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Telekom Strategy Consulting Team

Deutsche Telekom is driving the digitalisation of schools

The Center Strategic Projects (CSP) supports Deutsche Telekom's strategic positioning in the education sector and helps achieve a common understanding across divisional boundaries.

The working world has become more digital in recent years. Yet the coronavirus crisis showed that schools have fallen behind. The Robert Bosch Stiftung found that one of the problems pertains to technical equipment at the schools’ disposal. Deutsche Telekom supports the political vision of digitising the education system and is doing its part in achieving this goal. Stefanie Kreusel, Deutsche Telekom’s representative for schools and education, has set up a corporate programme in this regard.

Child with face mask looks at blackboard

There are still significant gaps in the digitization of schools, which is not only problematic for distance and alternating classes.

The CSP was a major driving force behind the programme. “With the combined expertise and the dedication of its staff, the CSP provided major support to the further development of the programme's concept and content and played a significant role in shaping it,” says Stefanie Kreusel. In the multidisciplinary corporate programme “Digital Education and School”, experts from different areas such as strategy, marketing, sales, product management and finance work together on equal terms. In the process, they have developed a common understanding across all divisional boundaries. The goal behind this collaboration model is to develop a sustainable business model and at the same time make a valuable contribution to society.

The CSP as a driving force for making schools digital

At the beginning, the CSP team had to analyze the overall strategjc framework to find an optimal solution for the education system. It considered itself to be a neutral driving force tasked to ensure that solutions and products are suitable for schools. One important finding was that schools primarily lack a resilient technological basis. German schools urgently require an IT infrastructure, for example powerful internet connections and end devices, to be able to offer lessons digitally.

In addition, it soon became clear that financial constraints set limits to the use of technology: digital tools for schools need to meet all key requirements at the best price. In addition, schools have precious few resources to run and maintain hardware and software. Therefore, a comprehensive turnkey solution best suits their needs so that teachers can dedicate themselves to teaching. This is exactly where the market potential lies, as infrastructure and system integration are the core business of Deutsche Telekom.

Market potential for effective infrastructure

The CSP has identified what is known as a “white spot” on the digital map: the education system lacks a broad-based “digitizer” that does not merely offer isolated solutions. Instead, the infrastructure must come from a single source and address all stakeholders – schools, teachers, and students – so that they can use digital technologies on the school campus, in the classroom and at home. While other providers focus on educational content, Deutsche Telekom first creates the infrastructure these services require.

Bar chart school portfolio

Telekom's holistic school portfolio makes it possible to implement all facets of digital teaching from a single source.

Based on these considerations, we have developed a unique corporate portfolio for schools, together with the specialist departments. Deutsche Telekom's solution consists of five infrastructure modules as well as a service package for operation, service, and training. The portfolio takes a holistic approach. The modules Network, Security, Presentation Technology, End Devices and Platforms & Cloud cover every aspect of the IT infrastructure for schools.

Germany’s educational federalism: State-specific distribution in high demand

The entire infrastructure package consists of a high-performance Internet connection, the entire cabling, all necessary end devices, and associated cloud services. Installation, operation, and maintenance are carried out by Deutsche Telekom employees, thus guaranteeing digital teaching without technical failures.

This solution is both an interesting and complex task for the sales department. The target group's need for information and consultation is high and there is another unique aspect that needs to be considered: education falls under the authority of Germany’s federal states (Bundesländer), and the various school structures differ from each other in many details. Together with experienced Deutsche Telekom colleagues, we have therefore designed the sales concept to be state-specific. After a successful pilot project in Lower Saxony, permanent teams were set up for specific sales activities and customer requests.

A solution-oriented and neutral perspective

Due to the federal system and the multi-tier school structure, the German school system is quite complex. Without a systematic and structured approach, it is difficult to find a marketable solution for the heterogeneous school system in Germany. This is where the CSP's distinctive set of methods showed its advantages.

For the development of the project, the role of the CSP as advisor and driving force was crucial. It offers a neutral perspective and is strongly solution-oriented; in addition, the consultants have a broad network within the company. For example, the CSP has developed a powerful digitization accelerator for schools together with teams from across Deutsche Telekom.