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“akirolabs enables us to manage the heterogeneous requirements of all Bertelsmann divisions whilst maximizing the transparency across our jointly defined category strategies”

Dirk Kunz

SVP Group IT Sourcing

Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the entertainment group RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has 145,000 employees and generated revenues of €18.7 billion in the 2021 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world. Bertelsmann aspires to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.

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Bertelsmann faced a major challenge in managing its procurement and sourcing processes. Operating in more than 50 markets across the world, the Group IT Sourcing team struggled to connect to and involve all stakeholders from the multitude of group divisions, missing out on valuable information and, ultimately, value-generating potential. The processes were previously loosely defined and often manual, with limited cross-border and cross-functional collaboration. In addition to the desire to make the processes more efficient and transparent, the team led by Dirk Kunz was looking to streamline stakeholder communication.


To address these challenges, Bertelsmann turned to akirolabs and implemented its innovative procurement platform. As of today, the team has already onboarded >40 stakeholders from 7 divisions and akirolabs now serves as the company's central procurement/sourcing strategy platform, providing a harmonized process for strategic category management. The involvement of all relevant stakeholders from a multitude of divisions enabled Bertelsmann to consider all the heterogeneous requirements, boosting the quality and value of their category strategies to new levels.
The adoption of akirolabs as the central platform has led to significant improvements in cross-border, cross-functional collaboration and early and continuous stakeholder involvement. Since most people had already understood that procurement can't be successful in isolation, the platform has served as a change enabler, rather than a change initiator. As a result, akiro has transformed the company's previously manual and isolated processes into streamlined and efficient ones. The stakeholders equally enjoy using the procurement platform, as it considers their input, provides valuable insights and transparency, and constitutes the main knowledge repository for procurement activities.


  • Cross-border and cross-functional collaboration

    Bertelsmann creates jointly defined category strategies in collaboration with 7 divisions in akiro and continues to expand the scope across the whole Group.

  • Stakeholder involvement

    The collaboration with a growing number of stakeholders has improved category strategies significantly, making them better informed, more focussed, more resilient and, most importantly, more valuable.

  • Transparency

    The "single version of the truth" approach of akiro has enabled Bertelsmann to provide management as well as stakeholders with transparency at any time. In addition, the integrated approval flows ensure traceability.

  • Change enabler

    akiro serves as a change enabler for all maturity levels across the different Bertelsmann Group divisions. Depending on the need, it is seamlessly applied to provide structure, as a training tool and/or an efficiency boost.

  • Harmonized and efficient process

    akiro has harmonized Bertelsmann's strategic sourcing process, producing meaningful, comparable outputs across categories and divisions.

  • Knowledge repository

    akiro serves as Bertelsmann's category strategy knowledge repository for both the procurement/sourcing function and its stakeholders. Due to its intuitive structure, required information is found in a matter of seconds and always up-to-date.


akirolabs delivers manifold and different benefits for different customers. For Bertelsmann, getting the arms around 7 legal entities and even more stakeholders was the key objective. But there are several more, like moving procurement's value creation beyond savings. If you want to lean more, please reach out to us and book an individual product demo.