Digital Transformation Progress with Siemens SVP Brenda Discher (video)

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What progress has Siemens made in helping themselves, and their customers, leverage the cloud for digital transformation? In this episode of Tech-Clarity TV,  Tech-Clarity’s Jim Brown and Siemens SVP of Business Strategy & Marketing Brenda Discher sit down virtually to have a great discussion despite the challenges of a remote interview compounded by poor bandwidth due to a storm.

Get more information about digital transformation and Siemens Cloud Solutions from Siemens Digital Industries Software.

You can also view the related video, Cloud Progress Report with Siemens VP Bill Boswell.

 

Transcript:

Jim:

Hi and welcome to this edition of Tech-Clarity TV. My name’s Jim Brown, president of Tech-Clarity, where we make the business value of technology clear. Today, I’m going to remotely join Brenda Discher, senior vice president at Siemens, and we’re going to discuss digital transformation and the progress to the cloud that Siemens is making – but also that Siemens is helping with their customers. How’s that been going? Let’s get some clarity.

Jim:

So, hi Brenda. It’s great to see you again. I wish I could say be with you again. Unfortunately, we’re having to have a followup to our last interview. We have to do it remotely, but certainly enjoy seeing your face either way, and really appreciate you spending the time to catch me up a little bit on what’s happening with digitalization at Siemens and the cloud.

Brenda:

Great to be here. I too, am wishing we were in person. I’m really struggling with this being at home, Jim, as you can imagine as an extrovert, but it’s great to see you.

Jim:

Yeah. When we talked last time and you were actually relatively new into your role at Siemens and I personally was excited both for you about the role, but also for Siemens, because I was excited about what impact you would bring. And so it’s been a little time. Why don’t you maybe give us a little bit of an update on what you’ve seen over the last couple of years?

Brenda:

Yeah. I can’t believe it’s already been two years, a little over two years. It’s gone by so fast and we’re crazy busy. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. So I would say, the couple of things I focused on in my first couple of years here. So the first one, I spent a lot of time out with customers, talking to customers and our partners to really get an appreciation for both the depth and the breadth of the Siemens portfolio. It really some incredibly deep technology. And that led me to my first initiative or my first project, which was, how do we take the collectiveness of all that technology and do a better job of creating a position for ourselves in the market? And that led us to craft this new idea around the Xcelerator portfolio. And Xcelerator is a combination of our solutions, our services and our now app development platform. And really, and I believe this, leveraging Xcelerator, our global customers really can embrace digitalization and manage the complexity of any business, and truly deal with the challenges of tomorrow in pretty unique ways, whether that’s in accurately offering more information in the digital twin.

Using open adaptable technologies like Mendix or working within an ecosystem, it’s really a unique set of tools and technology that lets our customers truly become tomorrow’s enterprises today. So that was one big area. The second and third thing I’ve been working on, go hand in hand, which is all about the shift to digital. So I started on a mission over a year ago of shifting the marketing organization to more digital methods of engaging customers. And now that has been a really good investment given what we’ve dealt with recently. So shifting our platform, our automation, our nurture, our digital events, shifting all of that. And then the third thing I’ve been focused on, is really about helping our customers understand the payoff of becoming digital enterprises. So really working on what’s that message and that rationale for embracing digitalization to our customer base. So a combination of those things has really kept me very busy.

Jim:

Yeah, I’m sure. One of the things, when we talked last time, that really struck me, Brenda, was you talked about the transformation of work and the digitalization and the cloud, were really going to help companies do things fundamentally differently. And obviously we’re all doing things pretty fundamentally differently right now, but it’s also, you mentioned Mendix and MindSphere are starting to become more prevalent with the existing portfolio. And from a digital perspective, how do you see all of that working to help your customers with those transformations?

Brenda:

Yeah, so it’s interesting. If I look at the portfolio of technology, it becomes real for me when I think about what our customers have done to embrace a digital mindset and to embrace digitalization, to really change the way they work. And so the best way to share it, is to talk about a couple of examples. So let me start with a really cool example called Vinfast. Vinfast is a startup automotive manufacturer in Vietnam, who literally have set up a completely new automotive factory and automotive design process from the beginning of inception all the way through to manufacturing in 21 months. And that’s pretty unheard of in the automotive market. So they’re really driving a game changer, and it was through the use of a complete digital use of tools and digitalizing and rethinking their process. And what’s interesting about the Vinfast story, isn’t that success, which is pretty incredible for them, but they rose above being an automotive startup.

And in the last couple of months, as a result of the pandemic said, “We’d like to raise our hand and do something different for the situation out in the world.” And they chose to actually say, “We’re going to retrofit our operations to no longer produce automobiles, but to produce ventilators.” And so they licensed a ventilator design from another one of our customers, Medtronic, and produced a digital twin of that ventilator and retrofitted because of the digital investments they’ve made, their entire design to manufacturing process, and they achieved that in just a couple of months. The ability to now produce 55,000 ventilators a month for the current crisis. So it’s just an incredible to watch the way they worked and the way they change their investment to build autos, but then to use that incredible investment to retrofit and be agile to address the current needs. So pretty cool story.

The second customer I would like to share a little bit about is, you spoke about MindSphere and Mendix, and we are actually seeing some really interesting things happen as a result of the investment in the cloud. And so the second customer I want to talk about is actually the city of Antonio, Texas. And they used Mendix, our rapid application development platform to really build and deploy an app, to speed emergency housing assistance to citizens who have been affected by coronavirus. And they leveraged rapid application development, citizen developers to address the huge amount of applications that they were dealing with for rental, for mortgage, for utilities and for relocation assistance. And they’ve actually as a result of that delivered more than $25 million in emergency funding to residents via the application, all of this was done remotely because none of us have been out and about, right? So they built an app, they use mobile, they use cloud and they used citizen developers, which really I think, is a great example of somebody fundamentally changing the way they worked. So two cool examples, I think I can share at this point.

Jim:

Thank you. And certainly with rapid application development, there’s no lack of gaps that are starting to come up in terms of places within the industrial workflow, whether it’s a digital twin, whether it’s a digital thread that there’s a good place to fill in. And we’ve seen beyond that, a lot of transition in your own solutions, moving to the cloud, most recently with the announcement of Teamcenter X, was one of the ones that caught my attention for sure. I’m curious, as you look at transitioning Siemens as a business and Siemens products to the cloud, what’s your mindset behind that? What was the strategy?

Brenda:

Our cloud strategy was really developed at the forefront for our customers. So they have the choice of how and when they want to move to the cloud. We hear a lot that transitioning to the cloud is very personal for some of our customers, especially their IP and their data. And some of them want to move really quickly, others want to stay on premise. And quite a few actually want to work in this hybrid environment where certain processes or certain types of things are really great for the cloud while other things they want to keep more core to the premise. And I really believe we’ve developed the most open, adaptable and extensible cloud strategy for our customers by really taking the best of our industrial capabilities, whether that’s PLM, or IoT, or MES, and marrying it with the best of the Mendix cloud architecture. And that has turned into cloud value and architecture, which powers a really vibrant developer community with industry leading now rapid application low-code that even our own developers use. And so it allows us to build, to integrate and to extend our own applications.

And that actually is fundamentally what we leveraged to build Teamcenter X that you mentioned. So we’ve been able to take rapid application development capabilities, build services to improve the performance of certain capabilities in Teamcenter and serve that up now as a cloud deployed Teamcenter. So very modern extensible cloud architecture. And at the end of the day, if you think about it, and you think about where we are, if you think about our minds for application Teamcenter X and PLM, and even some of our new MES offerings, we’ve just crossed a really important milestone by leveraging this core asset called Mendix. Mendix just crossed a $100 million in ARR, annualized, recurring revenue. That’s a huge milestone for any startup to have achieved. And it’s really a testament to leveraging that asset in a way that we can modernize our entire portfolio and give our customers the choice so that they really can deploy cloud when and where they need to so they can address tomorrow’s challenges today, however they choose. So it’s been a pretty cool way to leverage that asset.

Jim:

Yeah, for sure. Brenda. It’s great to hear your voice, hopefully next time we’ll be doing our catch-up in person and be able to maybe have a cocktail afterward or something. So, but for now…

Brenda:

That sounds awesome.

Jim:

… I will thank you virtually for joining me today. It’s always a pleasure and always great insight. Thank you very much.

Brenda:

Thanks Jim. See you soon.