Evonik Industries says it is setting itself up for the digital future by founding a subsidiary, Evonik Digital. The unit consists of a team of about 20 multifaceted experts with international experience, and will collaborate with external partners and promising start-ups, Evonik says. Henrik Hahn has been appointed Evonik’s chief digital officer (CDO) and chairman of Evonik Digital’s board. As CDO, Hahn will coordinate digitalization activities for Evonik. The position of CDO establishes a central contact point for technical dialog, strategic aspects, and company-wide digital innovation.
“Digitalization offers more than new technolog[y],” says Christian Kullmann, deputy chairman of Evonik, who has board responsibility for Evonik’s digitalization strategy. “Digitalization 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.”
The Evonik Digital team will work with a high degree of freedom and flexibility to implement novel ideas, develop and test digital concepts and solutions, and get them implemented within the Evonik group, the company says. Collaboration with technology companies and promising start-ups will play a crucial role, according to Evonik. The experts combine broad international experience, an extensive network of contacts and, in addition to chemistry, engineering and business management, and expertise in social and media studies, Evonik says.
Digitalization is causing profound changes worldwide across production and supply networks, Evonik says. The company expects its digitalization initiative, cutting across organizational units, will strengthen its competitiveness and differentiate Evonik from other companies. “We recognized early on the opportunities that digital business models could offer, and we’re systematically organizing the necessary changes in the company,” says Kullmann.
A clear customer focus “is absolutely essential for the digitalization team,” Hahn says. “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,” he says.
The team is planning to present its first results during the course of this year. The current pilot projects include platform approaches for e-commerce and the topic of do-it-yourself sensor technology.