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March 12, 2014

BMW Preempts Problems with Predictive Analytics

Tiffany Trader

In another example of how organizations around the world are using big data and analytics to transform  their business, IBM revealed that luxury carmaker BMW Group is deploying IBM’s big data and analytics technology to address vulnerabilities early on in the production cycle. BMW is counting on the software to help it tackle some of the biggest challenges in the automotive industry: preventive maintenance, repairs and customer service.

With predictive analytics, BMW can identify potential issues in advance of new models being launched. BMW will use the platform to gather and analyze data across its global warranty, diagnostics, and repair units to optimize the design and production of new vehicles, according to the two companies. A process that used to take months can now be completed in days.

Being able to analyze multiple data sources enables the automotive maker to find patterns that will pinpoint potential flaws. With this insight, the company can get ahead of any repair issues, reducing the number of workshop visits and speeding up repair times.

As one example, using IBM’s SPSS predictive analytics software, BMW Group can now combine and analyze data from numerous prototype test runs, an average of 15,000 faults recorded by vehicles, and recent workshop reports. The insight gleaned through the analysis is channeled back into the operational processes. Errors are identified on the fly, enabling new models to be fixed before they reach series production. Correcting problems at an early stage reduces the need for expensive and time-consuming repairs later on.

BMW has also automated some 250 analytics applications, allowing more than 500 users at BMW to handle a range of queries and analyses on a self-service basis, according to IBM.

IBM is no stranger to the big data and analytics space, having invested $24 billion since 2005 in acquisitions and R&D to secure a leadership position. The tech titan has booked more than 30,000 analytics client engagements and projects $20 billion in business analytics and big data revenue by 2015.