The Trifork DNA
Since its inception in 1996, Trifork has been motivated by pushing the limits and boundaries of what new technologies and methods can do to make life better and easier for all of us.
Trifork wants to be a company that stays on top of the “technology wave” and challenge our customers on the status quo. We want to be a driver in their digitalization and provide them a with a competitive advantage by giving their products and services a digital edge.
The following examples highlight how we in the past have executed on our mission:
- Trifork was among the first software companies to introduce software to health care in Denmark. In 2019 we delivered the first nation wide decision support system for physicians called ATAH. ATAH provides clear-cut treatment recommendations to the physician in real time. ATAH is offered to healthcare institutions through a cloud based decision support service that integrates with electronic medical records (EMR’s) to provide patient specific recommendations including drug suggestions/warnings and diagnostic tips
- Trifork was among the first innovators that introduced mobile technology for smartphones and tablets to on-line banking. Consumer, private and business banking have been much more convenient with smart software on hand-held devices, compared to earlier
- Trifork played an important role in introducing mobile payment to markets such as Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Switzerland
By developing a digital exam player, Trifork had an important role in making exams digital in markets like Switzerland (students) and the Netherlands (driver licenses)
- Trifork helped industrial manufacturers digitize their products and connect them to the Internet without compromising security
- Trifork helped customers take early advantage of cloud technology that reduces CO2 emissions
It is in our DNA to endlessly develop new ideas and to launch new forefront projects with the goal of making a better world for our customers by the aid of software technology to automate and simply products and solutions.
Even though Trifork was established in 1996, we have only just begun our journey of using technology to improve the world.
Established companies tend to become less innovative and agile as they grow larger and larger. They often have a comprehensive set of rules and procedures they follow. This environment tends to reduce the ability to change and stay on top with technology opportunities. What we want is:
To be a leading and preferred source of inspiration
to companies who want to implement
new ideas and technologies
into their products and services
Trifork aims to fulfil this vision through the following four engagement areas:
- Step one – Work with the best and stay on top
No companies can develop all the tools and components they need by themselves. Genius and innovation are key components of great solutions. Therefore, we work with the best. At GOTO we invite the best speakers to inspire us and our customers. We develop the content of our conferences together with the brightest minds in the world. Some of them are among the founders of very promising tech startups. We partner up with the best technology startups in the world when we build software for our customers. Our link to Silicon Valley is strong through strategic partnerships with innovative young companies and established technology innovators
- Step two – Inspire and engage
Enriched by many new ideas and know-how on the latest technologies, we, along with our customers, challenge the status quo. A strong asset in this process is the Trifork Accelerate and Design Thinking workshops. The Trifork Accelerate approach is a shortcut for strategic decision making. During a Trifork Accelerate workshop, the ideas, prototypes and solutions are constantly tested with real end users, while bringing in our long legacy of leveraging cutting-edge technologies. In this way, both the problem and the solution are validated by real users and software experts. Our digital design thinking process is based on lean principles, specifically made to fit the nature of modern agile software development. By combining our expertise within technology, design and business, the workshop ensures rapid clarification and decisions
- Step three – Walk the talk
Trifork is engaged all the way from an idea or concept to a fully functional operational system. After developing a concept with customers, over 75% of the customers will engage with Trifork to actually build the entire system. We have built numerous proofs of concept, and afterwards implemented complex operational systems that interact with different 3rd party backend services and systems
- Step four – Long-term accountability
We develop ideas and concepts; we build the systems together with customers. But it is one thing to make a first version, and another thing is to remain accountable for the future of the systems. When we have built a system, that creates value to a customer, then we intend – whenever possible – to ensure long-term durability of the system. This means we update the system to stay modern in functionality, we upgrade the system if it can benefit from new technology. Trifork has managed and operated systems for over 20 years and it is an important engagement area for our units to build lasting software systems
Our ambition is to grow our business and brand in Northern Europe and North America.
Trifork is organized in a TEAL organization as a group of “Business Units” that share a corporate DNA, culture and philosophy. This makes it possible for us to have a dynamic and scalable governance model that empower entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and collaboration. Renown companies such as Patagonia and AEH operate in similar structures.
Small units of less than 50 people give each business unit an informal and direct style of internal communication. Trifork has a flat organization and each individual is empowered to take ownership and responsibility. Building an organization of small units and using the synergies between them makes us less fragile.
The business units share services like controlling, accounting, legal, IT, sales and marketing tools and other common functions. The individual units cooperate and that makes them function more efficiently and collaborative. This organizational structure is comprised by an overall flat hierarchy, which facilitates a strong mutual respect between all team members and team leaders in the individual units.
The holding company of the Trifork Group is located in Switzerland and functions as our headquarters. Often the unit leaders and other key members meet here to exchange ideas, best practices and establish alliances. The Trifork organization today span over 10 different countries and 45 business units.
A very important part of our Trifork DNA is stated in our tagline, “Think Software”. This refers to how we think, live and work, what inspires us and how Trifork can live up to our mission. It is important to understand that a lot of our uniqueness is to be found in making “Think Software” operational in a clever way.
Trifork is constantly looking for new “best-in-class” employees that can inspire us and be part of keeping us in front and updated on the newest technologies.
In collaboration with the Danish health authorities we have developed a system where Danish citizens through a smart-phone app can access their medicine data and auto renew prescription medicine for allergies. This app reduces the load on the health system every spring when allergies becomes a big problem for many people. By giving fast access to that everyone gets the right medicine at the right time we improve the life quality of Danish citizens. Furthermore, we believe that people should have more insight into what factors that affects their personal health and be given the opportunity to take ownership of their own health. This system is a good example of how we “Think Software”.
Trifork is a company with an outspoken spirit of entrepreneurship. We are creative people who want to improve and do things right. We think outside the box and look for alternatives that may lead to disruption. Our organization represents a competent mix of young talents and experienced software engineers.
It gives us an advantage of diversity when bringing new software solutions to the surface. Our developers and architects are experienced in working with both well-established as well as new software technologies – we are fully capable of evaluating business needs against a range of possible solution-paths, both in terms of process and technology.
Our talented team of graphic designers and usability specialists aim to make any technical solution implemented with an easy-to-use and visually appealing design focusing on humanizing technology.
We are a dedicated and committed software innovation partner. We offer long term collaboration & commitment to our customers. Just as important, we maintain awareness of the long-term perspective in all our solutions.
We find it important to communicate our corporate culture and values to our customers, employees and shareholders to make them understand the strength and capabilities of the Trifork Group.
The organization is flat as we have empowered each individual to take ownership and responsibility and maximize their potential – to act in the best interest of Trifork.
Passion for Technology
Fundamental to our culture is the passion for technology. Next generation technologies arise in a constant flow and where many see this as challenges, we see it as opportunities. Most changes are evolutions of today’s technologies and to keep systems up to date and fit is one source of work and taking advantage of new capabilities is another. One such new capability is machine learning and artificial intelligence. In 2019 we used machine learning to optimize and improve quality of support centers in Fintech.
The inflow of inspiration is fueled in several ways but is mainly driven by passion and curiosity. Trifork organizes the GOTO conferences, which are natural sources of inspiration delivered by international experts.
Trifork has built up a network of contacts and partnerships with leading technology startups. They are the experts in their particular technology field, and we benefit mutually through technology discussions, business partnerships and events. This is a differentiating factor and a valuable asset in our culture.
Office work and working in front of screens is not what humans were born to do. To counterbalance this, we urge employees to take responsibility for their own health. We stand up at most meetings, we have elevating desks and strive to have healthy lunches at the office. When groups go offsite, we mix exercise and work, so the mind stays healthy and alert. Trifork was recently certified as the first Hapzly business in Europe. Hapzly, is a Silicon Valley startup who wants to make the world a happier place. As a business we have a responsibility for our employees, our environment, the community and our customers.
We strive to have all employees participate in corporate trainings led by our management team and founder. At these trainings, employees learn about Trifork’s culture, history and mission. Connections across the 45 Trifork family business units are formed by the participants and synergies can grow from these trainings. We use the term “family” since Trifork is the umbrella brand for a number of sub-brands.
A Trifork Business Unit consists of 12 to 50 employees working together with a high entrepreneurial spirit. The units themselves are often organized in smaller teams, depending on the projects or solutions they are involved in. When a unit is small, the growth rate of the unit is often relatively high and in the range of 12-50 employees, it’s the same methods that can be used to lead and develop the units. We want our organization to fine-tune and optimize the development of units in this size. This is why we find it important that each unit does not grow to be more than 50 people and based on this, we prepare the split of a unit whenever it becomes more than 42 employees.
When our units are composed in the right way, they generate a substantial amount of new ideas, which may transform into new concepts. Whenever new concepts are established, they are shared with other Trifork business units and added to the corporate product catalogue. When units cooperate in this manner, we maintain a very strong and innovative organization. Furthermore, successful client projects are fine-tuned into case stories and shared with the other units. The process of sharing best practices across the organization is a cornerstone of the Trifork philosophy.
From the inception of a new Business Unit, it should be cash-flow positive and return a positive net-profit immediately from the beginning. This is ensured as the team carries over the ongoing customer engagements, that the team previously had before being split into a new unit. Our processes secure the unit leader and the unit’s full attention to onboarding the right competencies as well as acquiring the right sort of software business. Each unit has the freedom to choose within reasonable boundaries what technologies it will build its expertise on.
Each unit is a production unit with capabilities of delivering advisory, design, software development or operations. A unit is a profit/loss centre and has individual leadership, budgets and reporting. Most often, business units approach customers together with a Trifork CCO from one of our defined Business Areas and pitch new solutions, Trifork Concepts or Trifork Products through a Trifork Accelerate workshop. Each unit is also responsible for finding its own new young talents to mix with more experienced employees. The mix of young and experienced talent is an important factor to maintain sustainable growth of each unit.
Specialized and Full-Service Units
Some units are capable of delivering full-service, end-to-end solutions, from the Trifork Accelerate workshops to operations. They work in a “cradle to the grave” manner, whereby new ideas are turned into fully functional systems, including the post-implementation responsibility of operating the system. Full-service units are responsible for innovative Design Thinking, design, usability engineering, software development, testing, operation and leading the digital transformation, just to name the most important services. In order to offer the full range of services, the units may request assistance from specialized units, that offer a particular service required for the project/solution. For example, there are units with solid expertise in leading the Trifork Accelerate process and they will be activated in the facilitation role whenever needed. This enables us to deliver one-stop-shop professional service to the customer.
Another example of this is that Trifork has units specialized in user-interface design and usability. Furthermore, Trifork also has units that are specialized in quality assurance, Cyber security and operation.
The specialized units often have a brand of their own that demonstrates how they are specialized. Besides our own full-service units an even wider network of partnerships exists with technology innovators all over the world.
As aforementioned, the Trifork organization consists of full-service units as well as specialized units with a narrow and deeper focus. It is natural and necessary for units to collaborate heavily since their success depends on teamwork. When a unit is new and small, it depends on the relationship with its “mother-unit” and other specialized units.
The new unit will carry on the best practices from the mother-unit and remain in close contact on all levels. The new unit establishes close connections to the specialized units in order to approach the market with a larger range of services. Riding on the strong Trifork brand and the strong Trifork network is a powerful combination.
We want new units to launch efficiently and get up to speed quickly by leveraging from a shared pool of services. All units share ERP and banking systems, which makes it easier to operate in a wide range of countries. Collaborating with customers is crucial, so most units share the same Customer Relation System as well.
Our full-service units are all branded under the Trifork brand and it makes a positive difference to our customers that we are represented in more unit locations. Many of our customers are internationally distributed and need our services distributed as well. The Trifork Group structure is robust and signals stability towards our customers.
The leadership requirements at Trifork are closely connected to the teams, as leaders have the responsibility of supporting the ambitions of our employees. We require our leaders to work actively with a number of soft skills in order to be successful.
It is important that Trifork leaders are experienced in “the Trifork way” of doing things and understand why Trifork has grown so successfully among our customers. It is advantageous that a leader has had “their hands in the dirt” in customer product development. It is equally important that a leader has experienced various software challenges seen from the customer perspective and found solutions.
There are a number of soft skills that our leaders need to be aware of as they are a part of our leadership universe. Through the leadership programs, these skills, amongst others, will be cultivated individually through training and conscious development of each skill.
The leaders at Trifork are to lead the way by example, and by showing how things can be done. It means sharing a vision and then empowering both individuals and teams to getting things done efficiently at the highest customer satisfaction.
Find the Right Challenges
Each business unit is responsible for its own business development and for finding the right challenges to solve for customers and potential customers. It certainly helps to be a part of a respected brand and meet new challenges with the back-up from other Trifork units. We share reference cases, concepts and expertise among the units.
Finding the right challenges is important to change the world but certainly also because skilled and bright people want to solve problems and be proud of the result. Again, at least one person in each unit is responsible for chasing the right challenges.
Finding the Right Talent
The Trifork business model requires that our developers and architects have both broad and deep knowledge. Our employees are talented. They are selected carefully for the different teams within the organization. The majority of the talent comes from well-recognized universities across Europe.
Our passionate software developers are eager to learn and to develop their competencies. They are curious and wish to make a difference. Making a difference will only happen if they are motivated, encouraged and get frequent feedback. In other words, we need leaders with a range of soft skills on top of their hard skills.
As Trifork is growing, we are constantly looking for leadership talent. At least 20% of our recruited candidates should possess leadership aspirations and potential. We embrace entrepreneurship over administrative managers.
Have the Right Partners
For Trifork, it is really key that we work with the right technology partners. Finding the right partners requires investment in time and effort and this is one area where we work together across the group.
It takes leadership to maintain partnerships and in all units, one unit-member will, along with other tasks, have the responsibility to grow the right partnerships.
Each business unit will invest in building a special and close relationship with 2-3 partners. All the units combined will then work with around 25 partners. All units can leverage on all the partnerships we have, thus synergies materialize.
A Unit Leader
The primary responsibility of a unit leader is to have sustainable growth, motivated and challenged employees and not least, happy customers. The unit leader should be able to have interpersonal contact with their employees on a weekly basis, and likewise, every employee should have direct access to their unit leader in a personal and informal way.
As a unit leader becomes more experienced and has established multiple new units, the leader can become member of a “BUL Board Team”. This team facilitates collaboration and coaching between the units and participates in Business Unit Leader boards for other units.
The Group Leadership team meets frequently to organize and drive Trifork business forward. Over the next 2-3 years, the Trifork Group’s main focus is to expand and deepen the organization, along with expanding delivery capabilities in Germany, Denmark, UK, Switzerland and The Netherlands.
To grow new leadership talent, we select young employees and invite them to participate in the Leadership training.
When recruiting, 20% of all new employees should possess leadership potential. The leaders at Trifork ensure our continuous progress and evolution as a company. An annual growth of 15-25% keeps the company young hearted, as a steady flow of new talent is required each year. We prefer to promote young talents internally as they already have the Trifork DNA. They start their employment at our Family Training and continue the training at our internal Leadership Program. The Leadership Program consists of four modules each year. The first year they are taken through “the Trifork Way”, the importance of alignment, talent recruitment and the Trifork sales methods.
Trifork will not only grow organically. Whenever we see the need to strengthen our position in a certain market area, we will search for acquisition candidates. To partner up with a new company, and/or take an equity part, is an efficient way to initiate business in new market areas.
Trifork has a track record of building market presence in the UK, The Netherlands and Denmark via acquisitions. This has resulted in positive outcomes. Germany is an attractive market and we will consider a similar approach when building our presence there too.
Additionally, acquisitions may have a different purpose, such as bringing in new competencies and capabilities to our existing business. Even if we are present in a market, there may still be solid reasons to expand further by acquisition. Over the years, Trifork has transformed from purely being a software development company into an end-to-end system provider and consultancy firm, delivering design thinking workshops and business process analysis to our customers. Our current range of software services and propositions are partly based on acquisitions, which include new capabilities, such as graphic design, usability, operations and hosting. Together, these capabilities compose the full picture of how Trifork is perceived today.
Trifork has established partnerships with world leading technology companies as well as a range of Silicon Valley technology startups. The startups can be very mature with more than 10 years in business or they can be cutting-edge new companies. The partnerships include training for Trifork in specific technologies/products and they allow us to get support and expertise on short notice. We use the technologies in our innovative work with our customers.
A selected list of key partners:
- Apple: Since the inception of the iPhone, Trifork has developed advanced mobile applications. From mid- 2018, the relationship with Apple has grown and together with SAP, we are developing Smart Enterprise applications that can optimize processes in large companies. Apple is known for making user-friendly and well-designed products. We are now helping to take this approach to the enterprise.
- SAP: A vast majority of the largest companies in the world use the ERP-system from SAP. Software is becoming an increasingly integrated part of how any enterprise is performing its business. As a consequence, systems from the very front-end to the ERP-level need to be integrated. This is a rather new development and we see an interesting market in making sure that applications are well designed and deeply integrated into the ERP software. We call this business area, Smart Business.
- Google Cloud: Most companies are considering operating all or parts of their software systems in the cloud. In 2018, Trifork deepened its collaboration with Google Cloud experts. We like to help companies get ready for the cloud, operate their systems in the cloud and take advantage of Artificial Intelligence. Google has some of the most advanced Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence technologies.
- JetBrains: A software tool company that makes the best developer tools for MS .Net development and is also the inventor of the Kotlin programming language used for Android development as well as backend systems.
- AxonIQ: A Startup from 2017 that Trifork Labs co-founded. The company is behind a very popular technology for building systems on event-driven architectures. This architecture is among the 10 most important technologies according to Gartner.
- Humio: A startup from 2016 co-founded by Trifork Labs. Humio offers a high-performance log management platform without limits for Developers and DevOps. Query, aggregate, and visualize application data instantly, on-premise or in the cloud.
Furthermore, Trifork has close cooperation with a handful of platform and software providers like AWS and Microsoft.