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Interview with Martin Kaloudis, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of BWI GmbH

ES & T: The BWI had come under fire earlier this year. How would you describe the former and present condition?

Kaloudis: Before I joined as CEO in April 2019 there was media criticism primarily on the liquidity status of the BWI. Here, however, it should be noted that the former reporting was not always appropriate in the media. The BWI has never been illiquid, and there is also a federal society hardly a conceivable scenario in which such a situation could occur. After all, gives us the Federal Republic of Germany intensively from. The scenario that have provoked the media was so constructed and definitely not appropriate.

Since April 1, 2019 Martin Kaloudis Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of BWI GmbH. (Photos: BWI)

Especially in 2017 and some of it was for BWI but new: From a BWI-performance composite with two companies became a company as in-house company of the federal government. And a large company such as the BWI is never the end of their optimization, there is always screws, can be achieved through which improvements. In this respect, there have been, of course, the adjustments and rework. To give an example: Each of the two GmbH had its own SAP system. These two SAP systems first had to be merged. And anyone who has ever introduced a accounting IT, knows what a huge undertaking this. It just takes time until you finally have a unified system landscape for a solid evaluation provides the necessary foundation. In this respect, the BWI has some customization work going on since the start-up phase as in-house company today. However, this process began long before I took office, so we can complete it as far as possible this year. This has created a strong foundation for the future development of society. This is partly succeeded because the CPI is composed of a great team. So much motivation and highest level of expertise coupled with a tremendous loyalty to the company, but also to the customers you rarely find in the market.

ES & T: How would you describe the new structure and orientation?

Kaloudis: We as management are indeed a completely new management team since April 2019. And we are vital to the company on a new footing, focused on the future. Because our future task spectrum will look quite different from today's. We are on a growth path and clearly take on more tasks in the future for our customers. To be prepared for this, we have enacted the BWI transformation along the three storylines "structure", "strategy" and "culture."

In the field of "structure" we have established a new operational and organizational structure that is aligned completely customer-oriented. Not only on the sales side, but also in production, we serve our key customers in their own organizational units. Here, our particular focus is on the Bundeswehr and their needs. we have taken in August 2019 this structure. For a company with nearly 5,000 employees a real Herculean task.

The second major pillar we currently writing new business strategy, of course, in agreement with our owners and their strategy. In the new corporate strategy, we are focusing on our future tasks. Very clear and down to earth. And we set the target landscape of BWI new. To give an example: The BWI has so far not subjects in their social commitment target system or CO2-Klimaziele. However, we are sure that if our children's generation, the Millennials will find us attractive as an employer, we have to align ourselves clearly along important social issues. This includes for example the fact that we produce carbon neutral. The fact that we operate with digitization and environmental toprelevante two political issues, us is very important.

In our current process of change we must and will take nearly five thousand colleagues and soldiers. That is why we have launched a cultural initiative, describing the principles of our cooperation in the future and to make comprehensible. For the employees of the BWI should move in a professional environment in which they not only feel good, but promotes their performance optimal.

ES & T: What does the new model called the BWI?

Kaloudis: Mission is not quite the right term; in strategy development we talk about vision and mission statement. The vision of the BWI is: "We provide the digital future of our country". Therefore, we stand on every morning and go to work. This helps and motivates us.

And how we want to ensure the digital future of our country? Which mission behind it? The answer is: "We empower people and government organizations to cope with high-performance, reliable and secure, above all, IT their various tasks day after day." This is the new mission statement. And from this we derive the objectives.

ES & T: As the organizational structure reflects this?

Kaloudis: As I have already stated, we have adopted a new organizational structure in August. However, I am sure that this structure will also be part of change. We can never say we are ready now, but we learn and change ourselves constantly - self-motivated, but also because our environment is constantly changing.

We have created a structure that is set up customer-oriented. In the IT production, we called the business units have established that we set up in accordance with our customers and our performance cluster. One, for example, business unit Military IT hot. There we will develop it, which is even more integrated into the system of the Bundeswehr as is the case with SASPF today. In addition, an area is the so-called Shared Services. It features are included such as data center operations, field service, etc., which are used by all business units. With approximately 3,500 colleagues, she also has the largest workforce.

To be from a system house for digitization partner of the Bundeswehr and the Federal, we transform ourselves also from a pure provider of IT towards a consultant. We already want to support our customers in the future when putting their digitization projects. Each of us knows that all major decisions in the design phase, so in the early development process made. If there mistakes are made, it is often very difficult and expensive to change this later. That is why we have deliberately decided to offer a so-called early-stage advice to customers and build this own consulting unit in which we are using their own personnel to support our customers. So that the BWI digitization partner can be for the German Army and other authorities for us a clear investment.

The new BWI location in Bonn-Auermühle

ES & T: How would you assess the overall current IT system of the Bundeswehr?

Kaloudis:The IT system of the Bundeswehr is extremely complex. It includes use near and administrative IT; for HERCULES time referred to as "green" and "white" IT. Today we look at the IT system holistically and not think more in these categories. For every IT, the BWI operates today is mission critical. The actual core thing is that all systems must work together smoothly to support the armed forces in their best order fulfillment. The operation of the IT system of the Bundeswehr in Germany as it were the bread-and-butter business of BWI, it is geared towards stability and quality. A tension here is to still remain extremely sturdy enough technologically and architecturally modern. Some think that the objects. but I am of the opinion that it is possible to ensure only architectures and technologies according to current codes of practice in the long term stable operation. In my view, the Bundeswehr and BWI are well placed to this tension to modernize continuously best to master and the IT system in order to have a good basis for digitization.

However, if they meant by her question whether the IT system of the Bundeswehr has already been adequately digitized today, then my answer is "no." We can do in one area or another certainly more to be digital to modern and. Therefore, we work Bundeswehr and BWI in digital programs and on new business areas, keyword D-LBO, digitization of the army, or digitization of the medical or health care. In many areas of the Bundeswehr there are a lot of digitization work. I find that this is far normally a piece. It also means a lot of work for the future, which in turn is a major trigger for the growing needs of the Bundeswehr in the BWI. We will therefore not be bored.

ES & T: If there is no white and green IT more where it is the separation between the Bundeswehr IT and the BWI?

Kaloudis: When you talk of military IT - use systems that are installed on frigates around in tanks or fighter jets - we speak of monolithic blocks. They eventually buy a fighter jet, to separate an extra IT system and then need a system integrator that combines perhaps the weapon system, the control system and the flight control system together. This should be so never make. So there are closed systems that have to work together perfectly. Such tasks will therefore not play a BWI in the future.

The BWI is however perceive more tasks in the future, dealing with realistic operational IT systems of the Bundeswehr. For example, when digitizing land-based operations, the Joint Situation Center, in which we entered by the CPI in October in the operation. Or the acquisition of the IT services in foreign real estate, we soon begin prototypically in Kosovo. At these prototypes we want to learn how we can serve overseas property permanently and to ensure that those servicemen and women who do this job today its core mission to devote in the military again.

ES & T: Does this mean a care in use?

Kaloudis: We begin today with a first prototype in the on-site service in Kosovo, a deployment of the Bundeswehr, which focuses on monitoring the development of professional, democratic and multi-ethnic security structures and in which the Bundeswehr to working closely with local authorities and international organizations continues. Here we want to gain experience and learn what it means to get to use our employees to send and in a foreign camp where the Bundeswehr is stationed. Based on the results we will continue to align ourselves closely merger with the German army. If they ask so today whether the BWI will support in the future all Bundeswehr missions locally, the separation between white and green IT completely invisible, then I can not answer that question. We aspire to this as much as possible, but have to wait first experience before I can give a reliable answer.

Interview by Dorothee Frank.