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DB Systel uses App Engine on the Now Platform
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Digitalportal accelerates time to market within the DB Group


Services and products provisioned by end of project


Employees supported

24 hours

Time to market target


DB Systel is driving digitalization at Deutsche Bahn. One of the key aims behind this is to make its services and products available to customers within the DB Group in a digitized, standardized, and automated manner, via a digital portal based on ServiceNow.

Reducing time to market to 24 hours
As a fully owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, DB Systel, based in Frankfurt am Main, is the digital partner for all Group companies. The company, which currently employs around 5,000 people, has been supporting the digital transformation process within the DB Group since it began.

“Of course, we are keen to take big strides in the digital transformation of the DB Group, which is why we are in the process of giving DB Group customers easier and faster access to our offering and services through a new digitalportal,” explains Karl Gallardo, Unit Product Owner at DB Systel. “Digitalization, standardization, and automation go hand in hand to increase flexibility and agility, not only for us, but also for our customers in the Group.”

In the past, DB Systel had already made some of its services and products available via a different shop portal solution. “However, the integration of the portal was not sufficiently up to date, meaning that we had to keep developing custom solutions over the years. This made it extremely difficult for us and our customers within the Group to implement new products or business models quickly,” explains Karl Gallardo. “As a result, the time to market was very long and lagging behind the times. The old portal no longer fit DB Systel’s agile strategy of having products on the market within 24 hours.”

DB Systel launched a tender, which ServiceNow was eventually awarded. According to Christoph Netthorn, Product Owner at DB Systel responsible for managing one of four teams currently developing on the ServiceNow platform: “Compared to the other solutions that we evaluated, ServiceNow has the great advantage that the platform itself offers a variety of functionalities out of the box. Not only does it offer a service portal, it also gives us workflows for provisioning or billing processes, for example, avoiding the need for additional programming work to develop add-on solutions for the portal.”

DB Systel logo right
DB Systel
DB Systel
Frankfurt, Germany
App Engine

The new Digitalportal based on ServiceNow allows us to significantly reduce time to market for new services and products within the DB Group.

Karl Gallardo

Units Product Owner

Around 1K services for 330K employees
DB Systel is currently in the process of moving all services and products to the new Digitalportal based on ServiceNow. “We started with simple, less complex services and are gradually expanding the shop,” explains Christoph Netthorn. “Eventually, between 800 and 1,000 services will be available to order from the new portal.

“Every product or product group we want to migrate is checked to determine whether the existing functionalities are sufficient and can be standardized and automated, or whether they will need customizing in liaison with our customers,” says Christoph Netthorn. This is extremely complex, as all requirements of the more than 100 companies within DB Group must be considered. DB Systel has to balance the needs of all of these, which means mapping everything in the Digitalportal. In addition, a variety of interfaces must be created between the new portal and various other IT systems.

In the future, external IT providers will also be connected to the portal. “The aim is to fully automate all deployment processes, whichever partners are involved,” explains Karl Gallardo.

Adding to the complexity is the fact that the ServiceNow portal not only allows the IT divisions of the Group companies to order, manage, and unsubscribe, as the previous shop system did, but also, in principle, all employees within the Group, which is more than 330,000 people. If, on the other hand, a customer wants all orders to go through a central person, this also has to be mapped by DB Systel. In other words, suitable user rights and roles, including approval and ordering workflows, have to be stored in the ServiceNow portal.

A modern portal
“Mapping such complexity within the Digitalportal is only possible because ServiceNow is a highly integrated platform that offers many basic functionalities, workflows, and connection options as standard,” says Christoph Netthorn.

“With ServiceNow, we have a very modern and flexible portal from the outset,” enthuses Karl Gallardo. “We are thus able to offer our customers a shop system with a front end, and therefore a user experience similar to that of an online consumer shop, as well as a much more extensive back end. Ultimately, we are making it possible for our customers within the Group to enjoy a much faster time to market for new services and products. In the long term, we also expect the increased standardization to reduce the cost of products and services. Moreover, ServiceNow fits perfectly with Deutsche Bahn’s cloud strategy.”

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