A Driving Force at General Motors

August 26, 2019

By Claudine Waite


As a 16-year veteran of General Motors with more than 10 titles, first starting at the automotive company as an engineer, Saejin Park, director of global digital transformation at GM, knows a thing or two about stability and mobility, key components in building quality cars, successful brands, and nimble teams that can adapt to whatever twists and turns they might encounter along the way.

A keynote speaker at the 2019 Data & Measurement Conference presented by Google, happening Sept. 9-11 in Naples, Fla., Park will share details about how her team uses data and insights to improve the company's core business and generate new value.

The ANA caught up with Park to learn more about GM's use of predictive analytics, its mission for a safer, more mobile world, and how the brand puts the customer at the center of everything it does.


Q. General Motors has built a predictive analytics platform that generates insights into several core business strategies. What has been the biggest challenge and how have you solved or working to solve this?

The biggest challenge in any sort of transformation is not driven by technology. We are building a world class team of the brightest data and analytics experts in the industry to translate business problems into analytics projects and allow us to leverage insights while protecting our customers' privacy.

At the end of the day, the key and biggest challenge is building the right team. The right team can take the massive amount of data in our business, translate that into insights that will drive action, and deliver results.

We are using data to deliver enhanced safety, quality, and value for our customers. Examples of predictive analytics include vehicle health apps for our customers that can help them save time and money. We can also derive insights that help improve our product design and improve quality and efficiency in manufacturing.


Q. How would you describe GM's company culture? How important has culture been to analytics adoption?

Culture is just as important as strategy, if not more so. GM's mission is to create a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion. That's a huge mission and it means from top to bottom, the company really strives to be more innovative, embracing change.

It's not easy, but it's happening. And it's helping us build relationships with partners and become more data-driven in our decision making.


Q. At the 2018 Data & Measurement Conference, you shared insights into how GM is leveraging data through its more than 9 million vehicles connected using built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi. Any updates, modifications, or learnings you can share?

We're focused on our mission to move toward zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.

Connected vehicles are already creating important safety benefits, through features like OnStar's automatic crash notification, we've built partnerships with first responders and medical and public safety officials. Connectivity gives us important insights on mobility, things like road and traffic conditions. We're exploring how to use data much more in this space of public safety and mobility.

Lastly, I would say we're even more focused on consumer privacy. Automakers have been excellent protectors of consumer data already and we're focused on strengthening that even more. Everything in connectivity begins with consumer consent.


Q. How has the impact of data on marketing evolved over your career and what are your predictions for the future?

Of course, the growth of data analytics has been tremendous. I'm pleased marketers are becoming more focused on delivering more significant value to customers and to their businesses.

Improving health and safety with data is something we're very devoted to at GM. Looking at the auto industry, transportation has been incredible in giving people more freedom and opportunity through mobility. But along with those amazing advantages, there are issues — environmental impacts, collisions, and congestion.

I really think we are the generation than can solve those big issues. Analytics and insights are key to formulating and implementing these solutions.

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