For many companies, digitalization is both an opportunity and a challenge. Schwalbe, the internationally renowned specialist brand for bicycle tires, is mastering this transformation through its own dedicated department. We spoke with Johannes Binner, the head of this specialist department.
Mr. Binner, what exactly is your job at Schwalbe?
I am Head of Digitalization at Schwalbe. That means I’m responsible for the entire digitalization process at our company. This involves building a completely new digital architecture and then taking on board all the new initiatives, for example in the direction of digital marketing. My responsibilities include driving forward those processes that have already been initiated and taking the whole concept of digitization to a new level.
So where do you fit within Schwalbe – are you part of the marketing team?
Schwalbe is currently undergoing a process of general transformation. Digitalization is so important to us that we have created a separate division for it. However, the overlaps with marketing are considerable.
With this in mind, have you also decided to restructure your digital asset management (DAM)?
We took specialist advice at the beginning of the process and identified a number of focal points. One core theme was our system architecture. So it’s not just about DAM as such – we considered this from the outset in interaction with our Product Information Management system (PIM), which was also completely relaunched. As a result, our systems are very well integrated.
What were your expectations here? What problems was the new Digital Asset Management system designed to solve?
Following fundamental analysis, our first step was to try and identify individual “quick wins” where we could benefit very quickly and clearly from an improvement. With regard to our DAM project, the target came from marketing: we want to offer our business customers a better and more efficient service.
Digitizing processes quickly – that’s what many companies have been trying to do since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, if not before. But you started much earlier, right?
Exactly. For us, the situation after the outbreak of the pandemic was confirmation that we are on the right track here, while many others tried to jump on the bandwagon that we had already set in motion some time ago.
Was the introduction of Canto one of those quick wins for you, or a building block in a long-term strategy?
Both. The basic idea was that we wanted to modernize our very fragmented system architecture. The introduction of Canto was the basis for our initial restructuring, so that we could then scale up later as required.
What were your priorities when you launched Canto?
We were concerned with the rapid availability of important brand assets. We want to move away from all employees using their own tools or private cloud storage to send or store data. A DAM system only makes sense if everyone uses it. That’s why it was also very important to us that usage is as simple as possible for us and then, of course, for external users as well.
Another priority for us was to replace our old media database. This was very cumbersome, both in terms of performance and usability. Above all, it didn’t offer us any technical interfaces for integration into our infrastructure. Canto is now integrated into our website’s CMS via the PIM system.
How did your DAM project with Canto progress?
We decided in advance that we wanted a new PIM system. So we started looking for a DAM system that would work well with our existing PIM.
This quickly narrowed down the possible solutions and that’s how we came to Canto. Once the system interface had been defined, various systems were demonstrated to us and then, as a team, we decided on Canto relatively quickly.