This year sees Proact celebrate its 25th anniversary. That’s right, we set out on our venture to help businesses leverage their data way back in 1994.
We built the company on the belief that storage and data management would become a crucial part of business success. Although we now do way more than just offer data solutions, we remain committed to the initial idea on which our business was built – that data sits at the heart of every business.
Of course we’ve evolved and will continue to transform in order to change to keep up with the pace of change. But our customer-centric approach – underpinned by our core values of commitment, integrity and excellence – will sew a constant thread throughout Proact’s past, present and future.
Yes we have a long, successful track record – one which has seen us grow across 15 countries and deliver over 5,000 successful projects. And yes we plan to celebrate that success in a big way as we gather all our Proactivists together for an event in the city it all started, Stockholm. But that’s not the full story.
Even with 25 years of success and experience under our belt, our story is far from complete. In fact, we’re just about to pick up speed and start a new chapter. Everything we do in 2019 and beyond will of course draw on what we’ve learnt so far, but our customer services and business strategy will have a strong focus on the future.
The story so far (3 snapshots in time)
It’s fair to say that the internet got real in 1994 with the founding of both Yahoo! and Amazon. For the first time you could chat to strangers thousands of miles away and you didn’t have to leave the comfort of your house (or office, this was 1994) to buy a book. The Playstation was also launched towards the tail end of this year. That’s where it all started for some of us – the avid interest in technology and the repetitive strain injury from long stints of gaming.
While all this was happening a group of ambitious, technology-minded people in Sweden decided to create Proact. It took our founders (Per Sedihn, Johan Hammarström, Åke Beckman, Pia Pöntinen, Rolf Arbenius, Michael Söderberg, Henrik Holm, Ulf Mattson and Mikael Melander) just one hour to come up with our name and within three weeks, the company had started.
With a keen focus on storage, data management and continuous data availability, the team, led by CEO Henrik, set out to help local businesses. Our very first solutions were underpinned by Auspex file servers, Exabyte tape libraries and Epoch backup and hierarchical storage management software. Things were moving fast also in those early internet and Proact days – within two years the whole product portfolio was replaced due to a changing market.
Fast-forward to 2006 and we now had offices in Norway, Finland, Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania. We’d been listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm since 1999 and the year saw us achieve impressive growth and profitability.
We were well and truly in the digital age by this point and it was clear to see that technology was big business. Internet giant Google bought popular video-sharing website, YouTube, for an exceptional US$1.65 billion in stock, despite the fact that YouTube had only started one year prior and had just 65 employees.
In 2006, we had approximately 240 staff. And demand for our services saw us undertake an ambitious recruitment drive to add 50 new Proactivists.
We also started offering solutions such as ‘Selective outsourcing’, which saw us manage large parts of our customers’ IT operations for the first time. And by working with a long list of vendors including NetApp, Datadomain, Legato, Veritas and Sun Microsystems, our service portfolio was growing to meet the needs of the increasingly digitised landscape.
And now? In 2019 we offer a consolidated portfolio of solutions and services all designed to help our customers turn challenges into opportunities.
From managed cloud services that help reap the benefits of public, private and hybrid clouds, to support services that ensure new systems/services deliver improvements far into the future – we combine world-class expertise and technology to deliver business and technical advantages that are hard to beat.
Public cloud and artificial intelligence, amongst other trends, are taking the IT industry by storm. Digitalisation and the data explosion, in unison with the rising value of data combined with threats and regulations, are presenting never-before-seen, complex challenges for both us and our customers. But by working with the right partners, and by having the right skills in our team, this period of digital disruption has seen us become bigger and better than ever before.
On 9th February we released our 2018 year-end report which showed continued positive developments for our revenues and profits. Our CEO Jonas Hasselberg, who started in this position September 2018, has highlighted the company’s capability to deliver strong results in a time of rapid change. He looks to build on this success throughout 2019 by working towards ambitious new organic growth targets, and by actively seeking acquisition opportunities in new and existing markets.
Proact has significantly invested in people as we strive to get the right talent on-board to become the best at what we do. We now have over 800 Proactivists across 15 European countries. And following our 2017 acquisition of Teamix, our German presence has also grown. February 2019 saw us open a new office in Bremen, a tactical move to help us expand across the north of the country.
So what happens in our future? We’ll continue to work towards targets. We’ll continue to invest in innovation. We’ll continue to work towards our vision – to become the world’s most trusted IT services partner. And we’ll continue to invest in our most important asset – our people.