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Mattias Ulbrich became Audi CEO in February, 2012 (Photo: automotiveIT)

Mattias Ulbrich has been CIO at Audi AG in Ingolstadt since February 2012. In an interview with automotiveIT, he talks about his current duties as a process integrator, the new era of collaboration with the company”˜s other divisions, and his relationship with Volkswagen Group IT.

automotiveIT:Audi IT is the most attractive employer of computer scientists in the auto industry, according to a recent student survey. What's going on in your company?

Ulbrich: It is incontestable that the Audi brand has star power. We have extremely attractive products and we can offer university graduates exciting jobs in IT at our Ingolstadt site. One example of an attractive proposition is our new Audi City sales concept. In mid-July, we opened our first digital showroom in London. Modern IT becomes tangible here, like it does with the Audi Connect Services. It can positively thrill customers. And that appeals to many young computer scientists.

So in Ingolstadt, it is no longer a matter of keeping the server running in the basement?

Of course, we continue to be responsible for that. It”˜s part of our core business.But you see how great the spectrum of topics hasbecome.Since IT supports work processes in practically all areas, our employees have the opportunity to get to know the company as a whole. We are the central integrator for all cross-division processes ”“ and that is a very exciting mission day in and day out.

What are the Volkswagen Group”˜s expectations for Audi IT?

Today we no longer just provide technology. Rather, we deliver concrete added value with it and support the company”˜s competitiveness. We are living this commitment to all the company’s divisions. The importance that IT holds at and for Audi will continue to grow tremendously. Our management board has confirmed that information technology is one of the company”˜s core competencies. That is why we examine very carefully what IT services we intend to grant our external partners and what we want to handle ourselves.

How much IT do you do in-house and how much do you outsource?

We don”˜t communicate that type of figure. I’ll say this much: We are not ruling out the idea of continuing to expand IT capacity in the Volkswagen Group overall and doing even more in-house in the future. On many innovative themes, Audi IT will certainly take on a pacesetter role in pursuing our objectives. This is the result of the cooperative relationship that we have with VW Group CIO Martin Hofmann in Wolfsburg. We have identified quite a few issues that we will tackle together. For example, we want to continue to improve the user-friendliness of our IT systems.