May 11, 2020
Robert Welborn is the Director, Data & Data Science for General Motors. As he sees it, global corporate enterprise has- for the most part, seen data as a luxury, “we'll get to reporting when we get to reporting, we'll upsell, we'll monetize.”
Not that monetizing is a bad thing, but Robert’s point is that we haven’t been using data as the ultimate element of decision-making. Sure- data-driven decision-making has occurred, but not to the extent of managing enterprise existence.
The global pandemic had a particular effect on Robert’s company. For over 100 years General Motors manufactured motor vehicles. Then on April 8th, 2020- General Motors became a ventilator manufacturer. What used to be a fun data dance that Robert and his team would do privately suddenly became precision choreographed ballet of the highest order with every decision-maker involved.
“What we had used as a luxury before suddenly was driving everything. We're having conversations with our suppliers, with the UAW and with the plants showing them through data what we're going to do next.”
And the data told them just what to do. Robert and his team were seeing vehicle-level data as the pandemic burst across the globe and made it’s way to the East Coast of the United States. “The data is saying we can shut down. And the data that we're getting from the state of New York in specific is saying that we, if we were doing anything right now- we should be building ventilators. If there's anything that we would do, we should build insulators and we should build masks.”