Education Division in 2020

Dan Berteanu, Vicepresident for Education in Bittnet Group

The Education Division had a 2020 marked by the impact of training budget cuts or freezes on a large part of our traditional customers. The impact of these reductions was felt differently in the two companies, Bittnet Training registering a minor decrease of 6% in turnover compared to 2019, compared to Equatorial which registered a significant decrease of 60%. 

Winston Churchill is credited with the line “Never let a good crisis go to waste” and this is what we have tried to do throughout 2020. That is, we have focused on the elements that we can control, namely: 

  1. improving the operational efficiency of the business, increasing the gross margin to 64% in the case of Bittnet Training and to 60% in the case of Equatorial; 
  1. generating new projects to increase our sources of income in the future, starting with a structured approach to international markets through the DevOps Artisan project and the partner channel, entering the IT retraining market through the CTLN+N project and acquiring a stake in The e-Learning Company, a company that has the exclusive use of SkillSoft content, the largest e-Learning manufacturer in the world; 
  1. restructuring teams and rethinking the business process in a more specialized and purchasing-oriented approach (Buyer Journey). 

This crisis, in addition to testing our resilience and effort, helped us to rediscover ourselves as a team and strengthen our camaraderie and relationships. Adding the need to develop digital and human skills that most organizations became aware of with the crisis, we are confident that the next 3-5 years will be prolific for the Education division, and we will resume the process of sustainable growth we have had until last year. 

  31/Dec/20  31/Dec/19  Evolutie 
Revenues from contracts with clients  12,040,619   12,830,590   -6.2% 
Cost of sales  (4,799,648)   5,618,785   -14.6% 
The cost of selling goods / materials   (878,855)   ( 967,339)   -9.1% 
Human Resources   (3,920,793)   (4,651,446)   -15.7% 
Gross margin   7,240,971    7,211,805   0.4% 
Other incomes   301,070    503,815   -40.2% 
Sales / distribution expenses  ( 2,709,403)   ( 1,909,224)   41.9% 
Human Resources   (2,135,742)    (1,532,266)   39% 


Advertising  ( 573,661)   ( 376,958)   52% 
Administrative costs 

Out of which: 

 (2,853,647)    (3,472,371)   -17.8% 
Human Resources  ( 1,232,384)    (1,132,317)   8.8% 
Travel and transportation expenses  ( 7,476)   ( 41,327)   -81.9% 
Amortization   (665,063)    (1,105,193)   -39.8% 
Other third-party services  ( 406,643)    (433,483)   -6.2% 
Receivables adjustments  ( 112,459)   75,482  -249.0% 
Others  ( 235,170)    (489,880)   -52.0% 
Operational Profit (EBIT)   1,978,991    2,334,025   -15.2% 

                       Cristina Rațiu           

100% owned by
Bittnet Systems SA                          Cristina Rațiu, CEO

DevOps Artisan 

  • we signed a contract with global supplier PearsonVue for an initial period of 3 years of production and distribution certification exams. Starting in December 2020, 3 of the Associate level exams are available for programming on the official PearsonVue website, both in accredited physical testing centers and in the online proctoring system. 
  • the first 3 Associate level exams in the project were created and launched, these can be scheduled with support in an accredited testing center but also in an online proctoring system through 
  • we started the construction and development of the DevOps Artisan partner channel but also of the brand identity of the brand so that, at the end of 2021, through 3rd party platforms, each partner in the DevOps Artisan channel will be able to accredit trainers, order manuals and course laboratories and deliver in the local language. 

CTRL+N Project 

  • was officially launched in December 2020 and we have assumed the mission that in 5 years, this project will support the development of over 25,000 professionals in the Romanian IT market. 
  • the project is designed to be scalable through asynchronous delivery and is accessible in on-demand format, provides Q&A support and virtual or live meetings, connecting participants with instructors in the program. 
  • the price of the program is extremely affordable and, through the system of scholarships sponsored by the program partners, we aim to support participants with the right skills, the desire for improvement and seriousness but who cannot afford it. 
  • the program currently has 30 lessons launched, over 80 participants enrolled, and over 30 scholarships offered, another 50 scholarships being opened in January that will be allocated according to the selection processes carried out. 
  • the first 4 specialization tracks were launched and in December, the first major official partner of the Microsoft Romania program, supported the development of the Azure Technician program but also of some Digital Transformation modules. 

Microsoft Campaign: 

  • the largest vendor in Bittnet Training’s portfolio, it has maintained its position as a top vendor in 2020 and through major skilling and certification projects in Microsoft, Bittnet ranks 1st in the ecosystem of local Microsoft education partners. 
  • the cloud skilling area was the major focus of 2020 when, and through the skilling campaigns carried out globally, at Bittnet Training, over 750 participants benefited from training and certification support. 
  • as part of the Leading Learning Partners Association, 2020 brought us globally the title of Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year, rewarding the investment and major achievements that each of the local LLPA (Bittnet in Romania) representatives had in the area of cloud skilling. 

Other vendors: 

  • In 2020, through the global reorganization of the Oracle vendor, Bittnet was licensed by Oracle University Authorized Partner, integrating into a new delivery model launched by Oracle University, more advantageous in terms of revenue and margin and more flexible in view organization sales and delivery process. 
  • in 2020 we started the construction of our own delivery solutions in the cybersecurity area and we added to the product portfolio training programs from CompTIA and EC-Council, the largest accredited providers of training and certification programs in the cybersecurity area. 
  • Regarding the seller Amazon Web Services (AWS), in 2020 through its funding programs, over 128 participants with AWS partner status participated in AWS skilling and certification programs. Following the need for correct identification, to analyze and report the need for learning in companies, in 2020 we worked with the vendor to position a new tool built with a focus on “Learning Need Analysis” in organizations that use AWS technology. 


  • we continued to develop and improve LMS and content repository (Open EdX) platforms and integrate them with the internal CRM system. 
  • Although it was a pandemic year, in which all the activity of the training division and all class deliveries were in Live Virtual format, we delivered a total of 326 training classes with 3700 participants in the courses. For comparison, in 2019 we had 367 classes with 3850 participants. 
  • The pandemic caused the classes to move to Live Virtual format so that, if in 2019, only 30% of classes were delivered in this format, in 2020 this percentage rose to 85%. 

The best-selling IT training products, with sales of over RON 200k, are reproduced below: 


99% owned by                      Diana Rosetka, CEO EQUATORIAL
Bittnet Systems SA

The activity at the beginning of the year focused on the traditional implementations in the classroom, reaching a number of 46 days of training until mid-March and entering the lockdown. 

In the other 9 months of 2020, Equatorial’s work focused on the following directions: 

  • Digitalization of learning programs 
  • Digital content creation: The portfolio at the end of 2020 totals 32 soft skills topics from the transfer of offline to online programs to which were added those created directly for virtual delivery, adapted to the new requirements. 
  • Expanding the use of the VRunners game-based learning platform: One of the 5 gamified projects with VRunners in 2020 is a candidate for the Gala of Excellence Awards in Human Resources 2021, organized by HR Club. 
  • Developing the digital expertise of Equatorial trainers: We have prepared the team of trainers to implement the digital content in the online training platforms Webex Training and Zoom. 
  • Launching Bona Fides Agency game: The game trains and develops cognitive skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, logical thinking and creative thinking, essential skills in the context of technological advancement and digital transformation, unexpectedly accelerated by the pandemic. In the first weeks after its launch, 574 players registered for the application, while the site was visited by 1791 people, of which 21.79% were from other countries, without the game being promoted actively outside Romania. 
  • Understanding the impact of the pandemic crisis on the market and the behavior of customers and participants 
  • Market research: In order to understand what the market dynamics we serve will look like in the near future, in the first half of 2020 we conducted with Bittnet Training a market study on the impact of COVID-19 on learning and development processes in companies in Romania. 
  • L&D Cafe: We initiated and held a series of virtual meetings with representatives of the L&D function from 30 multinational companies, meetings that allowed guests to exchange information and ideas, sharing the challenges they faced and the solutions they found to meet these challenges in a short time. 
  • Interviews defining buyer persona: To recalibrate the market approach, we interviewed customers to understand their challenges and preferences in accessing solutions that address them. The conclusions materialized in changes in the internal structure and customer relationship process. 
  • Equatorial Strategic Repositioning: We outlined Equatorial’s positioning strategy as an education partner specializing in the development of human skills for technology professionals and conducted interviews to define the learner persona in this segment. Based on the conclusions from the previous stage, we made a draft of the routes and learning experiences. We tested the outline in the form of mock-ups; we have integrated the feedback in order to prepare the content for the pilot stage, which will take place in Q1, 2021. 
  • ANIS Strategic Project – European Funds – 2020 – 2021: The general objective of the project is to improve the level of knowledge / skills / skills in the field of information technology of employees in SMEs with the object of activity of information and communication technology. 


23% owned by                  Adrian Călin, CEO The e-Learning Company
Bittnet Systems SA

The year 2020 brought for The e-Learning Company a doubling of the turnover compared to 2019 and an increase of more than 5 times of the profit reported in 2019. The reasons for the growth were multiple and, although e-learning was a field privileged in the pandemic, the foundations of growth have been implemented since 2019 with the decision of The e-Learning Company to invest in video content located in Romanian from Skillsoft. Thus, at the end of March 2020, 550 course modules were available in our catalog, out of which, 526 Skillsoft course modules located in Romanian and 24 English language course modules. 

Therefore, the moment when the catalog was completed coincided with the beginning of the lockdown and, consequently, the beginning of the use of online courses instead of classroom courses. In a context in which, in November 2019, no one could have anticipated the pandemic, The e-Learning Company was selected to provide e-learning services for CPBR member banks starting with the end of March 2020, part of the increase was due to the start of this project, and another part was due to the clients who, during the pandemic, looked for e-learning solutions to compensate for the lack of classroom courses. 

In 2020, a number of customers chose to switch to e-learning content without having LMS platforms, which meant that the proprietary iKnowLMS platform was requested together with the Skillsoft course catalog in Romanian. The decision to have, in addition to content, an easy-to-use LMS platform has been a strategic one since the emergence of The e-Learning Company, so that in 2020, we reached approximately 45,000 users of the iKnowLMS platform. 

It should be noted that the access rate of the iKnowLMS courses and platform has increased from an average of 10% in previous years to about 20% for courses in the portfolio catalog and an access rate of over 90% of the platform for clients who add programs customized in the platform. 

Compared to other years, 2020 also brought an increase in the amounts from contracts with external customers, almost 20% of revenues being generated by these customers. The services were divided between proprietary courses (customers from the Netherlands and Ireland) and subscriptions to The e-Learning Company products (customers from the Republic of Moldova). 

In 2020 we kept the same number of employees, but we benefited from the support of the collaborators we activated when we had projects so that there was control over expenses. For 2021 it is possible to increase the team as the turnover increase will be higher.