Point of View

Building collaborative partnerships is key to success in the automotive industry

April 17, 2020

The automotive sector is as complex as it is competitive, dominated by giant companies trying to wrestle market share away from their competitors. One way that leading brands are differentiating is by embedding more technologies into vehicles to bring new features to customers. One major player in the space—known for safety and security at the core of its products—wanted to embed telematics technologies into its cars alongside a suite of services that would support customers in a range of situations, most notably when they have an accident.

 

Crucially, leaders at the automotive firm recognize that telematics data and services is an area ripe for disruption. Thin profits and outdated subscription-based business models led the team to investigate options with leading technology firms with a simple brief: help us meet our brand promise of safety and security in the most innovative way possible.

 

Enter Bosch Service Solutions, which, with decades of experience in the automotive space, was able to package deep domain expertise alongside an experienced bench of IT and contact center professionals. It also provided the global scale required by its client, which had the ambitious initial roadmap to implement the solution in all its vehicles across all of the markets it served. A bonus was that Bosch offered flexible pricing for its telematics services. In the industry, it is conventional to offer telematics services to end-customers on a subscription basis. However, as the automotive firm wanted to offer its customers telemetry services as standard, Bosch developed an innovative fixed-cost model.

 

“We selected Bosch because of their deep domain experience, advanced IT skills, and call center capabilities.”

—Business leader, major automotive firm

 

According to Bosch and its client’s leadership team, theirs was the first partnership to develop and test Bosch’s eCall solution, a suite of solutions integrating telematics technologies in the vehicle with other services. In an accident, the system alerts one of Bosch’s contact centers to provide the necessary support to the driver; this feature, according to the project team, isn’t always initially valued by customers, but it certainly is if an incident occurs. Candidly, executives from the automotive firm advised, “Most customers don’t realize we’ve embedded eCall into their vehicle until they have an accident—but certainly value it when they need it. And it often leads to them ordering a new vehicle from us.”

 

The automotive leadership team articulated the importance of building a real collaborative partnership with Bosch to the overall success of the project. Uncharacteristically for partnerships in the automotive market, it has been working with Bosch for over a decade, and it has rolled out eCall in 53 countries, leveraging eCall’s 18 supported languages. A vital characteristic Bosch was able to bring to such a large and lengthy engagement was scale and, paradoxically, an almost start-up level of agility. According to the client, its customers expect the automaker to be the first in the market with any critical innovation. This led to some interesting tests of the partnership when, for example, a nation changed its regulatory environment for telematics devices in cars just a few weeks before a planned rollout. Bosch and its client were able to evolve the solution to meet the new regulations without delay. The automotive leadership team highlighted this as a real strength of Bosch and a major factor in the success of the partnership; “We simply have to be the first to market with innovation like this—and Bosch was able to bring the scale and agility necessary to do this.”

 

“The one thing that stood out for us is their people—they love their jobs!”

—Business leader, major automotive firm

 

Of course, an engagement like this always boils down to one thing: the quality of the people on the team. According to the automotive leadership team, the people that Bosch was able to bring to the engagement really made the difference—they were highly motivated and engaged, and they helped drive the ambitious partnership forward. At the time, the client was one of the first to implement the Bosch solution, but, eventually, more firms in the market leveraged the now tried-and tested-model, which is a testament to the partnership’s commitment to innovation in the space. The client executive leading the engagement noted, “We did a lot of trial and error across our telematics solutions, but in the end, eCall is an unrivaled solution—with a strong roadmap ahead.”

 

As the partnership evolves, Bosch and its clients plan to expand into other areas. The core solution sits with accident response and recovery, but in some markets, the value is extended to customers through a high-touch concierge service—a weapon in the arsenal of automotive firms looking to attract clients in a competitive market, and, in the case of the company in this report, a highly-valued addition helping it cater to premium customers.

 

The Bottom Line: Finding a partner with the talent, technology, and approach to solve a major industry challenge is hard—so automotive leaders must find and keep the partners that are right for them.

 

By the client’s own admission, building such a long-term and successful partnership in the automotive space is rare, which makes it vital for leaders in the space to find real partners that have the talent, expertise, and capability to solve real industry challenges. The success of this engagement with Bosch in the words of their clients is simple: “The technology is right, the business model is right, and we’re growing how we use the solution.” And with a raft of fresh business cases being mulled over by leaders on the buy-side and supply-side, it’s likely we’ll see more from this exciting partnership.

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