The Record - Issue 17: Summer 2020

89  AUTOMOT I V E “Despite the challenges during the early stages of the pandemic, we were inspired by the automakers that stepped up to show leadership and navigate the crisis” V I EWPO I NT B reakthrough technologies are driving transformation in the automotive indus- try at a record pace. These innovations are disrupting industry fundamentals, changing the current value chain, and will radically alter how we view transportation in the future. However, in the midst of this transformation, a global pandemic has caused unprecedented business disruption, halting vehicle production, stalling vehicle sales and forcing millions of staff to work remotely. On the road to recovery, automakers are nav- igating a new landscape. What Microsoft calls tech intensity – building and mastering one’s own digital capabilities to innovate past disrup- tion – is now even more critical. Businesses need to focus on three primary strategies to help them deal with the current challenging environment: • Navigating the now • Planning for the comeback • Shaping the new normal. Despite the challenges during the early stages of the pandemic, we were inspired by the auto- makers that stepped up to show leadership and navigate the crisis. They shut down vehicle production for the safety of their workers and in many cases reconfigured their production lines and supply chains to manufacture and deliver critical supplies to frontline responders. One especially exciting example is the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium. A group of companies - including Ford, Rolls-Royce, sev- eral UK-based Formula 1 teams, and Microsoft – came together to produce ventilators for the National Health Service. The speed of this pro- ject was unprecedented, with the consortium producing 10 years’ worth of ventilators in almost as many weeks. Navigating the now To navigate the now, automakers’ most pressing needs are to maintain business continuity and keep their operations running remotely. With global employees being separated due to work- from-home requirements, companies are turn- ing to Microsoft Teams to support the transition to remote work. For example, tyre manufacturer Goodyear has successfully transitioned 25,000 associates to remote work in just days, with a 410 per cent increase in Teams meetings. Meanwhile, Microsoft High Performance Computing solutions are enabling engineers to use very demanding software fromhome, access- ing powerful remote workstations in Azure using a standard laptop and internet connection. Complex design work and high-performing sim- ulation capacity can perform irrespective of the local device’s compute power, since all the com- putation and graphical rendering are processed Innovating through disruption With the Covid-19 pandemic creating unprecedented disruption to the automotive industry, automakers are embracing new solutions to navigate the crisis S AN J AY RAV I : M I C ROSOF T