What was stolen? This is what the insurance company asked Lasse Sten when the then managing director of a computer equipment distributor reported a break-in at his office in Oslo. It’s also what prompted him to establish House of Control.
Here’s the story in a nutshell. The insurance company’s question caused Sten a real headache. He and his colleagues quite simply could not present a valid list of what was missing. Although they knew that something specific had been taken, they still couldn’t provide key data such as the model name, purchase price and age.
Sten, who had already founded multiple companies, quickly realised that this problem wasn’t unique to them. In fact, most businesses were in the same boat – and so the idea was born: Security labels linked to a digital register containing key information such as prices, serial numbers, expiry dates, users and other important documentation.
The solutions were positively received by the market, and a growing number of customers confirmed the business as viable. And the customers did more than use the security labels; they asked questions and made suggestions. “Couldn’t this digital register also be used to give us an overview of bigger things like our ongoing contracts with suppliers and customers?”
Of course the answer was yes. This customer engagement set off a spiral of customer-driven innovation and technological development that defines House of Control to this day. It soon became clear that the tool helped users to cut out non-essential supplies, learn when contracts were due to expire and automatically renew, remove dependency on key personnel and budget more quickly and accurately.
While the customers in the first few years tended to be IT managers, the new areas of application and financial savings to be made soon piqued the interest of CFOs, accounting managers and controllers. Through our core product Complete Control, we have now developed practical solutions to simplify and improve financial management for all our customers. This gives them full and complete control over what was previously a tangled mess of contracts and future financial commitments.
While the functionality of Complete Control includes contract lifecycle management, it goes much wider than that – as indicated above. Complete Control is a highly versatile software for financial and accounting management that can be applied to any ERP system. That is why we call ourselves the Commercial Value Management Company on the frontpage of this annual report.
It would seem that the requirements of IFRS 16 and national legislation to recognise leases in the balance sheet were as if made for Complete Control. Essentially, future lease amounts for property rentals, cars, airplanes and production equipment and other assets were already registered in the solution. Together with experts from the world of accounting and auditing, we developed the functionality to make complying with the complex regulations simple, secure, precise and quick.
In the last year, digital signing of documents is a good example of the continuing rate of innovation. Not only does this make signing contracts with both customers and suppliers quicker and more secure, combined with a digital register, it can also potentially be used for areas such as distributing equipment to employees and governing documents.
When the investors in Viking Venture acquired a majority stake in House of Control in 2015, it gave the company further momentum: Professionalisation of management, better organisation of the business, a renewed focus on customer satisfaction, learning from other companies in which Viking Venture had invested, and greater financial resources for expansion into new markets – these were just some of the improvements that together marked the greatest watershed in the company’s history.
We are convinced that House of Control is ideally positioned to generate further growth in existing and new markets. An important – but far from the only – reason for this is the need to keep a good overview and cost control over the growing number of contracts between and within businesses. Our solutions can be used by anyone, regardless of which systems our customers use today. They are easy to use and our customers achieve quick and measurable gains. We intend to continue to move forward from this promising starting point.