For the current issue of eMove360° magazine, Sabine Metzger talked to Nataliya Shvaykovska about her work as Director of Digital Transformation Europe at Aiways, what drives her, what she loves about her job, and the biggest challenges in connectivity and UX design at Aiways.
eMove360°: How do you become a Director of Digital Transformation? Briefly outline your career path. How did you get into IT and specifically the automotive industry?
Nataliya Shvaykovska: It’s actually quite easy to answer. I brought the needed skills at the right stage of the company Aiways. I have worked in traditional IT at a technical and management level in the telecom and FMCG industries; I gained expertise in digital in the media industry and worked in a publishing house, there as an editor of a glossy magazine. But I’ve had the connection to the automotive industry since childhood – my father headed the research and development department of an automotive company, so I was a passenger in many car models as a child. I was already reading books on management practices and product development back then, dreaming of production. The economically weak period for the auto industry in the 1990s in Ukraine changed my career path and brought me to IT. But you see, the paths are coming together again. I ended up as the head of IT at the Overseas Representation of a Chinese automotive brand.
eMove360°: Why did you decide to join Aiways? What do you want to move? How exactly can you imagine the work of a Director of Digital Transformation?
Shvaykovska: I chose Aiways to showcase my management skills in a multicultural environment that also deals with product-related issues. But I also chose the team. I experience freedom and support here – new beginnings and many new things. The car as a product is constantly undergoing new adaptations, e.g. connectivity and new drive types are putting long familiar routines and fundamental perceptions to the test. I’m fascinated by the times we live in and the changes we’re driving. But it has to be said: the customer is always the key. This also, and above all, affects my daily work as head of the department. We have to change, in the mindset, in the processes of the industry, and change to today’s pace and mindset. Especially to the trends that are occupying the automotive industry and that come from other, much more flexible technology areas.
eMove360°: What’s the best thing about your job? What do you love about your job?
Shvaykovska: Very clear and simple answer: The exciting product I’m involved with.
eMove360°: Can you tell us about a trend that is currently shaping the field in which you work?
Shvaykovska: The car has evolved into a software-driven product designed to deliver a superior user experience. Ironically, the lean approach that emerged in the automotive industry influenced and inspired software development practices, which in turn impacted the industry. Meanwhile, software development processes and strategies are challenging the automotive industry and changing the game. We are working hard on this as a team.
eMove360°: Electromobility and digitalization are closely linked. What is the biggest challenge in connectivity and UX design at Aiways, and how are you implementing it?
Shvaykovska: The length of a product cycle in automotive and digital product development is very different. Digital products are evolving at breakneck speed, with updates hitting the market almost every month, and new – in some cases – artificial intelligences emerging. We have to take both into account and transform the so-called “old world” into a new one. As a new player in the automotive market, we are doing things more easily because we don’t have so many familiar and well-worn processes, because we were able to plan on a greenfield basis, as it were, and can therefore keep up the pace. We don’t have a long automotive history; our company has only been around for six years. One of our biggest challenges is actually the amount of data we have to process.
eMove360°: Why are there so few women in the technology industry? What is the situation like in your team and in general at Aiways? Where do you see the benefits and opportunities in having more women working in the industry?
Shvaykovska (laughs): Sometimes I wish we women could delegate having children, maybe something like with paternity leave. But seriously, we need to encourage our daughters to also learn technical professions, to study digital, to always support them to enter what was – until the previous generation – a male domain. At Aiways in IT, we currently have an equally distributed team. Together with me, three women and three men. But we continue to hire. Here, however, we don’t primarily look at gender or fair distribution. The best person gets the job. For example, almost half of all department heads at Aiways Europe are female. And since we also have many female customers, we need to have a female perspective on our products and operations; that’s the advantage and opportunity for the industry.
eMove360°: Are there people who have encouraged you along the way? Female role models?
Shvaykovska: No celebrities, but my friends, my family. I’ve always been surrounded by incredibly great people who have led by example and reminded me of who I really am once I’ve lost myself or gotten stuck.
eMove360°: How can you motivate more young women to choose a career in IT? Do you have any advice for young women who are currently still in the decision-making process?
Shvaykovska: Do what you enjoy, then you will be good at what you do. Have no worries, hardly any fears and look inquisitively into the world. There are no limits for you. Motivation is always the best driving force and of course the visible success when something works.
eMove360°: How do you think mobility will change in the next few years? What will it look like in ten years?
Shvaykovska: You can’t predict that exactly yet, but the trend is clear: It will become more and more connected, it will become more autonomous in parts, and we will drive or be driven in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way. People will – hopefully – be more mindful and that will also have an impact on mobility. But one thing will be certain. We will become more and more digital in road traffic as well. Countless mobility offers and service providers will be developed and make mobility safer and better. I am firmly convinced of this and am working on it myself.