What are the tasks of a project manager for innovative online services? Victoria Petrov talks about her work, the start-up culture at Daimler and her new office in Stuttgart city center.
Hello Ms. Kronewitter, please introduce yourself briefly to the readers.
My name is Victoria Kronewitter. I completed my combined Master of Science degree in "International Digital Marketing" in Scotland and France, after which I immediately joined a project in Daimler AG's Marketing and Sales unit in 2014. I have been working on tasks including product management for innovative vehicle-related services at Mercedes me since 2016. Here I work as a project manager for innovative online services, and also support creative ideas from the planning stage through to implementation for customers in Mercedes me. I am currently still working in Stuttgart-Möhringen but will soon be relocating to new premises in Stuttgart city center, together with the digital division.
Why did you choose Daimler as your employer?
I have gained work experience with the most attractive Swabian employers - Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Robert Bosch GmbH and Daimler AG. My dissertation ultimately focused on the international market entry strategies of German automotive companies, and therefore on Daimler AG in particular as a very international company. The corporate culture here has impressed me particularly. I was fully integrated from my very first day, and all of the teams were very pleasant and competent, as a result of which I look forward to coming to the office every day. It is also a huge company with career and development opportunities both in Germany and abroad.
Please describe your career at Daimler – from the first day in the company until today.
I took on a great deal of responsibility from the very first day, managing international IT projects throughout the entire customer journey for the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, a unit at Business Innovations. These IT projects included a business analysis, designing applications to be introduced such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and various online learning platforms. Together with my counterpart at the specialist unit, I managed agile development, carried out testing myself and implemented the international roll-out while also managing internal and external stakeholders. In the eBusiness team, however, I found out what agility and Scrum really mean, what the benefits are and how it works exactly. Transferring to Mercedes me, which is currently probably the most high-profile topic at Daimler AG, entailed even more fields of work. Today it is also my privilege to get involved in the communications, strategy, design, concept and IT development of my projects as part of inter-disciplinary teams. One particular focus of this is to implement multi-unit services relating to the Digital Drive Coach.
Please tell us a bit more about your team and your work.
My team is responsible for product and portfolio management throughout the entire Mercedes me customer journey. In doing so, we promote innovative ideas for digital services from cross-functional units, while also working creatively ourselves. It is fascinating to experience how a service portfolio arises from an initial creative idea. Our aim is to offer customers and interested parties personalized, bundled and relevant services in the fields of connectivity, mobility, inspiration, finance and after-sales. The special thing about this is that we are a new unit where there is a lot you can shape. For example, I was responsible for developing and implementing a common business process for Mercedes me, working closely with the Mercedes me Portal and IT. This allowed us to evaluate multi-unit concepts from a strategic and architectural perspective, develop them, activate them in Mercedes me and roll them out to the international markets.
The best thing about my department is that we have a very wide range of skills, experience and characteristics. We have a fantastic mix of highly experienced employees and young team members. As a result, we combine the latest digital trends with tried-and-tested methods. Some are strategic and creative thinkers while others work with IT to implement the services and roll out Mercedes me internationally. Our team also includes communications specialists who handle a wide range of communications measures in order to properly position and promote Mercedes me. In the networked world of the automotive sector in particular, we need IT experts but also creative minds as the basis for our future business models.
I am responsible for the implementation of our ideas. As a project manager, I love bringing together parties from a wide variety of backgrounds in order to combine different skills and create a shared product. I am currently working with designers, communications experts and IT on a future project, in order to provide our customers a unique product in keeping with the Mercedes me strategy.
You are going to be part of the new unit “Digital and IT for Marketing & Sales Mercedes-Benz Cars”. How does it affect you and your work?
I think the biggest change will be the start-up culture that we are increasingly practicing. We are working a lot with Silicon Valley (which is where I am also flying out to tomorrow) in order to collect further ideas, inspiration and collaboration partners for my new project. Just like in Silicon Valley, in the new unit we will simply try things out, test them with customers, and refine the product based on feedback from customers. In the future we will also implement our innovative services more rapidly and with greater agility. We will ensure this by working in small, agile project teams in which every project members contributes their own core skills, so that we can share end-to-end responsibility for a product throughout the entire product life cycle. The proximity will allow us to share ideas more rapidly and with greater flexibility in the various think tanks, retreats and lounges in the office. In this way, each team will be able to organize itself depending on the situation, find its own best way of working and make decisions faster.
I consider this proximity, the integration between the specialist unit and IT, and the opportunity to test things out to be the biggest change. The most important thing is that we will all focus on the most important functions for the customers at Mercedes me - on personalized services that are relevant, customized and convenient for them. We will practice data-based marketing, establish a dialog with the customer, and in doing so implement only services that are relevant to the customer. It is then a great success for us if the customer uses our services. Thanks to the new premises in Stuttgart city center, we will no doubt be making use of the infrastructure with the various restaurants and cafes to celebrate our joint achievements and launches.