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BrightArch Launches Toolkit For Optimizing Mergers and Corporate Restructuring

A new Norwegian startup BrightArch has officially launched a software product named OrganizationWeaver. Intriguingly, BrightArch is focused on a very specific niche, yet a tangible and a big problem: staffing problems in companies going through transformational reorganizations or post-merger integrations.

Typically, when big companies restructure, thousands of people are affected. If not properly handled, the positions in the new organization often get filled suboptimally, and many of the employees are unhappy with the selection process, triggering many resignations over time, resulting in lost talent. (More on the specifics of the problem in BrightArch's blog.)

BrightArch aims to considerably ease and speed up the process, also resulting in much greater employee post-reorganization satisfaction. Nick Peters, CMO, and Tor Kielland, Founder and CEO, provided ArcticStartup with some extra details regarding the fresh company.

So far there have been no dedicated tools available to help make large reorganization projects both efficient and sensitive to employee preferences (imagine trying to manage the preferences and competencies of thousands of employees with a spreadsheet program). Also, it can be tricky to control for example gender and age distribution, to avoid manager favoritism, and to make sure in a merger that the new organization includes people from BOTH old organizations equally at all levels.

OrganizationWeaver's beta version was tested in cooperation with Norwegian Statoil to support the company's merger with Hydro, involving more than 10,000 employees, and forming the world’s 36th largest company. Press reactions favorably reported results of 8 out of 10 employees getting their first or second priority position, and in general all stakeholders being very happy with the process.

Companies can now use OrganizationWeaver for managing the whole restructuring staffing process. A company's ERP data can be imported into OrganizationWeaver, and then used to define the new organization and open positions in the program. Next the positions can be published and employees' preferences asked. Finally, the software algorithm optimally fills in each position taking into account everyone's preferences and competencies. The whole process is fully auditable, thus warding off favoritism and politics.

Finally, the new position data is exported to the company's ERP system. This way BrightArch's software does not need to be integrated with the corporate IT system, while the confidential data stays encrypted at all times. The service is SaaS for smaller companies below 1500 employees, and installed on location at bigger enterprises.

Founder Kielland mentioned starting his entrepreneurial career already in 2001 leaving his job as a management consultant, and starting his own consulting practice, while looking for a proper idea to start a software company around. Kielland did try a couple of other ideas along the way that did not take off, but finally stumbled upon the aforementioned problem with organizational restructuring projects. He then invested all the capital accumulated during the consulting term to build up and productize OrganizationWeaver and get the company off ground.

BrightArch has selected a channel model as the primary sales strategy towards large corporations (while internet and certain communities can work for SMEs). These include many of the well-known multinational consulting companies to which Kiellend has good connections due to his earlier consulting career. The consulting partners will then offer OrganizationWeaver and BrightArch's services as part of their total solution to a potential M&A or restructing client. According to Kielland, these consultants have already described OrganizationWeaver as "exactly what they need", which indicates a good start.

Kielland points out BrightArch has enough capital to start the operations and provide service to first customers, but the team is discussing with outside investors in order to acquire additional funding for accelerating the internationalization.

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Nick Peters, May 12, 2010

Thanks for writing such a complete overview of our product and company. We're excited to be in the market now and providing our clients with a unique and high-value product. We'll be sure to share our progress along the way.

+Nick Peters (BrightArch CMO)