Behind the scenes: Dr. Götz Wehberg - Senior Vice President, IT Governance & Management Services

Dr Götz Wehberg has held the role of Senior Vice President – IT Governance & Management Services (FDT) since May 2021. Together with his teams, he is responsible for everything to do with IT at the corporate level, and this currently involves creating IT foundations that can be applied across the entire Group. What is it that makes a transformation a success and what are the pitfalls? What makes his teams’ work so special? Götz answers all these questions and more.

What contribution do you and your teams make to Fresenius?

The purpose of Fresenius Digital Technology is closely linked to the purpose of Fresenius as a whole. We deliver IT services to support the purpose of the entire group in line with our motto: ever better medicine for ever more people. We can use new technologies to help us supply a wider target audience. Or we can apply data analytics to patient data in order to gain valuable insights that will help improve treatment options and save money. To date, this kind of patient data often has been poorly integrated or not integrated at all, so there is a lot to do. We are still not making the most of the potential here and in other places too.

What is the most important project that you are responsible for?

We launched the Global IT Service Transformation program (or GIST for short) under the title “Fix the Basics”. The aim is to organize and establish state-of-the-art IT. So, working in the cloud rather than in data centers, for example. We are going to draw on the experience of a few selected external providers for this purpose. At present, Fresenius works with over 100 different IT providers. We are currently working on consolidating this number.

Our tasks also include specifying which IT projects the Group IT oversees and which lie within the responsibility of the individual segments. And then invigorating them introducing best practices. So, for example, we are currently consolidating the Service Level Agreements and introducing a new pricing model, which will make IT costs and cost accounting much more transparent. And we have launched a purchasing initiative that will facilitate tens of millions of euros worth of savings.

Our second key topic, which we’re currently working on, is digitalization. Of course, Fresenius Medical Care is the market leader in home dialysis, but our digitalization remains very needs-based in many areas. We are currently developing use cases, such as for new products to prevent diseases; for new digital business models ensuring more effective usage of data analytics, for example, or to digitalize business processes, e.g. in the fields of logistics, production, finance or human resources. It will be a fascinating journey.

This kind of transformation is always difficult, including for me personally. But I am convinced that we are heading in the right direction.

What do you like about working at Fresenius Digital Technology? What distinguishes us from other companies?

Fresenius Digital Technology is a great playground for talented people to get creative – whether they are young professionals or more experienced. There’s a lot to do. We also provide the opportunity to work in teams where the focus is not on your rank, but more on the quality of your idea. And, when the right team is in place, you can achieve a great deal in a small group.

When viewed as a whole, the job is certainly demanding, because it involves integrating both the IT and the business perspective. It isn’t enough to just be a whiz at technology – you need to be open-minded and to understand the healthcare business. We don’t want to do this all in-house; instead, we are looking to work together with strategic partners. But we need to be able to master each of the issues in house first in order to be able to scale and manage the services together with these partners.

Trust and transparency are presumably really important in a period of transformation. How do you encourage this?

The first thing to note is that the entire technology sector is currently in a massive state of flux, and that is not just limited to Fresenius. Fresenius’ transformation journey is embedded within this period of change. It is totally understandable that this may cause anxiety. This is why we all need to take a proactive approach to these issues.

In line with the whole culture at Fresenius Digital Technology and the attitude of our management team, we care about our colleagues. This includes being transparent in our approach. Empathy also has a huge role to play in this situation, particularly as IT and the business as a whole need to grow together. But I see these changes as positive. A transformation like this is always very stressful – this is a really intense time for me personally as well. But I am convinced we are heading in the right direction. If we want to continue to serve the healthcare sector in the future, then we need to make more of our potential. And we can’t do this by sticking with the status quo.

Thank you for the interview, Götz!

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