to find a new technology chief
teven Spielberg could not have imagined a more fitting back-to-the-future plot than Frode Rognstad’s appointment earlier this month as Rivet Software’s new chief technology officer.
Rognstad, a software engineer with a lengthy resume of technical accomplishments, was one of the key architects at FRx Software, a company founded in the early 1990s by the late Mike Rohan, who also founded … you guessed it … Rivet Software.
The new CTO should be a comfortable fit for Rivet as the company continues a restructuring program following Rohan’s passing last July. Rohan’s wife, Madelaine, who officially took over as CEO in the fall, worked with Rognstad at FRx when she served as director of software globalization for the firm.
Perhaps more important than old associations, Rognstad brings with him intimate knowledge of the Denver company’s core business — making financial reporting and analytics software.
Rivet offers web-based collaborative financial reporting tools. Its headline product, Crossfire, is a web-delivered document management and SEC filing platform. It allows teams to collaborate simultaneously in Microsoft Word to produce financial statements required by government agencies. Businesses use it to file HTML and XBRL-based reports directly to the SEC from a single source document.
The company has struggled in recent years in the face of increased competition from other Web-based products. However, Madelaine Rohan, in her new role as CEO, has been steadily orchestrating a resurgence. Last fall, she announced a “sweeping strategic restructuring.” Partnering with a consortium of private investors, the company obtained new funding, and a new executive team has plans to put the firm back on track.
The appointment of a new chief technology officer is perhaps the final — and maybe the most important — piece of her reorganizational puzzle.
Rognstad’s technical qualifications are indisputable. His resume boasts two B.S. degrees — one in Electronics and Computer Technology from Oslo University College, and one in Biomedical and Clinical Engineering from California State University — as well as a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, also from California State. His studies included, among other things, microprocessor technology, cybernetics, circuit design, telecommunications, compiler architecture, non-linear logic, network topology and a host of programming languages. (According to his curriculum vitae, he was also the “undisputed three-dimensional Tic-Tac-Toe champion” at Oslo University College.)
In 1991, he went to work as the Director of Development for Platinum Software, one of the first U.S. companies to launch a client/server Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. In 1993, he became product development manager for Micro-Frame Technologies, where he took over development of the company’s client/server planning software product.
Then, in 1996, he came to Denver to work for Mike Rohan at FRx Software, where he served as Chief Architect and Technical Evangelist for the company’s financial reporting software. Over the next three years FRx became the leading reporting software in the financial industry. To the surprise of no one, the company was acquired by Great Plains Software in 2000, which itself was acquired by Microsoft just months later. Microsoft continued to market the software until recently, when it began to offer a replacement product called Microsoft Reporter.
Meanwhile, Rognstad went on to become CTO and Chief Architect for Q Strategies, where he developed a business decision-making dashboard product. A year later, he founded his own company, Exsilient, Inc., which has developed software for a variety of clients, including some work on the FRx product in 2004.
And that brings us back to the future. Earlier this month he officially returned to his financial reporting software roots as Rivet’s new CTO, and he wasted no time in hinting at a succeessor to FRx.
“I am honored that Madelaine thought of me to help her fulfill Mike's vision, continue his legacy and present to the market what we call internally FRx2," Rognstad says. "Rivet is also poised to further drive its leadership in the XBRL and Document Management industries. Its unique advantage in the marketplace with tight integration of Microsoft Office tools and Crossfire gives us the ability to capture more market share while introducing more advanced solutions to other markets."
CEO Rohan is counting on Rognstad’s knowledge of Microsoft-based software architecture, data mining and hardware engineering to push the company forward.
"When we made the decision as a company to go global and to expand into the private market by planning the release of a more robust Crossfire Analytics in 2014, I couldn't think of a better person for this role," she says of her new CTO. “I am extremely confident that he will lead his team to grow the Microsoft Office tools that accountants trust to better fit their financial reporting and compliance needs within Rivet's signature product, Crossfire."