Digital

“Our customers will be enthusiastic”

Stefano Di Santo, CEO of Körber Digital, explains why the “Internet of Things” revolution will also include the B2B sector, and how Körber Digital uses innovative solutions to create added value for its customers.
Think in holistic solutions: Stefano Di Santo, CEO at Körber Digital.

Mr. Di Santo, is the mindset at Körber Digital different from that of the Group’s other Business Areas?

At Körber Digital we don’t look at software, a machine or a plant in isolation. Instead, we always think in terms of holistic solutions. This approach is becoming increasingly important — because of, not in spite of, the fact that we are part of a technology group whose Business Areas very successfully build machines and plants and develop and sell software products.

Why is that so? Today, when we talk about the Internet of Things, in which machines or facilities and products are connected with one another and with people, we can proudly say that Körber is doing very well on the “T” side — for example, in terms of machines and hardware, including the software that goes with it. On the “I” side — the Internet and the potential it offers through networking and data analysis — we want to, and must, make further improvements very rapidly.

As we learn how to pay even closer attention to the overarching demands of our customers and our markets, we will automatically turn our gaze toward completely new problems. And on this basis, with this expanded mindset, we’re using our internal network and new cooperative projects with partners to enable our customers to use everyone’s innovative ideas even more effectively. That’s because our mission is to work together with our colleagues from across the Körber Group and with our customers to develop new digital products, services, and business models, refine them successfully to the point of market readiness, and thus make a significant contribution to our customers’ business success.

Digital disruption” is changing entire business models and sectors, rapidly and massively. What does this mean for a technology group that has its roots in mechanical engineering and plant construction?

Körber is already a technology group through and through — and its strengths include mechanical engineering and plant construction. But software has been essential to the operation of both of these sectors for a long time now. That’s why we have been systematically enhancing our software expertise in all our Business Areas for a number of years. Thanks to our position at the forefront of technology, we can play a leading role in all the industries represented by our customers today. To make sure things stay that way, and also to discover new areas where we can apply our know-how and our broad experience, we are now systematically taking the next big step. I’m convinced that our customers will be enthusiastic about our ongoing digital advancement.

Today more than ever before, ‘digital disruption’ means that a company completely adapts its approach to its customers.

Stefano Di Santo, CEO at Körber Digital

Modern solutions and proven methods – love is in the details.

What does that mean in concrete terms?

Today more than ever before, “digital disruption” means that a company completely adapts its approach to its customers. This includes seriously questioning its own ideas again and again: Is this something our customers need today or will need in the future? If we look back at the past, we can see that the typical attitude throughout our entire industry was “Digitization and the Internet are revolutionizing the business with end users, for example at Netflix and Amazon. However, as a B2B company in the industrial context, we aren’t affected by this development to the same extent.”

That attitude is no longer valid, because digital solutions are rapidly becoming more important in B2B markets as well. The keyword here is “Industry 4.0.” We want to offer our customers the option of having new experiences with us and questioning previous approaches in areas ranging from material purchasing to production, logistics, and marketing. The focus here is on how to handle data — because data is the currency of the future. And we want to use data profitably, with and for our customers.

What skills are you looking for in the employees you plan to hire for the international team at Körber Digital?

We are intensely addressing the “Internet generation” and all digital thinkers — including those who are already working at Körber Group companies. On the one hand, we’re looking for coworkers who have grown up with the Internet and feel at home in it — the people who are often referred to as “digital natives.” On the other, we’re also looking for people who want to contribute their comprehensive long-term experience in industry to our new approaches to solutions — people who enjoy working in a completely new and different way in order to predict and fulfill customer needs.

We are guided by one golden rule: Everyone who feels that our approach is the right one for them is welcome to work for us. That’s the only way we can cooperatively figure out where we can most profitably use which talent and which personal skills.

We believe that discussing things and struggling to find the best ideas and approaches is the salt in the soup.

How do these people, with their diverse horizons of experience, work together?

We believe that discussing things and struggling to find the best ideas is the salt in the soup — and that’s why it’s entirely appropriate to conduct both of these activities intensively. I greatly appreciate open discussions. And as an Italian, I know and love this kind of discussion, which can get very emotional! After all, what we’re planning is something new. It’s a passionate pursuit for all of us. We’re very ambitious, and we want to grow together!

Because of my professional experience as the CEO of a plant construction company, I think it’s very important to make sure that our experienced experts can create value for our customers by cooperating with everyone who brings in new horizons of experience or has had a different kind of training. To put it in a nutshell, we want to take advantage of the best everyone has to offer — our deep knowledge of technology and industry, as well as the almost unlimited potential of Industry 4.0 and digitization — for the benefit of our customers and our business operations. This is a very strong motivation for our move into the digital future!

Short biography

Stefano Di Santo is a qualified mechanical engineer. He began his professional career as a product manager at Micropac and Cannon. After that he occupied various management positions at the Haulotte Group. In 2012 he joined Fabio Perini, where he systematically advanced the development of the Business Area Körber Tissue. Di Santo has also been a successful start-up entrepreneur. Since October 2017 he has been the CEO of the Business Area Körber Digital, which has locations in Berlin and Karlsruhe.

Facts & figures about Körber Digital:

Founded in: December 2017
Headquarters: Berlin & Karlsruhe
Management team: Stefano Di Santo & Dr. Steffen Kusterer

WHAT?

1. Forging ahead with the digital advancement
2. Enabling digital innovation and honing people’s skills
3. Developing new digital business models — for and with our customers

HOW?

1. Radical thinking: Körber Digital is shaping the future of a digital world
2. Revolutionary achievement: Not only solving existing problems but also mastering the challenges of tomorrow
3. A dynamic approach: In a disruptive world, speed is the key to success.

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