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Partnering for synergies

Interview - November 14, 2018

In Singapore, German multinational Siemens has found an ecosystem for co-creation, thanks to an open, collaborative government. In this interview, Armin Bruck talks about the synergies between Siemens’ vision for the future and Singapore’s transformation into a hub for value creation as both the company and the country seek to take advantage of the digital future.



What does ASEAN mean to Siemens?

Siemens has a long presence in all the markets in ASEAN, and we are considered as a local company with German roots in those markets. We are very well positioned in this region. Nevertheless, we want to do more. We want to see more push from the ASEAN Economic Community to reduce boundaries, increase the flow of products, services and goods with less hassle at customs, highly reliable logistics, predictive economy, and equal law and order enforcement everywhere. Singapore should be a good beacon of development for the other countries which are in different development stages.

The exciting thing about ASEAN is that you find everything from benchmark country Singapore to the emerging market of Laos.  


Singapore has been extremely active in promoting innovation and digitalization. How would you assess its progress in taking this to the rest of the region?

I see a lot of engagement by Singapore in and beyond the country. It is an ideal topic for Singapore because innovation does not need land, assets, nor factories. It gives Singapore a level playing field, overcoming its natural disadvantages and playing to its strengths.


What are the benefits to Siemens of being present in Singapore as it shifts its focus to value creation?

The future will be very digital driven. Siemens has already begun our journey into the digital world. We see a seamless transition. We stopped to reorient and then rerun because we have customers and customers will always come first in our house. We don't want to disrupt or confuse them, but we want to co-create with them. We want to co-create beyond the boundaries of Singapore, we want to utilize their network or their target, which might be ASEAN or the world. It is similar to Singapore’s transformation, where there is a lot of focus on different verticals.

Singapore has its Smart Nation initiative. Siemens has our Vision 2020+. Our verticals are called strategic and operational companies, and this runs parallel with the context of Singapore’s transformation. A big lever is digitalization. Another is to be closer to the markets. Singapore longs to have better accessibility within ASEAN for its startups and SMEs. There are a lot of similarities which we can utilize because we work with those SMEs to make their operations in the future more productive than they are today.

Siemens feels at home in Singapore and there is so much synergy between Singapore and Siemens. That’s why we launched our Digitalization Hub here in July 2017, our co-creation ecosystem across all the strategic and operational companies, to support the digitalization journey of companies in Singapore and ASEAN.


What projects related to digitalization within the region do you believe are the most representative of Siemens' impact on the development of the region?

There are so many because there's no restriction to any vertical due to our digitalization approach. Co-creation is the magic word. This is what we practice here, and this is again, similar to Singapore’s approach with a transformation of the ecosystem in their businesses. This makes us feel at home because of how Singapore’s government thinks.


What kind of innovation have you seen coming out of Singapore that may have been relevant to Siemens?

One concrete example is our partnership with the Land Transport Authority. The way they have transformed their operations is eye-opening. It was eye-opening to meet with these people. They are clearly very well educated, driven, forward looking, and forward acting. They said that they wanted us to be part of their strategy workshop, as their key supplier. The reason for this was so that we could provide input on what the consequence of their decisions and policies would be.  

There are many such examples. I was part of the Committee of the Future Economy (CFE) team, as well as a government initiative to consistently countercheck and mirror what they have done, what they intend to do, and what would be the right regulations or ways to facilitate businesses in Singapore.  

This is similar to what we’re doing here too. We work together with the ecosystem and with our customers and business partners. We co-create together.