Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; www.evonik.com) is setting itself up for the digital future with its own new subsidiary, Evonik Digital GmbH, which includes a team of about 20 experts. Under the Evonik umbrella, the company is developing new digital business models and building up digital expertise. Christian Kullmann, deputy chairman of the Executive Board and responsible for the digitalization strategy, states: “Digitalization offers more than new technologies. It also creates new opportunities for collaboration and production, and gives rise to new business models and marketing options. Evonik is taking a pioneering role in the chemical industry here.”
In the newly created position of chief digital officer (CDO), Henrik Hahn will now coordinate digitalization activities for the Group. This way a central contact point for technical dialog and strategic aspects as well as Group-wide digital innovations is established. Hahn is also chairman of the Management Board of Evonik Digital GmbH.
The team of experts at Evonik Digital GmbH will also work fast, flexibly, and with a high degree of freedom, on the implementation of novel ideas. The specialists will develop digital concepts and solutions, test them, and get them off the ground within the Group. Collaboration with renowned technology companies and promising startups will play a crucial role here.
Digitalization is now giving rise to change globally, and not only in business with direct customers and consumers: For some time now, there have been profound changes across production and supply networks. Evonik therefore expects that this digitalization initiative cutting across organizational units will also strengthen its own competitiveness and continue to distinguish it clearly from other companies. “We recognized early on the opportunities that digital business models could offer, and we’re very systematically organizing the necessary changes in the company,” says Kullmann.
The new subsidiary is located in the center of Essen and started operating early this year. The experts combine broad international experience, an extensive network of contacts, and expertise in social and media studies — in addition to chemistry, engineering and business management.
“Evonik wants to comprehensively support its customers’ success — specifically through new products and services,” says Henrik Hahn. “This clear customer focus is absolutely essential for the digitalization team. This will then also involve working jointly with the business lines to identify digital business ideas throughout the entire Group and providing strong support in their implementation.”
The team is planning to present its first concrete results during this year. The current pilot projects include platform approaches for e-commerce and the topic of do-it-yourself sensor technology. This should provide an improved understanding of the needs of customers early on, for example in product development.