Published on February 23, 2024, 6:21 am

IT leader Bob Brizendine views generative AI as a crucial element in steering the North American arm of a renowned Japanese automaker towards success. The digital makeover of American Honda Motor Co., although less striking than its shift to fully electric vehicles, serves as the driving force behind the creativity of over 30,000 employees within the company.

Based in Torrance, California, this subsidiary of the Japanese giant is venturing into the production of its maiden all-electric, zero-emissions vehicles co-engineered with GM. These launches include the Honda Prologue and Acura’s ZDX SUV, along with a pioneering model: the CR-V featuring Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) technology developed jointly with GM at a manufacturing hub in Michigan.

Amidst uncertainties about the future industry standard for EVs and hydrogen fuel cells, American Honda VP Bob Brizendine acknowledges the continuous evolution that characterizes his 36-year tenure at the company. He emphasizes the challenge of adapting to rapid changes and stresses the need for IT to stay ahead of corporate trajectories.

The strong reliance on advanced automation and robotics across their manufacturing sites underscores significant advancements in digital tech. While only less than 20% of internal workloads have migrated to public cloud services, American Honda’s proactive adoption of platforms like ServiceNow and Salesforce showcases their agility in leveraging AI to drive innovation swiftly.

With a robust AI strategy in place, particularly focusing on generative AI, American Honda positions itself advantageously for future developments. As per Craig Powers from IDC, utilizing generative AI presents a substantial opportunity for automakers such as Honda to elevate their design and development processes, potentially leading to accelerated innovation.

To spearhead this initiative successfully, Brizendine has devised a detailed five-pronged generative AI strategy aimed at enhancing internal productivity and efficiency within American Honda. This strategy emphasizes full control over AI usage, targeted applications in specific domains like legal and customer engagements, and dedicated environments for complex needs.

Furthermore, aligning closely with data analytics systems is pivotal in shaping an effective generative AI program according to Brizendine. Employee training plays a crucial role in ensuring successful implementation by equipping workforce members with necessary digital skills from executives down to knowledge workers.

Overall, technology transformation stands at the core of business metamorphosis at American Honda. By fostering innovation through technological advancements like generative AI within its corporate framework from top management down to operational units, Brizendine believes they are paving the way for sustained success and growth within an ever-evolving industry landscape.

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