Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, Leading Print Solutions Provider, Enhances Online Services and Improves Customer Relationship by Standardizing on JBoss Solutions

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September 22, 2009

Customer: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg)

Video: Heidelberg

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Industry: Manufacturing
Geography: EMEA
Country: Germany

Business Challenge:

Establish a new customer specific portal to enhance its customer relationship and provide internal business units with valuable customer insight; Evaluate and deploy an application server platform for its Java-based environment

Migration Path:

Proprietary portal platform and application server to JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform and JBoss Enterprise Application Platform


With the help of Red Hat Consulting, Heidelberg built an interactive customer portal using JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform and migrated its proprietary application platform to JBoss Enterprise Application Platform


JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform, JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, Oracle 10g database, SAP R/3, Autonomy search engine, Interwoven TeamSite 6.5 (CMS), Microsoft Windows Server 2003 64-Bit


Virtualized servers and F5 Load balancer


Improved customer web presence with a central portal that increased services and information available, provided ability to use applications based on open standards in order to interact better with customers, suppliers and partners, reduced costs, gained excellent support and continuous advancements of its portal software, and reduced vendor lock-in.


Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg), the worldand#x2019;s leading solution provider for the print media industry, built an interactive customer portal, www.MyHeidelberg.com, using JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform to create an interactive site to enhance its customer relationships and provide a unified global brand presence. With the successful portal project, Heidelberg has since migrated its proprietary application platform to JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, in order to reduce costs, and increase the performance of its web applications. Based in Heidelberg, Germany, with development and production sites in seven countries and around 250 sales offices across the globe, the company supports around 200,000 customers worldwide. Heidelbergand#x2019;s printing products and software enable its customers to print high volumes, quickly, at high quality and in color at an affordable price and convert the printed material into the desired format. Heidelberg, with a global market share for sheetfed offset printing machines of more than 40 percent, develops and produces precision printing presses, units for imaging printing-plates, postpress equipment, and software for integrating all the print shop processes that produce everyday items such as brochures, magazines, folding carton boxes and product labels. It also provides general and consulting services ranging from spare parts and consumables to the sale of re-marketed equipment, in addition to education and training at the Heidelberg Print Media Academy.

Business Challenge:

Heidelberg launched a corporate-wide web initiative to develop a strategic architecture and customer-centric web portal, to strengthen customer relationships, consolidate information and services, provide easier access to information, and increase revenues through improved communications with customers.

“Previously, we had a solid web presence for our customers, but it was more of an online brochure and lacked interactivity,” said Mathias Berg, Director, Global Web Systems at Heidelberg.”

Heidelberg also anticipates the ability to lower its costs by offering more self-service options, reducing the effort and cycle time for developing and deploying new services and applications, and simplifying support and operation of its applications and infrastructure. It also wanted the new portal to provide its customers with a central and secure repository for sharing data and communication.

“With MyHeidelberg.com, we have created a unified, central customer portal that can be rolled out and adapted to local markets, thus increasing our interaction and providing us with valuable customer insight,” said Michael Neff, chief information officer.


In order to further its edge in the market, provide customers with more features, and enhance its web-presence, Heidelberg decided to evaluate a number of proprietary and open source solutions for the customer portal project, MyHeidelberg.com, in addition to an application platform solution to set up and restructure its global web presence

“In addition to JBoss, we evaluated proprietary and open source solutions, but we selected JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform on JBoss Enterprise Application Platform due to its ability to deliver an agile, reusable framework, coupled with the benefits of open source to reduce costs, and freed us from vendor lock-in,” said Berg, “Although we had limited open source experience, we made our decision confidently due to JBoss’ established technology platform, flexible architecture, highly regarded enterprise support, and the expertise of Red Hat Consulting.”

JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform, based on open standards, was selected for its ability to meet the key requirements of the project, including: the ability to integrate seamlessly into the existing infrastructure based on VMWare ESX 3.0 and Oracle 10g, and the content management systems: Windows Server 2003 and Interwoven TeamSite 6.5.

The MyHeidelberg.com customer portal needed to be flexible and reliable in order to adapt to Heidelberg’s local websites requirements, while at the same time, it had to scale for a steadily increasing number of users, which initially tallied more than 5,500 registered users and has been growing monthly by approximately 5-10 percent.

At an early stage of the customer portal project, Heidelberg made the decision to work with Red Hat Consulting in order to facilitate knowledge transfer, have a closer relationship with JBoss, and to have access to the engineers and developers behind the open source technology. Heidelberg’s IT teams in the U.S. and Germany worked with Red Hat consultants to enable a smooth integration of JBoss technology into the existing global infrastructure.

“We had a great experience with Red Hat Consulting,” said Berg. “The Red Hat Consultants worked closely with our IT teams in the U.S. and Germany to ensure a smooth integration of JBoss technology into the existing global infrastructure, by mentoring our team, demonstrating product features, providing documentation, and ensuring our team was prepared for success after the engagement. We view Red Hat Consulting as a trusted advisor to our team.”

“The MyHeidelberg.com portal, based on JBoss, creates a true value-add for our customers, and has enabled us to grow our business and serve our customers in a better way. MyHeidelberg.com provides a centralized web portal with tailored information for each customer with one gateway, one URL, one password, and one login.”

After successful testing and fine-tuning, the production environment and infrastructure for the MyHeidelberg.com customer portal went live.

“We now offer our customers an interactive portal, that can be adapted to every local market and is integrated with more than 45 websites worldwide.” said Berg.

Through back-end integration with ERP and CRM systems, Heidelberg enables portal users to securely interact with their data, such as service information, view and retrieve brochures, product specs, and account data, easily through one gateway. Additionally, the JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform runs on Windows Server 2003 and collaborates with a content management system based on Interwoven TeamSite 6.5.

Heidelberg decided to expand its collaboration with JBoss when it decided to migrate its complete internet presence, www.heidelberg.com, from a proprietary application platform to JBoss Enterprise Application Platform to set-up restructure its entire global web presence.

“Based on our successful deployment of JBoss Enterprise Portal for the MyHeidelberg.com project, and knowing that we had a stable, reliable, and fully supported solution, we quickly and confidently made the decision to migrate our global enterprise web applications from our previous proprietary solution to JBoss Enterprise Application Platform,” said Berg.


Heidelberg’s use of JBoss for its customer portal and web application server has resulted in; improved customer web presence with a central portal, reduced costs, gained excellent support and continuous advancements of its portal software, and reduced vendor lock-in.

“All over the world, the name Heidelberg is synonymous with state-of-the art technology, top quality, and closeness to the customer, so we set the benchmark high for ourselves and we expect the same level of quality from all of our vendors,” said Neff. “JBoss absolutely delivered all we needed, by providing high availability, performance and scalability. Due to the Red Hat subscription model, we realized signification cost savings, faster ROI, and freedom from vendor lock-in.”

The introduction of JBoss has helped simplify IT administration: with only one portal infrastructure to manage, one platform and one brand for the company’s Web presence, helping to strengthen the brand of Heidelberg. The new self-service capabilities provided by the MyHeidelberg.com portal give customers fast, convenient access to critical information whenever they need it, increasing customer satisfaction and the credibility of Heidelberg as a valuable business partner.

“In addition to the enhancements for our customers, the MyHeidelberg.com portal based on JBoss Enterprise Portal, offers valuable customer insight and behavioral information that is being leveraged internally by our marketing, sales, and product development teams, which will allow us to make informed and targeted business decisions and increase company sales,” said Berg.

The cost of developing and deploying new services and applications has been reduced now that Heidelberg has a simple way to integrate content and information into the portal; the IT team can index content and expose it through the search capabilities; and can manage single sign-on. Also, JBoss has drastically reduced costs, as the subscription model has freed Heidelberg from the cost-constraints associated with proprietary software licensing and support.

“We were especially impressed with the performance, product features of JBoss and the quality of support, advice, and knowledge contributed by our Red Hat consultants,” said Neff, “The JBoss Enterprise Portal and JBoss Enterprise Application Platforms went into production and performed extremely well, and this is a great benefit for our customers and internal users, who can now access their data securely and without restrictions.”

“JBoss was always willing to work with us, as partners, to ensure the success of the project,” said Berg, “A prime example is when we identified the need for a unique feature for our customer portal, with any other vendor, we would have had to develop a custom feature ,with no vendor support. But with JBoss, we discussed our need, and they worked with us develop a new feature into the product, that will be fully supported by JBoss. This kind of commitment and performance is something that I have never seen before, from any technology vendor.”

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