Back in August, I attended the Siemens PLM analyst event in Boston. Their solution portfolio is now incredibly broad, so analysts and media were treated to two-and-a-half days of presentations.

One of the best presentations I saw not only at the event, but probably in the last couple of years, came from Rebecca Fifelski at Visteon. I’ll use the updates I tweeted that day to expand on the points I made along the way.

Transforming from Hardware to Software

Now, if you’re not familiar, Visteon is a tier 1 supplier in the automotive industry. Specifically, they specialize in the vehicle cockpit. That includes instrument panels, infotainment systems, and more.

One of the most important takeaways from Rebecca is that Visteon, like many other traditional hardware manufacturers, is quickly becoming a major software developer.

I’ve heard from manufacturers time and again that are going through this transition. Embedded software is seen as the primary innovation opportunity in modern smart, connected products. Many manufacturers are hiring software engineers like mad. And, it makes sense. You don’t want your primary source of innovation outsourced to another company. You need that competency inside your organization.

Software Drives Broad Product Development Changes

So many manufacturers are developing software competencies inside their company. But there are broader implications of making embedded software a central component of a smart, connected product.

So here’s the deal. Getting commercial software to run on your computer is hard enough. Getting new-to-the-world embedded software to run on new-to-the-world electronic hardware is extremely challenging. Yes, there are some simulation approaches, such as Model-in-the-Loop and Software-in-the-Loop, that let you do some of that digitally. But many organizations are still at the phase of using physical prototypes to validate that everything works. That’s something you just can’t skip today.

So what does that mean? Today’s executives want to get to that prototype as soon as possible. Desperately.

Accelerating Development for Software

So, how are executives accelerating development to get to prototypes? Well. Rebecca at Visteon is doing a lot of things.

At Visteon, they are running more simulations to verify performance digitally, they are driving everything toward concurrency, and they are testing while designing.

Yes. All of that is a tall order. But Visteon has realized that the traditional approach to developing their offerings is untenable. A sea change is coming. And Visteon is looking at dramatic changes in order to keep pace.

A Great Presentation

Lastly, I wanted to thank Rebecca for her presentation.

She laid out her objectives as an executive. She clearly explained her strategy to achieve those objectives. And she detailed the tactics she was pursuing to support her strategy.

Thanks again, Rebecca, for your presentation.