Creating the connections to scale, in an ever-changing context

Anna Borgström

CEO | NetClean

Last year was a transformative year for NetClean. We completed a radical shift in our go-to-market strategy, re-engineered our core product, grew headcount by 30% and expanded into critical growth markets: the UK & Ireland, the rest of the Nordics and the Benelux region. Two years ago, I said we had a new, targeted plan to scale internationally. In 2022, we followed through on our plans and built on the foundations already laid, constructing a strategically driven ecosystem of partners, whom we now take our products to market with.

Every leader who operates in an environment characterized by change recognizes the ambiguity we face every day. During the last few years, this has been truer than ever before: We have overcome a pandemic with all its effects, entered a new security context, with a war that doesn’t look like it’s about to end anytime close, facing new levels of threat, new criminal organizations, and fake news. And we are now in the middle of an economic crisis, with a potential recession around the corner. This of course affects us all deeply regardless of role, but as the CEO of NetClean I have made some learnings over the years.

Believe in your strategy and be resilient

I think we all can agree that transformation (mostly) doesn’t happen overnight and is never easy. It takes hard work and persistence and requires buy-in and alignment from all stakeholders. I fully believe that the partner-centric strategy we decided on a few years ago will create exceptional growth. In a turbulent and challenging world, it is more important than ever though to know when to stand by your strategy, and when to change direction. We stand by our strategy.

The why remains, but the how and what can differ

We are a product company with a purpose. The more we scale, the greater impact we do. Our vision is that our solution NetClean Impact should be installed at every company IT device around the world. We will not change our vision, nor our strategy. But the means to reaching our end goal will be adapted to suit both internal and external demands – how we organize ourselves, what competencies we need and whom we partner with, to name a few. This is where it is crucial to have flexibility, and sometimes to act very quickly. For example, last year we grew headcount by 30% and this year we had to regroup ourselves to build a more nimble organization, fit for purpose (and the renewed context).

Continuously evaluate skill sets

Our people are our most important assets, and in a changing landscape, it is crucial to continuously evaluate what skills are needed to be able to reach the goals and to ensure we have the right set of strengths, experiences, and drivers among our people.

No looking back

In times of constant change, it is sometimes easy to end up in a “sliding doors” moment, thinking ‘what if’ when you stand in front of important decisions. But you know what you know, and that is the only prerequisite you have at that moment. Of course, you need to do your research but at the end of the day, no one knows fully what the future (and sometimes even closer time horizons) will hold. So don’t lock back, learn from decisions and the impact they have had, but focus on the present and future.

Brave decisions are hard

Brave decisions are hard, otherwise they wouldn’t be brave. It doesn’t mean that they always are right. But if you don’t dare to take them, you will never reach your (or your company´s) full potential.

For the remainder of 2023, we’re driving forward our relationships with distributors and partners who share our passion for impact and have the existing customer relationships to crack open exponential growth for us. I am delighted to be driving this new chapter of growth, with the clear ambition to refine NetClean into a more cohesive, better positioned, and rigorously commercial organization. Accelerating the sales process is a priority for us all, ensuring NetClean is front of mind and firmly embedded in the services our partners bring to their customers.

If you want to learn more about NetClean’s earlier chapters, our annual reports paint a good picture. What the future will hold, I’m equally curious about and hopeful for.

Anna Borgström, NetClean CEO