With its new IT campus located in Stuttgart-Feuerbach, the Bosch Group has opened a center of competence that is dedicated to the coordination of global IT activities at Bosch, says the company. Around 2,000 of the operating unit’s 7,500 associates work at the state-of-the-art campus, which is set to further accelerate Bosch’s transformation process into an IoT company.
“Web-enabled products and data-based services are making an ever stronger contribution to our growth. Accordingly, the role our IT plays is also changing. In the past, the unit’s main focus was on expanding Bosch’s global IT infrastructure, supporting users and providing PCs and monitors. But today its tasks increasingly include promoting the advancement of innovative IT and software solutions,” said Prof. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, deputy chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, who is also responsible for IT. “The campus is our new central hub for the development of digital business models. It combines the best of both worlds: the products and experience of a technology company that has been an established presence for decades, and the dynamism of a young IT company. The new campus is also a further clear sign of our commitment to Stuttgart.”
Transforming IT at Bosch: faster projects, shorter time to market
“Our IT is going from cost factor to core competence. It is becoming part of the product and its accompanying services,” said Dr. Elmar Pritsch, chief information officer and head of IT at Robert Bosch GmbH.
The company has set itself the goal of making every new electronic product connected and developing related services by 2020. To make it even easier to achieve this goal, every business sector will place its digital activities in the hands of a business chief digital officer in the future, who will work with his or her partner in IT at Bosch to launch new innovation projects that will subsequently be implemented by globally networked teams. The close relationship between IT and specialist departments will help further accelerate the development of data-based business models and reduce time to market.
Campus motto: customer, team, and associate focus
The architecture and equipment at the IT campus reflect a clear focus on customers, teams and associates.
“Everything is focused on developing the best solutions for our customers. This requires our campus associates to have access to an inspiring work environment, IT-specific facilities and methodologies and state-of-the-art hardware and software,” said Pritsch. “The campus also provides new associates with a highly attractive working environment. In my department alone, we have filled some 500 positions in recent months, many of them at the new center of competence.”
An inspiring work environment
The five-story building with its striking curved glass facade was designed according to the inspiring working conditions (IWC) concept, which Bosch says has already proven its worth at other Bosch locations. As a result, the campus features open-plan offices with zones for teamwork and working alone, including creatively designed workshop rooms (with simulated jungle, beach or mountain environments), flexible group-work tables and traditional meeting and conference rooms. For tasks requiring concentration, a variety of focus and phone spaces have been set up in addition to the desks, which are not assigned to individual associates. The IWC concept also calls for exchange and relaxation zones, as indicated by the presence of lounges, quiet areas, and a light and airy cafeteria with live cooking.
IT-specific facilities and methodologies
The lobby of the campus makes it clear that the focus here is on bits and bytes: a big-screen display with facts and figures on IT at Bosch, along with 128 interactive mini-screens and exhibits, provide an insight into the innovative solutions that the IT and software experts are working on with colleagues from Bosch’s business sectors. Associates also can make use of a user experience (UX) studio for their projects. Using simple prototypes, the experts can work with customers and users at a very early stage of the project to evaluate whether the planned solution is a step in the right direction based on the design thinking innovation method, which is common in the IT world and involves understanding customer needs in creative and structured processes, quickly generating a large number of ideas and testing them directly with future users.
State-of-the-art hardware and software
At the new IT campus, Bosch has invested heavily in equipping workstations, which feature state-of-the-art equipment such as high-end laptops and smartphones, conferencing and desk-sharing tools such as Skype for Business, and the complete communication infrastructure for user-friendly teamwork across national borders, time zones and divisions. The IT space gives associates an opportunity to gain an overview of the entire range of hardware and software and get expert advice.