It’s been said that BMW is as much an automaker as it is an engineering company or a tech firm. This week, BMW announced a comprehensive strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services with the goal of accelerating innovation by placing data and data analytics at the foundation of its decision making. According to BMW, the two industry-leading companies will combine their core competencies to develop cloud-based information technology and software solutions aimed at increasing performance, efficiency, and sustainability across all corporate process, stretching from vehicle conception and development to after-sales support and beyond.
Alexander Buresch, CIO and Senior Vice President, BMW Group IT, said, “The BMW Group is driving digitalization and innovation in the automotive industry,” adding that “We are making data central to the way we work and we look forward to collaborating with AWS to merge our talents, continuing to raise the bar for innovation among automakers, and delivering exciting new experiences for our customers around the world.”
The broad-based effort will see data migrated from business divisions and units across the globe including sales, manufacturing, maintenance, development, and much more with the intent of increasing decision-making agility and giving everyone from individual technicians to executive brass new perspective and insight. It’s expected to create an opportunity for the training of up to 5,000 software engineers between the two firms, with expertise in the latest AWS technologies and processes to allow the BMW Group to make the most efficacious use of its troves of data.
According to Matt Garman, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Amazon Web Services, Inc., “AWS provides the most comprehensive suite of cloud offerings to enable automakers to build applications that touch every point in the customer journey. By combining the domain expertise of the BMW Group with AWS’s demonstrated leadership in the cloud, we’re expanding our impact across the automotive industry so that stakeholders, from parts manufacturers to mechanics, can benefit from greater visibility and insights.”
BMW is joining the likes of other automakers and automotive industry firms such as the Volkswagen Group, Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Yamaha, Scania, Continental, Uber, Lyft, Turo, Edmunds, The Avis Budget Group, Aisin, the Toyota Research Institute, and many others. A core component of BMW’s efforts will be the development of the so-called Cloud Data Hub for the entire BMW Group, which will touch nearly every modern business function, in hopes of unifying the full picture illustrated by data as explained above.
The BMW Group’s global decentralized manufacturing and supply network is also set to benefit, as it already relies on the PartChain (based on blockchain) platform, which uses Amazon Web Services to, “enhance the traceability of automotive parts and critical raw materials.” More specifically, PartChain is aimed at linking specific parts and vehicles to assist in defect investigations, while also validating sustainable sources for raw materials. BMW’s use of AWS will also allow the automaker “to analyze vehicle data to predict the operating characteristics of parts, proactively make maintenance recommendations, and inform parts suppliers about potential problems in their manufacturing processes, thus improving quality.”
In 2019, the BMW Group partnered with Microsoft to launch the Open Manufacturing Platform.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]