Ms Schmoranzer, what are the key pieces of advice that you give to groups like Volkswagen when it comes to digitalisation?
Companies often think of digitalisation or digital transformation as a process that will at some point seem to be finished – but that is simply not the case. Digitalisation is never finished; it just becomes part of the company’s DNA. Development and use of new technologies, customer and value stream orientation, as well as new structures and ways of working, will all become part of day-to-day life in the future. We call this business agility. There is no way around this process – there is no plan B. A group like Volkswagen is aware of this and making a concious effort to drive the transformation forward.
As a large car manufacturing company, Volkswagen has complex structures and processes. How does the prevailing mindset have to change in order to master digitalisation?
Does digitalisation really need to be mastered? I’ll admit that the task is anything but trivial, especially for large corporations. However, I would suggest looking at it from a different perspective. To put it simply, digitalisation is the magic ability to change the world with the zeros and ones of binary code. New technologies afford us the opportunity to make improvements and take on the problems that we want to solve. The right mindset is “desire to create and win”, not “scared of losing”. You simply learn how to do the things you can’t already do. Those who learn fastest win! In the face of a highly dynamic environment and increasing levels of complexity, business leaders are tasked with creating a new form of stability and continuity that people need in order to be able to undertake this journey.
Which digital features and services will automobile customers expect in the future?
In the future, the typical automobile customers as we know them will no longer exist. The range of usage behaviour will become even broader. Here we are talking about new ecosystems in which diverse mobility scenarios emerge. Assisted driving, for example, will mean that vehicle occupants will develop different needs that they want to have met – after all, hands-free driving will no doubt get boring at some point. Entertainment, education, e-business – an entire range of usage possibilities and new services will emerge. There is, however, one fundamental aspect that will persist and even gain in importance and that is the expectations customers have when it comes to safety, reliability and trustworthiness.