. Our team comprises individuals with diverse backgrounds, from architects to program managers, ensuring a holistic approach to problem-solving. This alignment of business and IT is where Portera shines, offering clients the integration they require to thrive in a dynamic market environment.


 6. As VP Business Development, what are your primary goals and priorities in the near and medium term?

Transitioning to the goals ahead, as VP Business Development, my primary focus encompasses both short-term and medium-term objectives. Collaborating with our talented team, I aim to orchestrate the firm’s overall business development and growth strategy. This entails analyzing our existing client base, understanding past projects, and identifying opportunities for expansion.

By examining the addressable market and industry trends, we align Portera’s capabilities with the evolving needs of our target audience. Leveraging our established presence across various sectors, including chemicals, utilities, telecommunications, and financial services, we aim to not only secure new clients but also expand our footprint within existing ones.


7. How do you see advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) shaping the landscape of data management for enterprises, and how does Portera help integrate AI solutions to address evolving data challenges?

 Certainly, understanding the evolving challenges of our clients is paramount in staying ahead of the curve. Five years ago, the focus was on digitizing banking and insurance experiences, a trend that has since matured. Now, the emphasis has shifted towards optimizing operations through intelligent automation, replacing machinery with human intelligence to enhance efficiency.

To address these evolving needs, our first priority is to immerse ourselves in the transition occurring across various industries, including chemicals, utilities, and telecommunications. By actively listening to our clients and understanding their evolving business functions, such as HR, finance, marketing, and risk compliance, we can tailor our solutions to meet their specific requirements.

Secondly, we must align our team’s skills with the demands of the market. As you mentioned, AI has become a focal point for nearly 80-90% of our clients. Therefore, we are not only developing solutions around AI but also investing in reskilling our team to ensure they possess the necessary expertise. From understanding cloud technologies to leveraging AI interfaces like LLM and open AI, our team is equipped to build custom solutions tailored to specific industries and use cases.

In summary, our approach revolves around deeply understanding our clients, staying abreast of emerging technologies, adapting our team’s skill sets accordingly, and tailoring our solutions to meet the unique needs of each client and industry. This holistic approach ensures that we remain at the forefront of innovation and continue to deliver value to our clients.

8. Outside of your professional life, what hobbies or interests do you pursue that contribute to your personal and professional growth?

I must admit, my personal life tends to take a backseat amidst my busy professional and academic commitments. However, whenever time permits, I relish spending weekends or holidays pursuing my two main passions.

Firstly, family holds the utmost importance to me. We enjoy soaking up the sun and warmth, preferably by the coastline, whether it’s cruising on a boat or engaging in wind sports. This connection to the sea resonates deeply with me, perhaps influenced by my cultural background.

Secondly, I am dedicated to personal development and lifelong learning. I strive to devour a book each week, maintaining a consistent reading routine. Moreover, I actively seek opportunities to acquire new skills. During the past couple of years, amid the challenges of COVID-19, I’ve delved into unexpected areas like hairdressing, and I’m currently exploring gardening and painting. Embracing these new experiences brings me immense joy and fulfillment.

I appreciate the warm welcome at Portera, and I’m eagerly anticipating our collaboration and collective success. Let’s embark on this journey together, celebrating achievements and cherishing the moments of camaraderie along the way.