Michael Holm, CEO and founder of Systematic

A word from the CEO

Another year has passed with Covid-19, the all-pervading troublemaker, which has demanded considerable flexibility worldwide and in all parts of society.

Authorities, businesses and families have had to reorganise themselves to minimise the spread of infection and keep their daily lives running smoothly.

As a software company, we have been left relatively unscathed. The pandemic has taught us that we are still able to implement our software solutions on time, even when we are working from home. Against this background, 2020-2021 has been a challenging but good year for Systematic.

Many businesses have faced much tougher operating conditions, and therefore we obviously seized the opportunity when the Danish government last spring made it possible for companies to give their employees a tax-free gift voucher for cultural institutions, hotels, attractions and restaurants – sectors which have been severely impacted by lockdowns and restrictions. It was a pure win-win for us being able to treat our employees while at the same time supporting local businesses to the tune of DKK 1.3 million. 

 Another positive consequence of Covid-19 has been the significant reduction in the number of travel days for employees. It was already an objective to reduce the number of business trips for internal purposes, but in FY 2020/2021, our almost 1,100 employees reported a total of 1,439 days of travel, which is considerably less than in previous years. It will probably not be possible to keep the number of business trips quite this low in the coming years, as it is very valuable for us to meet face to face with customers, colleagues and partners in different parts of the world. On the other hand, we have learned that it is possible to work together effectively online, which we will continue to do in future.

Accordingly, we have introduced a new workplace policy with a more flexible WFH framework, while employee satisfaction has increased from 71% to 79%. Our objective is 75%.

Employee satisfaction has never been more important than now when the labour market is almost red-hot, and the IT industry, in particular, is screaming for skilled workers. Research shows that teams with a diverse composition of employees are more efficient, creative and committed. Against this background, we are actively working to create an inclusive and diverse workplace that will be attractive to both current and potential employees.

In 2021, we signed the Confederation of Danish Industry’s Gender Diversity Pledge, in which we commit to working to achieve a more equal gender distribution of 40/60 in the industry.

The IT industry is relatively male-dominated. From this point of view, Systematic has a reasonable gender balance of 30/70 (female/male) – but we must continue our efforts to attract more women. We have been doing this for some time, for example by supporting IT Camp for girls, and in the coming years, we will focus even more on all the skilled women we have employed in the hope that more young women will be able to see themselves in a similar position.

In autumn 2021, Danish investigative media, Danwatch and TV2 published stories in which we were we were criticised for exporting defence technology to the United Arab Emirates via our UK subsidiary.

During a political committee meeting on 15 December 2021, the Danish Minister of Justice said that East Jutland Police had been asked to investigate our Danish export permit to our UK subsidiary, and whether it allows us to transfer software digitally or if the software must be transferred physically e.g., on a USB or a hard disk.

We are amazed at this because we are under the distinct impression that we have adhered to the applicable rules and been completely open vis-à-vis the authorities with regard to our export permit applications.

We will obviously do everything we can to assist the police, and in my view, it is positive that we will now have a factual and legal assessment of the matter. We look forward to having the matter finally clarified and clear guidelines for our future exports.

At the time of writing, the matter has only been reported to the Police. Systematic has not been charged nor prosecuted.

At the beginning of 2022, Systematic will embark on a new strategic process to map which focus areas we want to tackle regarding the company’s impact on the environment, human rights and society at large. In light of our growth and success, we are obliged to do more to ensure a better world for everyone.


Michael Holm
CEO Systematic