April 22, 2020 By Brett Hillhouse 3 min read

We live in an age of constant technological change. And automotive engineers build some of the most complex assets on the planet. Yet no matter how the overall product complexity increases, organizations must still deliver these assets on time and on schedule. This is on top of meeting ever-growing customer expectations and managing through disruptions.

Why digital transformation for product development is a must

Nowhere is the complexity of technology more evident than the automotive industry. Under the best of circumstances, engineering a vehicle is challenging. Engineering them with an ever-growing list of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) is exponentially more difficult. Consider the various compliance standards: safety (ISO 26262), cybersecurity (ISO 21434), process and quality (ASPICE), and even emergent standards for AI such as SOTIF.

These standards, along with global competition and our current worldwide disruptions, create an industry ripe for a modern-day approach to engineering lifecycle management (ELM). By connecting assets, engineering and supply chain operations, you gain oversight across the product lifecycle. Because this industry requires digital traceability to succeed. It is the key to enabling an organization to react quickly to changing market needs, while still delivering speed to market, with the safest products possible, and do it all at scale.

According to a recent IDC Analyst ConnectionHow to Fuel the Digital Engine Driving Product Development, “Successfully developing increasingly complex products that integrate hardware and software is almost impossible to do without the benefits from digital transformation. Digital transformation not only helps streamline the development of hardware and software systems but also provides a foundation for effective automation of selective tasks across the engineering life cycle.”

Leveraging advanced technologies to assist engineers

As you begin your digital transformation, you can find great benefits in utilizing the power of advanced technologies. One key to success is the use of AI and machine learning. According to IDC, “Requirements are becoming increasingly complex as we move toward software-intensive product development. In that context, we see ML, AI, and intelligent analytics playing key roles in enabling organizations to benefit from the knowledge of more experienced engineers and also to provide visibility into metrics.”  In engineering environments, where development teams, partners and supplier ecosystems are dispersed, this can help you address the most common basic issue of communicating requirements and design intent.

Another common breakage point in the product development process is at the nexus of automotive complexity: where systems, software and electrical engineering intersect. For this, you need repeatable best practices, tool guidance, and automated workflows that support world-class processes with support for ASPICE, ISO26262, and others. With these approaches, you naturally solve many of the issues with which engineering organizations struggle.

How can IBM help your organization?

IBM works with companies like Visteon and Mercedes-Benz to transform their engineering organizations. IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management enables you to more fully digitize the engineering process, infuse AI into the process, and uniquely integrate product data into your development processes so you can deploy new capabilities at enterprise scale.

To being transforming your own product development, read the full IDC Analyst Connection. Or explore more about systems engineering at enterprise scale.

Manage disruption and transform your business with intelligence, insights and industry expertise

IBM possesses the essential combination of software, services, and industry expertise to build intelligent workflows that respond to rapidly changing conditions. Wherever you are in your digital journey, we will partner with you to deliver the AI-powered insights and consultative services required for more resilient engineering operations. If you’re ready to learn more, we invite you to speak with one of our industry experts.


About the author: Mr. Hillhouse is the Global Automotive Leader for IBM. His responsibility includes industry and technology strategy, as well as customer success for automotive companies around the world. His 25+ years of industry experience include transformation engagements at global automotive and aerospace OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. The scope of these engagements includes transformation of product development, reuse strategy and implementation, industry compliance and AI applications. Previously, Mr. Hillhouse has held several industry and leadership positions at IBM and Siemens (formerly SDRC). Mr. Hillhouse holds a BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University.

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