Forte Digital expands to Germany

Forte Digital Germany
Internationalization has been part of Forte Digital's ambitions ever since the company was started back in 2017, says founder and CEO John Kårikstad.

The consulting company Forte Digital grew over 50% in 2021, and has now exceeded 250 employees across Norway and Poland. The company has also had a great start to 2022 and delivers well ahead of budget, both in terms of turnover and profit in the first quarter. This winter, Dagens Næringsliv named Forte Digital the Gazelle winner for Region East as proof that the company is Norway's fastest growing consulting house.

CEO John Kårikstad explains that this growth gives the company unique opportunities to explore new things, where internationalization is one of them.

– Growth has been important to us because of the opportunities it gives us. Size gives us the opportunity to invest in competence development and culture, in addition to investing in new business areas and new markets. Germany is one of these markets, says Kårikstad.

John Kårikstad

Will recreate the success

Kårikstad explains that Poland and the technology expertise it has there have been crucial to its success. He is sure that this setup will also be a catalyst for growth and profitability in Germany.

– The goal is to recreate the success and the way we already work with our customers in the German market as well. In Germany, we will also focus on smart use of data, interdisciplinarity, pragmatism and data-driven customer experiences. As far as I know, we are probably the industry's first company to go to Germany, says Kårikstad.

He also says that the investment in Germany will be a unique opportunity for Forte Digital to target Norwegian companies that want to invest in Germany and vice versa.

– I am sure that this expansion will also contribute to creating good synergies across Norway, Poland and Germany - and that this will benefit customers and our employees, says Kårikstad.The goal is to recreate the success and the way we already work with our customers in the German market as well. In Germany, we will also focus on smart use of data, interdisciplinarity, pragmatism and data-driven customer experiences. As far as I know, we are probably the industry's first company to go to Germany, says Kårikstad.

He also says that the investment in Germany will be a unique opportunity for Forte Digital to target Norwegian companies that want to invest in Germany and vice versa.

– I am sure that this expansion will also contribute to creating good synergies across Norway, Poland and Germany - and that this will benefit customers and our employees, says Kårikstad.

Joachim Bader and Christof Zahneissen

A whole new way of working

Forte Digital in Germany will be run by Joachim Bader and Christof Zahneissen. Both have a long career in the consulting industry and point to Forte Digital's way of working with customers as crucial for the Germany investment.

– I think one should be careful with the use of the word "disruption", but Forte's approach to projects where you work interdisciplinary and in long-term partnerships with customers, is a completely new way of working - at least in Germany, says Joachim Bader.

Bader has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, and has worked with global megabrands such as Lufthansa, Nivea, Hugo Boss, Audi, Shell and Microsoft. Among other things, he has held various leadership roles in the companies Sapient, RazorFish and Wunderman - all leading German consulting houses in digitization.

Fortes' approach to customer projects is more than selling old wine in new bottles

He is supported by Christof Zahneissen, who also has extensive experience from both Germany and the Norwegian market.

– Fortes' approach to customer projects is more than "selling old wine in new bottles". It's actually something completely new. It is a completely new way of working with digitization, says Zahneissen enthusiastically.

Christof Zahneissen has many years of international experience as a consultant in digitization, and has, among other things, worked as an architect with interactive digital service platforms. He has been an advisor and leader of innovative digital companies in Norway and Germany, most recently focusing on the media and publishing industry.

  • Joachim Bader
  • Christof Zahneissen

Europe's largest economy

As Europe's largest economy, the market in Germany is huge. According to a study by the European Commission, Germany is ranked as the EU's eleventh most developed digital economy. In other words, there is significant potential for increased digitization and smart use of data. Bader and Zahneissen are sure that the timing for Forte Digital is good.

– It is perfect timing to start Forte Digital in Germany. We see that there is a great demand for digital products and services, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Many companies both in Norway and in Germany now have to work smarter to meet this demand. We are confident that Forte's way of working with customers in Norway will also be a good match for our customers in Germany, says Bader.

– Forte Digital's success in Norway proves that there is a need to think new and work in new ways with digitization, adds Zahneissen, who has also worked in Norway for several years.

What is your advice to companies that want to succeed digitally?

– Use data and do not blindly trust "opinions". Do not waste time and money on reloading monoliths. And finally; Take one thing at a time and focus on the customer experience, says Bader.

– Always focus on the end user and have an "outside perspective" when developing digital products and services. At the same time, it is crucial to set clear expectations for what you want to achieve. Then it is important to have good KPIs, work agile, be computer-driven at the same time as you are able to think business and technology together, Zahneissen concludes.

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