Customer Story

Koenig & Bauer: Staying innovative by making knowledge and idea sharing easy with Google Workspace

König & Bauer operational facility

Koenig & Bauer, the world’s oldest printing press manufacturer and a renowned pioneer in its industry, has adopted Google Workspace to help global teams collaborate closely and remain innovative.

Google Cloud results

4K+ staff now collaborate from anywhere, on any device

• Supports efficient information sharing even remotely, with real-time capabilities on Docs
• Employees can collaborate closely, even during COVID-19, without spending time and money on the road, with Google Meet
• Unites global teams and subsidiaries with standardized corporate Gmail accounts and document-sharing practices on Drive
• Helps to save costs with managed services and by eliminating the need for multiple tools and licenses

“A heterogeneous infrastructure makes collaboration more challenging. Google Workspace helps us to standardize our communication practices and integrate all our different teams from different places in the cloud using just a web browser.” —Andreas Murr, Senior Manager for IT Services & Operations, Koenig & Bauer

Look around you and you’ll likely find something that came out of a printing press: if not a newspaper or magazine, then perhaps the wrapping paper holding your next snack, or the packaging of your latest online purchase. Also highly likely is that the technology used to print it was invented by Koenig & Bauer, the world’s oldest press manufacturer and responsible for many world firsts in its industry. “We’re a 203-year-old company with innovation imprinted in our DNA,” says Jürgen Tuffentsammer, CIO at Koenig & Bauer.

Founded in 1817, the company was the first to ever print a newspaper on a steam-driven machine and manufactured the world’s first convertible perfecting press (which prints both sides of a sheet of paper). The company also brought the first ever four-color sheetfed offset press to the world (using the four-color plates still used in offset printing today: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) and the first multicolor intaglio press for printing banknotes, to name a few technologies. Today, Koenig & Bauer’s portfolio also includes equipment for printing on glass and metal and solutions to address the needs of a wide range of international customers, even banknote printing. All 5,800 employees across the company’s headquarters in Würzburg, Germany, and several factories and subsidiaries around the world, are united by one mission: to continually innovate and develop its products in order to support its customers with high-quality, high-performing printing solutions that exceed expectations and address their specific needs.

Looking ahead, Koenig & Bauer wants to reflect its innovative DNA not only in its products but in all areas of the business, from how it supports its customers to how employees interact with each other. “The construction of printing presses requires extreme precision. Here, we have always set standards in the industry. Koenig & Bauer is also renowned for its customer focus. What sets us apart is how proactive we are in helping our customers to make the most of our products so they can be more successful in their own businesses. To do that and keep our innovative spirit going, we needed better tools for communicating, sharing ideas, and working closely across factories, offices, and subsidiaries everyday,” Jürgen explains. “For example, many teams that were relying on email to exchange information had the eventual problem of accidentally leaving team members out of the loop, which hinders collaboration, or getting different versions of documents mixed up, which delays reviews, approvals, and processes,” he explains. “Ideas and knowledge-sharing are key for keeping innovation going, and should happen hassle free. Our previous processes were not supporting our dynamic approach to work.” Looking for a solution, the company turned to Google Cloud in March 2019 to learn about the collaboration and productivity solutions of Google Workspace.

Using cloud-based tools to stay innovate and united

“We’ve always been there to support our customers and show them how to make the most of their new machines. Google Meet made it possible for us to continue doing that during lockdown.” —Jürgen Tuffentsammer, CIO, Koenig & Bauer

“We have teams working from many different locations across our factories and subsidiaries, and collaborating closely with them used to require a lot of traveling, which is costly and time consuming. We were very eager to decrease all this back-and-forth on the road,” says Jürgen.

To tackle this problem, Koenig & Bauer had purchased conferencing equipment and set it up for all its conference rooms, so that employees could use it to join meetings online. However, the hardware supported specific video-conferencing solutions that were not integrated with the rest of the company’s technology stack, requiring employees to log in to separate systems to join meetings or access email, for example, which became tedious, as not all employees found it easy to do.

“It was a problem, because we wanted our processes to be faster, easy to implement, and smooth, and that wasn’t really happening,” he shares. “On the bright side, we weren’t married to any technological stack, so we were free to decide how we wanted to solve the problem. That’s when we started exploring the market and landed upon Google Workspace,” he recalls. “After just a few hours of looking at how Google Workspace works, how it enables real-time collaboration, and doesn’t require any additional hardware, we realized the potential of the solution for our business. After an in-depth evaluation phase, we came to the conclusion that it was exactly what we were looking for.”

Andreas Murr, Senior Manager for IT Services and Operations at Koenig & Bauer, was closely involved in the process of looking for the right tools to increase collaboration across the company and bring its vision of innovation to life also within the workplace. “We learned about Google Workspace and what it could do for us during our first ever meeting with the Google Cloud team, alongside our digitalization partner Wabion,” he says. “We were very impressed,” he recalls. “A heterogeneous infrastructure makes collaboration more challenging. Google Workspace helps us to standardize our communication practices and integrate all our different teams from different places in the cloud using just a web browser,” says Andreas.

To set the implementation in motion, Koenig & Bauer and Wabion considered how different users across the company might welcome the change, as it was crucial for Koenig & Bauer that managers use this momentum to innovate work practices, not just change their work tools. “Change management is very important for us because this migration project is all about innovation, not just when it comes to technology but in terms of adopting new behaviors, habits, and approaches to working collaboratively as a team. To make this possible, we wanted to ensure that users learn how to make the most of their new tools and feel comfortable enough to use them for innovation, rather than continue doing things the same way they’ve always done,” Jürgen explains.

After careful planning and consultations with partner Wabion to ensure that end users across the organization were appropriately supported and prepared for the change, Koenig & Bauer embarked on a company-wide migration journey to Google Workspace.

By October 2019, an early adopter phase, which entailed migrating 400 users across different business units, was well underway, and in January 2020, the solution went live for two-thirds of all global employees. “We had planned for a ‘hyper-care’ phase of three to four weeks after going live globally, with extra technical support available just in case we had any problems with the migration. But we had such a smooth transition that after only one and a half weeks we were in full swing and the hyper-care phase was over,” Andreas recalls. By July 2020, the migration was 90% complete, with 4,300 Koenig & Bauer employees using Google Workspace. More are still being onboarded as the company works to extend the solutions to even the smallest of its international subsidiaries so that all employees can benefit from the cloud-based tools.

Using managed services to stay focused on customers

“With Google Workspace, we’re equipped to collaborate closely across different offices without spending hours on the road and to stay connected with our customers regardless of physical distance. We’ve innovated the way we work.” —Jürgen Tuffentsammer, CIO, Koenig & Bauer

Some of the benefits of the migration were clear after just a few weeks of going live, Andreas recalls. “Google Workspace has made it easy to ensure everyone is accessing up-to-date documents on Drive,” he shares. “But one of the greatest advantages is being able to rely on Google Cloud-managed services to enforce cybersecurity and support all teams across the world with access rights,” he shares, explaining that this is something that Koenig & Bauer’s IT department based in Würzburg used to be responsible for.

“When we were considering what this migration might mean in terms of cybersecurity, we quickly realized that by using Google Workspace, we would benefit from the protections that Google Cloud built and uses itself. The Google Cloud team was very supportive and had clear and informative answers to all the questions our security officer had, which was very reassuring,” he adds. “Having Google Cloud take care of maintenance and security also means that we’re eliminating external costs such as different email servers and licenses or external contractors needed occasionally to support our subsidiaries.”

Koenig & Bauer’s global go-live date in January 2020 was timely. Only two months later, the company had to adopt the lockdown measures brought to the world by COVID-19. With Google Workspace just recently implemented, employees at Koenig & Bauer quickly started using their new tools to adjust to working from home. “The state of the world meant that many employees had to just learn by doing: we had to quickly make the most of Google Workspace to maintain business continuity and stay connected from home, using our personal devices in some instances,” he recalls. “And we’re happy that we were able to achieve this. Our focus on enabling dynamic work really turned out to be a great advantage.”

The company also quickly started using Google Workspace to remain connected with its customers during business-critical processes, such as when customers accept a machine that they recently bought, or when they want to test one before purchase.

“We’ve always been there to support our customers and show them how to make the most of their new machines. Google Meet made it possible for us to continue doing that during lockdown,” Jürgen shares. “With Google Workspace, we’ve done things that we never thought possible just a year ago, like demonstrating a product via videoconferencing and signing a new contract like that, all virtually,” he explains.

“The major thing about Google Workspace is that it just works. We’ve had meetings using Google Meet with more than 100 participants and experienced no quality issues whatsoever. It’s reliable and easy to use. Thanks to it, our people have remained connected even during lockdown,” Andreas adds.

Ready to continue innovating, whatever the circumstances

With the migration almost complete, Jürgen and Andreas share the opinion that their workplace culture won’t go back to the way it was before 2020 and that this is a positive thing in many respects. “With Google Workspace, we’re equipped to collaborate closely across different offices without spending hours on the road, and to stay connected with our customers regardless of physical distance. We’ve innovated the way we work,” says Jürgen. “Next, we’re looking at how we can use Google Cloud in combination with our SAP systems to modernize our infrastructure with a hybrid, flexible environment. Exciting times ahead.”

*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.

Google Cloud Premier Partner

Wabion

Wabion is a leading Google Cloud Premier Partner based in Germany and Switzerland, helping organizations adopt cloud-based tools to improve work practices.