How the German Life Saving Association uses ONLYOFFICE and Nextcloud to organize effective collaboration for a distributed team

21 January 2021By Ksenija

Today we present a story of the German Life Saving Association (DLRG) which uses ONLYOFFICE Docs integrated into Nextcloud to organize a single collaborative workspace for all the DLRG divisions distributed across the country. Thomas Jäger, a representative of the information technology working group at the DLRG, shares his team’s experience.
How the German Life Saving Association uses ONLYOFFICE and Nextcloud to organize effective collaboration for a distributed team

About DLRG

The German Life Saving Association (DLRG) is the largest water rescue organization in the world with over 1,6 million members and sponsors.

The DLRG was founded in 1913. For now, it is number one in swimming and lifeguard training in Germany. From 1950 to 2019, the organization ran around 22,7 million swimming tests and almost five million lifeguard tests. In around 2000 DLRG divisions, volunteers do almost 10,2 million hours of voluntary work for the people in Germany every year.

The core tasks of the DLRG are swimming and lifeguard training, education about water hazards and the water rescue service. Around 47000 volunteers watch over the safety of swimmers and water sportsmen, saving around 950 people from drowning every year.

How the German Life Saving Association uses ONLYOFFICE and Nextcloud to organize effective collaboration for a distributed team

Image source: DLRG


The DLRG has started to provide a Nextcloud instance for its divisions in order to organize a central document storage. As more and more people were using it, there was a demand for more collaboration tools, including document co-editing.

Looking for office solutions for hosting in its own data center, the DLRG researched the existing integration options for Nextcloud and came across ONLYOFFICE.

The DLRG also tested Collabora Online as an alternative office integration for Nextcloud. However, it turned out that ONLYOFFICE can better meet the requirements and wishes of users. Advanced collaborative document processing and support for as many office file formats as possible were the decisive factors.

Location-independent and secure collaboration

The DLRG volunteers should be able to work together easily regardless of their location. Real-time document collaboration was one of the challenges for them.

A team of voluntary IT experts takes care of the provision of numerous IT services that are operated on DLRG servers. This ensures that almost 2000 divisions do not have to worry about secure IT infrastructure themselves and can concentrate on the core tasks of the DLRG.

In this case, the combination of ONLYOFFICE and Nextcloud is a perfect solution for the DLRG.

Thomas Jäger:

We are particularly proud to offer a central file exchange service for all the DLRG structures, which we operate with purely voluntary employees and which we make available to our divisions free of charge.

Administration and training concepts creation

The DLRG divisions handle a wide range of tasks with ONLYOFFICE and Nextcloud, including the administration their everyday activities.

The combined solution is also used for creating training concepts as well as for handling disaster operations in cooperation with other organizations and authorities.

This product combo is recommended for everyone who does not rely on the big cloud providers and would rather use an individual cloud solution. With Nextcloud and ONLYOFFICE, there are extensive options for designing your own collaboration platform.

Document editing: on the go and mobile

With ONLYOFFICE-Nextcloud combo solution, collaboration between the distributed team was significantly improved. Since the DLRG members often do their work on the go, the ability to edit documents in the cloud on a smartphone makes work much easier.

Corona challenges

In times of Covid-19 when daily work has to be relocated to the digital world, the DLRG stays productive. What was otherwise done at a face-to-face meeting can now be done by several people from home thanks to ONLYOFFICE and Nextcloud.