2019 was a year of strong and purely organic growth. Sales increased by a healthy 1 per cent and annual recurring revenues rose by 24 per cent. At the end of 2019, the value of our ARR portfolio was NOK 102 million, up NOK 27 million compared to 2018.
Multiple growth drivers
This growth is attributable to external as well as internal factors. Externally, I can identify at least six main drivers of demand for our software solutions:
- Organisations wishing to improve cost control and cut costs
- CFOs looking for ways to work smarter – reducing stress while increasing the efficiency of their company and their team
- Shareholders, board members and CEOs demanding better control over existing contracts, commitments and future cash flows
- More outsourcing and a growing B2B market resulting in a need for active management and control over an increasing number of contracts
- Businesses professionalising, moving away from dependence on key personnel
- New compliance requirements such as IFRS 16 driving new demand for contract management, estimates and reporting
Internal strengths leverage market forces
Why is House of Control so well positioned to leverage these market forces? Looking inward into our own organisation, 2019 was a year of continued innovation, a great leap forward for our customer success team, and – as has always been the hallmark of House of Control – impressive efforts to identify new sales leads and convert a record number of prospects into customers. Here are just a few of our internal highlights from 2019:
- 23 updates of our Complete Control software and the launch of a brand new version – Complete Control 5 – in late 2019
- Several new Complete Control modules and extra functionality, including digital signature and ESG reporting
- With our unique solution for IFRS 16 compliance we have taken a lead in the European market and further strengthened our relationship with CFOs
- The number of Customer Success Managers increased by 36 per cent while churn fell to record lows
- Our meeting bookers and hunter sales personnel booked 3044 and held 3549 meetings
Unique ownership for our organization
Our investors deserve praise, too. The influence of our majority owner, Viking Venture, cannot be overstated. Since investing in House of Control in 2015, Viking Venture has contributed greatly to professionalising our management and creating an even more scalable organization and business model. In addition, networking with other Viking Venture companies has given our management team very useful input in a wide range of areas, spanning operations to strategy.
Future-proof in a time of challenge
How do we view our prospects for 2020 and beyond? At present, we are in early June 2020 and the world is three months into what has been labelled the Great Lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak. We are also encountering increased demand for our products, as contract lifecycle management is an integral part of cost-cutting in private enterprises.
I often tell our customers that Complete Control was made during a time of crisis to assist businesses in crisis management. By that I mean that the Financial Crisis of 2008-2009 was the time of our first real break-through in the market. During the Covid-19 outbreak, quite a few prospects have told our salespeople that they should have started using our solution long before the outbreak exposed them to heavy dependency on key personnel and acute needs to cut costs.
While we cannot predict how long the slowdown will last and how much it will impact 2020 sales, we are very optimistic about the long-term market outlook. Furthermore, I’ve never been more convinced that our organization and its unique culture is perfectly geared to achieve continued growth and profitability in the years ahead.