The customer hero
Growth, innovation and an integrated architecture
The Dürr Group consists of the three brands Dürr, Schenck and HOMAG, as well as five global divisions. It serves a variety of customers in different industries, including automotive manufacturers and suppliers, woodworking companies, machine manufacturers, chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Since the company was founded in 1896, Dürr has grown steadily and substantially. In 2021, Dürr acquired Teamtechnik, an automation specialist.
The company's consistent expansion is coupled with a digitalization strategy that has made the Dürr Group an innovation leader in Industry 4.0. Dürr is driving its software expertise with innovative digital technologies to enable the introduction of new IoT business models and sharing between the Dürr Group brands.
Dürr’s growth and innovation offensive paired with its heterogeneous customer structure has resulted in complexity, especially in its own IT. Many different integration solutions and a hybrid application landscape shape the Group’s IT infrastructure. Dürr recognized the need to act here—particularly since the company aims to implement its OneDürrGroup strategy across all locations and divisions, which naturally impacts its own IT. A challenge that is right up Software AG's alley, and a perfect one for the webMethods open integration platform.
"With new projects, providers often bring their own integration solution,” explains Peter Frölich, Manager IT Enterprise Architecture at Dürr IT Service GmbH. “We asked ourselves as a company whether we want to continue dealing with these different solutions, or if we would rather focus on one single integration platform."
The diverse range of solutions—on-premises, Integration-Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) and Software-as-a-Service—means more cost and effort and requires more expertise in different technologies, as well as a mass of redundant interfaces. According to the company's thinking, an integrated architecture could achieve enormous streamlining in the HR landscape alone.
The company decided to steer a middle course when it came to the integration strategy, choosing webMethods from Software AG as the leading integration platform in addition to SAP PO and the Microsoft® Azure® Service Bus Integration.
“This solution can handle the challenges that arise from isolated solutions in business operations, and that is exactly what we need,” Frölich said. The fact that webMethods developers are available in the Indian labor market also contributed to the decision for Software AG, because Dürr will need to add IT personnel over the long term.
Above all, the solution has a unique selling point that delivers an important building block in the Dürr Group’s innovation path. As a supplement to the cloud, the software not only simplifies complex problems, connects hybrid application landscapes and builds a bridge between internal and external communication, it can also connect innovative services via an API portal. "Software AG brought the right supplement at the right time with webMethods.io, because cloud integration was right at the top of our to-do list," Frölich said.
All new projects will be integrated through the platform, which provides a fast and smooth basis for integration. Software providers who can bring APIs are clearly at an advantage.
HOMAG, a Dürr Group company, has already implemented an integration for its TAPIO app in the IoT sector. This transmits data from the backend CRM system to the app online. The relevance of this integration can be derived from the 1,358 transactions currently logged each week. APIs will gradually be introduced as the basis for new digital customer services.
But that's just the beginning of the transformation. Across the Group, the goal is to test the new architecture strategy and bring along the different areas of the company. “We want to gather up our people and trigger a rethinking process. We’re working hard on that right now," Frölich said.
The task is complex with regard to implementing the integration through the software and also because of years of implementing interfaces that need to be changed. The integration team launched a workshop series to clarify specific questions about this challenge for all of the different divisions.
The platform’s advantages became crystal clear in project workshops—for example, when planning the new CRM solution’s target architecture. That solution serves approximately 100,000 customers worldwide with Salesforce®, the four SAP systems and several CRM applications. Even skeptics realized that it wouldn't work without middleware like webMethods.
Other One projects will soon follow in the finance area (OneFinance), supplier relationship management (OneSRM), human capital (OneHCM) and project management. Frölich is calmly looking forward to these and other future integration projects as part of the transformation. "Because we have a strategy and the right product at hand to meet every requirement," he said. And he is confident that the collaboration with Software AG will continue going in the right direction—namely toward centralized API management for the entire company.
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