RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • The automotive industry is in the midst of epic disruption. The Covid-19 pandemic is complicating—and accelerating—the changes that are needed now.
  • Five trends revealed in Accenture’s Technology Vision 2020 have enormous implications for the future of the automotive industry.
  • They point to a new path forward—one that is built on new models of engagement at the intersection of people and technology.
  • These trends also support six key imperatives that automotive companies must get right to succeed in an industry disrupted.


Five technology trends that are changing the automotive game

Accenture’s Technology Vision 2020 confirmed that five trends are enabling automotive companies to rethink the experiences that exist at the intersection of people and technology.

The “I” in experience

Co-creating auto-related experiences with customers will become an adventure in itself.

AI and me

Complementing the abilities of entire teams with AI will create better experiences throughout the car-owning lifecycle.

The dilemma of smart things

New features and seamless, over-the-air technology upgrades will go far to eliminate customer frustrations.

Robots in the wild

Having robots interact with employees and customers will push intelligence from the digital world into the physical one.

Innovation DNA

An innovation capability built around new partnerships and informed by new uses of emerging technologies will set auto leaders apart.

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When automotive companies put people at the center of their technology models, they will do more than meet expectations. They will set the new standard that every competitor will strive to meet.

Roadblock ahead

The way automotive companies have created customer experiences in the past are now becoming roadblocks. Their legacy operating models, organizational structures and IT architectures aren’t geared to scale innovations quickly. These obstacles will soon hamper automotive companies’ ability to keep up with consumer’s needs and expectations.

Complicating the matter even more is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had an unprecedented impact on the industry.

As companies work their way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, cash is king once again. Cost optimization is essential, as is rebooting sales.

84%

of automotive execs believe their organizations need to elevate relationships with customers as partners.

77%

of automotive organizations are already employing AI.

63%

of auto industry executives expect their organizations will use robotics in uncontrolled environments within the next 2 years.

71%

of automotive executives believe that the stakes for innovation have never been higher. Getting it right will require new ways of innovating with an extended ecosystem of partners.

6 imperatives

Companies that cling to their old IT models, architectures and governing structures will soon find themselves in a deadlock—investing in technological advances that consumers no longer want or, at a minimum, are less likely to accept with no questions asked. To resolve this pending "tech-clash," automotive companies need to bridge the gap between old technology models and people’s current expectations.

We believe there are six imperatives on which auto companies should focus to rebuild their operations in the short term and grow in the years ahead.

  1. Cost Transformation
    All OEMs are under pressure to significantly cut legacy costs to invest in their respective CASE-enabled futures. Technology-enabled approaches can help them identify new opportunities to remove waste. Using advanced analytics to identify opportunities to simplify vehicle configurations is one example.
  2. New Reality Sales & Marketing
    Some companies have moved to digital channels and "contactless" sales. But data-driven interactions and personalization across the buying journey are still limited. Using emerging technologies to share data, build an omni-channel presence, digitize after-sales functions and tailor buying experiences are some things auto companies can do to align their sales and marketing with consumer expectations.
  3. Core Mobility Transformation
    The core IT landscape in any OEM typically has considerable inertia and a significant amount of technical debt. Leading companies will position their IT infrastructure as a strategic asset by, for example, moving to the cloud, creating a modular IT infrastructure to accommodate AI and robotics, and build edge computing capabilities to make better use of the volumes of data at their disposal.
  4. Data Driven Mobility Enterprise
    Technology is at the heart of the new experiences that the automotive industry offers whether those experiences take place in the vehicle, in a physical or online showroom, or in a dealer’s service/repair center. Data sharing and data analytics are the essential building blocks needed to not only understand customers’ needs and preferences, but also create the platform companies that distinguish themselves via a host of connected products and services. Car data and customer data will be tightly linked.
  5. Mobility Services & Connected
    Automobiles are increasingly powerful mobile IoT devices that not only sense their surroundings, but also share data, download software, and communicate with other devices. This opens up a world of possibilities in terms of new features, consumer experiences and business models. Innovation DNA, powered by a culture of experimentation, will be key. So will a deep understanding of consumers’ preferences and appetite for connected services.
  6. Engineering & Embedded Software
    Automotive OEMs are transitioning from hardware-designed vehicles to hardware AND software-defined vehicles. This requires evolving their vehicle architectures from a collection of control units to a standard operating system, from which connected services, drive train electrification, automations, subscription services and more will be managed. A key feature of software-defined vehicles will be simple and seamless software updateability and upgradability.

Driving forward

In the automotive industry, virtually every business assumption and entrenched approach is up for review and reinvention toward people-centric models. This reimagination of the enterprise offers tremendous opportunity to those that take the lead. Those that successfully rebuild their technology models to place people at the center will do more than meet expectations. They will set the new standard that every competitor will strive to meet.



About the Authors

Kevin Eversmann

Managing Director – Automotive, Technology Consulting


Kanak Choudhury

Managing Director – Global Technology Lead Automotive


Brian Irwin

Managing Director – North America Automotive Lead


Gabriel Seiberth

Managing Director – Digital Automotive, Industry X and Innovation

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