Tanja Rueckert has been the President of the Board of Management at Bosch Building Technologies since August 2018. Before that, she was the President of the IoT and Digital Supply Chain business unit at SAP SE. Tanja Rueckert holds a PhD in chemistry and has more than 20 years of executive experience in the software industry. She is passionate about topics such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and digital transformation.
What do you think are the most exciting developments/trends in our industry at the moment?
First, digitization and increasingly intelligent devices in combination with the availability of data. We gain a lot of information from data analytics: analysing collected data creates additional benefits for our customers and end-users, and supports them in their daily life. Every device is a sensor. For example, the analysis of real-time fire system data enables predictive maintenance; we can therefore detect errors before they can cause downtime or damage. Furthermore, there is a continuous development of new applications. For example, a camera initially used for security reasons can now detect fire thanks to smart sensors.
Secondly, connectivity which is a trend, I believe to be underestimated. It is not only about connecting devices and products but also people and businesses. It entails collaboration and partnerships between companies. For the security industry, this trend brings new business models like Security as a Service and many more opportunities such as offering integrated, cross-domain solutions to our customers and end-users.
When we look at buildings, I also see the trend of sustainability – and, consequently, the increasing need for energy efficiency in buildings. This means building automation and building control systems as well as energy consultancy will play an increasingly important role.
Finally, in a more and more globalized, digital and virtual world, security itself becomes even more important with regard to data and cyber security but also with regard to physical security. People search for peace of mind and the security industry plays an important role to meet this need.
Tanja, at this point in time, what are your priorities for Bosch Building Technologies?
Currently, I see three priorities. First, offering more connected, integrated solutions. Our customers and end-users increasingly ask for those solutions instead of single-domain products. Here, it is very important that the solutions are open for third party integration. We have to focus our engineering efforts even more on developing IoT-based, intelligent products. The trend towards artificial intelligence offers great opportunities here. Secondly, customer centricity. We always have to put ourselves in our customers’ and end-users’ shoes. That is essential in order to ensure intuitive customer experience. Last but not least, people and culture. The digital transformation also requires a new leadership style, enabling and motivating managers and their teams to be fully committed to this new environment.
With your background, coming from the software industry and your focus on IoT in the previous years, what do you think is most important for companies pursuing this avenue?
First of all, it is important to realize that the influence of IoT will be bigger than many people anticipate at the moment – it will change our world. IoT does not only entail technical devices or software , but also the fact that all data and information is available in real time. However, the data itself has no value – as a company we have to ask ourselves: how can we make our products more valuable for the customer? How can the opportunity of connecting everything be used to optimize our customers’ business processes? In order to answer these questions and make use of the potential of IoT, it is of critical importance to foster the right mindset within the workforce. The key here is to always be open for change. Management and employees must be able to leave their comfort zones, constantly questioning the status quo even if everything is going well. Of course, you also need a good collaboration between business and IT within your company. However, enabling and motivating your team to follow this direction is key. Openness is also important when it comes to collaboration with other companies who may have been competitors in the past.
You are one of the few women leading a technology-based company. What is your view on diversity?
The topic of diversity and inclusion is critical for the success of every company – and, for me, it is definitely broader than gender. Diverse input from different generations, cultures, backgrounds, mindsets, gender, etc. are the foundation for creativity which drives innovation. I personally believe that diverse teams are far more successful as diversity in a group helps to bring different ideas and perspectives to the table. Having this open atmosphere – and so ultimately having diversity itself –is often a catalyst for a lot of fun within a team, which in turn is important for motivation and success.
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