The Future Is Now: Christian Lund Of Templafy On How B9Creations’s Technological Innovation Will Shake Up The Tech Scene

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

To be honest, I’m actually glad nobody told me anything before I started! I’ve always thought that I’ll figure things out as I go along — knowing too much at the beginning can make you overly cautious and nervous about all the possible bumps in the road. This can hold you back from moving forward and trying to accomplish those big, audacious goals. At the start of my career, I pictured myself as a bumblebee, flapping my wings as much as I could to fly and doing whatever I could to make things happen in the early days.

As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian Lund.

Christian Lund is Co-Founder of Templafy — the leading next gen document generation platform pioneering the content enablement space. With more than 15 years of domain knowledge, Christian helped spearhead the transition for large organizations from on-premise systems to Software-as-a-Service solutions for document creation and template management. Prior to founding Templafy, Christian served as the Director at Omnidocs and the Strategy Consultant at Berlingske Media.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I studied political science at university but eventually made my way to sales. As my career progressed, I found myself gravitating toward strategy and consultancy roles. It was on this path that I met my future business partner, Henrik Printzlau.

We began by building Omnidocs, a template management company, where I brought my sales/business knowledge to the table and Henrik shared his tech expertise. However, as we continued to build that business the cloud was becoming more mainstream, and we realized there was potential for more. The cloud totally changed the way people work, and we saw a massive opportunity to take advantage of this shift through the lens of business documents. This eventually manifested in the spin out of Templafy in 2014.

Businesses were spending way too much time on the content process — from template creation to approvals to simple information gathering — and as more invested in cloud technology, we knew that there had to be a better way forward. We founded Templafy with the vision of making the document generation infrastructure easier, and over the past seven years this has transformed into a mission to enable professionals to create better performing documents faster through connected content.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

It’s difficult to point to one specific story and classify it as the most interesting in my career. Instead, I’d like to highlight two ‘aha’ moments I’ve had while building Templafy and how they’ve shaped the growth of the company.

The first revolves around the future of work. This has changed massively over the past two years and we’ve seen the emergence of the “digital HQ” as a result. In the digital HQ, everything is content. Every piece of data, every video clip or audio file, every business document, every creative asset has a digital footprint and therefore is content. And because everything is content, content is everything. In this environment creating high-performing documents requires more effort and time from people than is generally acknowledged — and we’ve realized that shift opens a massive opportunity for Templafy. We connect content throughout an entire organization, directly serving the necessary pieces to individuals within the places they already work (Microsoft Office, Google Workspaces, etc.), allowing them to efficiently create high-performing business documents.

The second ‘aha’ moment was that as a founder, it’s important to take a step back and admit that you don’t know everything. Founders can’t be visionaries and run the entire operational side of an organization at the same time. You can and should rely on the intelligence, input and experience of your team members to help you build your company. At the beginning, Henrik and I were open to admitting that we didn’t know everything, but we fearlessly moved forward with building our company, which allowed us to start the story. The team members who have joined us since allowed the story to continue. Today, we have almost 400 team members across the globe who each bring a unique expertise to help build the company.

Can you tell us about the cutting edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

Templafy helps professionals create better-performing business documents faster. Our solution activates brands, drives governance and supports document creation at any complexity and scale. We do this by connecting content to users where they work, when it matters most. Templafy’s platform provides intuitive access to approved content inside Word, PowerPoint, Google Workspaces and more to increase company-wide usage of the latest material and collateral. This enables all employees to find the approved assets they need to create top notch documents without having to jump from application to application.

With the shift to remote work, it’s now more crucial than ever to provide employees with the tools they need to work smarter — not harder. Templafy recently conducted a survey of more than 600 professionals working full time in the US to determine the role content plays in brand activation. Our data revealed that there’s a lack of content infrastructure across the board, with 51% of respondents noting their business does not have a common database of company-approved content.

When you have a connected content ecosystem, it allows for the entire workforce — whether remote or not — to better align on brand standards and consistency. What’s more, it builds trust amongst employees that they have the tools necessary to quickly create high quality documents and focus on the work that matters to them most.

How do you think this might change the world?

That’s such a big and important question, and in my experience I truly believe that the future of work will revolve around content. Specifically, I think there are four truths that are shaping the role of content in business moving forward:

  • Content is everything. It’s your finalized new business pitch; the metadata that lives inside the document; the video that showcases your solution to prospects and the webpage it lives on. Because of this expansion of what content means, it can be increasingly challenging to navigate. Searching through enterprise repositories for the right document was once a difficult but possible task, but with the rise of digital technologies that all output and store enormous amounts of content and data, searching for content has become impossible. Content now needs to find people and workflows, not the other way around.
  • With improvements to business processes and technology, content creation points are multiplying by the second. Apps like Microsoft Word used to be the center of content creation, a singular platform for a disparate workflow. But today, content creation apps abound, and they need to seamlessly integrate with business workflow applications to support content creation as part of those workflows. Integrations that connect content to business workflows are now essential.
  • Regulatory requirements for organizations are on the rise. They put businesses under increasing pressure to ensure compliance across all employee-produced content, and these regulations are going to keep evolving and changing in the new digital HQ. To navigate this new landscape, businesses must invest in technology that can automate these steps and remove the onus of compliance from the employee.
  • Data needs to drive new content. Without data and measurement, content serves no real purpose. For far too long employees have had no insight into how well their content actually performs. Businesses need to use actionable data to inform their content strategy.

We like to call the manifestation of these truths content enablement, and we’re using that concept to drive the future of Templafy and document generation as a whole. Perhaps the most interesting parts of these truths are those that revolve around governance — we’re continuing to see more and more regulatory and security needs become priority for businesses around the globe, like GDPR and the upcoming expansion of the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Templafy solves for this by simplifying and standardizing the process of ensuring all business content is compliant with the latest regulations. Our technology enables businesses and their employees to feel confident that they’re up-to-date, allowing them to shift focus away from manual document governance to creating high-performing content that drives results.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

Since Templafy launched in 2014, technology has certainly changed, but one thing has not: documents are the lifeblood of a business. As businesses create more content, it’s essential that there is a safe, easily accessible place to store everything. The cloud is that place.

In the age of document management, the list of benefits that the cloud offers businesses grows daily. Companies no longer have to feel constrained by the limitations and restrictions of in-house IT departments and all the overhead costs associated with staffing and resources. Taking into account how businesses are also growing quickly, a cloud-based solution allows for a fully scalable system that grows alongside a business.

While you could say that the ‘tipping point’ was the global pandemic, I’d also argue that the need for more automation and cloud-based solutions and platforms predate the last two years. Hybrid and remote workforces are not new concepts, but it’s fair to say that the pandemic has expedited the adoption of these ways of working. And when employees have easy access to the right tools, platforms and resources to create consistently on-brand business documents, everyone wins.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be education. The massive market we’re currently operating in was originally built by Microsoft. They trained the world on how to do business documents. Then Google came along and started to compete with them in terms of collaboration, but everyone more or less has been trained to think about business documents in the same way. Since Templafy is directly in the middle of the document creation process, we have a huge opportunity to solve problems for anyone and everyone who touches a business document.

For most organizations, to create a high-performing document each and every employee must have three things:

  • Knowledge of company guidelines to include correct branding and mandatory company data.
  • Time to navigate silos of company content and data.
  • Expertise in document compilation to create professional business documents efficiently.

However, very rarely do employees have all three of those things. Instead they take the easy route and grab the most accessible (instead of the most accurate) pieces of content available to build their documents. In fact, our recent data shows 87% of employees have used Google to search for a company image or logo to use in a piece of content or presentation. We like to say this kind of workflow is powered by “disconnected content,” and when work is dictated by that concept, organizations are unknowingly submitting to content anarchy, a world in which the unattractive combination of non-compliant business documents and plummeting employee efficiency reigns supreme.

This anarchy is only getting worse for two major reasons: the amount of content that is produced — sometimes hourly — is growing exponentially, and the number of systems and applications housing that content is also growing. So while most people probably feel like they have a good grasp on how to create content, most times it’s not nearly as efficient as it could be, meaning there is still a greater need to educate on the perils of disconnected content and content anarchy. One of the risks businesses face when they lack a solid content infrastructure is losing client trust: 93% of our panelists agreed that even small errors in final content can damage client trust. And with only 4% of content making it out into the world mistake-free, that puts your brand integrity in constant peril.

As a leading platform, it’s our responsibility to show businesses and employees what a new world driven by connected content can and should be. We have the proof that once the problem is identified and realized by businesses, adoption can happen seamlessly and quickly. It’s now just a matter of showing it to the world.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

It’s difficult to pinpoint just one person, but I’ve learned a lot — and continue to learn — from the Templafy team. Specifically my co-founder Henrik Printzlau; I’m positive neither of us would be where we are without each other. Working with Henrik has been an incredible learning experience, and I’m forever thankful for and impressed by our ability to specialize in different things but come together to build the company.

I’m also constantly learning from Jesper Theill Eriksen, our CEO. He has taught me so much about how to successfully run a team and business, and I often find myself looking to him as an example of what good leadership looks like.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to focus on the ways I can have a direct, positive impact on the people around me. As such, I’ve always prioritized the growth of Templafy employees. My goal is that people will be able to look at their time at Templafy and say it’s where they learned the foundation for their career — how to work with people, push boundaries, build something meaningful, and create genuine connections.

Outside of Templafy, I work with local businesses within my Danish community to help advise and guide new entrepreneurs. This allows me to help other leaders avoid mistakes I made myself at the outset and mimic the growth and success Templafy has seen.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.

To be honest, I’m actually glad nobody told me anything before I started! I’ve always thought that I’ll figure things out as I go along — knowing too much at the beginning can make you overly cautious and nervous about all the possible bumps in the road. This can hold you back from moving forward and trying to accomplish those big, audacious goals. At the start of my career, I pictured myself as a bumblebee, flapping my wings as much as I could to fly and doing whatever I could to make things happen in the early days.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

When it comes to a larger movement, I always go back to what we are doing here at Templafy — document generation guided by content enablement. Connected and streamlined content allows people to free up time to do more impactful work and focus on the projects that really matter to them.

We want to build this movement to such a scale that we are enabling millions more people to spend less time on admin work and focus on more impactful work. Not only will this lead to happier workforces, but it also frees people up to focus on the things they’re passionate about — such as those big picture things like climate change, healthcare innovations, etc.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

A mantra I’m always returning to is: “Avoid reinventing the wheel if it’s not necessary.” If there’s already a product or service out there that adequately solves a problem, chances are folks are not going to abandon what’s already working for something with your company’s name on it. It’s not worth producing something worse than what’s already been accepted as good.

You should always be looking to solve the next problem and fill gaps in the market. Push your innovation to the next level instead of just sticking to the status quo — this will help you exceed expectations and get a leg up on the competition.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

In the future of work, businesses will rely on enabled content to get things done.

We’ve already intelligently connected entertainment content for consumers (i.e. Spotify, Netflix), so why not do the same for business applications? Content is exploding in organizations across the globe, and with this evolution, two truths will drive all future activity:

  1. Content must find people and workflows. Not the other way around.
  2. Content must report back on its whereabouts. The era of static content is over.

Templafy is spearheading this movement in business documents. We intelligently connect content to people and workflows by removing risk and allowing companies to do what they do best: drive business results.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Follow me on LinkedIn!

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

The Future Is Now: Christian Lund Of Templafy On How B9Creations’s Technological Innovation Will… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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