Frontwalker was founded as early as 1995, but under the name “IT Arkitekterna”. The company grew rapidly during the first years, but has in recent years had a somewhat bumpy journey. The company is owned by Xavitech Group, which is listed on Nordic SME. Frontwalker and their new CEO, Nicklas Raask, now see great opportunities ahead with more collaborations and a new strategy to achieve high growth.
Nicklas Raask took over as CEO of Frontwalker Group this summer. The group includes the Frontwalker companies, MSC Solutions, and Tavana IT, with about 130 employees in total.
Nicklas has extensive experience in leading roles, has founded several companies, and is a member of the board of several start-ups / scale-ups.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Nicklas about his thoughts on the market, Frontwalkers’ future ventures, and how Cinode has come to play a big part in their strategy.
What attracted new challenges with Frontwalker? How do you want to make your mark on the company?
After a few years abroad, primarily working in larger organizations, I had a desire to work more entrepreneurially, closer to customers with value creation through IT and new technology. I have had the privilege as a management consultant to work with, among others, the Empir and Xavitech spheres of companies, where Frontwalker is the more significant consulting part, where I got to know both owners and key people in the various companies.
The people I’ve met have a lot of competence, lots of experience spiced with a great passion for creating customer value in different niches. However, for the company to continue to grow, you also need to communicate the value and the benefits that the company provides. This is where I saw a lot of potential, and something that I could contribute with. When the question to take on the role as CEO was brought up, I did not hesitate and I quickly said yes.
I love building companies and seeing people grow. My ambition is to create a strong organization at the forefront of technological development that significantly builds a better world within the niches we choose to focus on. Enabling our employees and teams is the key to success on our journey and perhaps my most significant task.
How do you see the company’s future development? What are your goals and strategy for the future?
The future is bright. We deliver great value to our customers today, and will continue to do so moving forward.
We have a lot to be proud of in terms of employees with deep competence and experience in essential domains and technologies, well-known customers, and long-term relationships.
To generate added value for new customers and increase sales in the future, we need to communicate our message more actively, improve marketing, direct it to different channels, and streamline our processes.
The main goals are growth and good profitability. We are now launching a new strategy that involves all companies, including organic growth and acquisitions, where we see a lot of opportunities. We believe in the power of small units that fully cooperate in a larger group where we highlight the expertise and focus that exists in each operating company. This applies both internally and with our portfolio of partners. Collaborators win.
After a challenging pandemic last year, the market is strong again – how has it felt for you during this time?
In 2020, we restructured our operations. We initially saw significant effects of the pandemic in the form of fewer inquiries, a more challenging economic climate, and substantial changes in the business community and society at large. Assignment deliveries primarily from our home offices needed to be supplemented to work for our consultants, certain team deliveries continued to run from our offices. I have been impressed by everyone’s commitment and respect for the pandemic and the safety measures we have introduced to reduce the spread of infection.
The activity of existing customers has not decreased, but we have had to fight much harder in terms of new customers and business acquisitions. In 2021, a new way of working has been established, including full use of digital collaboration tools. Now when business is in full swing again after the summer break, and the workplace has transformed into a more hybrid model, we are ready to deliver, and we are currently recruiting new employees at all sites.
The transition to remote working that has now taken place in society, we believe in the long run, will increase the demand for our model overall; system development and system management with delivery from our offices and teleworking workplaces.
Frontwalker Group is increasing the proportion of in-house deliveries, and we expect that the increased acceptance for remote working will continue post-pandemic. The geographical boundaries in the market are being more relaxed, which means new business opportunities as well as increased competition. It will be even more critical to develop and communicate our uniqueness in such a market, both technical expertise and industry experience.
How do you think the industry will change in the near future?
The significant digital resource shortage, the global talent war within the tech industry, technological advancements, and high data supply enable both competitiveness and value.
To meet these challenges and the market demand, you need to strengthen your sales and delivery capacity, both within the company and on a partner level (subcontractors, sourcing partners, sister companies, technology companies). For example, you need to deliver agile teams with the right skill mix and take full advantage of onsite/remote delivery. This means that networks in combination with efficient systems and processes become extremely important.
Our strategy moving forward is to continue to deliver value together, which requires efficient processes and systems end-to-end. Cinode is a modern cloud application tailored for our operations, which makes it a perfect fit. We have worked with the Skills and Recruit modules for a long time, but have now decided to add additional modules to get the maximum value out of the application.
Some of the benefits I see with Cinode;
– Full overview and transparency about customers, business, employees, teams, assignment planning, skills, etc.
– Structured management of our network of sub-contractors and other partners, including the opportunity to supplement our respective businesses.
– Reduced administration and meeting time through data-driven views of the situation from time to time. Cinode allows us to focus on what is essential for the moment and in the longer term.
– Increased quality and focus. As we work in different niche areas, technically and operationally, it is more about sharpshooting rather than aiming at everything that moves. Here, Cinode helps us prioritize and choose the right business.
Mattias Loxi, Co-Founder / CMO
Mattias Loxi, Co-Founder / CMO
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