Audi CIO Frank Loydl has been on the job since February of this year. One of the first decisions he made was to launch an IT transformation project called NEXT:IT. It centers around a reorientation of the IT organization at Volkswagen Group’s premium brand. With a restart planned for January 1, the pace is high. automotiveIT recently talked to Loydl about his first months in office and his plans for the coming years.
Mr Loydl, what is going to change in Audi’s IT under your management?
People are always talking about the size and range of the transformation engulfing the auto industry. It is no different in IT. New platforms are emerging. We are increasingly using the cloud, working with software as a service, and gradually transferring more intelligence into the infrastructure. These developments pose challenges to Audi IT and we are working on smart solutions to them. With a clearly different positioning, to cite one example: We are moving away from a division-oriented organization and will be geared more to technologies. Speed of implementation is a key issue.
That sounds like the dose of agility and flexibility that’s customary in the industry…
Agility is a powerful tool, but not a panacea. It doesn’t make sense for every company process to be completely agile. It isn’t feasible either. So we are adapting our different work models so they fit the particular assignment. The buzzword is “hybrid agile.” I see the sensible, flexible combination of different management and work models falling under this concept.
You used to work at VW Group headquarters in Wolfsburg. Now, you’re in Ingolstadt, where Audi is based and distances between offices and people are shorter. How far is your new desk from the company’s standup meetings, barcamps and pair programming?
From a physical standpoint, I would say barely a meter, I set up the first scrumban board on the wall right behind my work area, with a multitude of colorful Post-it notes, the kind you see at IT City in Wolfsburg. Many Audi teams are already working agilely, using scrum frameworks such as SAFe or LeSS. There are trained guides for individual projects. Now we will take the appropriate flow into the organization step-by-step and promote an exchange of views and information using competence networks.
Interview by Ralf Bretting and Hilmar Dunker
(Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a longer article. The full interview with Frank Loydl will be available in September)