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Outsourcing is not a new concept, but in times of large digital transformations and where technical talent and resources are scares, companies are factually forced to extend their in-house information technology capacities and even expertise via co-operations with external technology partners outside of their home markets. Often the conversation is around the question Where? such partners can be found, but actually this is not a question of priority. More important are factors like knowledge, expertise, experiences and conditions. And when putting the question after the location in the background, the view widens instantly.

An example of how less the country or the physical location of technology partners actually matters for the results is the recent co-operation between BMW Group and two IT development companies in Tunisia, because Tunisia would perhaps not have been a very obvious choice for possible locations for the development of a small but critical software component for the new BMW e-SUV’s.

We have had the chance to talk to Dr. Andreas Bootz from BMW who initiated a cooperation with the external IT partners in Tunisia.

Dr. Bootz, could you give us a quick introduction to the cooperation with the local companies and the type of projects you’ve been initiating with the Tunisian IT development partners?

Together with our own driving dynamics and IT development department and two Tunisian partners, we started in March 2020 to develop a digital tyre diagnosis solution, which has been available to our customers in the new i4 and iX as part of the My BMW app for several days. So it was about a real digital “product fore customer”.

Picture: BMW i4 at IAA 2021, Author: Alexander Migl via Wikipedia https:// vioo has several hundred demanding

I took from our conversation, that it was not entirely a decision of profit orientation to look for IT development partners specifically in Tunisia. I think this is very interesting. Could you elaborate a little on the way this project was initiated?

The impulse for us came from a joint initiative with the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt and the focus was initially on sustainability. Sustainability is not just a trend for us and we work with our responsibility for societies and a sustainable development in mind.

In our concrete example it also means that we open up new supplier markets. This was the reason for our engagement in Tunisia. But, we have also pushed this commitment after our observation that Tunisia is a supplier market with many qualified IT engineers and therefore saw it as an opportunity for our company.

From your perspective as product developer, how did you experience the co-operation and which aspects stood out for you?

We started off with a very positive introduction, where our intitial expectations have been exceeded. The already existing and established supplier relationships between French and Tunisian companies are a good foundation for professional cooperation for many suppliers. For example some companies have met the required standards for data security in advance. And the development processes also achieve high standards. In addition, the language barrier was also lower than expected.

Apart from that, it was also important for us that our suppliers meet the same environmental and social standards by which we measure ourselves.

As expected with new suppliers, the Tunisian partners also had a first challenge in qualifying for our internal processes. In addition, a supplier must be able to manage a project independently and develop solutions. In this context, it is helpful if a project manager of the supplier already has experience in Germany. Besides these operational and management skills we were also looking for a specific technical skill set tat included artificial intelligence, data science and data analytics to app development, cloud computing and cloud services.

Think-IT one of the Tunisian project partners sais about itself on its LinkedIn page: “Founded in 2017, Think-it is home to a high-performing and diverse team of changemakers in Germany, Tunisia, and around the world — including 8+ nationalities
and 40% women. We are enthusiastically committed to inclusivity and ethical technology in our collective, partner teams, and mission-aligned investor networks.”

Weivoo, the other tech partner for the project comes with 22 years of business expereinces, … “Wevioo employs more than 300 talents and business experts. Present in Paris, Dubai, Tunis, Algiers and Abidjan, Wevioo has several hunred demanding projects in more than 30 countries in Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East. As a committed partner, Wevioo provides its customers with digital innovation solutions perfectly adapted to their challenges of agility, performance and international development.”

You can read the full article in the Outsourcing Destination Guide Tunisia, which is available for free download at www.outsourcing-destinations.org

About the Author: Dr.-Ing. Andreas Bootz serves BMW since 2003 and has held several managing positions in product development and project management. Currently he is responsible for the integration of eletronic systems on the field of driving dynamics.

Since 2018 he voluntary supports the team of tech216 in building up business relationships between European and Tunisian companies.

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