Data science, agile working, UX design: our evolving IT careers

If you think IT in our company is just about installing hardware, solving computer problems, or controlling who can access a particular system, you’re mistaken. Our IT is constantly evolving, further developing their skills, tools and processes, based on what Boehringer Ingelheim needs today and tomorrow. Meet our IT colleagues Natalie, Mounika and Lisa who will change your view of IT through their individual career stories. Today, they are working in the fields of user experience, data science and agile development – but that's not where they started.

Meet our IT colleagues Natalie, Mounika and Lisa who will change your view of IT

Paving the way for agile working

Mounika Datla, Head of IT-Agile Coaching Chapter & Lead - Agile Community of Practice in IT at Boehringer Ingelheim, has always been passionate about technology and computers. She began her career as an SAP developer, which she enjoyed but also revealed a recurring problem she was facing: “As a developer, someone at the very end of the product development process, I always wondered why we always failed understanding the ‘why’. Somewhere along the sequential process the message was lost, and the vision and purpose were never clear for the developers,” Mounika remembers.
When Mounika experienced how other teams worked with agile methods and tools, she realized that they were the key to overcoming communication and collaboration problems: “Agile is ‘to be’ and not ‘to do’. Agile methods make the process very transparent from the beginning to the launch of the product. This transparency helps overcome challenges,” she says. With that in mind, she involved herself in agile initiatives and acquired several certifications in the field.

Mounika brought her expertise to Boehringer Ingelheim in 2017, starting as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach, and later leading the Agile CoP and Agile Coaching Chapter. Her goal, along with her team, is to help the organization transform and embed agile methods and mindset in the company culture: “We actively advise and coach our organization to achieve better outcomes in constantly changing environments.”

User Experience Design: Putting the users first

Combining a background in organizational psychology with her passion for user experience design: Natalie Woletz, User Experience Design Chapter Lead at Boehringer Ingelheim, always wanted to use her knowledge to create  products that make someone's life easier. She joined Boehringer Ingelheim last August as Head of the IT User Experience Chapter and is very happy that her beliefs align with our IT strategy: “Users always must be at the center of software development. I think the decision to put the product and the user at the center of the IT strategy at Boehringer Ingelheim is great and exactly right.” 

With 20 years of experience in the field, she's witnessed the evolution of user-centric design, moving from late-stage adjustments to being involved in the ideation process. “In the past, we as the ones responsible for the User Experience were brought in on a project just before the product was to be launched. At that point it was usually too late for fundamental changes, which would have been insanely expensive and time-consuming, and only small adjustments didn't make the software much better. Later we were able to give feedback on prototypes, which was a bit better. Today, together with the product owner in the business, we think about what the product should be even before the development starts”, recaps Natalie. “In the joint teams with both business and IT colleagues, we work together on the success.”

Data Science: Unlocking the potential of data

“I always liked solving problems like puzzles”, Lisa Michelson, Data Value and Ideation Manager at Boehringer Ingelheim, describes with a smile when asked about her initial motivation to go into IT. Over the past 20 years at Boehringer Ingelheim, she has evolved her role within the company – from Java programming to managing the development team for our intranet MyBI and now, leading the way in data science. “To briefly explain the field: Data Science is about using data from the past to predict something in the future. We have a lot of untapped potential in our data”.

Lisa believes that the shift to agile development also demands that we use data to come to insights faster – especially when it comes to new ideas: “As the agile transformation makes the company come up with ideas faster, we need a framework to quickly decide on their potential and recommend the best ideas to the BI dataland program,” she emphasizes. To achieve this goal, Lisa’s first tasks in her newly developed role as Data Value and Ideation Manager are to identify initial use cases for Data Science, track ideas throughout their exploration, and use the insights gained to eventually establish the ideation process. “A good BI dataland use case can bring value to the company in many business areas, for example reducing time to market, or predicting success in clinical trials.”