October 15, 2020 - Carmen Roth-Schäfer has been the new CTO at Daimler Mobility since March 2020. In the following interview she explains how she took on her new role despite the COVID 19 pandemic, how she would describe her position and what goals she is pursuing with the IT organisation.
Carmen, you started your position just as the COVID-19 pandemic took ahold of the world in March 2020. How have you handled starting a new role during a global pandemic and integrating yourself virtually with your teams?
Admittedly, it’s challenging to start a new job where most of our colleagues are not in the same physical location. Over the past few months, I’ve started to recognize most of our team - based on voice versus face. Overall, everything works well at the moment. In general, the exchange works very well, also thanks to the numerous digital tools of communication at our disposal. Looking back, I can say that although a virtual start brings challenges, it is certainly feasible.
People have a hard time understanding what a CTO does. How do you describe your role?
Along with other IT-Departments, the CTO Organization is ensuring that our solutions meet customer needs in the best and most effective way using modern, flexible and efficient technology. We are designing and safeguarding the overarching global IT architecture roadmap, digitizing and automating our business processes and transforming our IT organization into a technology powerhouse. This will enable us to reach our targets. By providing solutions, we support our business to keep up with the rapidly changing world.
COVID-19 has had multiple impacts on our business. From your point of view how do we need to refocus our activities?
In particular, the key issues of increasing efficiency and driving forward the transformation are measures in which we as CTO organisation make a significant contribution. Through the consistent roll-out of the Digital Lending Model as well as the global standardization and harmonization of our products and processes, we will offer our customers excellent services and at the same time, become more efficient in doing so. Through our digital transformation, we will continue to build our online business and automate our processes.
How are we currently approaching this transformation?
Some examples of the transformation for our core business are: an online direct sales platform, the automation of the entire credit process including validation of customer data and automated fraud checks leading up to the decision process, and the integration of our services with standardized APIs directly in our brand partner systems. In addition to our business goals, the topic “strengthening our corporate culture” and the focus on our employees are very close to my heart. Our people are our most important asset. Their engagement is a key factor that drives our company’s success. This is why I want to protect our capabilities and continue building skills, even in a difficult period of time - to ensure the future success of our company.
Daimler is talking more and more about the car as the new smartphone on wheels. Does this have any impact on our services at Daimler Mobility?
A smartphone is exciting simply through its technology, design, look and feel, all leading to a “wow” effect for customers. This also includes the software products that make users’ everyday life easier. This has a significant impact on our company, and software products play an integral role. Every vehicle collects hundreds of data points that we at Daimler Mobility already use to improve our internal processes and offer our customers new digital products that promote a digital experience. Here we have integrated product teams that develop customer-oriented products.
Are there already concrete examples of this?
Here we have integrated product teams that develop customer-oriented products. For example Dynamic Lease where we can offer the customer optimized Leasing products based on their current mileage. Also, in the area of insurance, we offer the Pay How You Drive product, which interacts with the services offered in-vehicle and will be part of our core services Leasing and Mobility Packages in fleet management or in the Mercedes-Benz Rent product lines. In addition to this, we have a brand new product focused on the topic of Electric Vehicle, in which Daimler Mobility continues to promote sales of our even more digital "smartphones", i.e. our electric vehicle fleet.