Competing and disrupting with analytics in Automotive


SAS recently held the Detroit Automotive Analytics Executive Forum to bring together leaders from the Industry.Shift into high gear with analytics We heard from an experienced group of leaders on the future of the automotive industry, best practices for analytics success, innovative retail analytics, customer experience analytics, the connected vehicle, and competing on analytics.

Following are my top six take-aways from the day that I hope you can use too:

Analytics as a disruptor

Deloitte’s Mark Gardner discussed the “Big Shift” and highlighted the significant growth in emerging markets through 2020. Combine that with hyper-urbanization and generational differences and we’re going to see significant shifts indeed.

The future is now, as the automotive eco-system is already seeing disruption. Look no further than Uber and the rash of moves by automakers to drive urban mobility and connectivity options. Can you imagine a business model where miles driven could be the prevailing metric versus units sold?

The digital exhaust from connected and autonomous vehicles is emitting data that can be tracked, measured, and new dynamic analytics will enable machine insights that are understood, trusted, actioned – and in fact lead to disruption in the industry.

Dealerships can benefit from the Internet of Things too

In a session on Connected Analytics for Automotive Retail, we heard a case study example of an innovative way to leverage location, Wi-Fi, video and social to gain insights on shopper behavior in the dealership with analytics from Scott Bergquist, Director of Analytics from Cisco. Attendees left with unique thoughts about how best to consider enabling their dealerships from store design, inventory management, driving real-time optimal offers with clients in store, online or in future interactions across channels.

These innovative approaches require pervasive data access and optimized analytics for real-time connected solutions for the Internet of Everything - an area Cisco sees $7.3 trillion of value in the next 10 years for Analytics alone (out of a total of $19 trillion in value).

Alignment, talent and focus are key for Analytics to succeed

Three leaders shared insights during a thought-provoking panel session. Tracy Hewitt, from GM, shared insights gleaned from their work on the global connected customer experience – including how ROI isn’t just about chasing a metric per se, but about ensuring how key strategic priorities are met in the business. When discussing the importance of Voice of Customer Analytics to transform how Ford looks at quality and product design, Stacy Balzer shared the importance of selecting the right data at project launch in order to ensure adoption and delivering value in phases. At Bridgestone, Keith Moody shared lessons regarding ROI – and his bold move to guarantee return – and the criticality of a culture of analytics.

We heard a great deal about the importance of talent to drive success, educating stakeholders as the impact of analytics to gain alignment, and data quality’s key role in ensuring the analytics were successful.Autommakers compete through analytics

Customer experience and a commitment to analytics – a recipe for success

Pat McFarland shared insights to the importance of customer analytics broadly at Ford – ranging from segmentation, market demand, marketing optimization, intelligent customer interactions and sales analytics. We learned how customers can be viewed as individuals, segments and markets.

As we listened to the strategic investment Ford has made in empowering a Chief Data and Analytics Officer and their plans to serve key business functions (Customer Analytics, Risk, Product Development / Manufacturing, Smart Mobility and Corporate Finance, HR and Purchasing), one could easily see how Ford is well positioned to succeed in the long-term.

Analytics will play an important role in the connected car ecosystem

McKinsey provided insights gleaned from their recent research, Connected Car, automotive value chain unbound. Paolo Sandrone highlighted the importance of the connected ecosystem. Driven by over 2.5 billion people with internet access and 1.2 billion in cars per day, the overall market for the connected vehicle could reach $230 billion by 2020.

The opportunities to improve customers’ experience and engagement will be key to increasing loyalty – supported by connectivity use cases (in-car content & services, vehicle relationship management, insurance and driving assistance) that will create new business models down the road. Finally, the importance of cyber couldn’t have been more critical, given their findings that 54% of consumers are afraid of hacking and 37% are concerned about privacy.

Lessons from a company that is truly competing on analytics

Analytics has been around in many forms, as Tom Schneider so elegantly shared in his opening comments, but competing on analytics is much rarer. For Ford Credit – who committed to analytics at executive level over 10 years ago – the relationship with its customers is a virtuous cycle from financing their vehicle, to on-going positive customer experiences resulting in improved retention for Ford.

We learned of the journey in delivering predictive, prescriptive, behavioral and influential analytics – enabled by hiring smart minds with analytical skills and teaching them the business. Last but not least, we learned that analytics without operational execution has limited value.

Getting started

We are proud to enable an “ecosystem” for analytics, made up of thought-leading clients, partners, and the largest talent pool for advanced analytics in the market.

Are you looking to drive analytics to improve your business? If so, join us October 27th-29th at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for The Premier Business Leadership Series. The event offers a keynote address from Alan Mulally, former President and CEO of Ford Motor Company, presentations from leaders across industries and lots of networking opportunities. Or head over to our Contact Us page and request a personal consultation.


About Author

Norm Marks

Director, Automotive & Manufacturing

Norm heads up the Automotive Industry team at SAS, leading SAS' strategy, sales and go-to-market efforts to help our Automotive clients make better business decisions. He has held various senior leadership positions in the industry and uses his experience to drive value for his clients.

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