Systematic is connecting the battlespace

Allied forces communicating seem like a matter of course, but it requires advanced software provided by the global leader in linking command and control systems

Foto: Morten Andersen

When Russia in a matter of days annexed Crimea and soon after turned the Syria battlefield upside down it was a wakeup call for military planners in the West. The speed by which the Russians moved their soldiers and equipment was extraordinary and a clear demonstration of the importance of interoperability and quick decision cycles.

President Putin stirred international criticism but at the same time gave the Danish software company Systematic a boost, because as a response, the US Army started looking for better ways to communicate with their allies, and no other company provides a product better to do just that than Systematic. CEO and founder Michael Holm explains: 

- The US Army already knew what our software suite could do, since they had been testing Sitaware for years, and I believe that gave us the winning edge, when we took on mighty Raytheon and other great companies to win the tender for a solution to consolidate current mission systems and programs into a single user interface. 

- It was a fantastic win and maybe the best possible endorsement our company can get and I am confident, that Sitaware is the future core behind most of the command and control systems in the USA Army. 

IT services was only the beginning

Michael Holm founded Systematic in Aarhus in 1985 and from the beginning; the Danish Navy has been a valuable customer, originally outsourcing the maintenance on their command & control system to Systematic. The system is still in use and to this day Systematic has been taking care of it. 

But IT services was not enough for the ambitious CEO: 

- In order to become a real IT company you need to have your own products I believe, so in Systematic we started looking for market opportunities. From handling the navy’s command & control system, we identified the benefits of connecting the navy’s message system to the digital world of personal PC’s that was expanding rapidly in those years, Michal Holm says. 

From Denmark to Germany to NATO

Systematic developed the IRIS message software for the Danish Navy and then things started to happen fast according to the Systematic CEO: 

- The Danish Navy was contacted by the German Navy that also wanted to get their hands on IRIS, and that kicked in the doors to the rest of NATO. Today IRIS is the de facto communication standard between command & control systems and other digital platforms in more than 50 armed forces around the world. 

Joint systems is the future

With IRIS as the technological foundation, Systematic developed the much more complex and complete Sitaware Command & Control and Battle Management suite. Sitaware is connecting forces and warfighters in a growing number of armed forces around the globe and according to Michael Holm the user base will continue to expand: 

- The mindset, capabilities of Sitaware is to join information among services and allies with a user friendly interface. That, I believe, is the future of command and control systems and battle management, and that’s why Systematic will continue to grow in that business. Our way to attack the market is simple and consists of two principles: “try before you buy” and “start small and scale it – not big and fail it”. So far this works 

Systematic is still headquartered in Aarhus, Denmark, and has around a thousand employees based in 12 offices spanning from New Zealand to Virginia, USA. It is the biggest private software company in Denmark and is supplying solutions not only for military applications but also for Healthcare, Homeland Security, and Library & Learning. Around half of the sales is outside Denmark.

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