The next innovation is following closely on the heels of the one before. If car IT is to keep pace with the accelerating appearance of new features in automobiles and digital mobility services, it must become more flexible. It must master car-integrated IT as well as the open ecosystems where the partners contribute major added value. The complexity involved in controlling all of the interconnected actors and digital scenarios represents a huge challenge. The following four key elements will become especially crucial for the success of R&D IT:
1. Future-proof IT architecture: a hybrid of in-vehicle, edge, and cloud computing
The automotive industry may have arrived in the digital age, but there is still vast untapped potential for use cases that IT could realize. The IT architecture is the foundation on which they can be built. While many car manufacturers are still focusing closely on in-vehicle information systems, we believe that the future IT architecture in the automotive sector will include both cloud and edge computing elements.
The challenge for the OEMs’ R&D IT will be to create a robust, yet flexible IT architecture that can serve as the basis for future application development and create integration points for external third-party developers.
2. Solid IT security concept: ensuring data integrity and defending against threats
Connected vehicles must operate in conjunction with external platforms and networks. Even the smallest security gap — whether in the car, in the transmission channel, or the platform — is a source of serious vulnerability.
Multi-layered IT security concepts, real-time monitoring strategies, and the security design of products must be driven forward by the joint efforts of car-makers and the ecosystem comprising security partners and network providers.
3. Open platform IT strategy: partnering for the best digital ecosystem
One major success factor during digital transformation is the radical design of products and services towards the satisfaction of customer needs. Unless they add meaningful value, even the best solutions from R&D IT will be irrelevant. It is therefore of utmost importance that a digital ecosystem system in, around, and even beyond the vehicle can be created to enhance customers and partners and secures their long-term loyalty. Following the philosophy “the best or nothing” this will be possible only by partnering with third parties who are the best in their field. The challenge for R&D IT is to shift its strategy from a closed to an open platform approach utilizing a modular IT service design.
4. Future organization of the IT department: management of disparate speeds
If it is to do justice to all of these demands, R&D IT must reflect the required flexibility in its own organizational structure as well. Depending on the need to integrate specific car IT solutions into traditional R&D activities, on the requirement for speed in the innovation process, on the dichotomy between new versus established skills, and on the necessity for partnering with external digital service providers, the setup should be either “fully integrated” or “fully separate” — or a sensible mix of these two extremes. Striking the right balance that drives the required opening on the one hand while, on the other hand, maintaining the integrity of car IT as a core element of the vehicle is an art in itself.
Detecon and T-Systems — consulting and implementation for digital transformation.
The combination of ICT management consulting from Detecon and the implementation and operations capabilities of T-Systems provides successful guidance for R&D IT during digital transformation