Gaining Insights from Global Data and Analytics

The vehicles we make are becoming more connected than ever, with advanced technologies that link vehicles to each other and to the Internet. From in-vehicle sensors to wireless connections, such technological advancements are helping Ford become a more consumer-centric business, giving us new insights into driver behavior.

The data that our vehicles generate allow Ford to better understand our customers, enabling us, in turn, to provide even better services and solutions that anticipate their needs. For example, your car could anticipate when servicing is needed and help you schedule an appointment. Or your vehicle could show you a better route to take to work.

A decade ago, data analytics was all about hindsight. Today, it’s about insight. We want to take our data analytics expertise to the next level, turning it into foresight to understand what our customers might want and need so we can create mobility solutions that translate into value for our customers, for society and for our company. We put the customer first, and, through data analysis, we can evaluate patterns and trends that will help us do that even better.

At Ford, we strive to be trusted stewards of our customers’ data. And we take the security and privacy of our customers and their data seriously. We aim to be transparent with customers and strive to provide choices about sharing data. When we do use customer data, our goal is that, in return, customers receive services or features that they find valuable, such as coaching on techniques that optimize fuel efficiency or highlighting routes that minimize time in traffic congestion.

In 2014, Ford participated in the development of an automotive privacy pledge through the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. We are working to continuously enhance our privacy and security practices. We have rigorous security testing, conduct assessments of our data systems, and follow industry best practices.

In late 2014, we appointed Ford’s first chief data and analytics officer – the first of the major automakers to do so. Paul Ballew and his team are helping us better understand consumer behavior and accelerate development of the mobility, connectivity and autonomous driving innovations that will improve people’s lives. Ballew, who reports to our chief financial officer, is also leading the company’s data and analytic efforts globally, establishing an enterprise-wide vision and integrating all of our research, analytics, processes, standards and tools. As part of this mandate, Ford has established an enterprise data governance infrastructure to drive a more holistic approach to data stewardship, including how we address data privacy and security. Our ultimate goal is to better anticipate customers’ wants and needs as we implement our Blueprint for Mobility.

Many of our mobility projects involve experimentation to better understand driving behaviors. Our Big Data Drive experiment, for example, evaluates driving data from more than 200 Ford employees who volunteered for the project. For this and other Ford Smart Mobility projects, we follow data stewardship principles, including transparency of purpose and choice of participation.