BMW has laid the foundations for what one high-ranking insider describes as a “digital revolution” with the appointment of the former Google executive, Jens Monsees, to the newly created position of vice president digital strategy.
Monsees started his career at BMW before moving to Google as automotive director for digital strategy and more recently sat on the board of Bertelsmann daughter company Arvato. He has been handpicked by BMW chairman, Harald Krueger, to head a newly created business unit charged with executing new digital processes and work practices at the German car maker, which celebrated its centenary this week.
Monsees will report directly to BMW’s head of strategy, Markus Schramm, in a role Autocar has been told will involve a sweeping reorganisation of business, design, engineering production, sales and back office operations in a move aimed at improving BMW’s competitiveness against rivals who have already begun touting advances in digital processes.
BMW is yet to go official on its digital plans. However, insiders involved in early strategy meetings say Monsees is being given unprecedented freedom in the first stage of the company’s digitalisation programme. “Up until now BMW operations have been heavily driven by engineering. It is part-and-parcel of the working culture. However, there has been a clear shift towards the IT side of the business, and this is set to be accelerated with the appointment of Monsees.”
Among the areas BMW has targeted for change is its global internet sales operations, with insiders suggesting the company is planning to adopt a model similar to that in place in the UK. Also on the agenda is a rethink of traditional production processes. “We want to explore the possibilities of large scale 3D printing,” a source revealed.
BMW’s move to bolster its digital operations follows a similar move at Volkswagen, which appointed former Mercedes-Benz and Apple IT expert, Johann Jungwirth, to the position of head of digital transformation, late last year.