Winning on the digital test track is about partnerships
One of the great truisms in the automotive industry is that you can’t compete unless you have in place the same basics as everyone else.
However, in the digital era, the basics are entirely new – and almost no-one has them in place. Everyone is at the same disadvantage, at least. But there’s no time to lose in laying digital foundations for eventual differentiation. A critical cornerstone is cyber security. It directly affects your ability to bring a connected or self-driving car to market. Without a connected car, you can’t get into the race for the future. But, you’ve never had the need to handle cyber security and, therefore, don’t have the skills.
For the same reason, chances are that you don’t have the ability to handle the data generated by connected vehicles and all the ‘Things’ they will interact with in the Internet of Things. Or, the ability to parlay that data into a delightful customer experience.
No need to wait and see
Because cyber security, data handling, and customer experience (CX) are all new frontiers for automotive, there are as yet very limited regulatory frameworks for holding and managing data in ways that will keep vehicle owners and occupants safe from cyber criminals.
This doesn’t mean, however, that keeping them safe is impossible – or that manufacturers should not start implementing relevant solutions. After all, the financial services industry is very successfully handling the data security for rather more people who hold accounts than the number of people who will ever own or drive vehicles.
Creating secure connected cars requires thought and the expertise of an organisation like NTT whose global amalgam of cyber security specialisations is unmatched.
The same principle applies to the handling of data. There is no need for manufacturers to build new data centres and acquire additional IT skills to try and cope with the vast volumes of data about to overwhelm them. Besides, data handling goes beyond mere capture, storage, and analysis. It has to lead to a commercially useful outcome. Like delighting the customer.
Specialise in partnerships
Again, there is no need for manufacturers to acquire CX skills. Yes, they must understand the principles – and help design the strategy. But they don’t have to spend time, effort, and money on execution.
There are global CX leaders into whose knowledge and resources automotive can tap – on a pay per use, opex basis. Why reinvent the wheel when you can easily and quickly differentiate yourself by simply having the top capabilities within your ecosystem?
In all the exhilaration of digital transformation, we tend to lose sight of digital’s own truism: It is the ultimate collaboration tool. Because of digital’s infinite potential and extreme elasticity, no single organisation can possibly harness all the permutations needed for its own sustainability.
Partnerships and ecosystems, underpinned by an advanced and continuously evolving global platform, are the easiest and most affordable way to become digitally sustainable.
The automotive industry is good at ecosystems. It’s time to build new ones.
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