Digital cars need digital automakers

How do automakers cope with the “digitalisation” that is pervasive across industries?

Reality check

Automakers of 2024 are faced with daunting tasks of manufacturing cars that are way efficient than the past, safer than ever before and feature wise laden with convenience as seen in e.g. a mobile phone or a smart watch. Consumers of today expect their cars to excel in both the digital and physical realms and the automakers need to address that at multiple phases of the vehicle lifecycle including conceptualisation, planning, production, sale, and post sales.

It is an extremely complex task for an industry that was so heavily dependent on core engineering excellence. No wonder, the role of the automakers is changing with a shift to a digital first organisation. Automakers must be able to handle mammoth volume of digital data, will require the secure employment of cutting-edge software and data, at scale and with speed, across its entire landscape. It requires an enterprise-level adoption of hybrid cloud.

Areas of transformation

In-spite of the increasing demands, the use of hybrid cloud has not been optimised in the industry leaving significant opportunity for improvement and course-correction. Working with automotive clients globally, we have come across multiple areas which needs a transformation leveraging and transitioning to a hybrid cloud. Here are highlighted 3 key areas where clients face significant challenges. Addressing the challenges require a pragmatic and value-driven approach, aiming for transformational business outcomes instead of short-term gains.

1.     Connected cars and software defined vehicles (SDV)

2.     Connected manufacturing

3.     Direct to consumer


Vehicle evolution over the past decade has seen the growth in terms of connectivity, digital features, and software differentiation leading to a customer expectation towards mobility that fits the personal lifestyle of a customer. Additionally using a combination of edge and cloud computing to harness operational and business data to gain more value from improved processes and insights has been a desired outcome for quite some time.  However, multiple challenges faced by automaker hinders large scale adoption of the connected solutions available. From managing multiple disparate systems across enterprise, scalability, privacy, to vast divide between information technology and operations technology, handing volumes of data but few analytical insights, to a lack of standardization and integration woes.




The automotive sales process is also going through a major reinvention – moving away from the legacy franchised sales model towards direct and agency sales, need for diversifying the revenue streams and partnering with adjacent industries. However, disjointed customer experience to slow, uneven access to customer data, car manufacturers have their digital work cut out for them.

Cloud can help

With robust infrastructure, hybrid data processing capabilities, faster access to data and providing abilities to created automated workflows, cloud can provide an agile foundation for the automakers to build upon key enterprise capabilities. A hybrid cloud is thus an essential imperative for the automakers to future-proof the digital disruption.

Learn more

Refer to the IBM Institute for Business Value for more insights on this topic and download the Whitepaper by Ryan Coates, Gavin Sermon, Wendy Bauer, Noriko Suzuki, Russell Gowers and Sascha Dieh.


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