How data connects cultures and markets – Dr. Stefan Meinzer from BMW speaks about data-driven business models

Dr. Stefan Meinzer, Head of regional analytics services for EMEA, BMW AG, presented his speech ‘How data connects cultures, markets, business areas and just by that generates massive potentials’ at the premiere of the Data Festival 2018 in Munich. Besides the connection of cultures, he focuses on how data-driven business models can be used to enhance customer centricity.

The BMW EMEA team currently pursues two strategic targets

The BMW EMEA team is responsible for the network of national sales organizations that includes about 5000 dealers in 22 countries. The team generates about 50 % of the sales at BMW. Overver 300 IT specialists works on deriving actions from insights that rely on data. Data is available in vast amounts as all provided services and cars all over the world as well as the sales organizations themselves produce it continually.

The first one of the presented goals is to develop new data-driven business models that focus on the needs of the national sales regions using existing knowledge at BMW. Secondly, the team strives to optimize existing processes and make them more efficient. This step is necessary to create an adequate foundation for the use of new technologies and the implementation of new, data-driven business models. In this step of optimizing processes, BMW can draw on a great amount of historical data.

New era of customer centricity

Dr. Stefan Meinzer mentions disruptive, data-driven business models, such as those of AirBnB or Uber, which are already familiar to many people. What he really considers remarkable though, is the message of an advertisement by audible that says: “In online trading the customer is no longer a king but a god”. This advertisement shows the importance of consequent customer centricity. Customer centricity is also the major goal of all the activities at BMW.

Current challenges and digital disruptions in the market

There is a number of challenges, that many (automotive) companies are currently facing. Yet many of these challenges, as Dr. Stefan Meinzer says, can also be seen as an opportunity. These challenges include new mobility concepts, such as Uber or DriveNow. Furthermore, the customer ecosystem keeps increasing as it is expanded by certain systems or services. The integration of Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa into cars illustrates this development.

Another digital disruption is the emergence of new retail concepts such as the lack of a show room at Tesla stores. Besides, there are even retailers presenting showrooms that showcase only one car – and this car is addressing the specific needs of customers in that area perfectly. The emergence of new market concepts, data-driven business models as well as new technologies, such as cloud first, constitute further challenges.

Historical challenges at BMW and new approaches to handle them

Besides current challenges, BMW faced several historical challenges that derive from the internationality of the company ranging from different processes, time zones, cultures, political issues to language barriers. Historically, BMW tried to overcome those difficulties by focusing on the best possible synergies on a process level.

However, in order to stay competitive, the company had to rethink existing business models and try to develop new, data-driven business models, that allow to compete in new areas, as well as increase their efficiency to adopt to competition in the market.

Data as a uniform language worldwide

To put it in a nutshell: In an environment of different cultures, mindsets et cetera, there is one uniform language: Data. According to Dr. Stefan Meinzer, it is uniform in that Telemetics is transferred the same way in every country just as customers expect personalized service, customer interaction centers are established and great amounts of data is produced by cars all over the world. In order to exploit the potential in data-driven Business Models, BMW moved on from process homogenization to data homogenization.

New data-driven business models are necessary to exploit the potential of data and realize customer centricity

As mentioned before, BMW is in possession of vast amounts of data. However, in order to capitalize on this resource, new, data-driven models need to be established. Dr. Stefan Meinzer presents two show-cases in his presentation – one of which is depicted in this article:

In Norway, electric mobility is in great demand – almost every day, a customer is interested in purchasing a used BMW I3. Unfortunately, this demand exceeds the supply by far.

Yet by combining knowledge and data, it is possible to match supply and demand. How is that possible? The data about customers, who are currently leasing an I3 car, show when these clients are interested in buying a newer model or returning their leased car. By identifying these customers and suggesting them new models for example, it is possible to increase the availability of used cars and therefore meet the demand for those used models. By testing this pilot-project, BMW could already double the number of customers for used I3 models from 2.000 to 4.000.

How to realize new data-driven business models

Dr. Stefan Meinzer concludes that all the knowledge about different cultures, markets, and business areas needs to be combined and enriched with new technologies, such as Machine Learning Algorithms, in order to derive new, data-driven business models that focus on customer centricity.


Stefan Meinzer’s presentation about how data connects cultures, markets and business areas is available here..