The Digital Leap into a New World of Business

ZEISS is opening up new business opportunities and areas of work thanks to a digital transformation program which encompasses mobile working in the cloud, sales apps, and social business tools for internal communication. The shift to digital is transforming the global economy – and ZEISS is right at the heart of it. With its corporate Winning in the Digital World (WiD) program, ZEISS has put together a series of strategies and projects designed to boost innovation and effectively target IT professionals.

The cloud, big data, mobile working, social business, cognitive computing – the terms used in the digital era can sometimes seem bewildering! Yet our lives are already firmly embedded in a digital world which sees us uploading our vacation photos to the cloud and checking our smartphones more than 200 times a day. As our private lives have become increasingly digital, so too have the worlds of work and business. This digital transformation impacts communication, production and innovation at ZEISS and has a lasting effect on the company's strategy. These digital buzzwords clearly herald a new era for business and industry – but what exactly do they mean?

Understanding the cloud and big data

The cloud is an off-site data center comprising servers, storage solutions, and software which people can use as and when they need it. Just like we might store our vacation photos in the cloud, some companies choose to use virtual IT infrastructures for their purchasing, production, or HR systems. So much data accumulates in the cloud that IT experts often refer to it as 'big data.' As well as collecting all this information, cloud services also analyze it using intelligent algorithms in order to gain new insights, a process known as cognitive computing. Employees can get mobile access to this knowledge via smartphones and tablets, regardless of whether they work in sales, production or research. And – thanks to enterprise social networking tools such as the Yammer service used by ZEISS – this knowledge can now be shared and expanded.

Mobile technology boosts customer satisfaction

ZEISS sales associates already take advantage of mobile technology such as smartphone apps, which enable them to present all the information on ZEISS products and services with a single swipe instead of transporting brochures and catalogs to the customer. The ZEISS Nano e-shop also supports marketing and sales, allowing customers to make purchases at any hour of the day or night. The digital sales support package is rounded off with ZEISS NPS 2.0 (Net Promoter Score), a platform that allows customers to give feedback and ratings – the key information required to enhance customer satisfaction.

How ZEISS uses the cloud and big data

One of the key terms in our modern digital world is Industry 4.0, a concept that includes individually customized production in which technologies such as RFID chips make every product unique. ZEISS developed its PiWeb software to serve as a basis for Industry 4.0. PiWeb can be used to simulate manufacturing processes and test virtual products before they are even manufactured. ZEISS also uses RFID chips to coordinate worldwide logistics between production sites and warehouses, ensuring consignments reach their destinations safely, in full, and on time. There are plenty of other initiatives helping to foster digital transformation at ZEISS and document the new business opportunities offered by the cloud, big data, mobile and social. These include the ZEISS Online Campus, Smart Zoom, ZEISS VR ONE, ZEISS Digital Lenses and the Kanchenjunga and OPTretina projects.

Rising demand for IT experts and developers

ZEISS manages its digital transformation program through its Winning in the Digital World (WiD) initiative. As well as implementing strategically important topics, WiD also involves organizing voluntary groups and global communities which promote digital projects and share ideas. For ZEISS, the shift toward digital means a steady increase in the number of employees who are heavily involved in digitization. Training and development is also going digital, as shown by examples such as the ServiceLernLab for Industry 4.0 which was recently offered to apprentices by the University of Stuttgart. The digital platform e-biza is already well on the way to becoming a pivotal training hub, while the Yammer business collaboration software has already given the company's internal communication a digital push. Since the end of May this year, the ZEISS workforce has been using the Yammer social business tool even more intensively than before.

"For ZEISS digitization is not an option: it is an absolute must. At the same time, digitization offers the company a major opportunity. All of us should be contributing our technical excellence at ZEISS and channeling it into the digital world," says Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of ZEISS, summing up the digital future at ZEISS.

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