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DB Systel GmbH is one of the leading information and communications technology service providers in Germany.
Based in Frankfurt am Main, the company is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG, the largest German railway enterprise and one of the largest transport corporations in the world.
In addition to providing a broad range of information technology and telecom platforms and services for Deutsche Bahn, DB Systel supports mobile-telephony and fixed-line carriers, DSL providers, and cable network operators. The company employs more than 5,000 people.
When DB Systel decided it needed to build a new IT platform for strategic Web application development, it turned to Accenture.
A company like DB Systel does more than just rely on superior IT services; it survives because of it. So recently, the company decided to launch an ambitious program to strengthen its ability to deliver outstanding IT services. This effort was driven largely by Deutsche Bahn’s need for a consolidated and streamlined application development environment that could support its international freight rail business.
The rail company’s existing proprietary systems, while able to connect to other IT systems, needed to also be able to connect to user interfaces for other carriers’ systems or networks. The lack of user interfaces made it difficult for Deutsche Bahn to extend its freight rail services internationally, particularly to other parts of Europe and Asia.
DB Systel saw Deutsche Bahn’s challenge as an opportunity to introduce an entirely new platform for application development, based on open source architecture.
With an open source platform, the company would be able to support Deutsche Bahn’s internationalization strategy more effectively and, at the same time, standardize many of the design, build and test functions for Web application development that were running across the DB Systel enterprise.
The open source architecture would also translate into significant cost savings for DB Systel by eliminating costly software licensing fees.
In helping DB Systel build a new IT platform for strategic Web application development, Accenture deployed a team of highly skilled professionals from its industry team, Systems Integration and Technology group, and the Accenture Global Delivery Network. This team worked closely with resources from DB Systel and Deutsche Bahn to carry out two phases of work.
In Phase 1, which took six months to complete, Accenture helped DB Systel’s technical experts design a future-proof blueprint for DB Systel’s industrialized IT capability. The cornerstone of this effort was a plug and play, open source application architecture based on automated delivery tools and reusable components that could accommodate the development of any Java-based Web application.
Importantly, Phase 1 also saw the deployment of a prototype application—a centralized customer portal that let users, for the first time, access DB Systel applications from a common entry point and with secure authorization.
In Phase 2, Accenture worked with DB Systel’s functional experts to build Deutsche Bahn applications on the open-source architecture or migrate existing applications to the new platform. To date, the joint team has built or migrated 23 Deutsche Bahn applications that are critical to the operations of its freight rail division. These applications include those responsible for order management, freight tracking, fleet management and billing. The Accenture Global Delivery Network played an important role in both phases.
DB Systel has industrialized its ability to deliver high-quality Web-based applications to enhance its internal operations, as well as the IT capabilities of its clients. The elements of the solution are also generating dramatic performance improvements at DB Systel.
For example, the standardization of development tools and automated processes have shaved an estimated 25 percent off application development and implementation costs. Also, standardized tools and scripts have enabled a consistent approach to application configuration and integration.
The new infrastructure’s redundant servers allow applications to be updated and released into production without disruption to IT operations. Problem resolutions in production, which used to take up to five hours, now take 15 minutes. Coupled with these tangible metrics is the unmatched quality of the IT solutions delivered by the resources from the Accenture Delivery Center in Manila.
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