Interview with Patrik Romberg, Senior Vice President Group Communications, Trelleborg Group

patrikromberg.jpg

Today we introduce Patrik Romberg, Senior Vice President Group Communications at Trelleborg Group, one of the selected participants of Decoding X, who is involved across several of Trelleborg Group´s internal and external digitalization activities.

Decoding X prepares senior managers for tomorrow's business challenges and explores the tools, skills, and networks necessary to be successful in their digital transformations.

Do you want to be part of the Decoding X ecosystem? Register here: https://exedsse.se/program/decoding-x/

#exedSSE #decodingx

- Hi Patrik! Can you explain the work you do at Trelleborg?

I am the Senior Vice-President of Group Communications at Trelleborg, and part of my scope is to work with certain elements of the digitalization journey. Primarily within the ‘Marketing and Communications’ and ‘Services and Tools’ areas, but also as part of the management team contributing to and steering the digitalization journey across the organisation.

The way I see it, digitalization is a tool that we use in order to generate what we call ‘Ease of Doing Business with Customers’. That could mean anything ranging from how we deliver services to our customers, how we facilitate the order placement process, to how customers contribute their information more efficiently. But it could also mean developing new business models that can generate new value for our customers. In other words, we have a range of areas where we apply digitalization. At Trelleborg, we have divided these areas into four categories;

  1. Smart Products
  2. Business Models
  3. Services and Tools
  4. Marketing and Communications

All of these areas are there to create what we call ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and ‘Accelerating Performance with our Customers’, both regarding existing and new offerings.

 

- What would you say is your organization's biggest challenge in the digital era?

I think that as an industrial company we were fortunate enough to start our digitalization journey some years back, which so far, has taken us to an “okay” position. However, we need to accelerate from hereon. One challenge is transitioning from one type of capability to another. In our case, I particularly refer to people and skill capabilities. Historically, Trelleborg has emphasized on attracting the best mechanical engineers. But in the future we need to extend our capabilities with more software engineers and analytics capabilities to accommodate for new business opportunities.

Another challenge lies in the process of developing an innovation culture. We're continually working with new technologies and there is always a risk that these processes will face reluctance or rejection internally. Therefore, it is essential to develop appropriate change management procedures that as a starting point has the customer needs in focus - an outside-in approach.

Externally, I would say that some customers and markets are really at the forefront and they are if not demanding at least asking us for certain solutions or processes to be digitalized. Other customers are not that far ahead, and in these instances we continually work with them to establish trust and enable them to see the potential for value creation in new solutions, and not only a change in technologies. That in itself is also a change process.

 

- Based off of the challenges that are facing your organization how do you think Decoding X can help you overcome these?

I think Decoding X will be an accelerator, not only for me as an individual, but for us as an organization. We have a tradition of interacting and sharing knowledge with external partners in order to gain valuable insights to drive our development and I think the program is one of those arenas where we can generate valuable knowledge. Of course, my role then is to utilize those insights to further our development inside the organization.

 

- What are your main objectives in attending the program? What skills and tools would you like to leave with upon completion?

The overall ambition is to first get confirmation that what we are already doing is continuing to be on the right path. Secondly, as always in my type of role as well as for other leadership roles, we need to look at what's next.

We would also like to understand how other companies apply their learning strategies in their in their organizations.What were their considerations and decisions prior to taking steps in developing new technologies and business models? That type of understanding is always useful.

 

- How do you aim to implement the learnings, takeaways and skills in your organization when you get back?

We have since some three years back established what we call ‘DCIs’ (Digital Channel Initiatives) across the organization, and that works very well for us in a decentralized operating model as we have. The way to implement this further is to use our already established channels or forums with those insights. And finally that needs to be picked up by each operating unit in the organization. These initiatives can never fully be pushed from group level. It always needs to be a combination.

 

- What's the top three advice you would offer to managers that are digitalizing their organizations?

- You always need to start with an outside-in perspective. If you follow an inside-out perspective the likelihood of failure is higher because you run the risk of creating something that the receiver likely is not interested in. Outside-in logic, therefore, is key.


- Digitalization doesn’t need to be perfect from day one. You need to have a “Beta mindset” and constantly test new ideas. I think that this is especially challenging for engineering companies, because we want to be perfect from day one whereas in reality we need to be willing to test more and not strive for perfection from the start.


- If you only try to push new initiatives from the top I don't think you will succeed. You need to be able to launch successful pilots down in the organization so that you get a combination of smaller groups being able to test their ideas successfully and at the same time keeping Senior Management at the forefront.


Interview with Petra Pfeiff, Head of Staff, Arbetsgivarverket

petra pfeiff fixad.jpg

Today we introduce Petra Pfeiff, Chief of Staff at Arbetsgivarverket, one of the selected participants of Decoding X, who works hands on with employment conditions for 250.000 employees in the Swedish government sector. 

Decoding X prepares senior managers for tomorrow's business challenges and explores the tools, skills, and networks necessary to be successful in their digital transformations.

Do you want to be part of the Decoding X ecosystem? Register here: https://exedsse.se/program/decoding-x/

#exedSSE #decodingx


- Hi Petra! It seems that you are at the helm of many initiatives! Can you explain the work you do at Arbetsgivarverket / SAGE?

As the Chief of Staff at Arbetsgivarverket, the The Swedish Agency for Government Employers (SAGE), I am responsible for management and leadership topics - In other words I have a birds-eye view of our organization. SAGE is tasked with two chief responsibilities; to guide and to support our government employees. The guidance aspect pertains to business planning and business development, whereas support refers to human resources (HR) and payroll activities, to name a few. It is an exciting job that offers me a rare organizational overview that I truly enjoy!

 

- What are the greatest challenges facing your organization, and how can Decoding X help you overcome them?

The Swedish government prompts all authorities to digitalize, increase efficiency, and develop smarter ways to work with new technologies and processes. In our organization, we continuously strive to reach our efficiency targets. Although I have only been in my position for four months, I can already see that we need to find smarter and more modern ways to work.

 

- What is your organization's biggest challenge in the digital era?

We are in the process of developing our own digital strategy, wherein which I think the experiences and lessons from Decoding X will prove useful. I would say that the most important challenge for us is to be able meet our members’ expectations. We are both an agency and a membership organization, supporting employees across the country. And as more governmental agencies are expected to move away from Stockholm to other parts of Sweden, we need to find new ways to meet and support our members regardless of where they are physically. Within our own organization I particularly think we need to package our information better and streamline administrative functions.


- What are your main objectives in attending the program? What skills and tools would you like to leave with upon completion?

I am looking to be inspired! I want to be able to identify viable solutions to implement in our organzation. Also, the fact that the program mixes both theoretical and practical elements was appealing. Most digitalization projects are difficult and complex, and oftentimes there are no clear-cut answers. Therefore it is great to explore solutions with lab exercises and case studies. Of course, I am thinking of networking too! The mix of public and private sector representatives in the programme is something that I find really valuable. It does not matter which industry you come from, we all face similar challenges, where sharing different experiences and insights can be mutually beneficial.

 

- What advice would you offer to managers who are digitalizing their organizations?

- Digitalization is a culture issue, not an IT issue. I try to push HR to own the digitalization journey more. I think about digitalization as a mindset and a desire to change, more than I think of it as an IT concern. I believe that HR has an important role to play in that transformation!

- Perhaps an old cliché, but we need to be more daring! We, in the public sector, are sometimes overly cautious. As a governmental agency, It can be difficult, of course, to try new approaches, but I think we should try to iterate on a smaller scale first, as opposed to waiting for the perfect solution to appear before implementing improvements.

- Ask the user! Let them be a co-creator. We can not assume that we know exactly what our customers want, we must dare to ask them.


Interview with Linda Ramstedt Marklund, Digital Transformation Manager, Fortum

Linda.png

Today we introduce Linda Ramstedt Marklund, Digital Transformation Manager at Fortum, one of the selected participants of Decoding X, who works with accelerating digitalization in an industry characterized by great change. Decoding X prepares senior managers for tomorrow's business challenges and explores the tools, skills, and networks necessary to be successful in their digital transformations.

Do you want to be part of the Decoding X ecosystem? Register here: https://exedsse.se/program/decoding-x/

#exedSSE #decodingx


- Hi Linda! Can you explain the work you do at Fortum?
As a Digital Transformation Manager I focus on coaching and facilitating internally, and on building external networks. Internally, my aim is to bring new insights into the organization. I, for example, work with introducing new technologies that we first test in experiments, and then scale up. I think I probably have one of the most fun jobs you can have at the moment! Externally, I work with ‘tech scouting’, where we explore emerging startups and exciting companies that we can learn from and collaborate with. We want to break the infamous organizational silos and make sure that we enable cross-organizational learning!

- What are the greatest challenges facing your industry, and how can Decoding X help you overcome them?

We have a relatively good number of people involved in driving digitalization at Fortum. But one challenge is to find out how to go from a small number of change drivers in the organization, to reach a critical mass, and then finally how to become a whole company of digitalization drivers. That is something I would like to find more tools and methods to achieve.

- What is your organization's biggest challenge in the digital era?

Our biggest challenge probably relates to transforming our corporate culture and becoming more innovative and customer-centric. We want to create a new culture that keeps up with the ‘new world’ as well as brings everyone on board on the digitization journey.

- What are your main objectives in attending the program? What skills and tools would you like to leave with upon completion?

I meet a lot of different people in my work, from big company executives, researchers, to small startup founders. And in doing so, I am becoming increasingly aware of the importance of efficient ecosystems for innovation. I think that this programme will become a part of the ecosystem I am building!


The only thing we know for sure in the energy industry, where we are affected by all new technologies in one way or another, is that we will be disrupted sooner or later. So for me, it is important to find new business models. I believe in partnerships and collaborations with startups and other big companies as a way for us as a company to have a good overview and future outlook. And in doing so, we look for ways to organize ourselves in this ever-changing world.

- What advice would you offer to managers who are digitalizing their organizations?

-Build networks externally and internally.

-Dare to start experimenting in a fast and agile way!

-Focus on finding scalable solutions - when finding something that's really good, it's usually easy to scale up.


Interview with Klara Palmberg Broryd, Strategy, Innovation, and Communications Director, Nacka Municipality

Klara_Palmberg_Broryd_01.jpg

Today we introduce Klara Palmberg Broryd, Strategy, Innovation and Communications Director at Nacka Municipality, one of the selected participants of Decoding X. Klara drives and supports the strategic innovation processes for the growth and development of Nacka Municipality. Decoding X prepares senior managers for tomorrow's business challenges and explores the tools, skills, and networks necessary to be successful in their digitalization journeys.

Do you want to be part of the Decoding X ecosystem? Register here: https://exedsse.se/program/decoding-x/

#exedSSE #decodingx


- Hi Klara! Can you explain the work you do at Nacka Municipality?

I am the Strategy, Innovation, and Communications Director. I am the first person to hold the position in our organization, since we initiated the function three years ago.

Nacka municipality grows by approximately 2000 new inhabitants per year. In May this year the total number reached 100,000. By 2030 the target is 140,000. This growth places great demands on our strategic planning. My role is to analyze and understand the challenges and opportunities that arise from our digitalization journey and to ensure that we offer our residents the best services and support that they need to lead their lives.

We must continue to improve on what we already do but also dare to question what we in fact should and should not do.

- Are you joined by other colleagues in the program?

I am joined by my colleague Mats, our Administrative Director. We are jointly responsible for Nacka Municipality’s digitalization journey. It is ideal to attend the program with a colleague, as I believe we will find better ways to solve our digitalization problems together as well as to develop complementary skill sets.

- What are the greatest challenges facing your organization, and how can Decoding X help you overcome them?

We face a number of challenges with regards to digitalization. For example, one of our ambitions is to keep the size of our organization as small as possible, even when the municipality grows. We want to maximize the value we create for our taxpayers! We believe digitalization plays an important role in achieving that target. An example of such a digitalization effort is that we are robotizing parts of our financial support and benefit system to increase the efficiency in providing daily services to our residents.

- What is your organization's biggest challenge in the digital era?

Our customers, the inhabitants of Nacka, change and adapt faster than we do, and they have higher expectations on us than we think. For example, we were afraid that our customers would not use the digital tools that we developed, such as the robotization of the financial support. But it turned out to be the exact opposite! Customers actually prefer to use the robot rather than to call or visit us in person for financial support errands.

Our residents not only compare us with other municipalities, but also with their banks, mobile operators, and other customer experience providers. This places high demands on us with regards to, among other things, being able to meet or exceed the quality standards of the digital services offered by these provides, as well as to maintain our efficiency as a municipality organization. Thus, ensuring that we are able to meet our inhabitants ever-changing and growing expectations, through digitalization, is critical for us.

- What are your main objectives in attending the program? What skills and tools would you like to leave with upon completion?

One of the things that attracts me to the program is the participant diversity. I am hoping that we, as a group, can create space for interchange and reflection. I also want to develop my toolbox to solve the challenges that we face as a municipality. Digitalization requires a new type of leadership. My aim is to acquire the skills and tools required to lead us through that development as an organization and a system.


Interview with Mikael Billström, Digital Officer, Scania Purchasing

Mikael Billström

Today we introduce Mikael Billström, Digital Officer at Scania Purchasing, one of the selected participants of Decoding X, who works hands-on with accelerating digitalization in an industry characterized by great change. Decoding X prepares senior managers for tomorrow's business challenges and explores the tools, skills, and networks necessary to be successful in their digitalization journeys.

Do you want to be part of the Decoding X ecosystem? Register here: https://exedsse.se/program/decoding-x/

#exedSSE #decodingx


- Hello Mikael! Can you explain the work you do at Scania?

As a Digital Officer, I am part of a network headed by our chief digital officer (CDO), Mikael Cato. The mission for the network and for each digital officer is to inspire, enable, and drive accelerated digitalization across Scania. Being part of an organization-wide network enables great collaboration, as well as inspiration and knowledge sharing between the different departments.

- Are you joined by other colleagues in the program?

It will only be me from our Digital Officer network this first time, but there are colleagues from other parts of the organization that are attending the program.

- What are the greatest challenges facing your industry, and how can Decoding X help you overcome them?

I look forward to meeting inspiring people that also seek to explore new and better ways of working in the future, particularly at the intersection of people and technology. Particularly, I want to draw experiences from different industries, as well as to share ours, such as success stories, failures, and ideas for improvements and innovation.

I also look forward to seeing detailed concrete examples of new technologies are used and implemented. Blockchain technology, for example, is a very ‘hyped’ concept at the moment, but I would like to understand how it can be used in businesses outside the financial sector, and to see concrete examples of these implementations.

Another topic that I want to explore is how we at Scania can create digital arenas for efficient collaboration, team spirit, and social interaction. Especially for teams that are geographically spread out or consist of people from different departments or even companies. With increased digitalization, we will hopefully see both efficiency improvements and the opportunity for our employees to reach their full potential.

I also want to explore how Scania can become a more data-driven organization, and continue to explore the potential of big data and advanced analytics, in order for us to implement a fact-based decision-making approach and transform our data into new insights and business value.

- What is your organization's biggest challenge in the digital era?

I think it is our information journey, going from just collecting data to creating actionable insights. To do that, I believe we need to define, structure, and curate our data better. If the right data is hard to find, combine and understand, it becomes difficult to enable people outside of IT to use it for business intelligence and advanced analytics.

Another challenge is to include all our employees in the digitalization process. We must lead the change in a good way so that everyone's competences are validated. People have different skills and capabilities, and we need to take that into consideration.

- What are your main objectives in attending the program? What skills and tools would you like to leave with upon completion?

An informal network of people I can approach to bounce ideas with when we, for example, face a digitalization challenge. Apart from that, I also look for lots of inspiration, concrete tools and examples, and new energy!

- What advice would you offer to managers who are digitalizing their organizations?

- Think business value first! Start with the challenge you want to address or the value you want to create and work from there. Don’t digitalize just for the sake of digitalizing, even though there is a lot of new cool tech out there.

- Try things out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Dare to try and fail. In other words, try to be more dynamic and fast-paced in your digitalization work.

- And last but not least, gather talented people into cross-functional networks. Diverse teams with different backgrounds, ages, and skill sets yield better results.