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Credit by Markus Oehmann

Our topic: The digital transformation at Daimler

As the name says, the big topic that #transform addresses is the digital transformation of Daimler. It was clear that digitalization isn’t just hype, but a game changer that will greatly transform our products, processes, and jobs.

Our main tasks can be roughly summarized in five points:

  • Defining digital objectives

  • Scouting trends

  • Ensuring transparency

  • Creating synergies

  • Promote cultural change ultimately .

Some of the stages follow in succession, while others run in parallel. But no matter what, we always work together with partners from other parts of the company.

1. Stage #1: Tracking the digital trends

The first question for every fundamental strategic decision is: What will be important in the future? In order to find an answer, we use the entire trend scouting toolkit: going to trade shows, reading specialist media, organizing in-house innovation & strategy workshops, and working together with external “trend professionals” such as scientists and special agencies.

Examples include artificial intelligence, blockchain, data management, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR).

2. Stage #2: Creating transparency in technological trends

Many departments at Daimler pick up on technological trends early on. That’s why we systematically check to see who is doing what. Let’s look at artificial intelligence (AI) as an example.

When it became apparent how much potential this trend had? How do sales and marketing use smart assistants or chatbots? How is machine learning employed in production? What is happening in this regard at the Trucks division and what at Research & Development?

3. Stage #3: The search for synergies in the Group

If a digital trend is of overarching significance for the Group, it makes sense to pool resources and take a joint approach. This was very clearly the case with artificial intelligence. We knew from the start that AI will not only be used in our products, but also optimize many of our processes.

In such cases, we adopt the topic and develop a strategy on how it can be optimally integrated so that every unit benefits. We jointly conduct pilot projects and discuss the results and recommendations for action with the top management. In this way, we establish networks between the in-house experts and create the basis for synergies.

4. Stage #4: Focusing on digital objectives at Daimler

These targets show how products and processes can be improved with the help of digital technology. We don’t do all this on our own, of course. We define the Group’s digital objectives in cooperation with the divisions, which, in turn, break down these targets for themselves.

Our overarching goal is the Strategy House. In the same way that we develop targets for individual technologies and trends, we also have an overarching principle that serves as a guideline for every new measure: our “Strategy House.” That’s because all of our activities are geared toward the goal of making us the digital leader in our sector.

In this “House,” we have defined what we can specifically do for our customers, how our employees can network more effectively, and how our products and processes can become even better. But because technologies are evolving at a rapid pace, we have to think in short timespans and regularly update the House. Last but not least, the House shows us that a huge topic such as digitalization cannot be addressed with small measures. A solid foundation is needed — and this foundation is now and will remain the people at Daimler.

5. Stage #5: Make people aware of the benefits of a new technology

Every technological transformation is largely a form of culture change. From this, we derive our fifth task: To make people aware of the benefits of a new technology.

We are constantly holding discussions with everyone from the top management on down to the production workers.

Take for example “data culture.” Data is becoming increasingly important, and that applies to us as well. As a result, it’s crucial that everyone realizes how valuable data is within the company. The management and sharing of data has to become second nature to us, as does the smart linking of this data in order to gain new insights. DigitalLife@Daimler and its partners are currently working hard to promote this transformation.

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