Big Data Challenges – A Case Study of the Volvo Car Corporation
Volvo Car Corporation (VCC) was founded in 1927 in Gothenburg, Sweden. In 2010 the company sold 373,525 cars and currently employs about 20,000 people. The company was acquired by Zhejiang Geely Auto Group from Ford Motor Company in 2010. One of Volvo’s distinguishing characteristics has always been the way its core values have visibly shaped the form and function of its automobiles. Founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson set that expectation in 1927. “Cars are driven by people,” they said. “Therefore, the guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo is – and must remain – safety.” The company has kept its founders’ promise, leading the automotive industry in safety engineering for nearly eighty uninterrupted years. (Tobey, 2011) To that end, when Volvo’s relationship with Ford concluded, they realized the need to develop a new IT infrastructure that that could reinforce these core values while improving upon Volvo’s internal business, communication, and collaborative capabilities (I-CIO Editorial Team, 2013).
The Swedish car maker collects terabytes of data from embedded sensors in their cars, from their customer relationship management (CRM) systems, from dealerships, and from their factory floors. Then, via the cloud, these data streams are combined and analyzed to yield early predictive information on matters like manufacturing defects that haven’t occurred yet. (Asthana, 2011). The big data is then transferred to Volvo’s data warehouse where it can be accessed by Volvo’s employees across their extended enterprise via Volvo’s cloud. This information can be used for real time analysis, or archived to be accessed by users at any time in the future (Morley, 2011).
Volvo transforms this data into knowledge by taking all of these data streams, combining and analyzing them to produce useful information used to improve product development and design. The ability to obtain...