Shaping the digital future for sporting association DAV

Cognizant Netcentric is partnering with Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) to deliver a seamless digital experience for its members and employees alike.

Copyright DAV/Jens Klatt


Originally founded in 1869, the DAV is now the world’s largest national mountaineering association with 30,000 employees spread across 357 independent regional organizations supporting more than 1.4 million members.


The challenge was to reshape DAV’s digital platform and orchestrate the overall digital transformation across the entire organization.

Before this project, DAV faced several pain points that hindered both their member and employee experience:

  1. Outdated legacy infrastructure, including a poor mobile experience, siloed data, and a lack of readiness for GDPR
  2. No platform for collaboration across the whole association
  3. Redundancy across many internal areas and operations, such as member administration, planning, and content delivery, as well as member-facing services

Furthermore, a decentralized set of marketing tools made it impossible to create personalized experiences and piece together a complete view of every member to ensure they received the correct communication, at the right time, through the right channel.

Finally, all employees, members, and partner organizations represented a wide-ranging digital maturity spectrum, working culture, platform expectations, and specific needs.

Our objective was to deliver a solution that would gain synergies across the entire organization and continuously improve the member and employee experience.


Leveraging the Bernstein approach we kick-started this collaboration with a Project Initiation Accelerator workshop. We got to know our client, fixed the project’s key objectives, defined the action areas and the complete project setup.

For the wider digital transformation to occur, we needed to prepare a concept that would convince over 700 delegates at the DAV general meeting to transform their organization to meet the always-on demands of their members and their new digitized working norms.

During the diagnose phase, the project team driven by Cognizant Netcentric gained a deep understanding of the requirements and how potential solutions could fit into DAV’s culture and workflows. We conducted dedicated workshops with selected experts from the association, held regular internal status meetings every two weeks to keep all stakeholders up to date, and ensure a steady stream of communication, involvement, and alignment.

The foundation for the orchestration of the full lifecycle of the transformation project was the Cognizant Netcentric Experience Transformation Framework, which defines the key elements of the holistic solution (UX/Design, Content, Data/Intelligence, Platform/Software, Organisation/Culture/Processes) as well as the enablers of a successful delivery, like the definition of the experience strategy or the continuous transformation governance. The ultimate goal of the framework is the creation of customer and business value via an outstanding customer and employee experience.


To implement DAV’s new applications, we utilized our agile approach of two-week development sprints. The development was divided into 5 teams powered by different external partners in addition to Cognizant Netcentric. The DAV product owners and experts covered the business areas. We began by constructing the cloud infrastructure, using Azure, to form a foundation for DAV’s new customer experience platform and run applications while respecting data security and privacy regulations such as GDPR.

Additional topics we orchestrated and implemented:

  • Operations Organisation was built up along the holacratic principles
  • Training and blended learning concept
  • Support processes and organization
  • Marketing and communication

Due to the challenges of the pandemic, we conducted a pre-go live, which enabled DAV to convey the outcomes of the project to their organization ahead of time. The first go-live in October 2020 included the entire cloud infrastructure, the new full-service website for the regional organizations, a single-sign-on service that allowed employees to log in to DAV’s experience via multiple channels and have their data travel with them.

Results and benefits

Overall the results of the first phase of the digital transformation were:

  • A strategy for the digital transformation of the DAV
  • A new portal application that integrates all administrational applications consistently over time
  • Azure-based cloud platform for all digital services
  • Complete full-service website for the regional organizations, including CMS, hosting, maintenance as well as a shared content service
  • An organization-wide collaboration platform based on Office 365 and Microsoft Teams
  • New knowledge platform complete with a knowledge base, web-based training, and virtual training

Furthermore, the first phase established a new operations organization:

  • Development setup
  • Support
  • Infrastructure delivery

Most importantly, the new solution boosts DAV’s reputation amongst potential new employees, volunteers, and potential members, expanding their ability to reach new audiences and grow their member base.

The new cloud infrastructure also gives DAV the flexibility to scale its operations, data capacity, and products in the long term. Though the project is still ongoing, an early fundamental outcome is an increased satisfaction amongst DAV’s employees that can now work together seamlessly in the cloud, regardless of their location, timezone, or device. This is a crucial business asset for the future of work that will add enormous value in the long term.

We’re incredibly proud of our work orchestrating a highly effective solution and wide-reaching transformation that cements DAV’s position as a leader in the sports and recreation sector. The new technological infrastructure provides trustworthy and engaging experiences for both their members and employees.

This comprehensive project equips DAV with an experience platform to handle the future of business. Thanks to a close and trusting relationship, we managed to ’divide the beast’ and ensure exceptional individual products while never losing sight of the holistic view of the transformation as a whole. Cognizant Netcentric, DAV, and the other partners each brought valuable expertise and experience to the project, which helped overcome challenges and find rapid solutions throughout the entire transformation lifecycle.

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