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Business Cockpit Migration

The Business Cockpit solution marks a new use case type for the Volkswagen Group: application migration to the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud

Digitalization does not always reinvent the wheel – that is why it is an important goal for Volkswagens Industrial Cloud (Digital Production Platform) to migrate existing and value-adding applications to the cloud. The Volkswagen Industrial Cloud is the foundation for digitalization and optimization of Volkswagen´s manufacturing and supply chain, enabling access to near real-time data from the Volkswagen Group plants. Part of the shift in thinking towards a platform approach is to scale and reuse solutions, rather than rebuilding them from the scratch for a specific requirement at a single plant. That is why an interdisciplinary team from Volkswagen Passenger Cars decided to take the Business Cockpit application for target management in production and logistics from the plant in Bratislava and, together with their Slovakian colleagues, scale the solution to all production facilities of Volkswagen Passenger Cars. To furthermore make the solution available via Volkswagen's Industrial Cloud, the team then migrated the application to the cloud. The web application Business Cockpit is a tool for setting up and evaluating key performance indicators to track the goals of individual organizational units across all Volkswagen Passenger Cars plants and central areas. In April 2021, the running system was migrated from on-premise structures in Bratislava to the Volkswagens Industrial Cloud. Read about the Business Cockpit application in this success story, which today maps over 1000 organizational units of Volkswagen Passenger Cars and was also the first legacy migration to be moved to the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud, paving the way for many more.

The use case Business Cockpit Migration not only saves Volkswagen Passenger Cars a lot of hosting costs it also shows us that existing smart solutions can be combined with the new cloud approach.

Thomas Tiffert, Project Lead Business Cockpit Migration at Volkswagen Passenger Cars

Challenge - how to migrate a system from on-premise hosting to take advantage of the cloud

Developing new solutions is time intensive, consumes resources such as budget and expert knowledge, and needs furthermore a pilot phase in which the new application is implemented and adjusted to the respective conditions. This learning and adaptation process usually takes time, which is in most times unavoidable with new systems. Problems need to be corrected and bugs fixed, and the application is gradually improved through the knowledge of employees in the respective plant.

But is this always necessary? Not in every case: a variety of solutions have already been developed by Volkswagens’ production and IT experts that can be migrated to the cloud. This means that an application and its related data are moved to a cloud platform, in this case the Volkswagens Industrial Cloud, without changing the overall structure and source code of the application. But as simple as it may sound to “throw” an application into the cloud, there are challenges here as well: how do you combine the requirements of the application with the framework and best practices of the cloud? What initial sizing should be considered for infrastructure as a service to avoid unnecessary costs? And on the business side, what approval processes need to be considered?

The interdisciplinary team of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, consisting of colleagues from Volkswagens’ production strategy, brand IT, Volkswagens Group Services Slovakia, and central functions from Volkswagens Industrial Cloud team answered these questions, gathered important insights, and took on the challenge of transferring the Business Cockpit application from on-premises structures to the cloud. They not only solved the challenges by migrating the application, but also built up the necessary knowledge around legacy migrations within the Volkswagen Group to provide it as best practices to colleagues who also want to do legacy migrations to the cloud – because Business Cockpit is just one of many existing solutions within the Volkswagen Group that offers potential for scaling and migrating.

Solution – comprehensive target management, one of many smart solutions and the first one to be migrated to Volkswagens Industrial Cloud

To ensure the efficiency of production conditions in automotive or component manufacturing and to coordinate the various production steps, it is important to set up, measure, and analyze performance indicators. These indicators enable experts to monitor production, identify bottlenecks, and derive optimization measures. Therefore, production experts set cross-plant and cross-brand targets defined by the respective corporate strategy or individual organizational units.

The Business Cockpit application provides the respective management with a holistic target management tool based on defined KPIs. Thereby, the application saves time and establishes transparency, offers standardized processes as well as a convenient overview and control in a digital solution. It allows its users to add standardized indicators to their target agreement and include approval workflows that result in a target matrix. The target matrix is tool for tracking the target management process throughout the year. It provides a well-structured and clean overview of the KPIs with their associated targets and current values. To serve as a decision-making aid for the respective management and to achieve the company’s targets, the system follows the balanced score card approach, which translates strategic goals into concreate, measurable key performance indicators.

With the decision to migrate the application to Volkswagens Industrial Cloud, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars team demonstrated that it is also possible for existing applications to benefit from the advantages of the cloud: In the future, when it comes to the rollout of the application in new plants of the Volkswagen Group, it will be easier to connect to the given infrastructure of the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud, which avoids costly infrastructure expansions. In the development process, the team's accumulated knowledge of the migration to the cloud supports future teams in terms of what needs to be considered in terms of milestones, schedule, costs, team composition, etc. In this way, further system migrations can effectively use the existing knowledge for a comprehensive and effective digitization of the Volkswagen Group's plants.

Key benefits – the Business Cockpit solution marks a new use case type for the Volkswagen Group: application migration to Volkswagens Industrial Cloud

The major advantage of migrating existing solutions to the cloud is that the application and its related data can be moved to the cloud without requiring significant changes to the functionality, overall structure, and source code of the application. This means that solutions across the Volkswagen Group can be migrated to Volkswagens Industrial Cloud and scaled to other brands and plants. This also allows existing applications to take advantage of the cloud by making scaling easier, as services, servers and databases can be added and removed on demand. This saves development and implementation costs, time as well as financial and human resources. Due to the holistic platform approach at the Volkswagen Group, the Business Cockpit migration process could benefit from advantages that made the migration particularly easy: the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud provides basic services for example a structured framework for internal approval processes and documents. In addition, knowledge and experiences could be exchanged via the various platform communities, for example regarding costs or cloud consumption. The fact that the Business Cockpit application is now hosted in the cloud means that additional environments, such as for training purposes, can be added and switched off on demand.

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