Oct 30, 2020

Alibaba and BMW sign strategic digital transformation MoU

BMW
Alibaba
strategic partnership
Digital Transformation
Georgia Wilson
2 min
BMW and Alibaba MoU signing
Alibaba and BMW have signed an MoU, promoting digital transformation across the BMW business...

In an announcement made by Alibaba and BMW the two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote digital transformation across the BMW business.

The two companies aim to leverage their resources, and conduct comprehensive cooperation in branding, marketing, channels, end-to-end operations, services, and information technology, to implement the strategy into BMW’s full business process, and enable dealers to provide end-to-end, online-to-offline digital experiences.

“Cross industry collaboration and open innovation exchange are indispensable in accelerating the ongoing digital transformation of our company. As one of China’s leading tech enterprises, Alibaba has unique competencies in terms of digital technologies, large scale customer platforms and channels as well as targeted consumers operations. We are delighted to join hands to create holistic online-to-offline digital brand experiences for our Chinese consumers, and at the same time increase our portfolio of digital products and services,” commented Jochen Goller, President and CEO of BMW Group Region China.

The launch of the two companies end-to-end, online-to-offline digital experience platform is expected - in the future - to direct traffic to BMW dealers creating more business opportunities. Additionally, as part of the partnership, BMW and MINI will launch brands’ membership services and marketing campaigns on Alibaba’s online platforms, with ambitions to enhance customer loyalty, increase activity, and drive business.

Efforts made by the two companies are working to accelerate the digital transformation of dealership networks in China, to provide customers with premium, convenient and personalised services and experiences.

Both BMW and Alibaba have set future ambitions to build BMW’s end-to-end operating system to provide customers with full-link services with integrated car-viewing, car purchasing and car maintenance to reimagine customer-centric, cross-business and multi-scenario service experiences.

“As one of the most innovative international premium automakers, BMW is an industry leader with outstanding products and services. Now BMW is once again at the forefront of digital transformation, becoming the first auto manufacturer to leverage Alibaba Business Operating System (ABOS). This system will help accelerate the digital operations across BMW’s business segments, aiming to provide end-to-end customer-centric services throughout the product lifecycle and high-quality growth by expanding, connecting and serving customers in a more efficient way,” added Jet Jing, Vice President of Alibaba Group and Secretary General of Enterprise Service for Alibaba Digital Economy.

To find out more about the partnership, click here!

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Image source: Alibaba 

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Jun 9, 2021

Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business

DigitalTransformation
AsiaSchoolofBusiness
smartskills
Leadership
Kate Birch
3 min
Teaching the MIT Sloan Executive Education program at Asia School of Business, Prof. Padurean talks innovation, smart skills and digital transformation

As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?

In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.

You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?

They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.

Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening. 

I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something. 

How important are smart skills in leadership today?

Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.

I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other. 

So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?

Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’. 

Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here

 

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