Our corporate culture for the digitalised world

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Digital culture

Testing and implementing ideas to achieve our goal

Article: Our corporate culture for the digitalised world

Promoting benefits for travellers and logistics operators, promoting responsibility, promoting diversity and promoting teamwork: because of the way we understand people, we try our best for our partners in the Group and organise ourselves.

The triad of people, technology and society poses challenges for large organisations in particular. While technical progress enables enormous gains in efficiency, innovations often fail because of the structures and processes that have evolved in industrial culture. DB Systel therefore follows basic principles that make us agile and capable of taking the necessary action: customer focused, entrepreneurial teams, curiosity, self-organisation, a constructive learning culture and letting go of outdated principles.

"Ultimately, it is always people that make the difference!"

Doris Leinen, Corporate Culture Lead, DB Systel

Profilbild Doris Leinen

End of 2023: initial transformation process completed

Some Systelaner in the office

The initial transformation process, which serves as a bridge from the traditional organisation to the adaptive network for every Systelaner and thus more than 730 teams, will be completed. This means that the organisation is being completely developed from the roles of self-organisation. Because: the transformation itself never ends.

2019 to 2022 New working environment makes an impact

Mann mit Post-It

By the end of 2020, around a quarter of all teams had already implemented the new working environment. Due to the Corona pandemic, DB Systel became a completely remote company within three days. Remote work requires trust – and here we can clearly state that our transformation focusing on self-organisation has paid off. Instead of stumbling, we overcame the next challenge: our management was replaced by a circle structure. Four Circles took over the management and control of our business in collegial leadership together with the managing directors. In 2022, all DB Systel teams were in the process of transformation, and around two thirds have already adopted the new structure based on self-organisation.

2016 to 2019 The cornerstone of our transformation

Meeting in Präsenz

Step by step, a common understanding of our future began to take shape. How do we want to organise ourselves and collaborate? A clear transformation process, negotiated with committees and the DB Group, put us on the path to an adaptive network. Our current team structure emerged, consisting of ten clusters along our portfolio. The first teams went through the transformation process. At the same time, the DB Group Management Board decided on a strict cloud strategy. These two steps made it clear there was no going back!

2014 to 2016 Our transformation begins

Frau lachend vor Whiteboard

In 2014 we realised that our future can only lie in a radical transformation: a transformation towards completely new ways of thinking and working; a transformation towards a new, clear understanding of people, with values and commitments. In joint initiatives we collected concrete ideas for change and for our future. The result was the "Code future" programme.

Our understanding of people

We are convinced that people have an inherent desire do their best and to achieve and create something. We live up to this understanding of people with our networked self-organisation, the promotion of internal projects and our internal communities.

We share our experiences

We regularly share our experiences, challenges and good practices at conferences and in our own formats. We learn with and from others. About every 4 to 6 weeks, we invite creative minds from other organisations to an open-door event on a variety of topics related to the digital transformation.

Our learning culture

We promote lifelong learning. With our wide range of learning formats and our self-organising network structure, we support advanced training and the active exchange of knowledge among our employees.

Our communities

From the Agile Roundtable to the RPA Community: our employees are involved in numerous internal communities. These enable us to actively exchange knowledge and ideas on strategically important topics. They allow us to pursue curiosity and interests. Here too, DB Systel relies on self-organisation and informal learning.

Assigning responsibilities – we demand and encourage self-organisation

We promote agile working methods and self-organising teams with shared responsibility in company-wide networks. Since shared leadership responsibility is within the team itself, it allows us to place decision-making in the teams as well. This makes us flexible. We try things out and approach the ideal solution step by step in an exploratory manner. These new ways of working require staff to treat each other as equals and demonstrate leadership.  

The way we work today

DB Systel's organisational structure is based on clusters, units and teams. Clusters are aligned to our partners in the Group or to a portfolio. Units are formed out of teams responsible for a common service or product. Teams have an organisational design of 7+/- 2 people with as much end-to-end responsibility as possible. Governance and company-wide processes are designed and developed on a participatory basis.

With our working organisation, we encourage initiative and passion in all employees. We make it possible to focus on the wishes of our partners in the Group while putting new ideas into practice more quickly on an iterative basis.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our corporate culture or the open-door events.