Bird's eye view of runners on road with different coloured arrows and markings.

Agility as an automobile maxim


May 08 2019 Hermann Hänle

Emil Jellinek is seen as the prototype of the awkward customer for whom a car can never be good enough: it has to be faster and have more horsepower. Today’s automobile users demand much the same – but they are inspired by the era of the fast app. Without agile methods, the car-makers of today cannot be successful.

In April 1900, Jellinek and the Daimler Motor Company (DMG) took the decision to develop a new engine. A good eight months later, the car-maker supplied the first 35-h.p. racing car (which meant that a good deal more had to be done than “only” developing a new engine). This was well over 100 years ago. In those days no-one talked of agility. Probably Wilhelm Maybach’s team worked round the clock to produce the completely new automobile. Thanks to innovation, it was a massive success, by the way.

A variety of requirements create a demanding market environment

Even today, innovation is still one of the central leitmotifs of the automotive sector. Changed consumer behavior, a desire for lightness and luxury, in other words a good customer experience, set today’s yardstick for success. There are also rules that are leading to a revolution in the automotive sector. The first European countries have already decided to banish cars with internal combustion engines from their roads as from 2030. Demands from all sides. Plus increased competition, in which users can choose from some 80 brands with a larger or smaller product range. More than 60 new models are expected in 2019 in the German market alone.

As a component of success, agility means profound changes

Agility means not only using digital tools or methods like the cloud or DevOps – even if they create the basis for agile working. Agility means above all thinking “outside the box” and different departments working together in an integrated way. IT and IT managers are thus becoming part of all business processes, not as service providers, but as “team members.” Processes and cultures that produce an agile DNS will only thrive together if silos or domains disappear. Only agile team play creates the opportunity to take on end-to-end responsibility for areas of responsibility. Flexibility arises through independent teams working in parallel on many “building sites.” As designed by modern IT, the individual products are put together like micro-services to create one overall construction/product.

Of course, agility does not end at (virtual) company borders. In an era where interdisciplinary work across company borders is becoming more common, it is also necessary to create the conditions (also known as platforms) for partners to be able to contribute to agile development. This can be organized via product lifecycle management, for example, which combines different functions and components (such as CAE and CAD). Ideally this comes from the cloud: partners access a shared up-to-date data inventory and use the same services. A clear advantage in terms of efficiency and organization

IT suppliers must go down the agile route

Car-makers have no exclusive rights to make this digital journey. Instead, digitalization is a shared journey that every sector has to book today. The agility gained in the process is something that will help companies to score in the coming decade. The IT sector itself is no exception. All major IT service providers will have to rethink, discover and map agility, and make it a part of their activities so as to stay on the same wavelength as their customers.

At the Daimler EDM CAE Forum we will demonstrate our solutions to support agile collaboration. Why don’t you drop by?

About the author
Porträt von Hermann Hänle, Senior Manager, Sales Marketing Automotive, T-Systems

Hermann Hänle

Senior Manager Sales Marketing Automotive, T-Systems International

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