A matter of attitude

Digitalization is more than just another piece of new technology. It is the future of our company.

“When the World Exhibition in Paris closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it.” Even before the digital age, a lack of vision could also lead to false predictions. At the end of the 19th century, it was Erasmus Wilson, a professor at Oxford, who failed to see any potential in a new type of technology. Sometimes it is possible to be greatly mistaken.

Today, we regard the advent of electric light quite naturally as one of the greatest advancements in history. In a similar vein, we should see digitalization as a major opportunity as well - one that is opening up new business models and tremendous opportunities for growth. Industry 4.0, the automotive sector and consumer electronics are relying increasingly on intelligent sensors. The market potential of LED and infrared technology is vast.

“In order to benefit from digitalization, we have to translate technological progress into new business models and quickly make an economic success of them. It means showing courage and seeing the transformation as an opportunity.” Dr. Olaf Berlien, CEO OSRAM

We have the opportunity right now. In order to seize it, we must act swiftly and decisively. Digitalization is not slow and leisurely. Rather, it is full speed ahead, and whoever fails to speed up risks missing the boat. This can involve leaving familiar territory or breaking with traditions, even if it’s difficult to do so.

With the path from pure lighting manufacturer to high-tech company, our competition is changing as well. Startups are stirring up the lighting market and making it more fragmented, complex and dynamic. However, instead of fearing these upstarts, we should see them as an opportunity. We can learn from them and use them as a way to open up markets in order to jointly increase acceptance for new ideas, including in conservative markets. To achieve this, it is important to come up with our own visionary ideas and remain agile.

“Digitalization is opening up new applications and markets for OSRAM. In order to seize these opportunities, we need to learn how to withstand the risks as well.” Dr. Johannes Ihringer, Head of Digital Project Office Corporate Strategy

New technologies are essential here, but they alone are not enough. Digitalization is more than technology. It is a matter of attitude, one that needs to be embraced and put into practice. Our company culture will change as a result of it as well. This will require an innovative spirit from each and every one of us. Responsibilities and work processes will continue to evolve. We will have to part with familiar routines and be prepared to venture into something new – which could mean facing the possibility of failure at some point.

“The digital realm is extremely fast-paced. Whatever is on trend today can be obsolete tomorrow. Speed and flexibility are incredibly important for being able to keep up.” Petra Ehmann, Strategic Partner Development Manager at Google

The addition of new digital business areas to our company’s Articles of Association sends a clear signal: we are continuing to evolve. In the years ahead, we will develop digital products and services. And to do so, we will also need new ways of collaborating, both in-house and externally.

Initiatives and projects have already launched within the individual business units. The plan is to pool their findings by the beginning of next fiscal year into one overarching digital strategy for OSRAM. We are well positioned to benefit tremendously from digitalization. Right now, we are still at the beginning, as the exact path forward has yet to emerge. But we are prepared to follow it to its successful conclusion.

“A digital leader needs to know today what the market will expect tomorrow. And such a leader needs to be prepared to make mistakes sometimes and learn from them.” Jens Kottsieper, Technical Solution Professional at Microsoft


The term originally meant converting information from an analog to a digital storage format. Since the beginning of the 21st century, digitalization has also been used to describe changes brought about by disruptive digital technologies. Autonomization, flexibilization, the internet of things and Industry 4.0 are all important keywords. Frequently used synonyms include the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digital transformation.