Article: New HR integration platform Teamplay
05/2023 – DB Systel and DB HR Services launch new cloud-based HR integration platform with support from Microsoft development teams. The collaboration serves as a prime example the benefits of involving offshore teams in digital projects.
In August 2022, a new type of HR integration platform was launched to complement the legacy HR IT system of DB HR Services. The platform is the result of a technological reorganisation. In early 2021, due to a risk of the deadline not being met with the previously chosen project solution, a DB Systel project team developed a new approach based on Microsoft technologies.
Using the cloud technology of Microsoft Azure Synapse, an extremely stable and flexible integration platform was established as the data hub for Deutsche Bahn AG's HR data.
Offshore team brings greater flexibility
The features of the new platform are the result of international teamwork. Within the HR integration platform project, DB Systel was responsible for providing the programme management, maintenance and architecture teams as well as the business engineers and technical operations manager. With its Indian offshore team, among others, Microsoft ensured that there were always sufficient human resources available for the complex development, which had high security requirements. DB HR Services, as project owner, was responsible for technical planning and conception, providing business analysts to support the business units as well as the test team and business-side application management.
All project parties together ensured a timely launch of the HR integration platform. As Peggy Eifinger, Topic Owner at HR IT Data Integration Services, DB Personal Service, explains: "The legacy HR IT system was no longer fit for purpose. We had more requests for interfaces than we could implement. That's why we took the decision to rely on a modern cloud system in the future."
Since August 2022, a number of consumers have already gone live. More features have been added to the system. In February 2023, the first version of the administration interface went live. As Peggy Eifinger is delighted to report: "In the future, we business analysts will be able to use this to configure interfaces ourselves without having to call in developers."
Such innovations are the result of the successful, international cooperation of DB HR Services with DB Systel and external partner Microsoft. As the development partner, Microsoft supplies teams from Germany and India. According to Peggy Eifinger: "Everyone works together as equals."
The resources flexibly provided by Microsoft would be difficult to obtain in Germany. "That was a major advantage," explains programme manager Dr Matthias Landsberger from DB Systel. There were no issues with the four-and-a-half-hour time difference, different holidays and using English as the project language. "We speak to each other every day about the latest developments and challenges that arise." Everyone is fully involved in the processes. "It works well," says Dr Landsberger.
A partnership of equals
Particularly at the start of the project, the Microsoft teams were the experts in the Azure Synapse technology used. In the long term, however, the new HR integration platform is to be operated without assistance from Microsoft personnel.
Preparations are already under way for the handover to an internal team, which will be responsible for operating the services over the medium to long term. "Microsoft proved to be a reliable partner in terms of the knowledge transfer required for this," Dr Landsberger continues.
In the meantime, there are some other important milestones in the project plan for 2024, such as the migration to Oracle HCM as the new data source and the integration into Smart HR by the end of the year. Peggy Eifinger is confident that these goals will be achieved: "We're all working together on this, and I firmly believe that this will continue into the future."