‘Future of automotive industry lies in customer experience’ – Accenture

By Anuj Sharma - March 4, 2019
Globally, there are four megatrends which are revolutionising the automotive industry viz. electrification, autonomous driving, connectivity, and the shared economy. And Accenture believes that future....

Over the past few years, the automotive industry has undergone profound changes, caused majorly by advancements in technologies, digital transformation services and disruptive business models. In today’s rapidly changing age, the idea of successful business inevitably incorporates sound customer experience. According to a top executive from Accenture, OEMs and after-sales service market players need to redefine the very notion of customer experience or risk being replaced by digital disruptors and become potentially obsolete.

Today’s auto customers are channel-agnostic. When it comes to service, customer expectations are shaped by their experiences as customers of other, digitally disrupted industries. To help OEMs offer a better customer experience, Accenture is helping OEMs build a customer journey that blends offline and online experience in a seamless way, allowing them to deliver a more engaging customer experience at the dealer and leveraging more active customer data-driven online options.

While talking to XiteTech, Ashish Pandey, Managing Director for Automotive, Industrial Equipment and Travel, Accenture India, said, ‘This includes taking advantage of new technologies such as Immersive Reality (AR VR), Digital Assistant, Connected Car with Automated Service Reception, Connected Test Drive in order to improve the customer experience in sales and service. We are helping automotive companies in bringing this experience at the best-in-class level.’

Accenture is helping automotive companies transform in three key areas – agility to compete, customer-centricity and new business models. By becoming agile, automotive players will be able to compete and drive new efficiencies in their core business models. By transforming traditional distribution models, they can establish direct, personalised relationships with customers.

‘We are helping them not only to build and drive the digital customer and digital enterprise agenda but also build new business models (such as Product-as-a-Service) to disrupt the market,’ Pandey said.

But, with the increased penetration of mobility-as-a-service, Accenture believes that private vehicles in future will eventually account for a smaller share of kilometres driven worldwide, as a growing number of users tend to opt for car-sharing and ride-hailing services. Accenture research shows that by 2030, revenues from manufacturing and selling vehicles, which is currently estimated at €2 trillion, will be only marginally higher than they’re today, and that profits from car sales will even shrink slightly – from approximately €126 billion to €122 billion.

By contrast, revenues from mobility services are projected to soar to almost €1.2 trillion – with profits reaching as much as €220 billion.

‘And to successfully play in this new world of passenger economy, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) will have to adopt new business models that enable them to strengthen their existing capabilities around designing and manufacturing cars and build new capabilities around ideating, testing and rolling out mobility and digital services. Working with strategic partners, including competitors, whose strengths complement their own will be essential. This is the only way OEMs can restrict the reallocation of the profit pool of the industry to other mobility service providers,’ Pandey said.

Today, consumers in the automotive sector are increasingly looking for newer connected experiences. They expect meaningful, personalised treatment when they visit an OEM’s website or a physical dealership. They are keen on using cars that will enable them to access car status, history, service estimates, scheduling and control using smartphones.

And with the push towards higher emission norms, the number of sensors in today’s cars or even commercial vehicles is increasing, which means OEMs will have access to a huge amount of data to develop a ‘new product’ – vehicles and subsystems will need to be rebuilt in the new autonomous, electric and connected world.

Using advanced analytics tools, OEMs can mine this data and generate insights to build better products by improving fuel efficiency and engine performance, driver comfort, passenger ergonomics and more.

Take, for instance, car entertainment, by collecting data about a driver’s preferences, OEMs can predict and suggest personalised media for the driver’s consumption. Or using the GPS data personalised suggestions about restaurants, fuel pumps, shopping places and others can be delivered to the customer.

Edge computing in and around the vehicle will create new flows of data and information to enrich artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. The Internet of Thinking will give drivers continuously enhanced experiences – from traffic jam-free journeys to smart vehicle charging and even the opportunity to allow others (for a fee) to seamlessly share their vehicles.

Further, testing Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) today generates between 4TB and 6TB of data per day, with some producing as much as 8 – 10TB depending on the number of mounted devices and their resolution. In comparison, a typical individual’s video, chat and other internet usage average about 650 MB per day. This means, on the lower end, the data generated from one test car in one day is roughly equivalent to that of nearly 6,200 internet users. If not sufficiently considered, technical decisions associated with storing such high volumes of data of differing formats, sizes and characteristics can halt a project.

Accenture has partnered with companies such as Mighty AI that have deep expertise in understanding and addressing these data management challenges. Through such partnerships, Accenture brings its broad set of skills and capabilities to help companies think through data strategy, collection, storage and usage.

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