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By Stefan Krauss

I do not want to miss the opportunity to give you my perspective and wrap up of the 2nd annual Best Practices in Automotive conference in Detroit. The 2016 edition of the Best Practices conference was larger and more exciting than last year. The attendance grew by 20% and sponsors were up 64% in 2016.

Highlights of the conference

The heart of the conference and track sessions included topics on IT, Finance, Manufacturing and Engineering, Supply Chain, Sales and Service and People.

Keynote presentations showed us the bigger picture and opportunities in automotive, namely the transformation of the industry to new and larger business. Compelling presentations by Dave Andrea from the Center for Automotive Research, Christoph Behrendt from SAP, Dr. Rene Deist from Bosch, and David Woessner from Local Motors kept us focused on that big picture. Mark Weatherford, formerly from Homeland Security in the United States and now with vArmour, put focus on cyber-security and Chris Valasek from UBER clearly described the vulnerability of connected vehicles by exposing how he took control, as a white hat/good guy, over a Jeep on several occasions.

One might imagine how much stress the necessary pace of change can create as well as the risk influencing the industry. However, Joe Burton from Whil Concepts explained how the automotive industry could help its employees to keep all this “stress” under control.

Two significant announcements

There were two announcements at the conference – announcements of significant value to the automotive industry. The first announcement was about the Capgemini and SAP relationship. On September 8th, both companies had announced the broadening of their strategic partnership with the launch of “Fast Digital 4 Discrete Industries by SAP and Capgemini,” a joint initiative to help clients in the discrete manufacturing industries to manage their digital transformation as they seek to maximize the potential of Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things and innovative manufacturing techniques.

The second and equally important announcement was about proaxia consulting group and SAP. proaxia consulting group, a longtime partner of SAP, announced the extension of its partnership with SAP in the automotive retail sector. The aim is to offer an innovative range of solutions, extensions and services of the SAP Dealer Business Management application to clients in the automotive retail sector.

Closing

In our closing panel, moderated by Larry Stolle, SAP, we concluded the event together with BP4Auto Platinum Sponsor Chris Teebe from Ernst and Young and Otto Schell from our host GM with thoughts and perspectives.

The closing question: “Should we do BP4Auto again next year?” was answered by participants with a resounding: “YES”!

We look forward to seeing you again next year in Detroit at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, September 18-20, 2017!

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