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Becoming an automotive company of the future with cloud

Thomas De Vita

From manufacture to marketing, financing to services, and every level in between, the automotive industry is changing at a dramatic pace. Many of these shifts are being driven by car makers themselves, others have been forced upon them by external factors such as the pandemic or the semiconductor shortage. Regardless of their source, as the way cars are manufactured and sold changes, the industry at large needs to transform its IT infrastructure accordingly to take full advantage of these new opportunities.

Now is the time for the automotive industry to double down on its cloud investments to accelerate development, support new business cases, and drive innovation across the value chain. Failure to do so will leave car makers in the dust of their cloud-driven competition.

Supporting the shift to services

Until recently, the automotive industry has been entirely product-centric. Now, the car is just one part of a larger mobility ecosystem, the relationship between car dealers and the customer has changed, and services and experiences have become a new and evolving revenue stream.

But this move to services has not been faultless. To start, automotive businesses need to take a more global view of their business and its systems. A simple example would be that traditionally, they have had multiple CRMs for multiple major markets – one for North America and one for Europe, for instance. And while this may have made sense previously, when the likelihood of someone from the EU buying a car from the USA was slim, it is irrelevant in the services model.

Today, there’s hardly any reason to separate connected services by region, in the day of in-car purchase or car tracking, having multiple integrations with multiple CRMs is inefficient and difficult to maintain. A move to a cloud-based SaaS solution would enable auto organizations to globalize, integrate and optimize these systems – allowing services to reach its full potential as a viable, lucrative revenue stream.

Service is a globalized business, car manufacturers will have to rethink many other IT services like this to make their digitalization efficient

Enabling connected global manufacturing

When a manufacturer releases a new car, they’ll usually post videos showing the assembly line. And as anyone who has ever watched such a video will know, it’s all highly robotized and automated.

For these automated systems to work as designed, car manufacturers need to be able to perform predictive maintenance and track every element. Failure at even one point can and will impact output and the bottom line.

Each factory is therefore awash with millions of IoT devices and sensors. With multiple factories around the world, many of which need to be interconnected, it’s clear that manufacturers cannot function without full analytics and a global data management platform.

This is simply not something that can be easily achieved on premises. Luckily, cloud providers have already produced several capabilities and services that could provide a solution.

There’s also a desire within the industry for a diversified manufacturing footprint. While automotive manufacturing has historically relied on China, Germany and a few other key nations, the pandemic highlighted how easily these supply chains can be disrupted. As businesses seek to put their eggs in more baskets, they’ll need a broader deployment of connected industry. Again, this can only be achieved through the cloud and their uniform worldwide coverage.

Powering the future connected car

Right now, your car probably connects to your smartphone. In the future, that will just be the start – in addition to connecting to each other, autonomous cars will also need to connect to smart city devices such as traffic lights, the road itself, or to public charging points for hybrid and electric cars, this is what we call “V2X” (Vehicle to Everything)

For global car manufacturers, these capabilities need to work the same way whether you’re in Paris, Hong Kong, or the US. We’re talking highly integrated, highly connected services with worldwide coverage, but also capable of working in low latency. Although that model means Edge, Fog, 5G, and connected elements, it all boils down to large amounts of data being managed and decentralized. If that’s not something manufacturers gather for themselves, they will need to leverage third-party capabilities for data management and processing in the cloud.

Moving to digital automotive

If the automotive industry is to take on these challenges and grasp these opportunities, they’ll need a partner that can help them at every step of the journey. There are the technical aspects of course, such as developing applications, IoT engineering, transforming the estate to public cloud, or supporting on Edge and Fog capabilities. But there are also strategic elements for development and investment, alongside marketing and communication.

Capgemini can act as a single partner to the automotive industry, providing both technical and strategic consultation all around the value chain to accelerate their digital car journey.

To find out how Capgemini can help guide you through this important process contact our team today.