Continued strong development for the entire Group
During the first quarter, uncertainty was high regarding how the market would react to the quickly escalating COVID-19 pandemic. We faced the new market situation in a humble manner, in regard to both human worries and the uncertainty of clients. By quickly shifting to teleworking in so far as possible, decreasing travel within the Group, and cancelling larger conferences and meetings, we managed to quickly change everything but our delivery capacity, which remains intact.
We could relatively quickly see that the market remained strong. In some areas, demand increased, such as for services and solutions for teleworking, cybersecurity and e-commerce. This meant that we could phase out the support we were granted at the start of the pandemic.
The business area Solutions increased net sales, profit and margin compared with in the previous year, with an unchanged number of employees. The Swedish operations had a particularly strong growth and improved profit and margin. Recruitment restarted toward the end of the year, especially in Norway. It is my goal that we will continue our growth during 2021.
A successful start to integration
Knowit Experience increased its profit and margin by a lot. A strong focus during the year was on increasing efficiency. In the last quarter, the Nordic digital agency Creuna was acquired and the integration efforts were performed at a high pace. Several of the synergies we predicted in connection with the acquisition had already been realized by the end of the year.
Despite a lack of physical meetings, the ambition was that the new colleagues at Creuna would quickly become part of Knowit. Introductions through digital fora and collaboration platforms worked very well and the initial stages of collaboration exceeded expectations, resulting in new joint deals.
A good end to the year
In our smallest business area, Insight, we had a challenging start to the year. A few assignments were terminated with short notice. The pandemic impacted negatively on demand. During the year, we streamlined the organization, decreased the overhead and downsized. This, in combination with ventures into specialist areas with strong demand, like cybersecurity and e-health, meant that we managed to turn developments around and end the year on a positive trend.
In the fourth quarter, demand was at the same level as in the previous year and both the profit and margin increased significantly. While we did not achieve an outcome equal to that of the previous full year, the fourth quarter points to a promising future.
Hopes for the future despite uncertainty
The year 2020 was a challenging one and when I write this, the future remains somewhat uncertain. Still, I feel optimistic regarding the coming year. Knowit has throughout its history had an ability to quickly adapt its operations to new circumstances.
Aside from the negative consequences of the pandemic, new client needs also arose, as did increased demand in some areas where Knowit has high specialist competence and strong delivery capacity. This, combined with the fact that we have restarted recruitment, makes me look forward to a 2021 characterized by belief in the future and growth.