The very beginnings of the IDS Scheer mark stretch back to 1984, when Prof. August-Wilhelm Scheer with his colleagues from Saarland University founded a small consulting company focused on process engineering. Today it is an international company with shares on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and a significant global partner of SAP serving circa 4,000 customers in more than 50 countries around the world.
The Czech branch office has been on the local market since 1994 (originally in partnership with COMSOFT); the complete ownership integration into the parent company was carried out in 2003. IDS Scheer ČR, s.r.o. has the ISO certification for strategic consulting for business processes and support information system solution. A significant part of the product portfolio is represented also by consulting services of SAP system, the leading system of its category on the Czech market, using the company’s own ARIS Value Engineering methodology.
The first experience with the EU projects date back to 2000-2001, when Milena Hrbáčková was charged with management of the Software Development Department and Translation Department and she decided to take advantage of synergy from knowledge of both and accepted an offer of one of the IDS partners to participate in the first project proposal (Dromeas, see below) in order to spread activities to Europe and gain international experience.
From the beginning the company was surprised by the general settings and rather free division of workload among consortium partners than is usual in commercial projects. “However, after experience with four EU projects our viewpoint is different”, states Milena Hrbáčková. “It would be hardly possible to specify the research plan for circa three years ahead in more details. Another great experience was work in the multicultural environment of international consortium, where various cultural influences reflected in various methods of work and communication between partners. A very positive finding was that the verbal agreements were valid”. Despite that she advises the Czech participants to specify clearly in the consortium agreement the areas of decision-making, responsibilities, project costs, as well as rights for the access to and dissemination of project results.
According to Milena Hrbáčková the company’s benefits of the participation in projects definitely include besides the actual projects outputs building “European know-how”, gaining international contacts and information regarding European markets including the possibility to compare the level of professional knowledge with CR. Although the framework programme projects do not always lead to a development of a commercial product ready to be put on the market (the output is usually a prototype), the company constantly gains and develops professional knowledge on the level of latest technologies, which can be exerted in other projects or commercial orders – which are gained thanks to positive references of participation in the project.
All projects mentioned below are of the STREP type (Specific Targeted Research Project) submitted to the IST (Information Society Technologies) part of the EU 5th Framework Programme, the first two in the Health – Intelligent environment for citizen centred health management category. The stated budgets are contributed by the EU by circa a half.
The first experience with the EU research projects was DROMEAS, which objective was the monitoring of the health state and performance of a sportsman during training, especially in the rehabilitation process after a trauma. The solution is applied by the Israeli-British chain of hospitals. The budget reached 4.2 mil. EUR for 2.5 years for 10 partners from 7 countries.
Soon after DROMEAS another project was approved with participation of IDS Scheer CR – HEALTHY MARKET. It involved a web application for design of personalized nutrition plans supporting healthy diet and civilization disease prevention as obesity, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. Pilot projects were rolled out in Italy and Estonia. The budget reached 4.3 mil. EUR for 2.5 years or 12 partners from 7 countries.
After experience in two projects the Milena Hrbáčková team decided for a challenge to undertake the demanding role of coordinator in the DICTATE project, submitted to the category Systems for health professionals: creating a Health knowledge info-structure starting in summer 2002. The budget reached 3.5 mil. EUR for 4 years for 6 partners. The objective was to develop a system intermediating a voice input of medical data with the help of a pocket computer, its transformation to a standard format and unambiguous interpretation to the health record of a patient.
Last year another project proposal was approved with the participation of IDS Scheer in the 6th Framework Programme, with the objective to design a system for planning surgical interventions based on the 3D model of a heart and the entire cardiovascular system of a patient for a realistic simulation. IDS as a technical partner is responsible for the functional system specification of the CARTIDIS project.
For those interested to participate in EU projects
The active participation of staff in the international R&D projects requires, according to Milena Hrbáčková, a combination of different skills, knowledge, abilities and approaches starting with a wide overview in technologies related to the project, and openness to new solutions and team-work through a quick orientation in the imperfectly defined problem and an ability to think and formulate on various levels of abstraction as far as the active foreign language skill (especially English) and orientation in the terminology of EU projects.
It is necessary to actively follow the development of the entire project, that means frequent communication (e-mails, phone-calls, videoconferences) and frequent travelling to the management and technical meetings. Projects also require considerable financial and legal administration, often with a need of support from other parties, which have a sufficient language skill and orientation in a given issue (e.g. audit and legal services).
The essential set of skills and knowledge is usually necessary to build from more people, sometimes it is needed to find the external sources. “This means that smaller companies are handicapped for participation in projects, as it is usually harder for them to create such a work-team, respectively to allocate its work capacity only for this type of project. The tried-and-true method is to gain from the beginning experience in project as a partner only, focused only on a particular part of a project (workpackage). In further projects the company can go for a more challenging role as a “workpackage leader”, project coordinator or to try to write and submit a project on their own”“, advises Milena Hrbáčková.
IDS Scheer CR has besides the IST projects from the Framework Programmes experience with project proposals for eTEN, eContent, CRAFT, FET Open, Interreg and Innovation programmes. The company would like to exploit its knowledge and experience gained during the involvement in the international consortiums especially as a technology partner in the area of definition of functional specifications, security, during web portal and database design and would like to reflect it in future cooperation with other international as well as local partners.
Tel. +420 543 524 630
is a graduate of the Brno University of Technology, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, in 2003 she received an MSc degree at the Brno International Business School. Previously she had been employed at the Brno University of Technology, Department of Computer Science and in PC-DIR as Head of the SAP R/3 Support Department. For some time she has been self-employed as an independent consultant, lecturer and translator in the field of IT. Since 1997 she has been working in IDS Scheer CR, where she was the Head of the Translation Department and later Head of the Programming Department. Since 2001 she has been responsible for European Commission projects management within the company.