The auto industry is changing and requires a new way of doing business. With new technologies come new products and services, as well as new types of competitors. Daimler AG, a German-based global automotive enterprise recognized the pace at which technology was changing the industry and sought to meet the challenge with a new way of thinking.

The company—one of the world’s biggest producers of premium cars and manufacturer of commercial vehicles—is undergoing a business transformation in which it will also provide mobility services. Daimler TSS, the wholly owned IT arm of the company, was tasked with developing software solutions that would allow Daimler to develop the next-generation applications for its new mobility as a service function.

Meeting Future Demand, Today

Although it’s an established business, Daimler was entering new territory. Its IT arm, Daimler TSS, created IDIVE, a showcase platform designed to help the company understand future demands of its customers, as well as which SAP technologies can help solve those problems.

Marco Sailer, member of the executive board, SAP digital business at Daimler TSS GMBH says it was easy to develop a strategy after first taking a deep dive into understanding what kinds of business questions might need to be solved now and which SAP technologies can best address those, and then also looking to what might need to be addressed in the future. “IDIVE is just a platform for future mobility and we’ve included the latest technologies from SAP including SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Leonardo, and SAP Digital Boardroom.”

Sailer and his colleagues, Sven Haerle and Nina Reich, worked to make IDIVE an interactive application that allowed Daimler business users to manage a virtual future mobility service. “Daimler is currently undergoing a big conversion,” Reich added. “We’re going from just building cars to offering so much more to our customers, and so the business strategy has changed, and our purpose is to drive innovation to enable that change.”

Data Drives Mobility

With IDIVE, Daimler TSS aimed to bring value to the end customer by providing its business users better insights for its car and bike sharing service. The application contains various types of data including vehicle positions, intelligent forecasting of future demands, as well as public data such as pollution levels. It even takes into consideration analysis of social media and public sentiment.

“We started by using historical data collected in London and brought it into Stuttgart, which is our headquarters and where we now have renter stations set up,” Reich said. They applied this data to machine learning algorithms and used it to predict where the demand will be in the future.

“So, depending on weather, time of day or season, and whether there is an event happening, coupled with historical data” Reich said, “our business users can know where to strategically place bikes and cars.” By applying advanced analytics to unique data elements, Daimler TSS set its business users to drive the future of the business.

The Mechanics of IDIVE

The platform is meant to provide visibility, as well as the ability to interact either collaboratively, or individually with intelligent analytics. SAP Analytics Cloud visibility into all the data created and gathered. Daimler employees can use IDIVE to see the data either on a desktop or smart device. SAP Digital Boardroom allows business users to interact with that data on large screens throughout the office.

The IDIVE platform uses machine learning applications to predict the short-term and long-term future demand of vehicles, while SAP Leonardo and SAP HANA deliver predictive analytics. Users can drill down to see the data, such as battery charge for a single vehicle.

“It was quite easy to get everyone trained on how to use this,” Sailer said. “SAP Analytics Cloud is easy to understand and use, and if we had any issues, we could just get in touch with the SAP development team and they offered a quick solution.”

Building Bridges to Roads Unknown

Moving to a data-driven enterprise culture is a big shift for any company, but it could be especially challenging for a company that’s also shifting its business model. “It’s important for Daimler to get closer to its end customer, the car buyer,” Haerle said. “Our goal is to deliver the best data to the business departments so that all of them have what they need to meet their customer needs.”

Haerle adds, “We no longer want to be an IT department that only delivers data. We want to understand the data, understand the business needs, and offer better consulting services to the business departments so that they can meet their objectives.”

Ultimately, IDIVE has helped Daimler expand its business and become a mobility as a service provider. “We did not have to invest much time to make IDIVE happen,” Reich says. “It looks nice and is easy to use, but what our business users like the most is its content and how it works with SAP Cloud Analytics. It’s self-serve and that’s key.”

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear about trends in the industry from other automotive SAP customers at our virtual experience ASUG Best Practices: SAP for Industries in September 2020.