Video Quick Take: Karin Gilges on Digital Transformation at Bosch

Video Quick Take: Karin Gilges on Digital Transformation at Bosch


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  • Todd Pruzan, HBR

    Welcome to the HBR Video Quick Take. I’m Todd Pruzan, senior editor for research and special projects at Harvard Business Review. Bosch India, a German multinational engineering and technology company, recently partnered with the consulting company Accenture to conduct a large-scale program called the Digital Fluency Program, covering 4,000 employees across all functions.

    Today, I’m speaking with Karin Gilges, Bosch India’s chief financial officer, to talk about Bosch’s vision for digital transformation, the key success factors, and the outcomes of the digital fluency program. Karin, thank you for joining us today.

    Karin Gilges, Bosch

    Thank you very much. It’s my pleasure.

    Todd Pruzan, HBR

    Karin, what is Bosch’s vision for digital transformation, and where does the digital fluency program fit into that?

    Karin Gilges, Bosch

    Well, as you probably know, Bosch has been an industry pioneer for a very long time. And digitalization and connecting of factories has been one of our key tasks for the last 10 years. What we want to achieve with our products is to spark enthusiasm, sell them to improve the quality of life, and also conserve natural resources.

    And if you understand this journey, then, in the end, this can only be achieved if you have a certain mindset. Digital fluency was a journey to really bring this mindset into our associates cohort, let’s say. Therefore, we decided to start this program together with Accenture.

    Todd Pruzan, HBR

    So how did Bosch manage the digital fluency program at such a large scale? And what was Accenture’s role in your partnership?

    Karin Gilges, Bosch

    Well, first of all, you have to know that we have three strong pillars. These are products and solutions, process, and people. So, to really build this digital fluency within the organization—that you create an appreciation for and then application of digital—it is a journey of transitioning from knowing, to doing, to being digital.

    That means that to be successful in the end, I can proudly say that 100% of our people really came forward to embrace the digital learning journey, it was a co-creation of a framework between Bosch and Accenture to steer these mechanisms and to successfully manage this digital fluency program across Bosch in India.

    We not only created a framework; we created really a customized learning journey for each function. We leveraged together three channels—the online training, the SME lead sessions, and an action-learning project. In the online training, we curated 90+ online courses together with Accenture in the Accenture Academy.

    In terms of subject matter and our experts, we created 30+ SME-led sessions and live demos. And in the action-learning project, which was a very important part, we created 150 digital and analytics ideas, that were translated into 20 action-learning projects. So, you see our working together with Accenture, our use of the Accenture Academy to go in-depth, was much more than creating a framework.

    Together we achieved a strong governance program and program management and a strong focus on change management in the organization, because it is not only that you create the spark, it’s also that people have to understand that it is of high strategic importance that we are going digital in the future.

    And, as part of this, we created and offered this program—and, yeah, to create the culture and the mindset transformation in the end. Accenture worked with us as a strategic partner, as an enabler, and designer of the program. This is, in the end, what we set up together and we are very proud of it.

    Todd Pruzan, HBR

    What were the critical success factors of this program?

    Karin Gilges, Bosch

    The success factors, and the most important part, are the people and being able to really create a program that is adopted and seen as a very important part of our leadership team and also of our associates program. To reiterate these important success factors were; the customized and curated content and the successful change management.

    Also very important was leadership communication— to successfully bring in that strategic aspect, you need to communicate. Additionally, quantifiable measurements of the results are, of course, also very important.

    Todd Pruzan, HBR

    And Karin, what were the outcomes of the digital fluency program?

    Karin Gilges, Bosch

    The Digital Fluency Program, in the end, has really improved our digital maturity across Bosch in India, as well as the skill development matrix of our workforce. In addition to the skills and maturity gained, is the creation of the mindset within the organization. This mindset has empowered our people to discuss the topic of becoming, and being, digital.

    It’s important to discuss this openly and without any fear. To quantify these efforts, we have increased, 3x, the skill levels for over 4,000 employees. We increased, four times, the skill levels of our 130 digital pioneers. And in the 20 digital action-learning projects, there was also a lot of success, resulting in a huge business impact.

    To recap, over 1,100 manufacturing employees were trained in the basics of digital [fluency]. And they can use these applications and this knowledge now in their daily business activities. The learning from the program is not only a new skill-set, but also maturity, and mindset, it is really that people feel and can use these assets in their daily and operational business.

    Todd Pruzan, HBR

    Karin, how will Bosch use digital fluency to sustain and accelerate its digital transformation? In which areas do you believe digital and analytics will deliver the most value?

    Karin Gilges, Bosch

    I think that [the] Digital Fluency Program is our core. We accelerated it into our digital transformation, which we have started and is ongoing. We have a focus on data and analytics as we are a strong technology company.

    And, of course, automation and cloud are very important for us. It is now the base—or rather, we created, the competency for new business like mobility cloud platform, energy XaaS, and more. We can use these skills and technologies in data analytics, in IoT, in big data, etc.

    And just to give you more of an explanation and make it a little bit more touchable: we have made great progress in our automation segment, where we have 80 digital pioneers. And they have trained already as Green Belts.

    And this automation project, of course, helps us in our daily business in the manufacturing plants. These digital pioneers are now the multiplicators for our organization to move forward with the automation, which we need on our journey of digitalization.

    Todd Pruzan, HBR

    Well, Karin, thank you. This has been a great discussion. Thank you so much for joining us today.

    Karin Gilges, Bosch

    Thank you very much for the opportunity.

    To learn more, please click here.

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