Not lost in translation Solution Architect

Not Lost in Translation. Diana Andrä is a 25-year-old business information systems specialist and she makes sure that specialist departments and software developers understand one another. Her job profile: solution architect. She devises business solutions for retail sales at EvoBus, a subsidiary of Daimler AG.

Hello, please briefly introduce yourself. How did you start working at Daimler?

After completing a course of study as an industrial manager, I started working at EvoBus, and I then decided to start a work-study program in business information systems. For the past six months I’ve been working at the EvoBus IT department, which is responsible for Aftersales Solutions.

Why did you choose Daimler as your employer?

For me, the most important thing was my decision to work at EvoBus, a Daimler subsidiary. It has very good reputation in this region. My parents met each other here, as a matter of fact. I think that Daimler is a great employer in general. The thing I really appreciate is the flexibility that enables me to work in my home office or have flexible working hours.

You’re responsible for IT Solutions in Aftersales at EvoBus. What exactly is your job? What do you do?

The team I work in focuses mainly on IT solutions for the retail trade. In concrete terms, this means that we are translators between two worlds. On the one side there’s the specialist unit with process know-how, and on the other there’s the developer. My job is to analyze the requirements of the specialist units and to use these results to develop IT solutions that can then be correspondingly programmed. What helps me in my job is the know-how I acquired during my studies and my experience as an industrial manager.

Can you give us a concrete example?

One example is CAPS (Calculation and Projection of Service Contracts), a calculation system for dealers. It originated in an Excel list of the specialist unit for price calculation. We wanted to enable the dealers to calculate prices quickly and independently. However, many legal aspects have to be taken in mind here. For example, intermediaries are not allowed to see how the prices are calculated. And Daimler is also not allowed to know what conditions the intermediary is offering to the customer. Both sides have to be blind, in effect. Our solution was a new Web interface that takes all of these factors into account.

Please tell us a bit more about your team and your work.

Our team is very diverse in terms of the members’ ages and previous careers. We bond over the fun we have during the short foosball sessions we organize occasionally at the office. That reinforces our team spirit and also clears our heads for new ideas. We go back to work with new energy. Some of us are working on SAP systems, while others are creating a new online shop for EvoBus, which will soon go live. Another important topic for us is the development of the OMNIplus On customer platform. In the future it will give customers access to digital services such as Uptime. The service, which will go live at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018, enables customers to track the status of their vehicles in real time. In addition, it automatically informs customers about any repair measures that may be needed.

What kind of people are you looking for the most in your field?

We’re currently looking more actively for solution architects, business analysts, and security specialists. And of course there are also other exciting job profiles that we’re looking for via our job search engine. So it’s always worthwhile to take a look.

What’s your daily routine like?

I actually don’t have a typical working day. Every day is different. For example, I’ve got many project topics that I coordinate with other units. That generates many different kinds of tasks. This variety is what I especially like about my job.

Have you ever thought about working at a traditional IT company?

It’s never crossed my mind to apply for a job at a traditional IT company. Because what I especially like is the close relationship with the product and the direct contact with the specialist units. I’m glad that my work is helping to make other people’s daily work easier and to advance the company in the areas of innovation and digitalization.

Why did you decide to go into business information systems after finishing your training?

In almost every area I worked in during my training, I saw the same thing: People are working a lot with our internal systems, which sometimes have limits and thus make daily work more difficult. So I thought that there have to be solutions for this situation, and I decided to find them myself. That’s why I tried to understand these limits during my studies and to help the employees in this way.

Big data is a key word that you hear again and again in the context of digitalization. What kinds of interfaces do you have with big data?

I wrote my bachelor’s thesis about “Big Data in Aftersales,” and I’m also the expert on this topic in our team. That’s why projects and questions about big data land on my desk, and as I work on them I cooperate closely with our big data team. For instance, at the moment we’re working on a forecasting system for repair shops. The ultimate aim is to make the repair process easier for the workshop employees by predicting what replacement parts and procedures will be needed. We’re almost ready to conduct the first field test of this system. But the project is still far from being concluded. Working with big data also means trying lots of things out. Even after you’ve completed the “proof of concept,” as we have with this project, it usually takes many further steps before you reach the final implementation.

How far has Daimler progressed in the area of IT?

Daimler is in a very good position. But we always have to step up the pace — that’s why we’re here!

What do you do in your leisure time?

Even in my private life, the topic of IT won’t completely let me go. At home I’ve got a Raspberry Pi and a 3D printer. As an analog contrast, I really like to play board games with my friends and colleagues. Best of all, I like strategy games in which you have to plan a few moves in advance. But you’ve always got to have a little bit of luck.

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