The Williams and Avanade partnership: Digital transformation
- Posted on October 19, 2015
The following is a guest blog post by Graeme Hackland IT Director at Williams Martini Racing.
The digital transformation that's underway at Williams isn’t something that's being driven by IT. It’s a transformation of the business, focusing on Williams’ business goals and seeing how technology can help realise them. We’ve kept this in mind since we began our partnership with Avanade, and ensured IT doesn’t act as a filter that stops people across the entire organisation having access to the resources required to digitally upgrade the way they work.
One of the challenges we faced was that wind tunnel tests were preceded by time-consuming checks to ensure expensive prototypes would not damage or be damaged by the even more expensive testing facility. Avanade’s solution automates the process of analysing and running quality checks on service requests from the aerodynamicists, to help ensure that the combinations of prototype designs and requested wind tunnel simulations can be performed safely. Avanade used an agile software development process to get this to us in just three months.
Avanade also built a portal for the process that streamlines and speeds the workflow around what had been a more ad hoc, email-driven process. We estimate the project saves 300 personnel hours per year.
This is just one of many projects we’re implementing. Our race engineering team said to us that in previous seasons it’s been frustrated that while data was generated on the track, it couldn’t utilise it in time for the next session. That’s what’s been key for us this year – getting the right information at the right time, in order to make immediate improvements.
This applies to all departments of Williams. Using Avanade’s expertise we were able to create an innovation space, a platform where ideas for generating new business or refining existing projects can come from anyone at the business. Collaboration isn’t compartmentalised and innovation no longer stays in the advanced engineering team. Everyone has a part to play in making Williams as successful as possible.
We’ve achieved so much this year already but the great thing about our industry is that there’s always room for improvement and always a way to shave seconds off each lap or business process – helping Williams achieve success, both on and off the track.