IT Service Management goes Automotive

In today's world, vehicles are increasingly connected and dependent on IT systems to function smoothly. Automotive manufacturers and suppliers must not only work closely together but also need to develop and manufacture new vehicle components and systems. The big question is: What are the potentials and challenges? And how will IT service management be integrated into the already broad-based process flow? Eberhard Huebner, Managing Consultant at Kugler Maag Cie by UL Solutions, provides answers.

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Hello Mr. Huebner, it’s nice to have you here! What does the term "IT service management" stand for and what were your first points of contact with this topic?

Eberhard Hübner The first time I got in touch with the topic was when I started working in a large company with the IT environment provided there. With the advent of the smartphone era, it became a daily experience for my private life as well. I became most intensively involved with it during the eight years of my professional life when I was responsible for the quality management of cloud-based services for the internet of things and service-based mobility solutions. In my view, IT Service Management describes the skills required to provide high-quality digital services that offer the user attractive added value.

And what is the significance of IT service management for the automotive industry?

Today's cars are connected to the internet and are gradually being transformed into high-performance computers on the move, kind of a data center with sensors and actuators on wheels. This so-called software-defined vehicle (SDV) produces and consumes vast amounts of data every day. This cosmos of new possibilities enables the industry to continuously offer customers attractive digital services. This, in turn, offers new revenue streams for manufacturers and suppliers, even after sales and over the lifetime of the vehicle. Autonomous driving as the next great evolution of mobility is unthinkable without data-based, digital services. All manufacturers are also required by EU-regulation to operate a software update management system and a cybersecurity management system to regularly identify security vulnerabilities and close them remotely. All of this requires a complex interplay of IT services. Accordingly, IT service management ensures that this happens correctly, smoothly and with high performance. This is the only way to ensure customer satisfaction.

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IT service management will therefore continue to play a major role in the automotive industry. What challenges do you see for automotive manufacturers and suppliers?

The fact that you must look at both sides. The product architecture and the process view. At the same time, we have the different regions and markets. To give you an example: The AutoShow Shanghai 2023 has just shown us again who is driving the competition globally, especially for electric vehicles and in general for the seamless integration of the mobile world into the vehicle. European OEMs are increasingly at the back of the race, especially compared to China, but also in parts compared to US. In addition to strategic investments made globally, the industry also needs to evolve in product development. In E/E development, for example, the deterministic "white box" approach needs to be expanded to include a "black box" approach. This will add a service-oriented architecture (SoA) for the complex interaction of digital systems across many service providers to the previous leading paradigm for safety-relevant embedded control systems. This is a fundamental difference to the previous ECU-based approach. In addition to making E/E systems as stable as possible with minimal changes, the industry must now continuously deliver value to customers through digital services. IT service management capabilities and skills must be built across the board throughout the industry. This is the only way to successfully leverage the expected business potential.

If we now focus more on the increasing interface complexity: What effects do you see for the process landscapes?

IT service management is central to the digital transformation of the industry. Through digital services, traditional E/E development is moving closer to the end customers and must now deal intensively with the quality perceived by end customers in addition to the measurable quality. This requires additional, new knowledge about suitable technologies, processes, methods, and tools, such as open-source software, CI/CD, cloud-based microservices, data management, and machine learning, to name just a few. The previously primary focus on individual service suppliers is expanding to the service owner's overall responsibility for complex service-based solutions with multiple service suppliers. Services are therefore provided in a network of service owners and their service providers. In fact, the service owner has a new role to play here. This is because safeguarding overall quality and minimizing risks requires not only evaluating and improving the processes and procedures of the commissioned service suppliers but also safeguarding service quality across the entire network of services. IT service management enables the service owners, who are responsible to the end customer, to ensure precisely this.

Eberhard Huebner holds a degree in electrical and data engineering and has been a Managing Consultant at Kugler Maag Cie by UL Solutions since 2022. Before that, he worked for the Bosch Group for more than three decades. He has extensive experience in the development of embedded systems and the improvement of their development processes. Most recently, Eberhard was Head of Quality Management for mobility solutions based on digital services.

And how exactly can you determine whether the processes are effective?

A working group at intacs™ has developed the "SPICE for IT Services" process reference and assessment model (PAM). It appropriately integrates the contents of ISO/IEC 20000-1:2018, the international standard for IT service management, into the SPICE structure familiar to the automotive industry. Accordingly, this PAM not only enables the capabilities of service owners and suppliers to be checked and improved but also determines the maturity level of IT service management processes in a selected area of consideration. For example, in the evaluation of certain services of an individual IT service provider. The SPICE for IT Services PAM is officially available via the intacs™ SPICE Center. Its applicability and usefulness have been confirmed by a large German automotive manufacturer, which has conducted assessments over several years with its IT service providers. Further applications, especially in supplier assessment, will definitely follow. Of course, the model can also be used for self-assessment. In this way, one can determine one's situation and derive the need for action from it. It will also become even more important to assess such reference models in a network instead of having to perform a large number of individual assessments. This applies, for example, to the joint review of IT service management, data management, cybersecurity, and development-related models such as Automotive SPICE®.

Only in this way can digital infrastructures keep up with the continuous and ever faster pace of change without overburdening the manufacturers and suppliers involved.

In summary, IT service management is an important success factor for digital services. How exactly does Kugler Maag Cie by UL Solutions position itself?

From discussions with our customers in the automotive industry and some of their IT service providers, we know that the challenges associated with digital services are increasingly being seen by those responsible. It is no longer enough to just take care of the software in the vehicle. Rather, the entire chain of solutions based on digital services must be considered. Kugler Maag Cie by UL Solutions offers assessments, combined expert and provisional assessor trainings as well as consulting based on the SPICE for IT Services PAM in order to accomplish exactly that for our customers. If you would like to contribute to the further development of the PAM, we would also like to invite you to join the intacs™ working group "SPICE for IT Services".

Thank you very much for the very insightful interview.