Cooperation as a competitive advantage

It was only a few years ago that CEO Timo Lepistö felt he could finally express clearly what Nordic Morning should look like overall. The general direction had been understood for a long time, but only then did he get the feeling that something revolutionary was about to emerge. There had been plenty of fumbling and zigzagging in the interim, and the organization had not correctly predicted the speed at which changes happened.

The new phase began back in 2007, when the company – still operating under the name Edita –began its transformation into a provider of digital communication services. During the subsequent period of building the company, Nordic Morning has acquired leading businesses in their respective segments. The Group has now begun to get what it wants out of the entity it has become: cooperatively created new services and solutions, as well as even stronger profit performance. Nordic Morning now has a service ecosystem in which the services and competencies represented by different brands complement each other.

Timo Lepistö characterizes 2015 as a “fantastic step forward”:

“We have internalized the view that cooperation is at the heart of everything,” he says. “Even if a service is top of the heap in its category, this alone is not enough in this time of constant change. Today, we are increasingly presenting ourselves to the outside world as one unified Nordic Morning.”

At the core of Nordic Morning’s ecosystem is the ability to analyze the customer’s problem and offer a solution, which is increasingly a package comprising the services of multiple Group companies. The analysis is performed by analytics experts, who operate across organizational boundaries, while sales work is boosted by joint sales teams.

“We tell the customer what the problem is and implement the necessary solutions from start to finish,” Lepistö explains.

This was not always the case. The companies acquired by Nordic Morning have their own traditions and organizational cultures. The process of integration into the Group requires adaptation and the ability to cope with changes, both from the companies and the individuals of whom they are comprised. Jukka Sundquist is the Managing Director of Klikkicom, which was acquired by Nordic Morning Group three years ago. He characterizes Klikkicom’s transformation as “an adolescent growing up and becoming an adult.”

“We were a small, growth-oriented company that had to learn to become disciplined and efficient,” he says. “We needed to start taking on real responsibility and shift our focus to profitability instead of just growth.”

The changes have not always been painless to everyone involved. Accepting rules and profit targets can take time.

“The best part of it all is becoming part of a service ecosystem in which the services of different subsidiaries complement and enhance each other,” Sundquist says. “For Klikkicom, this cooperation is a clear competitive advantage.”

Sundquist also praises the Group’s support in the areas of financial management and HR, which has allowed Klikkicom to allocate its resources to business development.

Lepistö highlights the Group’s shared values as a factor that brings its constituent parts together.

“The values are something that all Nordic Morning family members, both new and old, can rely on: renewal, respect, and responsibility,” he says. “They reflect our way of thinking, and I hope that they energize our company and our people.”

It is not our intention to eliminate the unique character of our Group companies. Lepistö talks about tribes, such as the content tribe and the visibility tribe. He underlines the importance of people being able to identify with the group that is closest to their individual areas of expertise.

Sundquist echoes Lepistö’s views by pointing out that Klikkicom still retains some of the edge of its teenage years.

“We are agile and quick to respond to changes, and I think we have brought to the Group a spirit of getting things done,” he says.

According to Lepistö, trust and shared rules help shape a strong organization. A strong foundation is essential for good results. People and company culture play a deciding role in acquisitions.

“I believe our values have helped us expand the Group by bringing in companies and people that contribute a broad perspective and expertise to our organization,” he says. “I would not acquire a company whose people I did not trust, or whose culture included unethical characteristics.”

Text: Sari Kuvaja, Corporate Responsibility Advisor