Celebrating Five Years in Germany: Change, Resilience, and Innovation

By: Christian Frauen, VP and Country Leader DACH

In 2019, Workiva officially entered the DACH region when it was incorporated in Germany. In fact, our Frankfurt office was the fourth office to open outside of North America. Not only has Workiva and its solutions grown and evolved in that time, the world around us has transformed in ways we could have never imagined. As we celebrate our regional five-year anniversary, it's impossible not to reflect on the remarkable journey we've taken to get here and express our gratitude for the customers and partners that have contributed to our success in the region. 

The Impact of COVID-19: Catalyst for Change

One of the most profound influences on any company's recent trajectory has been the global COVID-19 pandemic. The onset of the pandemic in 2020, just shortly after Workiva entered the German market, forced us to adapt quickly to a new reality. 

The pandemic made collaborative platforms like Workiva’s indispensable in maintaining productivity. It accelerated digital transformation initiatives, propelling all of us into an era where innovation was no longer an ambitious goal but essential for survival. The experience not only tested our agility but also underscored the importance of embracing innovation in the face of adversity.

Another consequence of the pandemic was a profound shift in societal consciousness and greater focus on environmental sustainability. As a company, we recognized our unique opportunity to enable corporate environmental stewardship and social responsibility. In April 2021, Workiva launched its ESG reporting solution worldwide. 


Corporate Sustainability: A Commitment to the Future

There is a saying, “What gets measured gets managed.” The challenge: ESG reporting is complex, involving data from multiple disparate sources and often collaboration with finance and accounting and auditing teams. Workiva was launched in response to the financial crisis of 2008, and our mission is to power transparent reporting for a better world. We believe our experience transforming financial reporting coupled with the ongoing innovation to our platform make Workiva uniquely positioned to help businesses tackle the complexity of corporate sustainability head on. 

Over the past five years, we've also continued making significant strides in integrating sustainability into our own business practices. A few months after launching our ESG reporting solution, in July 2021, Workiva became the first SaaS company to join the United Nations’ CFO Coalition for the SDGs. In 2022, we received a AAA rating from MSCI — a rating I’m proud to say we’ve maintained. 

In the last year, we committed to set science-based targets with the Science Based Targets initiative and announced enhancements to our ESG reporting solution, including an integration with the CDP and support for the European Sustainability Reporting Standards, part of the EU's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. Whether in the pursuit of our own sustainability goals or in simplifying ESG reporting for our customers, Workiva remains steadfast in our commitment to contributing to a more sustainable and more equitable future for all.

The Rise of Generative AI: Pioneering Innovation

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, we've also recently witnessed the unprecedented emergence and adoption of solutions featuring generative AI. From content generation to creative design, generative AI holds the promise of unlocking new frontiers of innovation and creativity. In fact, according to a global survey of ESG practitioners, 85% believe generative AI will make sustainability reporting more efficient in the next five years.

At Workiva, we've embraced generative AI with a focus on leveraging its capabilities to enhance our platform while ensuring we prioritize the safety and security of our customers’ most sensitive data. We began our foray into generative AI with a pilot in North America in 2023 that, proven successful, has since been expanded to Europe. We believe the safe and secure integration of generative AI to the Workiva platform has the potential to revolutionize business reporting by further boosting productivity and enabling insights that lead to better and faster data-driven decisions.

Looking Ahead: The Next Chapter in Our Story

The past five years have been defined by change, resilience, and innovation. As we reflect on this milestone in the DACH region, we are profoundly grateful for the unwavering support and partnership of our customers and partners. Your trust, loyalty, and dedication have been the driving force behind our success, propelling us forward every step of the way.

To our partners: Thank you for your shared commitment to mutual success. Through strategic partnerships, we have not only expanded our reach but also deepened our understanding of local nuances, allowing us to tailor solutions that resonate with the communities we serve. Together, we've forged relationships that amplify our collective impact and laid the foundation for continued growth in the years to come. 

To our customers: Thank you for entrusting us with your business and allowing us to be a part of your journeys. Your feedback, insights, and enthusiasm continue to inspire us to exceed expectations and deliver excellence in all that we do. With gratitude in our hearts and excitement for the future, we reaffirm our dedication to driving positive change and delivering unparalleled value to our customers. 

Here's to the next five years and beyond. Together, we’ll write the next chapter of Workiva’s story, one built on innovation, collaboration, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. And may we never forget to express our gratitude to the customers and partners who have played an indispensable role in our success. 

Christian Frauen is the vice president and country manager of the DACH region for Workiva. Christian has more than 25 years of experience supporting customers in the technology sector. For more information about Workiva’s platform and solutions, visit workiva.com.