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Digital Transformation at Boehringer Ingelheim

This time we have Ben Bargenda from the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim as our guest, for the first time a representative of one of our customers. We talk to him about digital innovations and, of course, learn about his experiences in getting digital topics started.

As Implementation Manager, Ben's job is to drive the digital transformation at Boehringer. Entrusted with the new job shortly before the start of the pandemic, he was suddenly faced with the challenge of bringing the field staff on the digital track, who previously had little to do with technical topics. The employees had to learn to work with new tools such as online conferencing.  To support them, Ben and colleagues launched a podcast, which he still runs today. 

Podcast "DigiTalk"

In these online sessions, which initially take place twice a week, the employees are informed about the digital issues facing them in their work environment. "DigiTalk" is not training, Ben emphasizes. His aim is to "translate" IT topics into German and provide employees with tips on where they can obtain information or further training. The fact that the talk takes place in a protected setting where people are not afraid to ask questions is what makes it so popular to this day.   The topics are determined according to an internal agenda placed by Boehringer IT, or are requests for questions that are currently of great importance to the employees. 

What does Digital Transformation mean to Boehringer?

Ben defines Digital Transformation as a process where something new is constantly being added. In concrete terms, for him this means providing employees with tools, but also ensuring that employees continue to develop their skills. However, digital transformation in no way means that the processes as they ran before were bad.

What is important to him in this context is the benefit for the employees. As an example, he refers to the attendance lists that were kept manually before the pandemic. Because employees asked for a paperless option where they could have the documents right on their smartphones, his team had an app developed for automated entry: a time-saver that delivers measurable benefits. 

Innovation or transformation?

Innovative is what helps, Ben explains. A new tool, for example, is not yet innovation. But if it helps me, that's innovative. Innovation culture is one such buzzword. But the question is always whether everyone in the company has to deal with it. A group of innovators who drive processes forward is necessary in the company. But it is also important that there is a "critical mass" of people who question things. 

External partners

External partners are important for Boehringer's innovation processes. They bring new impulses. Ben points out to the new intranet that his department created two years ago together with INOSOFT and colleagues from IT: It served as a template for the global intranet. 


You have to look at where the innovation drivers are in the company and bring people together. And you have to take away employees' insecurities about the new and unknown, especially if they think everything is going well the way it is.     

09/12/2023 04:25pm

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