Using a Defigo digital intercom, Askeladden & Co. has reduced the amount of time it spends on administration by 95%. Had company partner Nicolai Bauer known what he knows now, the company would have chosen Defigo much earlier.
“We should have thought big right away,” says Bauer.
Introduction to Askeladden & Co.
Nicolai Bauer is a partner at Askeladden & Co., a startup house that develops and starts new companies from scratch. So far, Askeladden has started 12 Norwegian companies in the service and retail segment, including Cutters and Dr. Dropin, in addition to the fact that they currently have 12 new companies under development outside Norway.
Askeladden has about 120 employees that are located in Oslo. The company has grown rapidly and the number of its employees has increased from five to 120 in just five years.
“Over time, we have become both more and more people and more and more companies in the same room,” says Bauer.
With the rapid growth in both the number of companies and employees, Bauer has needed flexible solutions. However, he also emphasizes that it was essential to find solutions that reflect the company's identity.
“We aren’t very traditional,” he says. “For example, we don’t want to have a reception in our entrance area. It has therefore been essential for us to find an access control system that works for all our employees and at the same time functions as a kind of digital receptionist function.
Askeladden is a modern and dynamic company with a lot of activity. The employees have different routines and sit in changing places in the building. Therefore, Bauer was looking for access control that could work frictionlessly for all 120 employees.
“We have tried several solutions for access control and have tried everything from keys and code tags to various apps,” he says. “Our experience with these solutions was that it was either difficult or impossible to manage access to the building. We also experienced some instability and solutions that only worked 70 per cent of the time.”
In addition to all employees needing access to the building, Askeladden also needed an intercom functionality when employees received visits or deliveries at the door.
“To cover this need, we first tested a solution where one person received all inquiries via the intercom, but we quickly understood that it was not durable,” says Bauer.
It was never relevant for Askeladden to introduce a staffed reception as it doesn’t comply with its innovative, modern, and digital business model. However, Bauer was constantly convinced that it must be possible to solve this digitally and didn’t give up until he found a satisfactory solution.
“We were looking for a system that could address our challenges. Defigo was the first system we found that addressed everything as one package, and worked for a company like ours,” he says.
The goal of using Defigo was to introduce friction-free access to the building for all of Askeladden's employees. It was also a goal that employees receive guests and deliveries simply, no matter where they may be in the building.
“We needed a solution that just worked and that was easy to manage. Fortunately, Defigo appeared on my radar. I contacted them and understood very quickly that this was all we needed,” says Bauer.
After talking to Defigo, all that was left to do was to implement and test whether the solution worked as well as Bauer and Askeladden expected.
“Now, we’ve used Defigo for a couple of years, and during this time, it has worked very well. Actually, exactly as we envisioned,” he says.
“Defigo is what we have been looking for all along. It’s simply a dream to use.”
Bauer says that Defigo has worked very well since the solution was implemented.
“Defigo is what we have been looking for all along,” he says. “It’s simply a dream to use. Easy for us to manage, even though we have over 100 different people who have access to other zones in the building. They come and go as they please, and we spend very little time on administration. It is quite simply a fantastic product.”
On top of the Defigo system living up to expectations two years after implementation, Bauer also highlights another important lesson.
“The most important lesson I am left with now is that I should think big from the start,” he says. “We stopped by several other systems along the way, only to realize that we had grown out of the solution before we started using it. The systems we tested simply did not scale well enough. Therefore, it has been an essential lesson for us that we should have thought big right away. Had we done that, we would have chosen Defigo earlier.”
For a company in as strong a growth position as Askeladden, it has been crucial to choose flexible solutions that can be scaled as the need increases. Defigo is delivered as a service, not as a product, and can thus be adapted to the user's changing needs.
“We have reduced the time we spend on administration by 95%.”
Bauer says that the investment in Defigo has resulted in the company’s management not spending time on administration, even though the staff is growing rapidly and there are currently 120-130 people who have access to the building.
“When we get a new employee now, I just enter the person as a user in the system, and then the person has access to the building the next day,” he says. “That's it. And if the person in question is no longer going to be with us, it is easy to remove access to the premises via the administration portal.”
Askeladden develops innovative and modern companies and has a profile that requires them to use smart, innovative, and digital solutions themselves. This was an important goal before the implementation of Defigo and the fact that Bauer wanted to reduce the time spent on administration.
“We have achieved the goals we set before the investment in Defigo,” he says. “Among other things, we have reduced the time we spend on administration by 95%.”
Bauer also says that Askeladden is very pleased that Defigo is such an elegant solution. It fits well with the company's vision of being innovative and digital.
“Defigo has managed to make access control sexy and has given it a ‘wow’ factor,” he says. “Especially the young people who work with us, people who are used to new technology, love this solution. This is something we get a lot of feedback on. And that says a bit about how unique this service is today.”
The conclusion after using Defigo for a little over two years is that Bauer and Askeladden are very satisfied with the investment and experience that the service delivers. Bauer also emphasizes that the reception among employees has been very positive. When they arrive at the office, the first thing employees encounter is a modern entrance that reflects who Askeladden is.
“Our employees think Defigo is quite impressive, despite the fact they are digital natives! People think it's cool, and we are happy that it is entirely in line with our values of making things more straightforward, more modern, innovative, and digital.”