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Drive into the Future with Digital Transformation in the Automotive Industry by Holger Masser

Technology has finally caught up with the ideas and needs of the automotive industry – providing a foundation for new business models. Readily available vehicle and customer data creates new insights and services for automotive manufacturers and suppliers to use internally or extend to customers. With all this data, and the ability to interpret and put it to use more quickly, we can open additional revenue streams and strengthen customer engagement for automotive companies.

Full disclosure: The ideas coming to fruition in this transformation are not new – some date back 20 years! What is new is the “idea-enabling” technology and how the technology allows businesses to transform by breaking the limitations of the past.

The major factor in this transformation? The Internet of Things (IoT), which advances how companies handle, analyze, and create insight from Big Data. The IoT is a new business enabler, which gives companies faster and more reliable views on areas that need focus, so they can drive business forward and differentiate themselves in the market.

Let’s examine some of gains that are possible across LOBs thanks to the digital transformation:

  • Manufacturing enhancements:
    • RFID-enabled sensors on containers and products
    • Quality management
    • Automated and predictive asset maintenance and optimization
    • Aggregated performance information
    • Fleet logistics operations monitoring
  • Supply chain enhancements:
    • Warehouse management and location insights
    • Real-time supply chain visibility
    • RFID-enabled sensors on containers and products
  • Marketing, sales, and service enhancements:
    • Warranty management
    • Parking reservation
    • Connected fueling and convenience
    • Location- and action-based services; pay as, how, and where you drive
    • Automated vehicle performance and failure reporting
    • Automated traffic routing and congestion avoidance
    • Wearable devices for service
    • Fleet asset monitoring
    • Commercial asset performance optimization

But how much is too much?

All the enhancements mentioned above are borne out of data – more data that can be analyzed faster to make smarter decisions and ultimately improve the health of businesses. This data is both a blessing and a curse. With a plethora of data from disparate sources, companies are creating unparalleled insight to run more simply.

But there’s a chasm between data collection and data analysis – one that requires a plan and expertise behind it. Otherwise, you’ll be faced with analysis paralysis. Your decision makers should know exactly what role each piece of data plays and how it fits into the overall plan for the business.

Case in point: the connected vehicle

A connected vehicle – whether it be a car, a forklift, a motorbike, a commercial fleet, or agricultural equipment – is no longer just a middle man. The vehicle has intrinsic value unto itself, and can sense and gather more data than any operator. It also enables new business models by providing data back to designers, engineers, manufacturers, and suppliers.

SAP HANA Cloud Platform provides a platform for handling the data gathered by any connected vehicle. By delivering the technology and the application foundation with SAP software as a starting point, our customers can build applications and services on top of it.

Ultimately, this technology-driven transformation is creating a services and quality ecosystem between manufacturers, suppliers, partners, and connected consumers. We can integrate connected products, claims, and quality data in one networked platform.

Now that new technology has helped us realize so many long-standing ideas, it’s time to move toward the horizon again and focus on even greater, long-reaching innovation.

Learn how to digitally transform your automotive business at the Best Practices for Automotive on October 12-14, 2015 in Detroit, Mi. Download the conference brochure now.

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