Mediator between two worlds
She gets role models moving and keeps IT running. Since graduating in Business Information Technology, Kim Fuchs has been working as a service delivery manager at Migros. Through her Bachelor’s dissertation and her day-to-day work, she shows how organisations can attract more women into IT.
Kim Fuchs loves people and computers. And the 25-year-old is surrounded by them day in, day out. She also loves horses – but more on that later. Kim Fuchs completed her Bachelor’s degree in Business Information Technology at the School of Management and Law in 2020. Since then, she has been working as a service delivery manager in Group IT at the Federation of Migros Cooperatives.
Her role involves ensuring that different Migros departments have the IT applications that they need and that these are running stably. The 25-year-old business IT specialist is in constant contact with the in-house customers who use the IT services. And, as product owner, she creates the framework conditions that her colleagues in the IT Logistics team, and also the application developers and application managers, require for their work. She takes up the needs of in-house customers, sounds out the available options in the team, reconciles the requirements and makes sure that the assignment is clear and that the targets can be achieved.
“I appreciate being able to work in IT. It’s a highly varied job”, says Fuchs. She works with a range of Migros employees, from logistics specialists through to top managers. Every day is different, Fuchs explains. She also has frequent dealings with suppliers, since she is in charge of procuring external IT services for Group IT. People are always very much at the centre of her work, she stresses. “I’m certainly no computer nerd”, she explains with a laugh. An internship she completed at a bank after finishing commercial high school introduced her to the world of e-banking and IT security, and she rapidly became hooked. She soon started looking into studying business information technology at ZHAW.
To begin with, she was hesitant and not sure whether she should really enrol in the business information technology programme. For a brief moment she wondered “Am I really up to it?” but then decided to give it a try anyway. “Fortunately”, she adds today. Fuchs has not regretted her decision for a single second and started working in IT at Migros in the recreational facilities department even while she was still studying.
She took up her current post as a service delivery manager in Group IT three years later. The post had just been newly created and, with her experience as a student trainee at Migros, she had just the right tools for the job. “By working while I was still studying, I was able to combine theory and practice in the ideal manner”, she says. “When we were completing the IT project management module during my studies, I was straightaway given an IT project to take on at my workplace. That was fantastic and I’m very grateful to my boss at the time for giving me the opportunity.”
“As service delivery manager, I act as a link between the IT world and the business world in the organisation.”
Precisely this knowledge and experience of project management is what Fuchs is able to put to good use today. “As service delivery manager, I act as a link between the IT world and the business world in the organisation”. She has thus acquired a great deal of knowledge about both worlds. “I not only need to but also want to understand the business processes employed in my organisation and its industry so that my team and I can make sure we are implementing the IT services we provide in an appropriate manner and making the right IT solutions available.”
This comprehensive perspective is especially important in logistics, which is Migros’ actual core business. If complications arise in the IT system for shop deliveries, for example, Kim Fuchs and her team have no time to engage in lengthy clarifications. The team is required to supervise the system continuously and must be capable of reacting quickly.
The fact women are still the exception in the IT field (she is the only woman in her six-person IT Logistics team) does not bother her in her day-to-day life. But it is nonetheless a cause of concern to her. “Diversity is something that greatly interests me and it’s an issue that evidently moves people too”, says Fuchs. She wrote her Bachelor thesis on women in IT. Lecturer Katja Kurz had announced the topic and it immediately appealed to Kim Fuchs. “It’s a huge topic and I had no alternative but to narrow it down and concentrate on a specific area. That’s why I focused exclusively on IT business management”, Fuchs explains.
She looked into the attitudes of IT business management regarding women in IT. After conducting various interviews with managerial staff from this area, she came to the conclusion that they were fundamentally very receptive to the topic. “Everyone thinks it’s important”, says Fuchs. Despite this, the proportion of women in IT is still very low. In Group IT at the Federation of Migros Cooperatives, 22 percent of employees are women. In the IT sector all over Switzerland, the figure is about 15 percent.
“Diversity is something that greatly interests me and it’s an issue that evidently moves people too.”
In a bid to bring about a change, Fuchs drew up a set of guidelines in her Bachelor thesis with the aim of helping IT departments within an organisation achieve greater diversity in terms of gender. And the guidelines can doubtless be applied to other areas of an organisation too. “While my first priority was naturally to achieve a good mark for my studies with my thesis, I was also determined to learn something and, at the same time, create added value for the world of work, or at least for my organisation”, Fuchs explains. She is absolutely delighted that this has worked out.
Migros has taken up the results of the Bachelor thesis and the relevant teams are in contact with Fuchs. She was able to present her thesis at an in-house event on the subject, and Martin Wechsler, Chief Information Officer at Migros, supplemented her presentation with the latest information on the current endeavours and projects at Group IT in this respect.
The Migros Cooperative has been moving forward in matters of diversity for a number of years now. In 2019, it set up its Diversity & Inclusion office. “I find it hugely important for people to talk about this subject. And also for each and every one of us to think about it and determine their own attitude to it. My Bachelor thesis naturally helped me a great deal in this respect”, says Fuchs.
She remains committed to raising people’s awareness within Migros. A workshop for managerial staff was recently held in Group IT with the aim of making employees in management posts more aware of the subject of gender diversity and highlighting the “unconscious bias” with which we all view the world.
At this workshop, Kim Fuchs moderated a group engaged in drawing up measures for more gender diversity. “It’s great and particularly important for Group IT to be dealing with this subject so intensively”, says Fuchs. After all, those using the IT services are highly diverse as well. Yet this diversity is not reflected on the “supplier side” of the IT services in any way. It would be a major advantage if user diversity were better reflected by IT, since this would make it possible to offer services that meet everyone’s requirements.
“With my Bachelor thesis, I also wanted to create added value for the world of work.”
But why is it that there are still so few women in IT? “On the one hand, I think that many women still lack the confidence to take up technical professions”, says Fuchs. “And, on the other hand, many women are simply unaware of just how varied IT is.” Information technology entails far more than just programming and providing support. It also involves managing processes, communication and working with people. “IT ought to be presented in all its different facets, so that women, in particular, can appreciate the great options that exist in this field.”
Migros has planned a further measure to this end. It is organising a “Female Tech Event” this summer and Kim Fuchs is also involved in it. “We want to inspire women to pursue careers in IT and encourage them to immerse themselves in this world”, she says.
Kim Fuchs has found her way in business information technology and, as service delivery manager, has taken on a responsible and exciting post at a young age. “My advice to other young women is to do what they enjoy.” I wish we women were more self-confident and had more faith in ourselves. I also think we should mutually support one another whenever possible.”
As to Kim Fuchs’ third love – that of horses: Despite all her enthusiasm for her work and computers, she also values her free time, which she mainly spends outdoors in nature. As an active show jumper and the daughter of successful show jumpers, she is frequently to be found in the saddle. Her 80-percent post at Migros makes this possible. “This places completely different demands on me than my duties at work. I’m on the move, in contact with my horse and in the fresh air. It’s the perfect counterbalance to work.”