<img src="https://secure.leadforensics.com/133892.png" alt="" style="display:none;">

Our Story

Oh, what an eventful year 1989 was. Nintendo released the Game Boy in Japan, Voyager II passes the planet Neptune and its moon Triton and sends pictures back to Earth. Microsoft released Microsoft Office for the first time. Meanwhile, in Denmark, Columbus was founded by Michael Gardbooe. 

Well, we went under the name Dolberg Data then. We were a successful partner to the Damgaard brothers who had developed Concorde XAL (today D365 F&O). It was the first ERP that had open-source code which made it open for much more consulting, and Dolberg Data grew from 0-40 employees in 2 years.

Today, we have over 1,500 employees and have delivered over 5,000 projects to customers worldwide. During the years we have grown both with acquisitions and organic growth, but we have also divested businesses to focus on our strategy to become digital advisors. 

We have come far, and we are going further. Without our people we wouldn't be celebrating over 30 years of success - that's why we want to tell our story - through our people. Because they are our story. 

Katherine Vinstrup, fresh out of university, was employee no 8 and the first female ever employed. She is now celebrating over 30 years at Columbus. Kathrine had experience of Concorde XAL from an examination job – and she became the go-to person for her colleagues. With her knowledge, she was juggling both her own customers and supporting her colleagues and working too many hours. So she was asked to start her own department within support. She said yes and before turning 25, she was building her own department.

Many companies within manufacturing were frustrated with their current systems. At that time Dolberg Data was doing a lot of things and Michael wanted to focus on ERP. Michael bought Dolberg Data and since it was a family name, Michael needed to come up with a new name for the company. Inspired by an engineering story about an egg - he named the company Columbus. (Little did we know how that would affect our SEO in the future)

In 1998 Columbus was one of the fastest-growing companies in Denmark and Europe. The same year Columbus made its entrance on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.

"When we joined the stock exchange we had a big party to celebrate. We invited customers and plus-ones. The party was for two days and was the most organized party I had ever been to. We took the bus to Copenhagen and took a boat ride to a huge tent where you could do bungy-jumping, there was a beach and cocktails, and famous artists performed during the evening."

Kathrine Vinstrup

“I tried the big company thing for a year, but I realized that having that close family feel and working without bureaucracy made me happy. And I get that at Columbus”.

Chris Braisby, VP Dynamics 

The IT crash in 2000 spared no one – and Columbus' management team needed to make some tough decisions. But we survived while a lot of competitors died. Later that year, Concorde XAL with the Daamgard brothers and Navision merged and just four months later – Navision – was acquired by Microsoft. Columbus was now a partner with Microsoft.

Columbus's success factor is our people – and many employees have been working at Columbus for several years. In 2005, Columbus was around 20 people in the UK, based in Nottingham. Chris Braisby started as a Business Consultant within Dynamics the same year. He has been part of growing the Dynamics business in the UK over the years and currently holds the title as VP of Dynamics.

Andrea Ward, People Director, joined in 2010 as the first HR professional in the UK. She has established the HR function and has challenged ways of working – to make sure we are operating in best people practice. The people team in the UK has grown since she started. Andrea is part of the UK management team, and together with Chris Braisby and the rest of the management team, led by Chris Mean – they navigated through Covid and Brexit and increased the team to 200 employees.

In 2001, Columbus entered the Norwegian market. Seven years later, also fresh out of university, Runar Smedsvik-Vårdal joined Columbus as a developer working with Axapta. At that time we had offices in Oslo and Bergen with about 40 employees. Through acquisitions and organic growth Norway is now the home of around 200 consultants. One of the success factors according to Runar, has been the opportunities Columbus offers its employees. "If you want something, and you show what you want, or want to achieve - give a heads up - and you might get that opportunity." 

Runar started as a developer, became a technical architect, and is now the Team Manager for the technical team in Norway. Runar never aspired to be a leader - but when the opportunity came, he took it, and now he gives graduates the opportunity to join Columbus. The same opportunity he got in 2008.

Runar was part of recruiting and setting up a technical team when we opened an office in Hyderabad, India in 2012. Entering India was a significant and strategic step for Columbus. 

Columbus India - Hyderabad and Pune 

The Hyderabad office is a very important Global Development Center - supporting all market units within Columbus. Chandra Sekhar joined Columbus India in December 2012 and back then they were about 30 employees. Over the years, Chandra has worked with global customers and teams on complex projects. Going from a Developer to a Senior Developer to a Technical Solutions Architect and now a Team Leader - focusing on our US customers.

"Columbus gave me the opportunity to progress, develop and get involved with complex projects. What strikes me the most about Columbus is that it gives back just as much as you will put in."

In 2019 - we opened our second office and Center of Excellence (CoE) in Pune, India. The office in Pune would complement the Global Development Center in Hyderabad. The CoE is the backbone to our Infor M3 partner practice, providing consulting and transformative solutions to some of the world's leading manufacturing companies.

 

In 2018, Columbus merged with the Swedish company iStone and became the Nordic market leader. Columbus's global presence and iStone’s stronghold in the Nordics were a great match. With the acquisition of iStone, Columbus extended its offerings with E-commerce, Business Intelligence, CRM, and another ERP – Infor M3, and grew with 600 highly skilled consultants.

“iStones entrepreneurial culture and Columbus's global presence and structure have created a winning concept. Columbus is the most important IT player in our customers' digital transformation. I’m very proud of our organization and our ability to deliver.”

Markus Jakobsson founder and former CEO of iStone

Transformation for a better tomorrow

In 2021, we implemented a new global organization model to focus our global strengths around our solution areas and create customer-centricity in our marketplaces. The new organization model is structured in two dimensions, global Business Lines and geographical Market Units.

With our former strategy Focus 23 - an organizational transformation was a necessity. Columbus is now a matrix organization, enabling business lines to work across market units and with a global delivery model. New common and streamlined processes and new internal support systems were implemented.

All areas have been touched during our transformation, and new values and leadership principles have been developed  - with the goal to become One Columbus. Did we succeed? Well, we think so!

“We have a more global focus now. More contact and relations with work equivalent colleagues in other countries. We work much more now across countries. We brand ourselves together, talk bigger and we appear bigger for our customers. There was less continuity before. Before Opus, each Market Unit was like a new partner. Now we have the tools, the understanding, common methodology, and ways of working. We appear to our customers like a global organization with a unified approach. That’s a massive achievement.”  

Chris Braisby

We have come far, and we are going further

Since 1989, a lot of things have happened. It hasn't always been easy, but together we have faced the challenges and grown.

Søren Krogh Knudsen, our current Group CEO: "I would say that our success factors are our people, our leadership, and our focus. Finding the right people, developing and caring for them, and having strong people and business leadership."

In 2023 - we acquired the Danish IT security company ICY Security. With the acquisition of ICY Security, we expand our business to meet customers’ increasing demand for secure access to business-critical data. The focus on Identity & Access Management is a natural step for many of Columbus’ customers who are looking to raise the organization's cyber security level.

"The acquisition of ICY Security is an important investment in extending Columbus’ offerings following the increased need for cyber security services from our customers. At the same time, Columbus secures a strong position in a fast-growing market,” says CEO & President Søren Krogh Knudsen. 

We focus on what we do best - but also sometimes allow experimenting and trying new things. That entrepreneurial mindset and spirit that Columbus is founded on still lives and we would argue, is at our core. Our story and our people's stories continue.

 

Are you interested in joining Columbus? Then you should check out our career site for open positions across Columbus.

 

New Heights

In November 2023 we launched our new strategy - New Heights. 

Our strategic ambition for the coming three-year period is to become a proven leader in delivering core business technology and lasting value in our key industries; Manufacturing, Retail & Distribution, Food & Beverage and Life Science.

Columbus is built on four strategic growth pillars that will support the execution of New Heights:

  • People First - We stand out as an attractive and caring employer.
  • Industry Expertise - We win customers with our unique industry expertise.
  • Rapid Adaption - We help our customers navigate the complex landscape as a constant partner.
  • Scalable Business Model - We keep a clean and scalable model with a focus on local market customer intimacy while leveraging our global delivery strength of experienced people.

We will continue to take our story - and our people's stories to new heights!

right-arrow share search phone phone-filled menu filter envelope envelope-filled close checkmark caret-down arrow-up arrow-right arrow-left arrow-down