Making the Future Now: Interview with Hanna Hennig

"Siemens is the clear number 1 in automation + industrial digitalization."



As part of our ‘Making the Future Now’ series, Industry Leaders speaks with Hanna Hennig, CIO at Siemens AG, to find out what we need to know today to create a better world tomorrow. We talked about different approaches in tackling challenges on the path towards digital transformation; the big streams of digital transformation, and most importantly, celebrated her success for leading a sustainable business transformation.

Industry Leaders: What are some of the biggest challenges Siemens has faced along the way?

Hanna: Siemens is a leading technology company in the fields of industry, infrastructure, mobility and healthcare. By combining the real and digital worlds, we enable our customers to transform their industries and markets and create real value. In doing so, we improve the everyday for billions of people and help meet the challenges of environmental protection, decarbonization, health and safety.

Siemens Hanna Hennig

The main challenges, which Siemens has faced along the way, include …

  • Understanding the customer needs. Moving away from pure play technology focus to what the pain points are and how to resolve these with the right technology and contracts – Capex vs. Opex.
  • Understanding the differences between OT and IT products, their lifecycles, their security demands and implementation needs.
  • Understanding that there is a lot of legacy/brownfield out there which has to be considered and integrated into digital solutions.
  • Understanding what the components are that allow for scaling a solutions to multiple customers and environments. Moving away from being a “Champion of POCs” and deliver plug & play.
  • Understanding how to empower people to deliver all above.

What advice would you give to companies in the throes of a complex transformation?

  • Acting from a position of strength: approaching transformation when things are going well and you have the reins of action in your own hands – as Siemens did. Not just when circumstances force you to do so:
    Siemens set out on this visionary path with great foresight 10 years ago. Today, Siemens is the clear number 1 in automation + industrial digitalization.
  • See digital transformation not as a necessary evil, but as a great opportunity: Digitalization and the Internet of Things are changing our world massively and in a short time. How we live and work, how we manufacture products or do business globally – there are many new opportunities and great potential for growth.
  • Companies that master the physical and digital worlds simultaneously will emerge as winners from this period of upheaval

In 2021, Siemens was ranked one of the most sustainable companies in the world out of 8,000 companies assessed by Corporate Knights. Driving efficiencies and cutting emissions in the midst of an evolutionary digital transformation is not a small feat. What did Siemens do differently and better than other companies?

  • I think the point is not to determine what we have done differently or better than others. In the race for saving the earth, it is not 1st place that is decisive, but that everyone reaches the finish line. The question of “what makes Siemens different and better than others” does not get us anywhere here.
  • Our approach is rather to move things forward together in order to contribute to saving the planet at the end of the day. That’s why we are driving this mindset in major partnerships such as WEF, UN Global Compact, industrial associations or sustainability focused initiatives like Climate Pledge,SBTi (EV100, EP100, RE100)
  • In doing so, we always give our best and continue to develop according to our and our customers’ ambitions. We have the biggest impact when we help our customers to become more sustainable. Our technology helps to produce more with less; saving resources, providing long life solutions with excellent quality and minimal carbon footprint where possible.

“See digital transformation not as a necessary evil, but as a great opportunity: Digitalization and the Internet of Things are changing our world massively and in a short time.”

Do you still see room for improvement in sustainability at Siemens?

  • Setting a pathway towards a fully decarbonized business operation and supply chain is a big transformation, for each one of us, also for global companies like Siemens.
  • For example to fulfill scope 1&2: Net zero operations by 2030 in line with SBTi pathway.
    That’s a huge commitment, considering we have more than 200 (or 140) production sites around the world and more than 40,000 vehicles in our fleet.
  • Or scope 3, the upstream goal: that means net zero supply chain by 2050 and 20% emissions reduction by 2030.
    This will have a big impact, given the fact that we have more than 65,000 suppliers around the world.
  • Even though Siemens is already doing a lot in the area of sustainability, there is always room for improvement.
  • Therefore it is important to accelerate the transformation.
  • But in order to accelerate our sustainability efforts and make a lasting impact, sustainability needs to be part of our everyday

Christy Gren
Christy Gren is an Industry Specialist Reporter at Industry Leaders Magazine she enjoys writing about Unicorns, Silicon Valley, Startups, Business Leaders and Innovators. Her articles provide an insight about the Power Players in the field of Technology, Auto, Manufacturing, and F&B.

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