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InnovateIT: Cover Story 1st Issue (March 2012)

Enabling Business Success in a Connected World

03/01/2012 -

Shaping the future – that is the objective with which Bosch Software Innovations and inubit are operating together in the market. In the following interview, Dr. Heinz Derenbach, President of Bosch Software Innovations GmbH, and Michael Hahn, Chairman of the Executive Board of inubit AG, talk about the status quo of their cooperation and their common vision of a connected world.

What does Bosch Software Innovations stand for?

Heinz Derenbach: Bosch Software Innovations is the software and systems house of the Bosch Group. Our role includes acting as a trailblazer and innovator for pioneering, Internet-based applications. The Internet of Things and Services is a central topic, as is the implementation of business models based on it. We develop solutions that enable companies to tap into the world of the Internet of Things and Services and thus take advantage of new business opportunities.

How big is the company?

Heinz Derenbach: Bosch Software Innovations has roughly 450 employees – including our new colleagues at Berlin-based inubit AG, which has been a part of the Bosch Group since October 2011, as well as our regional companies in America and Asia. This means that in Germany we are present in Immenstaad / Lake Constance, and Waiblingen / Stuttgart as well as with inubit in Berlin. In the U.S. we are located in Chicago, Illinois, Palo Alto, California, and Vienna, Virginia (near Washington, D.C.), and in the Asian region in the city-state of Singapore. Over the next three years, we are planning to expand our company to more than 1,000 employees and establish additional locations.

How did the takeover of inubit AG come about?

Michael Hahn: In the 12 years since it was founded, inubit underwent a great deal of further development and established itself in the market as the leading provider in the area of Business Process Management (BPM). Founded as a start-up in Berlin in 1999, inubit now has more than 450 satisfied customers primarily in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, as well as a few customers in the rest of Europe and in the Middle East. In order to further internationalize in a timely manner, we proactively sought a strong partner – and found one in Bosch.

Even before the takeover, we worked together with Bosch Software Innovations on projects and found that the two companies and their respective product portfolios fit together well from a strategic standpoint: Both core products – inubit Suite for BPM and Visual Rules for Business Rules Management (BRM), i.e., the rulesbased control of business processes – complement each other extremely well. The combination of both core competencies means enormous benefits not just for us, but also for our customers.

Heinz Derenbach: I can also add here that inubit’s BPM technology will greatly strengthen Bosch in developing the business field of the Internet of Things and Services. The inubit products and solutions afford us the best possible conditions for linking the core processes in enterprises with Internet-based business models.

What effects does the takeover have on inubit’s presence on the market?

Michael Hahn: From a legal perspective, inubit AG is currently an independent company that is a 100% subsidiary of the Bosch Group. In order to be able to make use of the synergies between Bosch Software Innovations and inubit over the long term, we are seeking to merge the companies. As soon as this merger occurs, we will then operate in the market with our new colleagues as “Bosch Software Innovations.” Our portfolio and service spectrum will of course remain in its entirety or will even be expanded. In this context we have decided that in the future we will use “inubit” as the umbrella brand for all core products of Bosch Software Innovations.

What are the planned steps for merging the companies?

Heinz Derenbach: Since the inubit takeover in October 2011, we’ve already made a lot happen. Many projects and the constructive cooperation in the context of PMI (post-merger integration) show that the employees of both companies are extremely committed to defining and shaping their common future as a team effort. What matters most to us is keeping the best of both companies, thereby laying the foundation for our successful future together. The first major presence at CeBIT, the expansion of the inubit Training Center in Berlin into the future training center of Bosch Software Innovations, or the combined use of the core products for our roadmap – the successful implementation of all these items was or is only possible because both sides were actively involved. The actual merger is then just a legal step.

Up until now inubit relied heavily on partners in the market – will that be changing as part of the joint strategy?

Michael Hahn: We are happy to report that little will change for us and our partners in this regard. In recent weeks we worked together to develop a partner model that is very close to what already exists at inubit. Our partners can thus implement projects on the basis of our technology as was previously the case – but now with additional products and solutions, along with the backing of the strong brand of Bosch.

What is the vision behind the Internet of Things and Services?

Heinz Derenbach: Our vision is a future in which many things in our everyday lives will be intelligently networked with each other. To bring this about, we at Bosch Software Innovations will actively bring the physical and digital worlds together.

Our cloud-based Internet Application Platform (IAP), which now also includes the inubit Suite, will serve as the core of intelligent building technology, just as it is also the core of tailored system solutions in the area of electromobility, to name just two examples. The open platform connects all necessary systems, devices, and services. Mobile devices and browsers offer access to the services and higher-level functions.

So the Internet is the key to the future?

Michael Hahn: Indeed, because the Internet developed at a very fast pace – and many of its possibilities are only now becoming apparent. Initially used for connecting documents, then further developed for connecting companies and the social networks that were made possible by the establishment of Internet platforms, the new generation of the Internet – also known as Web 3.0 – is now waiting in the wings. As aptly described by Heinz Derenbach, Web 3.0 is about connecting the physical world, i.e., the world of devices, with the digital world of processes, rules and data in order to bring about new business models.

Heinz Derenbach: And we at Bosch Software Innovations are now taking on the fascinating task of making the added value arising from intelligent networking easily accessible to our current and future customers. We see ourselves as the technical trailblazers and service providers as well as the development consultants for new business models. That’s because not everything that can be done is also actually useful, and a lot that is useful demands special care in regard to error tolerance, safety and the sphere of personal privacy. I ultimately see Web 3.0 technologies as a chance to increase people’s quality of life through innovative solutions. That’s how we provide our customers with clear competitive advantages in their business fields.

What does that specifically mean for the portfolio of products and services?

Heinz Derenbach: Our business activities are geared toward the marketing of software products at the technological forefront, ambitious customer projects and innovative cloud services. Today and in the future, we offer a powerful product, solution and service portfolio for supporting customers in the implementation of their business models. This offer is based on our software products already successfully established on the market in the fields of Business Process Management, Business Rules Management and Business Data Management (BDM) as well as in Device and Infrastructure Management, which can be used to connect and register devices with the central platform quickly and easily. We’ve already proven how well the Device and Infrastructure Management can perform in initial pilot projects, such as for the eMobility solution. Based on these products, we develop standardized industry and process solutions that address the requirements of individual industries or core processes in enterprises, such as our established solutions for banks, financial service providers and industrial companies.

Under the slogan of “Enabling Business Success in a Connected World,” the offerings are rounded out by innovative cloud services in the areas of Connected Enterprise, Connected Mobility, Connected Energy Management, Connected City, and Connected Industry.

What new business fields present themselves as a results of this development?

Heinz Derenbach: As previously mentioned, we are working on expanding the business mission of Bosch Software Innovations beyond the established business systems. We have already had our first successes here, such as the development of the eMobility ecosystem for the city-state of Singapore. A new eMobility starter package was developed especially for companies. We are also represented with our expertise in national and international grant-supported projects and standardization boards. In the area of intelligent energy networks and automation technology, we are also active in the markets and have identified suitable application scenarios for our systems and technologies.

What we are mainly concerned about is addressing the core processes of our customers. To do this, we provide them with the right technologies and a thorough understanding of the subject area at the right point in time. This means that all products and solutions we offer correlate to the customers’ business models.

Both companies have been known as BPM or BRM providers up to this point. How can the transformation to a solution supplier in the field of the Internet of Things and the Internet of Services be accomplished?

Michael Hahn: The Bosch Technology Group operates internationally in the areas of vehicle and industrial technology as well as consumer goods and building technology. With Bosch Software Innovations and inubit, tremendous synergies are created from the competencies of the Bosch corporate divisions with the expertise in regard to process-oriented and rule-based applications as well as modern highly distributed software architectures.

With rule and process management technology, we can integrate the expert and industry-specific know-how of our customers into our domain-independent platforms and system components. We are able to very quickly develop powerful and reliable applications for a variety of application areas.

And what specific benefits do the customers gain?

Heinz Derenbach: We have a reputation around the world as an innovative and fair partner with a great deal of technological expertise. We not only use the concepts mentioned in order to implement software projects for and with our customers. They are also a part of all our tools and platforms that we can put into the hands of our customers and partners so that they can create applications themselves.

In addition to the most common license models, in the future will be increasing our reliance on business models like software-as-a-service, such as for process and rule modeling via web browser, and system-as-a-service, in which we provide our customers and their partners with end user services for their specific use around the clock. That supports us in our endeavor to provide customers throughout the world with enough reasons to partner with us over the long term.

Enabling Business Success in a Connected World