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Carve-Out and transition of the Gemini Rail Group

A real blueprint for digatus – an order on which we were able to demonstrate our skills as a full-service IT service provider: the complete carve-out of a future SME company! The scope included the project management and execution of the IT carve-out in relation to the entire infrastructure, the non-SAP applications and the SAP system as a split copy from a corporation, as well as the gradual transition to digatus operation at our Augsburg data centre. With this full-service separation and transition in a short space of time, it was crucial to act quickly and in a structured manner, implement solutions tailored to the needs of the target as a future independent SME and to keep the three parties on the project team on the same track. Together with our SAP partner firms aplicado GmbH and Trigon Consulting GmbH & Co. KG, we were able to manage this project successfully.

Customer: Gemini Rail Group, formerly Knorr-Bremse RailServices UK

In November 2018, the shareholding company Mutares AG bought the UK RailServices division of Knorr-Bremse AG. The division had three sites in the UK and employed around 700 people. The Group, which has since been renamed the Gemini Rail Group, specialises in the delivery of maintenance services for components and vehicles for owners of rail vehicles and railway operating companies in the UK and Ireland.

Situation and challenges

In August 2018, the non-SAP carve-out got underway with the aim of achieving the change of control after three months and concluding the sale of Knorr-Bremse RailServices UK to Mutares in November 2018.
Within this short timeframe – which also occurred during the holiday season, which caused staffing bottlenecks for all of the parties involved with the project – the plan was to separate and re-establish part of the group as a separate legal entity with two locations and 350 IT users, and to gradually transfer its services to digatus for operation. Downstream from this, the SAP system of the already renamed Gemini Rail Group was going live in February 2019.
In addition to the sheer number of tasks involved with a project of this size, there were also legal challenges: given the uncertainty around Brexit, service agreements needed to be re-drafted and established according to the applicable German law.

Solution

Based on the results of an analysis from an intensive baselining phase at the start of the project on site, digatus created a concept for the future modern and efficient IT landscape, tailored to client’s needs and budget.
A special challenge turned out to be some legacy applications that were a little outdated and could only be moved with the support of the corresponding developers. During the course of the re-establishment process, all IT users were given clients (notebooks, etc.) with a new Windows 10 image, as well as a modern telephony and conferencing solution based on Skype4Business. The client roll-out occurred through a staged approach, with the digatus team on site supporting users with the set-up and changeover. Once again, we were reminded of the importance and added value of clear project communication when it came to supporting employees of the target company during the change process.
For the migration of the SAP system, our partner firm aplicado GmbH chose the System Copy method and a HANA database migration: a copy of the Knorr-Bremse SAP system was migrated to the digatus data centre, which had previously been scrubbed of all data that did not belong to the data inventory of the purchased entities. To guarantee maximum performance, the database was also simultaneously migrated from DB2 to SAP HANA. Following the set-up of the archive and the required interfaces, the migration of the master and movement data that Gemini required took place as part of the go-live.

“Thanks to outstanding IT expertise, professional partner firms in the SAP environment and real dedication from its project team, digatus has successfully managed to realise the carve-out and transition in the time available and to create a modern, efficient IT system tailored to the needs of an SME company. With the successful completion of this project, we are pleased to have gained a reliable IT provider and project partner at our side.”

Jürgen Ziegler – Principal Mutares AG

Customer benefits

The Gemini Rail Group has now been carved out of the structures of the former parent group and is operating as an independent company. The IT infrastructure and equipment was modernised during the transition process and the SAP processes were aligned with the needs of the new, agile SME firm. digatus, as the new service provider, guarantees reliable and cost-effective IT operation with dependable support and compliance with agreed response times.

Christoph Pscherer

Christoph Pscherer
He has been working in the IT environment for almost 20 years, gaining experience in a wide variety of roles and areas. Through his years of experience as a service manager, he knows the challenges and needs on the customer side. He has been applying this deep understanding and knowledge at digatus for over two years. As a project manager, his main focus is on IT M&A, where he mainly manages carve-out projects.

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