How to Conquer Digital Disruption: Best Practices for Automotive 2017 Conference Takeaways

The third annual Best Practices for Automotive conference brought together hundreds of industry professionals and SAP users to learn how to improve business performance in today’s digital and connected enterprise. Over the course of three days, attendees heard case studies and thought leadership on how to succeed over disruptive trends like workforce dynamics, autonomous technologies, IoT and connected cars, big data, increasing consumer demands, and more.

The conference opened with a CIO panel setting the tone for the event with one question: are you the disruptor or the disrupted? CIO’s from leading automotive companies tackled questions on innovation, big data and the shared economy.

Data emerged as one of the top enablers to conquer digital transformation. The key is to filter the overflow of data generated from customers back into your company and utilize it to make informed decisions. Karma Automotive’s CIO, Mikael Elley, said data is helping them shape, measure, and meet their goal of 100% customer service satisfaction.

Adopting to new workforce dynamics and attracting tech-savvy talent was also illustrated as a key differentiator for automotive companies to succeed. Jaguar Land Rover’s HR Director of Manufacturing provided insights into how they transformed their HR model to respond to the evolving digital environment. Powered by cloud technology, Jaguar Land Rover is now operating on a flexible and efficient HR model that embraces employees as customers.

To adjust to change, automotive companies need a foundation of scalable technology and partnerships with key innovators. SAP’s Strategic Business Lead of SAP Digital Platform Services for Automotive, Chet Harter, journeyed through customer examples of how technology helped reduce manufacturing costs, improve responsiveness to customers, and operate more effectively and efficiently.

“The underlying technological foundation provides the ability to experiment and create entirely new, potentially disruptive business processes,” Harter wrote in his conference wrap-up article.

This theme continued with keynote Kenny Hawk, CEO of Mojio a platform for deploying secure connected car services. By partnering with leading technology companies, Mojio is pioneering automotive connectivity and IoT. From using an app to find and reserve a parking spot (SAP’s vehicle network) to providing drivers with WiFi and roadside features (TMobile Sync-Up Drive), Mojio is an example of a true disruptor in the industry and their strategic partnerships prove to be their differentiating factor.

Embracing integrated, standardized platforms enable automotive companies to be set up for growth and agility. Caterpillar’s Building Construction Products Operational Technology Leader discussed their live factory project which created a digital thread from the customer through to the supply network. GM shared their case study on establishing a common “eSAP” platform to drive greater efficiency globally and prepare for the digitalized economy. Automating operations and business process was an essential theme presented at the conference.

How does the greater community prepare for this dynamic shift in the automotive industry? Jennifer Sanders, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Dallas Innovation Alliance, focused on the pivotal role of mobility in “smart cities” and the effects connected cities will have on automotive. Dallas is the 19th ranked smart city in the world and is preparing for driverless vehicles by innovating street, parking, and mass-transit designs to adjust to the new rules of the road. Here’s what this means for automakers:

The Best Practices for Automotive conference showcased cutting-edge solutions and strategies to the challenges the industry is facing today. Don’t miss out on next year’s event as we head back to Detroit, Michigan, September 11-13!

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