It’s an exciting time for the automotive industry. Shared ride service providers and driverless vehicle developers regularly make headlines, and more technology companies continue to enter the automotive space. These trends and others have already kick started disruption within the industry. How will existing automotive manufacturers and suppliers win in 2016 and beyond? My bets are on digital transformation. With the last 6 years of my career as a marketer for enterprise software solutions, seriously, who I am to wager such a bet?

Well, I have had the privilege to work for one of America’s great manufacturers, whose downfall has made headlines over the past decade. While many factors played into the downfall of this manufacturer, I witnessed firsthand how disparate outdated systems and applications negatively impact a company’s productivity, responsiveness, and bottom line. With automakers looking to increase the number of new product launches annually and reduce the launch time for new and resigned models, efficient processes and access to real-time information will be key.

According to IDC, 33% of all industry leaders will be disrupted by digitally-enabled competitors by 2018. The IT department does not have to be the bane of a company’s existence. Thanks to advancements in technology, a properly funded IT department with appropriate resources and executive support, can simplify and streamline core business processes, work with the different lines of business to enable value added work, and ultimately create competitive advantages.

So what is digital transformation? For automotive manufacturing organizations, this means re-imagining their businesses, starting with the digital core, continuing into the initial design and planning of their products, and extending up through manufacturing and an increasingly interconnected and networked extended supply chain.

To thrive in a climate of unprecedented innovation, businesses must re-imagine themselves as living systems, and how well equipped their employees are plays a significant role. Inefficient processes and outdated data force employees to focus on day-to-day operational tasks instead of meaningful and value-adding work. Central to successful digital transformation is a strong digital core, which seamlessly connects the real-time data and information necessary to automate and simplify business processes.

With accessible data and efficient processes, automotive manufacturing organizations can then sense, respond, learn, adapt and predict customer and supplier needs in the moment. Time and again, we have seen what people can accomplish when given the tools to succeed. Manufacturers that embrace and act on digital transformation will realize the untapped potential of their resources. These businesses will indeed “Run Live”.

Technology is rewriting the rules of the automotive industry. Get Value Creation in the Digital Automotive Network, and learn how you can reinvent automotive design, production, distribution and retail for a digital world. For additional information, visit the Automotive Digital Transformation Hub.

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