Heinrich Schmid

The digital transformation of a 100-year-old German leader

Heinrich Schmid, a large-scale German enterprise group in the construction sector, required an in-house web application to enhance employee efficiency in conducting business operations. Originally starting as a small-scale MVP, the project has evolved into a super app we've been enhancing for nearly five years.

Web application interface of Heinrich Schmid's Baumappe app with image annotation tools and a user's email.

Who is
Heinrich Schmid?

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Heinrich Schmid stands as one of the largest enterprise groups in the construction sector, providing an extensive array of services from over 170 locations throughout Europe. With a rich history spanning a century, this German industry leader has seamlessly blended tradition with innovation to navigate the complexities of modern construction projects and emerge as a key industry player.

With its extensive network of hundreds of branches and thousands of employees, logging 6,271,934 hours worked per year and conducting 43,388 operations annually, Heinrich Schmid generates terabytes of data and handles thousands of mission-critical transactions every day.

Company Size
6000+ Employees

How our partnership started

We have been collaborating with Heinrich Schmid for the last 4 years. Although we are currently involved in a long-term partnership with the enterprise group, we started our journey together with our 100-day MVP model to quickly validate how well Heinrich Schmid employees would adapt to digital transformation.

Starting from day one, our collaboration has been grounded in open communication and a transparent development process, with our work readily accessible on platforms such as GitHub and Jira whenever needed.

What’s the project about?

After years of doing business in the traditional way, Heinrich Schmid realized that managing thousands of transactions on paper was no longer practical or efficient. In search of a more modern solution, Heinrich Schmid decided to digitize its internal processes to meet operational needs and provide additional support to their existing SAP system when needed.

To meet this challenge, Heinrich Schmid approached us to develop an internal app from scratch to simplify and streamline its business operations. The app would allow employees to say goodbye to the struggles of working with paper and provide a single platform for conducting business with clients online. All files and information would be easily accessible with just a few clicks, bringing convenience and efficiency to the workplace.

Man presenting at a workshop with a whiteboard and project notes.
Man planning with sticky notes on a glass wall in an office.
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What did we do?

Heinrich Schmid has various departments with different use cases. But for the MVP scope, we focused on the offer module they used to manage the bidding process of their projects. We then named our project, Baumappe.

After 100 days, we launched the first version of the application. Following the release, Systemhaus, the Shared Service Center of the enterprise group, collected feedback from every branch using our product to evaluate its performance. The initial feedback was overwhelmingly positive, indicating that Heinrich Schmid employees found the app easy to use and integrated it seamlessly into their daily work processes.

With the validation of our product, we took the next step and continued the project through our long-term partnership model. Upon transitioning into a long-term partnership, our initially monolithic application expanded to support the requirements of various departments, including HR, Sales, and Finance. As our app evolved, we embraced a distributed architecture, utilizing microservices and micro-frontends to align with its growing needs.

What kind of team did we structure?

Initially, we assembled a small team to swiftly develop the MVP, ensuring the group was compact yet capable. This initial team adopted a self-managing Scrum approach, adhering to Scaled Scrum principles for optimal agility and efficiency. As the product stabilized and the scope expanded to meet our partner's evolving needs, we strategically grew the team.

With the product's growth, we’ve established two dedicated Scrum teams to support the long-term vision of the project. These teams are composed of Backend and Frontend Developers, Quality Assurance specialists, DevOps, Test Automation Engineers, and Scrum Masters, each bringing specialized expertise to advance the project's objectives.

What technologies did we use?

We adopted a distributed architecture with microservices and microfrontends, enhancing our system with independent deployments and increased fault tolerance. To ensure rapid delivery in this distributed architecture, we utilized GraphQL gateways and GraphQL servers. This enabled separate teams to work simultaneously on the same product.

To keep up with the fast pace of development, we adopted feature toggling, creating a flexible environment for deployments. This approach allowed various teams to simultaneously ship multiple features and release them right when needed.

We also established a fully automated CI/CD ecosystem, enabling these separate teams to execute several production deployments daily. Within this ecosystem, we used Azure DevOps to manage our CI processes, while we relied on ArgoCD to handle our deployment processes automatically, streamlining operations and creating a highly efficient development workflow.

Group photo of a team at an event with a 'BIG BANG' sign with Atolye15 and Heinrich Schmid written underneath.

How do our services extend beyond coding?

If we were to list the services provided for the Baumappe project, it would include the expected ones like web development, software architecture, data and platform engineering, and DevOps. But our contribution goes beyond just coding.

Drawing from our years of experience with the product, we also offer consultancy by sharing our views on potential feature developments, pinpointing areas for enhancement, and suggesting more impactful implementation strategies. In addition to delivering code, our comprehensive service package encompasses quality assurance processes and product management, adding substantial value to our partnership.