How a cloud-based solution turbocharged symmedia’s industrial service business

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The Secure Service Hub represents a new generation of highly secure collaborative system that driven a 50% surge in new business.

Cloud migration driving business transformation
Speaker: Andreas Thal - Managing Director, symmedia.

"We've created a new generation of secure remote access and collaboration solutions for industrial machines.
It's a game changer."

Title: Sopra Steria Stories

Speaker: Andreas Thal - Managing Director, symmedia.

"symmedia is the world leader in secure digital service solutions in the machining business. We are based in Bielefeld, Germany, but our solutions are global and active in more than 100 countries worldwide. 
We create digital solutions to allow manufacturers and operators to cost-effectively speed up their service and maintenance business.
We work with customers across all sectors, from optical manufacturers like Zeiss to automotive giants such as Audi." 

Speaker: Marius Burger, Chief Technology Officer, symmedia.

"We wanted to dramatically update our offering by creating the Secure Service Hub. This meant migration to cloud services, anytime, anywhere access and open API ecosystem.
To achieve this, we needed to extend our development capabilities. So we worked with Sopra Steria to build our dedicated project team.
From full-stack development to UX Design and solution architecture, Sopra Steria gathered exactly the profiles we needed and together we successfully launched the product in just 18 months."

Speaker: Andreas Thal - Managing Director, symmedia.

"It was a real partnership.
The Secure Service Hub is more than a machine monitoring system. It's a secure collaboration hub for machines, documents, data, communication and information sharing.
The response from the market has been incredible and has turbocharged symmedia's business. In just over six months we have seen a 50% surge in new customers, setup costs have dropped by a factor of 10 and client onboarding timelines have shrunk from around nine months to one week. The new solution has proven its worth. Now in 2024 we'll be working again with Sopra Steria to roll it out to new international markets."

Leading the Charge in Industry 4.0 Solutions

symmedia is the world leader in secure digital service solutions for mechanical and plant engineering companies, leveraging state-of-the-art Internet of Things (IoT) technology to clients around the world from its headquarters in Bielefeld, Germany.

A pioneer in Industry 4.0 solutions, symmedia has around 100 employees focused in Europe and Asia, with a product reach in more than 100 countries worldwide.

The company has a core client base of more than 75 companies including high-profile brands such as optics manufacturer Zeiss and automotive giant Audi.

Since launch more than 25 years ago, the company built a solid reputation for providing secure, reliable, remote access and service solutions for industrial machinery, through its core solution SP/1, and was bought by manufacturing group Georg Fischer in 2017.

SP/1 was a client-server-based solution providing clients with a powerful and dependable system to allow for remote service management and control of industrial machinery. SP/1 was primarily a white-label solution sold to machinery manufacturers, who would in turn offer it as an additional service to end-user clients.

A strategic shift to cloud-powered accessibility

The SP/1 remains a market-leading product but as a client-server-based solution, it meant significant logistical and setup cost challenges for customers, who were required to install dedicated software and sometimes hire personnel to operate it.

These barriers meant that most symmedia customers were machinery manufacturers, who could justify the outlay by offering the services to multiple clients – a relatively small potential client base, compared to the much larger pool of end-user clients.

In 2020, symmedia took a bold step and decided to dramatically refocus their business model, targeting the much greater potential customer base of machine operators. This meant a transformation of the SP/1 legacy product, providing a huge upgrade in functionality and additional flexibility by migrating it to the cloud and offering a web interface that could be accessed from mobile or desktop.

As Industry 4.0 becomes ever more mainstream, machinery operators are increasingly open to leveraging the potential of IoT devices to boost production efficiency and sustainability, while simultaneously reducing costs.

However, taking the broad concept, refining it and turning it into reality required a project team with a dedicated skillset, not just for the cloud migration, but also the development of the web interface, while always maintaining symmedia’s highest standards of security.

To co-conceptualise and construct the systems and architecture, symmedia called on Sopra Steria’s expertise.

We’ve created an entirely new generation of secure remote monitoring and service management for industrial machines. It’s a game-changer.

Andreas Thal

Managing Director, symmedia

Insourcing expert talent to build a project dream team
Speaker: Andreas Thal - Managing Director, symmedia.

"The market for tech experts is hyper-competitive. Our challenge was staffing. We needed a large number of super-specific technical profiles and fast. We had the domain know-how, but for a quick market entry, we needed a huge number of experienced technicians and very specific skill sets.
We wanted to insource, not outsource, development. We brought Sopra Steria experts into our teams and they understood and adapted quickly to our environment. Together, we made it happen.
Sopra Steria provided 20-plus highly skilled professionals who were fully operational in just two months and the Secure Service Hub launched 18 months after kickoff."

A new generation of remote monitoring and service management 

Rather than outsourcing the development, Sopra Steria worked within the symmedia working group, adding an additional 18 people to the  symmedia team, with expertise in full stack development, UX design, solution architecture, operations engineering and project management.

The project leveraged agile methodology and was delivered in a series of two-week scrum cycles. From launch to go-live took only 18 months – remarkable considering the complexity of the new solution.

The result was the Secure Service Hub (SSH), a secure, web-based service solution enabling companies to not only monitor and maintain their machines securely and remotely, but also act as a central hub for asset documentation storage, communication and information sharing.

The solution is hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud providing customers with a versatile, reliable and secure service, accessible 24/7. As it is web-based, there is no private server to set up and no software to deploy, meaning barriers to entry are enormously reduced as are licence fees.

The SSH represents a new generation of remote maintenance interface for industrial machinery.

In addition to allowing device-independent access, SSH also facilitates digital collaboration with internal and external partners. For example, one key new feature is the Service Case Management tool. When problems arise, a repair ticket can be created and information shared with internal and external partners within the SSH platform.

This means managers can launch secure cross-organisational chat rooms with repair technicians using tools such as video conferencing, screen and file sharing and interactive whiteboards. The manager retains complete control keeps full authority while allowing remote access to the HMI or directly controlling the unit by the 2nd & 3rd level technicians from the respective machine manufacturer. This dramatically supports the reduction of downtimes & proactive optimization potential at the machines.

The SSH becomes the central secure repository for asset data, maintenance and repair logs. 

Faster, cheaper, greener while prioritising security

The new SSH has turbocharged symmedia’s business. In just over six months, symmedia has seen a 50% surge in new customers signing up for the new solution.

Partly due to the fact client-side initial investment costs have dropped by a factor of 10, the sales cycle has reduced from around 12 months to just a few weeks.

The SSH’s streamlined web interface means faster client onboarding. With the previous SP/1 client-server tool, onboarding could take up to nine months. Now, with the SSH, the solution can go live in as little as a week.

Remote maintenance, such as that offered by the SSH, is also driving key efficiency improvements and cost savings. One client, wet processing manufacturer Rena Systems, reported that thanks to symmedia’s tech its machinery service business was now five times faster than the previous solution. Shorter downtimes mean better productivity.

Another key cost saving comes from the fact that the SSH allows for the integration of third-party apps so machine operators have much greater margin to negotiate with service suppliers on price.

It is also having a noticeable improvement in reducing a company’s carbon footprint. The SSH’s remote monitoring means earlier problem detection while remote maintenance means more margin to resolve issues at distance without the need for a physical call out by a technician, meaning lower costs and lower transportation carbon emissions.

Now, the SSH is up and running, symmedia is focused on refining and boosting the customer interface ahead of a rollout into the world’s manufacturing capital – China – which is slated for early 2024.

  • 20+ Sopra Steria experts added to the project team
  • 18 Months from project launch to go live
  • 50% Increase in new clients since solution launch
Sopra Steria’s experts combined precise specialist knowledge with adaptability, taking the cloud migration off the drawing board and making it reality.

Nils Barkow

Account Manager, Energy, Utilities & Industrials, Sopra Steria

Contact our expert

Nils Barkow

Nils Barkow

Manager, Energy, Utilities & Industrials, Sopra Steria






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