People Story

Tearing down walls and working together to drive innovation

Anyone who has worked in a larger company has seen it at some point: the silo mentality. Teams and departments think and act for themselves and avoid exchanging ideas across organizational boundaries. The result: walls. Walls between business and IT, and between R&D and operations. Progress and innovation? Difficult. At Rohde & Schwarz we understand the importance of boundary-free collaboration for the satisfaction of our employees and the sustainable growth of our company. So to consciously promote cross-functional collaboration, we took action to develop a strategic program and have established seed.

Digital Transformation at Rohde & Schwarz

Expanded offerings thanks to digital products

seed is our answer to the increasing digitization of products and services in the world. As a strategic program, it supports the digital transformation at Rohde & Schwarz and brings together people who join forces to develop state-of-the-art products. By supporting the process of finding budgets and resources, this program operates, in a sense, as an enabler within the company. Another factor with a big impact on moving our projects forward: the digital platforms created as a result of seed. That's because without digital infrastructure, it is impossible to create new digital products. One example is the R&S Cloud, created by – among other people – our cloud architect Josef Meier.

Simplifying the exchange of technological ideas

"The R&S Cloud is a technology ecosystem that enables us to develop our own applications quickly and make them available to internal or external customers," says Josef Meier. The cloud’s usability is not limited to specific locations, which is why it serves as a point of entry for all Rohde & Schwarz developers worldwide. By using uniform technology standards such as Kubernetes and Docker containers, the R&S Cloud facilitates better technological cooperation between departments, enables new employees to get started quickly, and provides our customers with immediate cloud based access to our products. And this standardization of the technology stack has another advantage: "Departments are suddenly sharing the results of their work, unlike in the past where technological hurdles between programming languages or frameworks got in the way. And in the end, this promotes our corporate culture," says Josef Meier with a smile.

Exchanging ideas

“It's essential to have support and the freedom to work through issues”, says Cloud architect Josef Meier (on the right).

Boundary-free collaboration

seed regularly organizes hackathons that help share ideas across organizational boundaries.

Always moving forward

However, the development of the R&S Cloud does not mean that the work is done. New solutions in the world of cloud technologies are sprouting up practically on a weekly basis. To stay on top of the latest developments and offer our colleagues the best possible service, the digital platform needs to keep developing and improving. That takes a lot of time and knowledge. Because Josef Meier doesn't want to implement every supposedly innovative tool that comes along: "A holistic approach is very important to us. That means that we curate new approaches before training our colleagues to use them." Josef Meier and his team spot new ideas in the feedback they get from R&S Cloud users, but also through their proactive technology scouting in meetups and blogs.

First products created

The first commercial digital products developed under our seed strategic program have since been launched. One of them is R&S Cloud4Testing, the company's first "software as a service" offering in the test and measurement segment. The underlying idea: providing employees with easy access to T&M and analysis software by Rohde & Schwarz so they can use it regardless of their location. Josef Meier's cloud service also plays an essential role in the implementation process, as product owner Sascha Laumann explains: "The R&S Cloud is the fuel for R&S Cloud4Testing. Without it, we couldn't make this product available to our customers." Our software developers are also thrilled with the conditions created by seed for the development of digital products and services. "With seed, our communication pathways are now shorter. For example, if we have problems with the R&S Cloud, we have somebody from Josef Meier's team on the line in no time to deal with the situation," says Michael Hutterer, cloud solution architect of R&S Cloud4Testing.

Openness as the key to collaboration

Along with the generous input and conditions generated by the seed program, one factor is decisive: the openness and willingness of the employees to embrace the idea of collaboration. "I love this let's-tackle-this-together attitude at Rohde & Schwarz," says product owner Sascha Laumann. Josef Meier also appreciates how quickly a Rohde & Schwarz employee with a good idea can find enthusiastic supporters. Why is that so important? "It's essential to have support and the freedom to work through issues. Because in my view, if the culture doesn't fit, innovation will not take place either," he says. So in the end, it's all interconnected: our trust in the employees, the necessary freedom to be creative, and the openness to cross-departmental collaboration. On that basis, we can then create new products and services, all of which are supported by people who want to work together to shape the future – and it's goodbye to the silos!

Facts and figures about seed