GM's IT Overhaul to Pay Massive Dividends

Technology > IT

Photo by: C_osett via Flickr

 

General Motors began a gigantic overhaul in the way they handle their IT solutions and outsourcing.  The process began in 2012 and has since resulted in 10,000 new employees, 1,000 percent more data, and 10 times more productivity.  Call it a digital transformation of a company that for years had outsourced important sectors that have now been brought back in-house with a move that is thus far proving to be successful.

According to Randy Mott, GM's global chief information officer, an IT veteran, and mathematician who joined GM specifically to head the implementation of the changes, the numbers add up to a positive start with the first stage of the plan.  Mott is now focusing on unearthing the full potential of his creation with GM.  He’s looking to help position the automaker to be a leader in connected and autonomous vehicles and further its bottom line.  

According to Autonews.com, Mott said, "In pretty much every respect, the transformation is complete...Now we've been really focusing on, how do we drive innovation?"

The projects put into action by Mott range from streamlining brand and dealership websites as well as creating complex tools for manufacturing and supply chain logistics that already have saved the automaker perhaps billions of dollars, while also adding many timesaving tools.  GM now says it knows the exact profitability of every vehicle that rolls off an assembly line, which has been a huge boost for the company.  

The carmaker is using an internal cloud system called Galileo, which improves business and IT operations.  The system uses four innovation centers and two data warehouses.  They automaker now handles triple the number of projects that it previously did, commissioning them simultaneously while completing them in half the time.

Former CEO Dan Akerson, who brought Mott into the fold for this endeavor, says, "IT is core, I think, to GM's revival, and I think it will be core to their success in the future." He further explained "We did map out a five-year plan, and I'm pleased to hear that much of it has taken form. We knew what we wanted to get to, and it's been achieved in large measure."

The new IT system is allowing GM’s current CEO Mary Barra who took over for Akerson in 2014, to make faster and more informed choices compared to previous leaders. Mott says, "The reality is, we're an enabler... That's our job. I think we've done that, but I think we can do it even more and better."

Mott said that at the moment, over 80 percent of GM's IT employees are developing tools and finding ways to be more efficient, rather than just "run the business."  This is a virtual 360-degree turn from 2012 which saw 90 percent of operations being outsourced to 35 agreements with outside companies and the automaker had only about 1,400 IT employees of its own.

Mott and GM have turned things around with the company's IT ability, and they are not done yet.