Agilisation in the Deutsche Bahn Group
Over 100,000 IT users in the Deutsche Bahn Group receive support from DB Systel for 600 applications – 80 per-cent from the cloud. In the past, this was done via three channels:
- An IT community,
- A self-service portal with a search function, and
- The help desk.
Most users prefer to pick up the phone or send an email, generating 700,000 calls and 100,000 emails every year – and the figures are rising. The help desk works with complex instructions. Explanations and manuals are thorough, often filling pages upon pages with text. Providing assistance takes time, and only specially qualified support staff are cut out for the job. End users, however, are unable to make use of such documents. This presents an obstacle to providing the relief the support staff long for and becomes all the more evident whenever there’s a new release or a new IT application is launched.
This problem becomes even more apparent with new releases or the introduction of new IT applications: the helpdesk is often not involved in the documentation of new applications and the training for them, the stored instructions are outdated and therefore cannot be used in a meaningful way.
A few years ago, the DB Systel help desk could still expect to handle just one or two releases each year, but the Deutsche Bahn Group’s agile approach is starting to come into full swing. In 2018, the Group gradually began to transfer its IT applications into the cloud, where software is increasingly being developed using agile methods (scrum). Development cycles are getting shorter, with most new features now available after just two to four weeks. With a nod to the railway company, Head of User Services Norbert Herold describes how these trends affect support operations: “Nowadays, features need to be provided to the user while the wheels go on turning.” It was clear that the help desk in its former state would be unable to meet the requirements of an increasingly agile application landscape with short development cycles and quicker access to releases. Together with tts, a concept was devised to make it fit for the digital and agile future.