With over 70 online games in more than 25 languages, more than 1000 sales partners worldwide in more than 150 countries, the Hamburg company Bigpoint GmbH is Europe’s leading developer and issuer of online games according to its own figures. However, its payroll accounting takes place in Saxony-Anhalt. Bigpoint is also among the customers of the ICS adminservice GmbH in Leuna, along with the newspaper publisher of the Bonner Generalanzeiger, the international hotel group InterContinental, the fashion chain Ulla Popken and some other firms at the chemical site Leuna. ICS processes each month a total of 56 000 documents in financial accounting and 50 000 payslips for more than 50 companies from across Germany.
For over 20 years, ICS has taken on services for its customers particularly in human resources, finance and accounting. “As a result, companies from the IT, services, logistics, industry, media and public sector can free themselves from the company’s administrative tasks and concentrate on their core competencies,” said ICS managing director Michael Teich, highlighting the advantages of this concept.
On letterheads, flyers or visitor cards, ICS promises “We calculate for you.” although it does not have its own data centre. Calculations are made on rented servers owned by Gisa GmbH in Halle, a partner in ICS, and the company Rechenzentrum GmbH in Bremen, as well as partly on the customers’ own systems. “We don’t have our own server, a data centre or in-house software,” explains the 49-year-old businessman who is at home working in the human resources and service sector for decades. “Special software that we need, such as SAP-ERP, BRZ-HR or P&I Loga, we buy via the Internet. The servers in Halle and Bremen are our cloud, in a way,” says Teich. He uses the term cloud computing, which has become fashionable, somewhat reluctantly because it is frequently misunderstood by customers. He prefers to speak of “ASP Application Service Providing”. What this means is that more and more companies are outsourcing their databases. The data is then no longer on the local computer or in the company’s data centre but rather on a “cloud” in a figurative sense. This is because, from the user’s point of view, the abstracted IT infrastructure available seems distant and opaque as though shrouded in a cloud. The features of this technology are clear for Teich. Cloud computing is distinguished by the self-service principle “on demand”, by independence from devices and location, by its infinite scalability and elasticity which enables hardware and software to be subordinated as required. Payment is oriented exclusively towards usage. Around ten per cent of ICS customers do not use the full accounting and human resources service of the Leuna company but only rent out the technology on offer.
Irrespective of how this technology was labelled over the years, its development since the end of the 1990s has really started to get going. It has opened up a rapidly growing market and Teich is convinced that it won’t stop. In 2011, 3.5 billion Euros were turned over in this sector in Germany according to the figures by the German association for information technology, telecommunication and new media, Bitkom. In the following year, it was 5.3 billion already and 13 billion Euros is reckoned for 2015. This is also reflected in ICS’s books. Teich expects two-figure growths in turnover and staff as in previous years for the company that has over 80 employees. ICS’s target group are companies with 250 employees or more with an annual turnover of at least ten million Euros.
The managing director of ICS cites various reasons for the rapidly growing popularity of this new IT technology. First of all, he names the associated flexibility and variable cost structures. Crucial competitive advantages result from this. Data protection and internet security are becoming more and more complex and require rapid reaction times. They are guaranteed. Data lines and storage capacities are becoming faster and cheaper. Customers can benefit from short intervals and technical enhancements to the IT infrastructure without high investment costs. Recruiting specialist staff is also becoming increasingly more difficult. “For it is indeed better if ASP specialists don’t just work for a company but for many customers,” says Teich. This also applies to faults. They can be fixed more quickly by specialists of large providers than by individual users.
To ensure data security, legislators have introduced strict guidelines. It is therefore important for the customer that ICS can demonstrate the latest certifications for its management system. According to Teich, IT services are at their absolute peak in Germany and in Saxony-Anhalt when compared internationally.
This view is also borne out by the fact that the construction of Germany’s largest and most modern data centre began last autumn in Biere, south of Saxony-Anhalt’s state capital Magdeburg. The principal, T-Systems, the corporate customers arm of Deutsche Telekom, relies completely on the business idea of cloud computing. It was stated at the beginning of construction that across the world there is an ever increasing demand for it. For Saxony-Anhalt’s prime minister Rainer Haseloff, the federal state is thus „one of the most important European internet sites“.
ICS adminservice GmbH
Am Haupttor, Bürocenter
ph: 0+49 346 1436919