Volvo Financial Services (VFS) provides a full range of financing options for the Volvo Group’s trucks, construction equipment, buses, and marine equipment in 44 countries across EMEA, APAC and the Americas. Volvo Financial Services strives to be competitive in the market environment, the first option the customer chooses, and the reason why they buy the Volvo Group’s products. 

Capriza: You’ve been driving transformational change in global operations and business processes in various industries for decades. What is it about today’s business environment that makes your role more challenging?

Adrian Samareanu: What is different today than in year’s past, is speed. It’s a very fast-paced business environment, driven by enterprise technology solutions. We’ve been moving into a lot of process improvement and digital transformation, such as mobile applications and embracing smart technology to make them applicable to the way we operate and provide products and services. For all of us it is a tough ask at the moment, do we have to continue to build our existing revenue streams in our traditional way or have a different mindset and find new ways to create the revenue streams of the future. I’m driving the digital innovation for a captive finance company in the commercial vehicles industry, which has a tremendous potential to establish new business models and disruptive services.

C: How are you approaching digital transformation?

AS: Digital transformation it is not just implementing new technology. It’s about building a smart eco-system, a new level of collaboration engaging with our employees, with start-ups, vendors, suppliers and customers. We see things changing around mobility, from shift in customer expectations to vehicle connectivity and the emergence of autonomous vehicles. And the auto finance industry is very much challenged these days so it is imperative to look for sources of value creation.

There isn’t a silver bullet that is right for everything when it comes to digital. What is important is to have a coherent strategy that incorporates digital. And that comes with the way resources are allocated, new way of working and how priorities are made. At VFS we continue to reduce complexity and modernize legacy to strengthen our core systems. At the same time, as innovation is a focal point than ever before we have created a new plug-and-play environment on top of the legacy. We work with partners in brand new areas. Look at our partnership with Capriza, we enabled digital processes and tools for specific business capabilities. We make processes simple for users and customers. It’s all about speed, efficiency and customer value. 

C: How do you structure your team to balance the support of core business with deploying the latest innovation?

AS: We support our core business, and at the same time experiment new solutions to produce products which are competitive and can be disruptive. By doing that, I don’t want to disrupt ourselves. So we separated the work force that is addressing the new technologies with clear goals on what needs to be delivered. They are the ones that are incubating and using new digital technologies, and they do the proof of concepts. We call this small innovation teams of open-minded individuals, “Ninjas”, to use rapid execution, apply the technology fast, for rapid deployment of say a mobile app for instance, and address specific needs to a specific customer or a workforce member. Once that is validated it is delivered to another team which is putting it into the production environment for large scale implementation.

C: How do keep the pace up among your entire team?

AS: I believe in agile, small cross-functional teams that are successful at applying technology fast and able to unlock the value of information to innovate business models, products, and services. Those who are doing prototyping have no more than 3 months to come up with a proof of concept. That is how we did it with Capriza. The Ninjas deployed a new framework and a new way of working as a separate business unit, but some of the Ninjas moved back into the c