Krones India: so far away – but yet so near

Who actually knows the full extent of what the IT Department in India does?

Perhaps some of my colleagues have already called the IM Service Desk and received assistance from an Indian colleague. Or do you happen to have read an article by my Indian colleague Arpita on the blog and wondered why there’s such a large organisation in Bangalore?

Otherwise, many people, both inside and outside the company, have hitherto probably not known much about our Indian colleagues. Because I myself am very often in contact with our facility in Bangalore, I should like to answer a few questions. First of all: since when have Information Management Global Services India (IMGS (I)) been up and running, and how did it come about?

As part of Krones’ thrust for internationalisation, it was required in 2014 that the Service Desk (which looks after the IT landscape for Krones’ staff) should be reachable 24 hours a day from Monday to Friday, since we’re employing more and more staff in different time zones. To enable the entire service time to be covered, we opted for the follow-the-sun principle: i.e. several service desks are operated in different time zones. The incoming calls are, depending on the time of day, accepted at the appropriate facility. This gave rise to the idea of putting in place a Service Desk in India for the Asian time zone – in Bangalore.

First of all, suitable staff had to be found, and familiarised with our processes and systems. The newly hired employees were accordingly invited to a two-week training course in Neutraubling, one of whose goals was to render transparent the procedures and interrelationships they would encounter at Krones. Each employee of IMGS (I), moreover, was assigned a mentor from the IM Service Desk in Neutraubling, who after the training course was available as an initial contact person for the familiarisation phase to help with any questions and problems.
Meanwhile, our colleagues in India are so thoroughly familiar with our processes that initial familiarisation for new colleagues is handled directly in Bangalore, and training in Germany is no longer necessary.

January 2015 then saw the go-live of the IM Service Desk reachable worldwide round the clock. Since then, first our colleagues in India, then their counterparts in Neutraubling, and finally the American staff of Krones Inc. cover the various time zones each day, and can be contacted by telephone, email or the self-service portal for all inquiries by Krones staff.

But if you think that IMGS (I) consists only of the Service Desk team, you’re wrong. This was merely the pilot project, preparing the way for several other teams to be subsequently installed. Meanwhile, the organisation has more than 30 staff there, who work in seven different teams:

For instance, there’s the SAP Business One Team, which was set up shortly after the Service Desk. The team is responsible for launch support and assistance for the SAP Business One application at all the subsidiaries involved.

The Client Services team is responsible for packeting and testing approved software for all terminals at Krones. It also provides support for the operation of mobile terminal infrastructures (iPhones).

The SAP Development and Technology team deals with modifying the SAP software to our needs, working with the ABAP programming language, or Webdynpro, for example.

Then there’s the IT Operations team, whose remit covers support and maintenance work for server and middleware infrastructure.

The Digital Work team examines and establishes digital scenarios, thus helping to optimise internal business processes.
And last but not least, the Engineering team, which handles development and customisation of the Solid Edge software.

Meanwhile, IMGS India is a fixed constituent of information management at Krones. In order to not only familiarise our Indian colleagues with their remit, but also to integrate them appropriately, an impatriates programme has been created, for example, which has enabled seven Indian staff to live and work in Neutraubling, for twelve months in 2017/2018. Our Indian colleagues can thus work directly in the relevant teams and can take on board all the requisite requirements and tasks involved. Another advantage is that cultural understanding is fostered on both sides, with concomitant gains in staff bonding. Shared weekend outings by German and Indian staff are not uncommon, and help to improve collaboration.

So it’s hardly surprising that plans are in place to further increase staffing levels at IMGS by 2020, so as together to meet and master the challenges ahead. With the new office in Bangalore, recently inaugurated, the relevant preconditions are already in place.