umlaut's contribution to the modernisation of German agencies
umlaut supports the next step of digital administration and technical infrastructure towards more sovereignty and resilience
A new government in Berlin, an ongoing pandemic, and a war in Europe's east. What are you worrying about right now?
Kai Rotermundt: About the secure communications of federal authorities. Concerning availability, confidentiality, and integrity, there is a risk of IT attacks, especially since the geopolitical crisis. Let's think about the Corona pandemic: employees of the authorities also worked from their home offices during this time and needed secure access to IT systems. We are helping federal and state government agencies to modernise to meet current as well as future challenges. Michele Bonomo: The data centres of the federal authorities and the services they provide are being consolidated on a sustainable basis. This means we are directly involved in one of the largest IT modernisation projects in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.
You are ICT consultants, steering information and communications technology for the public sector. What does it mean?
Michele Bonomo: We have end-to-end experience across the entire value chain. In the Plan, Build and Run phases, we offer customers the services that are a right fit for them. We contribute with the assessment of demands and requirements management, design and development of the information architecture, and prepare the tender documents. We then evaluate the bids from the industry and support the implementation at the customer's site, for instance in the form of roll-out management and transfer to regular operation.
When do you know that you are doing your job well?
Kai Rotermundt: When the customer achieves his goals through our support. This works particularly well when we start early in the customer’s project. Identifying the exact requirements together with the customer enables the final success.
Were there any learnings?
Kai Rotermundt: Yes, we have learned a lot. For us, working for public clients began in 2004 with supporting the former federal state project group. The project involved the invitation to tender for a new nationwide mobile communications network to be procured for security authorities. In the federal structure with 16 states and the federal government, this requires careful and precise coordination.
Michele Bonomo: This network is now the fourth nationwide digital mobile communications network in Germany. The demands on network quality and availability are much higher here than for private use.
2004 was almost 20 years ago. Isn't the technology of that time already long outdated?
Michele Bonomo: The technology that was introduced is still the basis for voice communications and is being modernised and developed in parallel for broadband applications. For example, users require more capacity for live video streaming. In this environment, we provide support with classic and agile project management as well as the contracting know-how of almost 20 years.
Has your team become a government agency itself in the meantime?
Kai Rotermundt: (laughs) Through our many projects for a wide variety of public-sector clients, we have developed a deep understanding of official actions and legal requirements. This makes it easier for us to provide best fitting services for our customers, including a framework agreement for procurement support that we were awarded in 2018. The customers here are supreme federal authorities, predominantly in Berlin and Bonn. So far, we have collected over 18,000 requirements in this framework contract, supported over 40 customers in almost 100 projects with procurement management, often including testing and engineering services.
Michele Bonomo: We can only do all of this with our currently 70 team members, who all provide individual knowledge and experience : The desire to make a significant contribution to advancing digitisation in Germany. Our highly motivated team members are the most valuable part of our company, which is why flexible working models and personal development opportunities are in our focus. I joined umlaut as a working student - and now I am a team leader myself.
Are there any tasks that you prefer to keep your hands off?
Kai Rotermundt: Our team has a very wide range of skills and experience. We only work on projects in which we have the "best fit" of the required skills and resources. We are always looking for additional experts to join our team to ensure continuous development.