The automotive sector seeks flexibility in the cloud

In recent years, the automotive sector has had to deal with a combination of many different factors. For one thing, disruptions to supply chains – and not just semiconductors, but a number of other components – have become a new reality. Added to this are rising energy prices, changing customer needs and, finally, the growing importance of new car categories. All of this is driving companies to look for opportunities to increase efficiency and greater business flexibility. Does cloud computing meet their needs? We talk about it among others with Mariusz Siwek, commercial director at Infor.

  • – Cloud platforms connecting business partners through shared processes and shared data can help provide enhanced detection and response capabilities, which significantly reduces risk – says Mariusz Siwek, director of sales at Infor, in a interview with WNP.PL.
  • – The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly helped companies to become aware of weaknesses in the supply chain or the difficulties associated with ensuring data security in dispersed teams – adds our interlocutor.
  • Infor provides custom cloud solutions for many industries.

If you had to name the two most important trends changing the automotive industry, would it be?

– The idea of ​​sustainable development and the concept of CASE cars. It is an abbreviation of the English words Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electrified, meaning connected to the network, autonomous, shared and electrified.

Why these two areas?

– In my opinion, they have had a huge impact on the transformations we are witnessing in the automotive industry. Currently, they imply other changes, as a result of which car manufacturers, as well as their suppliers, partners and OEMs, have to take into account a number of completely new factors.

Which ones exactly?

– For example, the emphasis placed on the adaptation of industry to the principles of the said sustainable development. Others include greater fuel economy or its replacement with alternatives, ecology and zero-emission and low-emission cars, and finally safety issues related to the use of new energy sources. For example – while striving for innovation, which is now associated with electric vehicles, manufacturers have learned many difficult lessons in fire safety.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that, contrary to popular belief, electric vehicles are not the panacea to all the ills of the industry caused by problems such as the sustainable closed cycle in the industry or carbon neutrality. . Unfortunately, too many people forget that electric cars, despite many indisputable advantages, pose a number of significant challenges for manufacturers, but also for the environment. And I’m not talking about the unsatisfactory autonomy or the problems of access to chargers, so much raised by the detractors of automotive electrification.

If there is no range and no electrical infrastructure, then what?

– High energy consumption for their production. Environmental damage caused by critical rare earth mining. In the future, and not far away, there is the problem of a large number of batteries filled with chemicals which will require specialist disposal. Finally, there is also a growing demand for electricity, which in many countries is still mainly based on fossil fuels. To address these and other issues, regulators as well as automakers and users cannot focus solely on exhaust emissions from tailpipes. This, of course, is a very important point, but along with it, the above factors must be taken into account.

It is also worth remembering the changing needs of motorists. In the case of traditional combustion and hybrid models, branded audio systems, heated seats, parking camera and crash sensors – assimilated to the premium class a few years ago – are now available as standard in the middle class. As an option, you can have them in compact or city cars. Contrary to what it may seem, all of this means huge changes for the industry, requiring an unprecedented level of adaptive agility in business and equally effective technological solutions. In the latter case, digital transformation and the cloud-based “revolution” fell from the sky on manufacturers. Cloud-based solutions are quick and easy to implement. They provide the necessary levels of flexibility and scalability, whether introducing new car models to the market, changing the company’s business model, modernizing operational processes or entering into new partnerships.

Cloud in the automotive industry

The cloud as the answer to all the ills of the automotive industry?

Cloud-based platforms connecting trading partners through shared processes and shared data can help provide enhanced detection and response capabilities, significantly reducing risk. This is where their strength lies. For example, modern commerce platforms’ supply chain planning tools can help manufacturers monitor inventory, delivery times, shipping routes, and the impact of delivery delays on sales. A thorough knowledge of these areas will help you better prepare, find alternative solutions and match customer expectations with reality. As a result, you react faster and more effectively to potential problems.

Read also: Creating artificial intelligence is a socially responsible process

Knowledge of the data is necessary to fully understand the changes taking place in the organization or their financial consequences. Many entities are now entering completely new territory where they cannot rely on previous strategies, old plans or existing tools. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital platforms will therefore play an increasingly important role, as new challenges can only be met with the help of advanced and modern solutions.

What sets Infor apart is the use of these technologies in a number of solutions tailored to the needs of specific industries. What does the “model” automotive cloud system look like?

– The core of such a solution should be a very flexible platform that unites all internal processes. The ERP solution based on it must cover the key areas in such a way that you can react quickly to changes. Companies are facing increasing challenges, so they have to respond much faster and more efficiently by focusing on the business. The solution must also operate on the basis of a reliable infrastructure.

Infor’s partner is Amazon Web Services, a global public cloud provider. Its resources form the heart of the cloud technology platform on which we build our software. This is important because technologies related to data analysis or the use of artificial intelligence only become economical and useful when resources are shared in a sufficiently efficient environment. This means that IT infrastructure requirements can be a challenge even for today’s large enterprises. The cloud democratizes access to top-notch IT and at the same time allows you to easily introduce new regulations and meet all compliances.

Interest of Polish entrepreneurs

The question arises – what do Polish companies say? What interest is there in cloud solutions?

– The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly helped companies become aware of supply chain weaknesses or difficulties in securing data in distributed teams. On the other hand, the challenges to be met made it possible to get used to the new tools offered in the cloud. I think almost everyone realizes that despite a whole host of fears, there is no escaping certain solutions. Our partner, S&T Polska, commissioned research that shows that more than half of respondents from manufacturing companies have accelerated the implementation or are preparing to implement cloud technologies following the outbreak of the pandemic. 42 percent In turn, he admitted that it was the pandemic that made them decide to implement cloud solutions.

What is the implementation of cloud platforms in the automotive industry? Is it a much more complicated process than with on-premises solutions?

– Once it is established that all sorts of concerns can be quickly addressed with specific obligations on the part of the provider, such as a guarantee of availability or data security, the very process of implementation, even of solutions as complex as ERP systems, is relatively easy. As the software is available in the cloud, it is possible to quickly adapt ready-to-use industrial models that we have developed over many years of cooperation with our customers, who are leaders in their sectors. This allows you to significantly speed up the process of implementing the system, but also the introduction of innovations in the company. The SaaS software that we offer makes it possible to “reconfigure” the solutions – we provide the customer with a complete digital platform. This means offering several or a dozen different highly integrated systems that holistically support business operations.

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