“We’ve done a crazy amount of projects”

Maaz Khan wanted to join a company that understands what digitisation means. Instead of Silicon Valley, he ended up at Viessmann in North Hesse, Germany.

28-year-old Maaz Aslam Khan was looking for a company that is concentrating completely on digital transformation. “That’s how I discovered Viessmann”, he said. “Many companies are concerned with this issue. But only a few are driving it forward on such a scale.” And something else convinced him to sign up to Viessmann in October 2016. “I got the chance to work really closely with the CEO of the company, whose surname was also Viessmann”, said Maaz. “That was very appealing to mebecause I knew that it was a job where I could have an impact.” He was heading his first project two months later. “I always wanted to work in an entrepreneurial setup”, he said. And he found this environment in this family-run company.

Maaz comes from Lahore in Pakistan, went to university in Turku in Finland, as Nokia was the mobile technology benchmark at the time, and today he is working on digitisation with Viessmann in North Hesse, Germany. Maaz has been in the company since 2016, launching a variety of initiatives and projects in his time with the Digital Transformation Task Force.“We’ve done a crazy amount of projects”, he said – including in market research, business modelling and use cases for smart homes. He then took over the leadership of the internal learning and development programme. “We had various training programmes, but none of them were digital.” It’s different now, and the new platform is called the Digital Enablement and Education Programme, or DEEP for short. “We’re bringing digital expertise to the employees in, for example, sales, marketing and CRM, who have had no contact with it to date”, said Maaz.

After six months, Maaz was also involved in setting up the VC/O digital unit and worked in the Business Development section for three and a half months. “I was also involved in the development of the key M&A and Proptech areas.” VC/O is located in Berlin today, but Maaz is still in North Hesse. “I wanted to stay here”, he explained. “Allendorf is a great place to work. That may sound crazy to some people,but I got used to living in a calm and peaceful environment in Finland. I like it here.” But his main reason, he said, is that “the transformation still has a long way to go and I simply have more impact here in the headquarters.”

Letting others do things

Maaz has been working on innovation management for a year now. “My task is to find start-up companies that Viessmann can work with.” The objective is to change the company culture in a positive direction this way, and to accelerate development processes in open innovation projects. “We are looking for start-up companies to provide solutions so that we don’t have to develop them ourselves”, explained Maaz. He went on to say that it was difficult for a traditional company to work with external solutions and accept products that haven’t been developed in the company itself. “I succeeded in selling the start-up as a product – and the people at Viessmann became my customers.” Maaz used a simple trick to do this: he went into the departments and identified the pain points. Then he looked for start-up companies that had a solution for this. “Then it also works with the collaboration”, he said. “And then the departments go on recommending it.”

Maaz has taken on another new role since September. As the Digital Transformation Manager he monitors the individual departments to see how far they have already digitised their processes. “I launch new transformation projects where the digitisation is missing”, said Maaz, who is now re-building his team. As a 28-year-old, it was not so difficult to explain what it was all about to seasoned employees, he said. “It all depends on whether the people see the benefit.” In the meantime, many young people work in strategic positions at Viessmann. And anyway, “28 is not young any more,” he said. “My objective is always to find new challenges.” And there are still plenty of them to find at Viessmann,so his mission is not accomplished yet.

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Maaz Khan on the roof of Maschinenraum Berlin

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