Strong rail needs a strong digital partner

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DB Systel

Shaping successful digitalisation at Deutsche Bahn

Article: Strong rail needs a strong digital partner

DB Systel GmbH, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, is a wholly owned subsidiary of DB AG and a digital partner for all Group companies.

Systematic digitalisation is of crucial importance to creating a strong rail system. In a joint undertaking with all of DB’s business units, we are working on the digitalisation of countless rail-related business processes and holistic digital solutions to create high-performance user features that deliver maximum customer value. We have established a comprehensive range of services that meet the highest IT standards and requirements for this purpose. We implement effective and efficient solutions that are based on platform and service technologies and innovations such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. In addition, sustainability in and through digitalisation is gaining importance as part of DB's overall orientation. As a partner for long-term undertakings, we contribute extensive rail and IT expertise and operate in a vendor-neutral way so that we can all reach our common goal. More than 6,000 people are currently employed at our main locations in Frankfurt, Berlin and Erfurt.

Going further, we want to anticipate common customer wishes and individual Group requirements while maintaining flexibility, so we carefully select first-class business partners who can support us. These strategic partnerships are crucial to our collective success.

Early recognition of market trends

Innovative ideas and promising solutions are always of great interest to us, so, in the search for new ways forward, we have our own business ventures and open data platforms, and we run Skydeck, DB Systel's in-house innovation lab. We are also active on the external market with selected services and products. We publish our digital trend radar once a year and support promising developments for future solutions. We evaluate and take up rapidly evolving digital technologies and trends such as digital twin, location technologies, future work, quantum computing, etc. and use industry-wide, interdisciplinary networks, which give us access to different skills, data, services and innovations. At the same time, we also support innovative in-house developments that have the real potential to benefit our operations and enhance the intelligence of the overall rail system.

DB Systel in the agile working environment

These dynamic developments are based on two core features: modern, flexible IT structures, and a new, active working environment with agile, independent teams. Making optimum use of these will enable us to transform conventional working and organisational structures into company-wide networks and autonomous ways of managing work and to support our Group partners with their increasingly variable requirements in the best possible way.

Here are a few facts: 

  • Cloud First: Over 450 processes and services migrated to the Deutsche Bahn cloud; over 535 terabytes of storage built into the cloud; flexible use of 7,000 - 15,000 virtual servers in the cloud
  • DevOps: More than 100 teams with end-to-end responsibility for IT services
  • Innovation hub: More than 75 business ideas conceived in the Skydeck; more than 500 guests per month participating in innovation events
  • Workplace: Over 10,000,000 e-mails checked for spam each month; 260,000 end-user devices managed and 114,000 workstations digitally equipped
  • Employees: More than 6,000 employees from 98 different countries; high percentage of female employees (24.5%) when compared with the German IT sector1 (approx. 17%)

(1Percentage of female employees in the IT sector (absolute and percentage values) for selected countries (sources for Female Tech Workforce EU Countries: Eurostat 2019a) Eurostat (2019a): available online at (last update: 13 July 2021)