“Everyone here knows Karnov Group,” CEO Tobias Hartmann points out. “In the legal world, our name is as known as Lego. Now we have new content, new services, new ways of talking to our clients. They are amazed by the new Karnov Group.”
The products and services of the company span three large categories. The basis is information, content research, data mining and the creation of related products.
“We are an information aggregator for the legal, tax and accounting businesses,” Mr. Hartmann explains. “Many of our clients are also contributors, right up to the Supreme Court, which consults us as well. We have a big responsibility that we take very seriously.”
The second category is integration services. “Knowledge management is important,” Mr. Hartmann emphasizes. “Our goal is to make all intellectual property available when it is required. We integrate software for tax management and information systems to enhance workflow and efficiency. We also help our clients to attract more business for themselves.”
The third category is a new venture the company started in April 2012 with the purchase of a legal training business. That does not mean that Karnov Group has ceased being a publisher. Books are still available in the webshop, but a lot of content is online now.
“Our activities across Denmark and Sweden are the same. For example, we have one marketing team and one software team for both countries,” Mr. Hartmann says. “All our staff members have a relevant background and speak both languages. We want to be a lot more customer centered.”
Overall 175 employees work in the headquarters in Stockholm and the office in Copenhagen. One third of the turnover, about 300 million DKK or roughly 40 million EUR, is made in Sweden. “That is because we are the challenger in Sweden,” Mr. Hartmann clarifies. “We are currently taking market share from our main competitor by being more practical. The mindset in this market is traditionally very academic, but that is not really practical for our clients in the field.”
Those clients are government entities, agencies and ministries, corporate and legal clients, tax and accounting companies of all sizes, and students in the field. “Our corporate clients are globally focussed,” Mr. Hartmann adds. “With our hub of knowledge, our clients can create a mini knowledge management system. They are the experts, and we host their knowledge to make it easier for them to do their work.”
The history of the company reaches back to 1867. In recent times the company was owned by Thomson Reuters, a multinational business.
“They ran us as a side company,” Mr. Hartmann criticizes. “There was no focus in terms of strategy.” Luckily, Thomson Reuters sold Karnov in 2011 to GMT Communication Partners. Mr. Hartmann took over in May 2012. “It was just a great opportunity,” he says. “GMT Communication Partners is a forward-looking, innovative, fast-rolling company. They were ready to invest, creating even more value. We can get ahead, showing the rest of Europe what technology can do.”
Denmark and Sweden are just the start. The strategy of the company is to expand the concept of a hub. “We look beyond the horizon,” Mr. Hartmann promises. “The platform is applicable for other areas and other countries as well.”
Another topic is client development. “Even in Sweden and Denmark, the global recession is having an effect, so companies need more efficiency,” Mr. Hartmann points out. “Not everyone is ready to use our better systems. It will take three to five years to ease everyone in, but they have to change, and we will be their partner in the process, training and codeveloping solutions with them.”
Simple and easy, user-friendly service, reliable and accurate information provided by people who understand the domain – that is what Karnov Group has to offer. “Our info is indispensable,” Mr. Hartmann points out. “The need for our services is growing.”