Go directly to
      The Path to a Digital Company – Interview with Oliver Lindner
      April 30, 2018

      The Path to a Digital Company – Interview with Oliver Lindner

      Hello Mr. Lindner. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

      ​​​​​​​Sure. I am 49 years old, married, have a son and I am working for Continental since 2008. I work in the Strategy & Innovation department, which is part of the Corporate IT, as an AI- & Service Management Strategist. Here I am working together with my colleagues and in close cooperation with the Strategy & Technology (S&T) department on various strategies and innovations on the road to a digital company. Strategies are not only useful to define “who we want to be tomorrow”, but they also enable us to see the path we are going down and how we can actively shape this path and support it with specific projects. Our strategic topics are very broad, they range from Smart Factory (Industry 4.0), over Next Generation Network, Cloud-Computing, Mobility, Digital Workplace to Blockchain, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Service Management. A fascinating, divers yet also challenging task that does not only require great knowledge of methods, markets and technology, but also heaps of communication with different people.

      What projects are you currently working on?

      In my department my colleagues and I work on a wide variety of topics. Some of my current projects are:

      • Intelligent Process Automation Platform Service This project is about building a platform service for AI based process automatization. The goal is to make it accessible for the whole Continental AG, not only to be more efficient and faster or to save money, but also to give the people more time to focus on new exciting tasks in a “digital world” of tomorrow.
      • Next Gen Service Management (BMC) This project establishes a new Service Management System with new applications and particularly with a new service-orientated way of working to support IT Service Management, Mobility Services and Servitization at Continental IT. This is important, because Continental not only thrives to be data and AI driven, it also aims to be a service-orientated company.
      • AI Strategy @ IT Based on the existing AI strategy of Continental IT from S&T, IT also needs a plan to reach the proclaimed goal of Continental AG to become an „AI empowered System – & Service Provider till 2030“ and to actively support the business as a partner and not only as a support anymore. Alongside of building competences and other content, the strategy also includes topics such as standards, integration of AI platforms (e.g. Salesforce, Amazon, MS Azure…), Chat Bot technologies, Advanced Analytics und AI based Process Automation.

      With digitalization comes a lot of change. What are some of these for Continental?

      To answer this we would first have to define the term digitalization. For me it means the death of the pen, or the transformation from for example an old record (analog) to Spotify (digital and a new business model). It is a change of paradigms both in private life and jobwise, because everything, especially in IT, is changing rapidly. It is necessary to take a systemic point of view on this topic, because apart from new technologies based on AI (artificial intelligence) and data, there are some many more topics involved, such as leadership and organization.

      As already mentioned this path leads us to completely new data driven business models. At Continental we established, next to our product orientation (for example tires), a service orientation and offer Mobility Services for the external market. That not only leads us to completely new chances, but also to new insights, ways of working, new knowledge and even more ideas. A continuous innovation circle is created by this.

      Through digitalization everything is becoming faster and more complex. New knowledge needs to be acquired in a short amount of time, new professions arise (another new challenge for HR and IT), global teams need to work dynamically with different experts to realize agile projects (there is no more “one perfect plan”) and leadership needs to be reshaped.

      What role does AI play in this context?

      Artificial Intelligence plays a key role. Maybe not 100% today, however the boom is immense and the effects of this exponentially growing technology will be long lasting.

      “What can be automatized, will be automatized! “

      For Continental AI is one of the main topics and we aspire to be an AI Empowered Enterprise by 2030 (Continental AG AI Strategy). That of course means we need to establish above mentioned criteria to first become “AI ready” and then “AI empowered”. AI readyness means not only to have profound knowledge of what AI means and what topics it includes, but also to develop the knowledge and the skills that are necessary to use this technology in a profitable and efficient way. This can happen most efficiently by making experiences (and the connected failures). We already started this by using ChatBot technology, Advanced Analytics and intelligent, AI based process automatization.

      And last but not least: How does a normal work day look like for you?

      A good day starts with me scrolling through Xing and LinkedIn in the morning while having breakfast. After dropping of my son at school, I begin my daily work with a “daily scrum” in our agile project management chatting with colleagues about news while having a nice cup of coffee. The mix of people here is really interesting; from Process & Tool experts, Service Management specialist to managers, every knowledge and hierachy levels are represented. That provides you with a great opportunity to be up to date and to get a sense of the atmosphere. It is of great value I feel. Afterwards, usual meetings and phone calls are already waiting for me, like for every one of us. Beside the work on projects, I invest my time in market analysis with some of our analyst partners (such as Gartner), as well as appointments with external innovators, open-minded thinkers, consultants and technology providers. However, my continuous work on my network (both internal and external) is fundamental for me. No one can work alone on such complex topics, success is only possible with „collective intelligence“, this broadens the horizon. That’s what the head is round for, so you can look around. What really completes a successful day for me is holding presentations, which I really enjoy doing. Writing articles in ConNext and talking with colleagues about their work and how they are doing. Because in the end, there are more important things than work.

      This article was written by our employee.

      Oliver Lindner