Let's get digital!

 

Digitalization helps us to provide better solutions for our customers in the areas of health and nutrition. To drive a focused transformation of the company, Bayer set up its strategic initiative Advancing Digital. Saskia Steinacker, Global Head of Digital Transformation at Bayer, shares her views on how to leverage digital solutions to address major challenges of the 21st century.

Aaron Tepperman

Saskia Steinacker

Global Head of Digital Transformation

I am a geek. I taught myself coding, because I was just curious. From organizing daycare for my son to mobile grocery shopping, I manage my entire life through apps. I’m deeply convinced that digital technologies can make our daily lives easier. But this is only a small part of what digital solutions can do for individuals, our society, and humankind as a whole. The bigger part is yet to come.

Despite all progress, humankind is still facing fundamental challenges: Every day we welcome 230,000 new human beings into the world. At the same time, life expectancy is increasing, and thirty years from now, we will have to care for a much greater number of people with resources that are already limited. The life sciences industry has the privilege of contributing to finding solutions for the challenge of sustainably providing food and healthcare to a rapidly growing world population. We cannot do this without leveraging digitalization in our industry.

Digital solutions provide tremendous opportunities to make our lives better by keeping people healthy and by getting the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. Digital solutions are already helping individuals make smarter choices. From wellness trackers to mobile electrocardiography and connected glucose monitors, the analysis of vital data can help people manage their health on their own. But the potential of digital health solutions goes way beyond that: Artificial intelligence can help us to better recognize diseases, e.g., with the support of pattern recognition software.

Digital solutions provide tremendous opportunities to make our lives better by keeping people healthy and by getting the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.

Moreover, digital technologies help farmers cultivate arable land more efficiently, increase yields, and make agriculture more sustainable. Adapting the use of fertilizers and pesticides to the specific needs of each acre can reduce their usage significantly. Farmers can also get an overview of what is happening in the surrounding areas and receive immediate alerts when diseases or pests are spreading.

Still, digitalization—and artificial intelligence in particular—is often seen as a threat to self-determination, data privacy, jobs, and established business models. We absolutely have to be open to discussing these risks and addressing them using the right policies that regulate innovation and do not obstruct it. This is what I stand for as an appointed member of the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence.

At Bayer, we enable employees to leverage new technologies to better serve our customers—this is what digital transformation is all about. Anybody who aims to create digital innovation needs to ask the right questions: What are the needs of my customers? What is the best way to provide value? And how can digital solutions help me to fulfil that goal?

With an open mind and willingness to experiment, we can find areas of true value and apply technology in effective ways. This is what I believe and why I am thankful to have the opportunity to contribute to shaping the digital transformation of Bayer with the effort “Advancing Digital”.

Monica Story

A Year Abroad