After numerous acquisitions, the software specialist RIB has recognized that it must intensify the integration of its units, which are spread across the globe. With the vision “One RIB”, the internationally established construction industry innovator began a comprehensive transformation process together with Staufen. This is designed to create the basis for efficient and productive collaboration and long-term growth.
In the past few years, RIB Software GmbH has been on a huge shopping spree: worldwide, the software specialist for the engineering and construction industry has acquired more than 140 companies and niche suppliers. This allowed the company to offer its customers a broad portfolio of regionally tailored solutions on one hand. On the other, the distribution of the units across the globe prevented the utilization of scale and synergy effects. “In order to optimally utilize opportunities for growth, we have decided to increase the bundling of the competences of the individual units,” says RIB CEO René Wolf. Together with Staufen, the company has begun a large-scale change and transformation process with “One RIB”, which ranges from the legal merger of the individual companies to the technical interconnection of the various IT-landscapes and the harmonization of processes to cultural change.
Change Ambassadors as multipliers and contact partners
Due to capacity issues alone, an individual company unit cannot implement the introduction of such an overall solution. “To successfully transition to a cooperative, efficient, and adaptable company, we have created a change concept, which actively supports the necessary changes in structures and processes,” says Staufen Project Manager Freda von Stackelberg.
The concept quickly led to positive changes in the interaction between the individual units. The key to this was demonstrating the advantages to people and rebutting possible threat scenarios. To ensure that the change is implemented in all regions as a mutual and coordinated process, RIB selected around 30 so-called Change Ambassadors from 50 applicants from the ranks of the global workforce. They not only guide the process as change moderators but are also available as contact and sparring partners for their colleagues.
During the course of the transformation, which really took off in mid-2022, the program was continuously adapted and refined. According to Kim Immelman – a member of the core team of the change program and a driving force for internal marketing – the experience of the change ambassadors was especially important for this. “While we ensured our communication platforms reached as many folks from across the group, the engagement was really low. So we relooked our communication strategy and focused on making it more human-centric and way more interactive and approachable.” The fact that such a large change process unsettled the employees is not unprecedented. “The goal is to alleviate fears and explain to people exactly why the company will be more successful in the future as a unified organization,” adds Guido Gratza, a Staufen partner in the area of organization development and also part of the project team at RIB.
“We are seeing progress daily and are now in a much better position”
In the resulting network, RIB can now bundle new or further developments transnationally. In the future, RIB is able to implement even complex projects faster and provide them to the entire organization. Thus, the business model will be updated at the same time that RIB is being transformed into an integrated global player. For René Wolf, this is happening at just the right time, as the software industry is undergoing radical changes. “We are transitioning from selling a license with maintenance fees to subscription models. Over the long term, this will allow us to benefit from recurring revenue and improved planning capability. At the same time, this is also the ideal opportunity to adjust our product portfolio to place increased emphasis on cloud applications in the future. My goal is a large, flexible cloud solution with the ability to create regionalized options.”
In addition to digital construction cost estimation, the future plans of RIB CEO Wolf also call for increased opportunities for digital construction site management. “Many construction plans are delayed because the individual steps are not digitally linked and planned. In our software portfolio, we now increasingly offer solutions for more efficient construction.”
RIB manager Immelmann is also pleased with what has been achieved so far. “We are seeing progress daily and are now in a much better position than one year ago. The ball is rolling, and people are accepting the change,” RIB Manager Immelman is pleased with what has been achieved to date. There are areas of the far-flung group where there is still a need for more discussion, but some departments are already much further along than originally planned. One reason for this: “Many employees were afraid of losing their cherished legacy environment and culture. We were able to show them that they can still retain their familiar regional connection within the new organizational structures, but are also integrated into a strong, global construct,” says Immelman.
RIB CEO René Wolf purposely chose an external consultant with practical experience and pragmatism for the companywide change, in order to quickly create trust and additional operative value at all hierarchy levels. “It was important to me to work with a partner like Staufen, because they not only describe the strategy, but can also implement it and readjust it if necessary. As a company, we are now able to create a global portfolio that benefits from the creative developments of our international offices and is also conveniently scalable. This allows us to expand our regional leadership position to a global level.”
Headquartered in Stuttgart, RIB Software GmbH is one of the world’s leading providers of software for managing project and company processes in the construction and real estate industry. The company was founded in 1961 and now employs around 2,700 branch and IT experts in Europe, the USA, China, Australia, and South Africa. With a turnover of more than 250 million Euros, the company is now a heavyweight in its industry. Since 2020, RIB has been a subsidiary of the French electrical engineering company Schneider.