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Seizing the opportunities of change

Scaling innovations, working internationally: The new Global Technology Center

Future 31 Jan 2023

From the initial idea to the opening in just a few months: With its new Global Technology Center (GTC) in Bengaluru in southern India, Henkel has managed to open a new innovation hub in record time. The hub is designed to help implement innovations quickly and build future-oriented digital competencies at Henkel. We take a closer look at this hub at the heart of India's most innovative tech and start-up hotspot. Why Henkel is investing in this region. And why trust is an essential ingredient of success.

Spirit of optimism – with these words Henkel manager Mithun Kumar describes the Indian city of Bengaluru. This spirit of optimism can be felt in the city. There are so many tech experts who want to make a difference. We talk about more than 1.4 million IT specialists, branches of large tech companies such as Google and Meta, DAX companies with subsidiaries and start-ups. Bengaluru is one of the ten most important start-up cities in the world why it is also called India's Silicon Valley, says Kumar. So, it's no wonder that Henkel opened its new Global Technology Center (GTC) here in April 2022, which Kumar heads.

Anyone who wants to understand why the GTC was opened only needs to look at the story of its creation. Henkel's Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO) Michael Nilles had presented the initial idea for the GTC in February 2021. The on-site implementation started shortly after in October 2021. Eventually, after a successful launch, the GTC was inaugurated in April 2022. At the end of 2022, more than 200 people were already programming, planning, and scaling ideas and concepts at the GTC.

Today, the GTC is focusing on accelerating innovations, scaling business programs, leveraging technology with an innovation-driven mind-set. The center serves as hub where Henkel dx digital and tech experts, together with Henkel´s business units and functions, pursuit of a shared goal – to bring products faster to the market.

“And that's exactly what the GTC is all about: scaling”, says Nilesh Mhatre, dx ExCom Member responsible for Americas, IMEA and the GTC. “Scalability is a fundamental driver that allows to create conditions that enable and support the further growth of the business. While the right idea at the right time creates opportunity, scalability creates business impact for customers and partners”.

About Henkel dx

Henkel dx was founded in 2020, uniting digital expertise, business process management, IT and corporate venture capital activities. In a strong collaboration with Henkel´s business units and functions, Henkel dx brings together business domain and tech experts to drive digitalization as competitive edge for Henkel – contributing to purposeful growth.

The GTC already plays a significant role in expanding the company's competitiveness and rapidly digitalizing business units. "Henkel decided some time ago to actively shape the transformation, and the GTC is an important part of this. Our goal is to continue to drive digital transformation at Henkel and to build the competencies we need in-house," says GTC head Mithun Kumar. "Ideas and innovations that we have in our hubs in Düsseldorf, Berlin or Shanghai, for example, can be quickly implemented in Bengaluru."

At the Global Technology Center, tech experts work together on digital solutions to drive scalable innovations.

The team in Bengaluru is involved in all major digital and also some non-digital projects at Henkel. It looks after the further development of digital infrastructures. This includes capabilities such as experts for cloud computing, data analytics, network technology, cyber security, strategic pricing analytics, regulatory management, and user experience. Henkel's digital business platform RAQN can also be further developed and used for projects in Bengaluru.

Mithun Kumar, Head of Global Technology Center

Providing a good environment for your team is an absolute must. And at the core of that is trust and respect.

Listening to Kumar you can sense the spirit of optimism that is inherent in the project. He explains that building the GTC felt like working in a start-up with entrepreneurial freedom. The team could be creative, bold and try new things while having the full trust of the leadership team throughout the process. That trust was and is the essential building block for GTC´s success. And perhaps also one of the reasons why the GTC managed to attract several hundred employees within a short period of time.