Yoshiaki Sugimato, Chief of Business Development
Business Development, Honda
Region: Tokyo, Japan
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (“Honda”) aims to develop new services based on the capture and analysis of floating car data generated by its Internavi car navigation system. The company has adopted Alteryx Designer as a tool to capture and visualize huge volumes of data. Alteryx is a self-service data analytics Platform that allows users who do not have human resources with specialist skills, such as data scientists, to collect and visualize data, contributing to the development of new businesses.
Founded by Soichiro Honda in 1948, Honda is a “mobility” products maker whose business centers on motorcycles, cars, tilers, snow blowers, generators, etc. In recent years, the company has taken advantage of its accumulated manufacturing technologies and global market infrastructure to pursue research and development in fields such as robotics (including bipedal robots), and actively develop its business in new areas, including the commercialization of the HondaJet compact jet aircraft.
In 2017, Honda drew up a 2030 Vision, which aims to offer audiences the joy of expanding their “life’s potential,” and the company has been accelerating initiatives that incorporate technical innovations in fields such as energy and robotics into conventional mobility products. Responding to new mobility trends such as CASE Connected, Autonomous, Share ＆ Service, Electric) and MaaS (Mobility as A Service), Honda is also set to move into solution services.
The Business Development Department at Honda’s corporate planning headquarters handles planning and creation of new businesses centered on these solution services, as well as validation trials in preparation for commercialization.
“Right now, we’re focused on commercializing services that create new value through the visualization and analysis of a huge volume of location data. We’re currently developing BtoB or BtoG data analysis services based on floating car data captured from Honda’s own car navigation system, Internavi,” says Yoshiaki Sugimoto, Chief of Business Development at Honda.
Chief of Business Development
Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Business Development Division
Using Alteryx Designer for data analytics has benefits in many areas, such as helping to avoid traffic congestion, planning road work or new tourist events.
In developing new services based on analyzing data captured from Internavi, the Business Development Department faced a number of issues. The first was limited human resources at their disposal.
Mr. Sugimoto explains, “At a stage where we don’t yet know if the seeds of a business will grow, or when we are feeling our way in developing a new market, we need to do a lot of work ourselves — everything from having meetings with prospective clients and preparing analytics requirements to analyzing data and preparing reports. And of course, because we couldn’t get people with specialist skills like data scientists, we needed a tool that anyone could use.”
Another issue was finding the most efficient way to extract the data to be analyzed from a huge volume of other data.
“In data analytics, you need to process time series location data with a time history, and the issue we faced, not only with Excel of course, but even with BI tools, was being unable to fully cope with the huge volume of data stored in the cloud data,” says Mr. Sugimoto.
To resolve these issues, Mr. Sugimoto considered building a data analytics service infrastructure on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and using the Amazon Athena query service, which simplifies the task of Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) data analytics.
“We asked cloud SI vendor Classmethod for suggestions, and the self-service data analytics platform they introduced us to was Alteryx Designer.” said Mr. Sugimoto
Without Alteryx Designer, I believe we might have abandoned the project.
The data analytics service infrastructure that Honda built uses Amazon Athena to import data from the data lake where Internavi data is stored to Amazon S3, while extracting and analyzing that data using Alteryx Designer, then visualizing insights by a BI tool, Tableau.
“The reason we decided to go with Alteryx Designer was that we would get extensive support from Classmethod,” says Mr. Sugimoto. “One of their employees Mr, John Smith has a title of Alteryx ACE and have been very active in the Alteryx Community. We got a lot of help from Classmethod and the Alteryx Community from the time we adopted Alteryx Designer until it was actually operational.”
Mr. Sugimoto says that when his team first adopted Alteryx Designer, they had no idea how to use it — to them it was like a black box. By running it alongside existing analytics tools and comparing the icons used to carry out the same processing tasks, they soon understood how it worked.
“Once we learned how, we realized just how easy Alteryx Designer is to use. It has reduced the time we spend on data analytics and helped us make steady progress in commercializing our new data analytics services. In other words, without Alteryx Designer, I believe we might have abandoned the project.”
Partly as a result of starting to use Alteryx Designer, commercialization of the new data analytics service is making steady progress. Honda has already begun providing data analytics services based on floating car data to local governments operating Michi no Eki (roadside rest areas) as well as advertising agencies.
The number of people using Alteryx Designer for data analytics has also grown. Mr. Masayuki Funakoshi recently joined Mr. Sugimoto’s team and is now in charge of data analytics work.
“Our goal is to commercialize data analysis services and achieve sales,” says Mr. Funakoshi. “In the future, we plan to become even more proficient in the use of Alteryx Designer and to strengthen linkage with databases and BI tools. As our sales team grows, we plan to take out additional Alteryx Designer licenses. Eventually, we want to increase the number of users in other divisions of Honda, such as the Consolidated Finance Division, which could make use of Alteryx Designer.”
Mr. Funakoshi concludes, “Using Alteryx Designer for data analytics has benefits in many areas, such as helping to avoid traffic congestion, planning road work or new tourist events. Our hope is that the huge volume of data that Honda holds will be of use to society and contribute to people’s happiness. To help bring this about, we will continue to make active use of Alteryx Designer’s functions and technology, with the aim of developing and evolving Honda’s data analytics services.”
Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Business Development Division