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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

GM CTO on software in cars and IT management

More than one-third of the cost of GM's automobiles now involves software and electronic components, and the amount of software loaded into a typical automobile is skyrocketing, Scott said. Cars had approximately 1 million lines of software code in 1990, but this number will jump to 100 million by 2010, he predicted. The emergence of the automobile as a platform for software developers will mean that a much broader range of software will be used in tomorrow's cars. Remote diagnostics software, media players, even database software all will run on automobiles at some point, and adding that all types of software shall begin to get used in running the vehicle." But the growing quantity and diversity of automobile software will also present new challenges. "What that says to me is that GM is going to have a major software management problem between now and 2010."GM will be looking to the software industry to help with this software management problem, but also to assume greater responsibility for product liability and quality assurance, he said. Scott gave an insight into GM's outsourcing approach -GM expects to spend $15 billion on information technology operations between now and 2006 and is looking for simplicity in IT solutions.General Motors currently is winding down a 10-year "master services" agreement that saw Electronic Data Systems Corp., formerly a subsidiary of GM, operate the bulk of the company's IT services. As the contract expires, and GM's outsourced IT operations become open to bids from a wider array of companies, the auto giant will be looking to simplify the relationships it has with contractors. The approach to future - "What you're going to see is a focus from GM's perspective on reducing complexity," he said. GM will now expect its contractors, and not GM's IT department, to manage relationships with smaller contractors. "What will emerge is a model like what you'd see in the aerospace industry or large development contracts," he said.
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