DEGES: handling 22 billion worth of complex infrastructure projects

DEGES is a project management company for complex infrastructure projects, founded by the Federal Government and five German states in 1991. In recent years, more states have joined as stakeholders and customers.

DEGES plans transport routes (road, rail or waterway), coordinates, optimizes and manages the work of all external service providers (planners, architects, land purchasers, construction supervisors, construction companies and other service providers), maintains control over costs, plans and construction, handles invoicing and hands over the finished structure to the public clients according to the highest quality standards, within time and budget.

Today, 350 DEGES employees in Berlin headquarters, Bremen, Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt (Main) are responsible for the expansion and new construction of more than 2,300 km of federal highways with a contract volume of over € 22 billion.

Challenges and key requirements

The flood of documents was growing and the call for an online collaboration was getting louder.

With the increasing expansion of the scope of tasks and activities DEGES faced a new challenge. Facing this required a realignment of IT in the organization, the initial trigger for the introduction of a file sync and share solution.

“We needed a unified document exchange platform to organize collaboration across departments and with external parties.”

— Jens Düssel, Head of IT and Organization

The goal was to provide a unified, easy to use, efficient project collaboration platform that can be managed by the employees themselves. DEGES’s requirements included:

  • Facilitating collaboration and team work across organizational boundaries
  • Seamless cross-platform, on-the-go document access across mobile, desktop and web platforms
  • Easy user interface, excellent user experience
  • Allowing users to self-manage, relieving IT administrators
  • Unified access to documents irrespective of underlying storage technology
  • Protecting data security without disrupting collaboration

DEGES initially tested ownCloud and after experiencing a number of issues they decided to look for a new platform that fulfilled all their requirements. They wanted to migrate & integrate into the existing infrastructure and workflows. That is when the decision to move to Nextcloud was made: a promising project with a roadmap for deeper, more integrated collaboration and communication that fulfilled their requirements.

Nextcloud: The solution

“Ease of use and ability to self-manage were key for users and acceptance of Nextcloud solution was immediate and enthusiastic.”

The different teams developed their own working methods and information silos. The highly qualified engineers, lawyers and business process experts at DEGES work on various projects and exchange documents across locations through a forest of different tools. Nextcloud provided an opportunity to consolidate. What DEGES was provided with by Nextcloud was:

  • Nextcloud Enterprise File Sync and Share solution and Content Collaboration Platform
  • Open Source, self-hosted (on premises), zero-licensing cost, no-vendor-lock-in
  • Efficient and easy to use web, mobile and desktop interfaces
  • Nextcloud Enterprise Subscription providing services and support
  • Professional Services developing required features and integration capabilities

Nextcloud’s specialized engineering team assists customers with support when needed and together with our sales engineers they manage to plan the development of new features and integration capabilities requested by customers, without neglecting the current roadmap, within time. A number of professional services projects for DEGES have been executed and more are work in progress.

Professional services

A small security improvement

DEGES used the notification application from the command line and noticed that in the output of PS on Unix, the username and password were visible while the command was running. A change was made in Nextcloud to allow passing the username and password via environment variables, hiding them from the command line. The credentials can be set using the NOTIFY_USER and NOTIFY_PASSWORD environment variables.

Bringing Deck forward

At DEGES the functionality of Deck app for Nextcloud were appreciated by the employees. The Deck app is a ‘kanban-style’ task management app. To improve the collaboration, DEGES requested the creation of activities and comment for the cards in Deck boards.

  • Activities for cards: creates events for activities inside deck. These contain information on the user who initiated the action, the time and details about what has been changed and adds a list of activities to the card sidebar
  • Comments for cards: users are able to add comments to a card’s sidebar, mention their colleagues and see an indicator for unread comments.

The work on this project was managed while several other projects are already being started for DEGES, including more sidebar features that will enhance sharing & monitoring capabilities for large projects.

Learn more

Read the full case study to learn more about the initial reasons that made DEGES look for an EFSS solution, the issues encountered while using ownCloud, why Nextcloud was a better solution, how the migration went and infrastructure decisions. Check here to find more whitepapers and case studies for a deep insight in what Nextcloud has to offer in your industry.

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