CIO seeks 'disruptive opportunities'

Michael Nilles believes Schindler Group's IoT-focused digital transformation will take the elevator maker to new heights.

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For nearly 150 years, Schindler Group has been moving people. The Lucerne, Switzerland-based company makes, supplies and services elevators, escalators and moving walkways. As it moves toward the future, Schindler is deploying smart equipment capable of sharing information with back-end systems and, among other things, sending alerts about maintenance needs to service personnel.

CIO Michael Nilles has been instrumental in spearheading efforts to develop smarter, more advanced systems and enable a more mobile and connected workforce. In addition to leading IT operations, he's also CEO of a new unit called Schindler Digital Business, which tackles innovative projects with emerging technologies to further the company's digital transformation. His work earned him the 2015 MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award, which recognizes CIOs who lead their organizations to deliver business value and use IT in innovative ways.

Why do you have two titles? Being CEO of the digital unit is really reflecting the next evolutionary step in our digitalization. It's our innovation unit within our corporation, and it helps us have a much more holistic view and to fast-forward our digitalization effort.

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