Building the necessary skills for digital transformation


Daniella: Absolutely. It is a total driver for innovation and it is also a driver to create something like a corporate memory of expertise and knowledge. Because you can bring together a universe of learning opportunities for the people through a single point of access.

You have so many great people and organizations that can contribute with the latest insights, topics they want to position and bring to the people. We haven’t had that in the past. Imagine a company like Siemens, a huge technology company operating in so many sectors. It means bringing learning opportunities together from, say, a functional perspective. So if you’re in finance or in the supply chain, we also have to complete it through, we call it cross-functional learning opportunities, topics that are relevant to everyone, such as languages ​​or communication. We also have a whole learning landscape available on technology topics, on product specific topics, on market specific topics. It’s a huge landscape of learning opportunities, and everyone needs a subset, and everyone needs a very individual specialized subset. That is a huge advantage to be able to adjust it accordingly. And by such an approach I must also say that it is much more efficient and productive because it saves time and money. Humans can have access to an entire universe. They don’t have to travel, then don’t have to come across programs where maybe only a certain percentage is relevant to them. It is also very helpful in driving overall business success.

Laurel: And part of that business success is digital transformation, right? Adopting and rolling out new technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence. This will create a new division of labor between man and machine, which will disrupt jobs worldwide. But as these jobs evolve, new roles will be created with people who have specific advantages over machines and AI, such as management and decision-making and communication and interaction – all those things that humans are really good at. How can business people prepare and prepare their employees for this shift from automation?

Daniela: Yes, I think it’s something that has been with us for a number of years. But there too, the speed and the required skill level has increased so much. I’d say it’s almost like a bouquet of things you can and should do. As a company you have to create an identity and first of all you have to say that learning and individual growth are really important to you. It’s a priority for the company and you need to put a positive spin on it. It’s there for you, it’s there to support you, it starts with you. That’s why we started a company-wide campaign we call MyGrowth.

It is much more than a campaign, it is a total concept and approach. But it really aims to inspire and engage people to try out the different experiences we offer and help them navigate and orientate what they should and can use. Then we also created a target on learning hours because we really wanted to give people a boost and say, “Look, it’s important that you take your time and make it a priority.”

With regard to the specific skills you mentioned around automation and digitization, we can then include specific strategic topics that we push to our people. We stimulate awareness campaigns through learning opportunities. These can be targeted at certain audiences, because people also need different skill levels. Or we can push it on a large scale. This is a very flexible system. If I may give you an example, we have one pocket in our businesses that is called Digital Industries Software. It fits very nicely with what you call it. That company’s CEO said last year that we’re in a software company, so AI is a major driver of everything we do. That’s why my entire organization needs to understand what artificial intelligence is, let’s say on a very generic level. But people also need to understand how we use it internally as a technology, as well as driving our business and software solutions. And then we created different learning paths for different layers of expertise, and therefore were able to bring the whole topic to thousands of people from our Digital Industries business in a very comprehensive way.

Laurel: So you do two things. First, you push out what you think everyone should know and learn, while artificial intelligence is a big topic. But then how do you also do assessments of people and their skills to identify skills gaps and then align learning programs with business strategy to essentially not just get a return on investment? Of course everything comes back for profit, but also for return on investment on the time and expertise of the employee. Because that is also something you are growing.

Daniella: Yes. And the subject of skills is a very hot topic, I can tell you. It’s everywhere and comes from very different lenses and usage scenarios. Technology plays a major role. A platform-based learning ecosystem with a learning experience platform at its core allows you to gain insights we never had in the past. We can see what interests people. We can see why and what they are learning, what are they actually learning or what are they not learning, and then they leave. If you then multiply that and you see that across the total workforce, you also see what are hot topics, what are skills that are on the horizon. You see that in certain communities. We have certain communities that we call, for example, digital talents, such as tech talents. And there you can already see what the next topics are on the horizon. And then we can match as a learning function, do we already have the right learning opportunities for the topics that are being searched? That’s one thing. But that’s more the bottom part of it that’s super important.