IBM's cloud-based AutoDX promises to make India's auto industry more efficient

If this major initiative works, it will usher in much-needed relief to a cyclically embattled industry

IBM wants to make the Indian auto industry more efficient.

Despite being one of the hottest growth markets for automobiles in the world, the Indian auto sector hasn't exactly been on fire lately. The last year was generally quite bleak in terms of sales, registering a 1.2 percent growth (January to November 2013), compared to healthy figures of 6.2 percent in 2012 and 14 percent in 2011.

While the outlook for auto sales in the second half of this year is a little bit better, rising competition promises to make things difficult for individual players.

So, it must be with great relief that the industry has welcomed IBM's AutoDX, a cloud-based network that the company claims will move data around in a much quicker fashion and reduce transaction costs by 80 percent.

If mercurial industry sales weren't enough of a problem, the entire manner in which the auto sector procures parts, places orders, and goes about its business has been distinctly ancient — at least, for a country with vaunted IT capabilities.

Indian auto manufacturers and parts suppliers have relied on manual processes to exchange transactional data. According to this piece, thousands of invoices, purchase orders, and shipping notices are manually filled in and sent around each day, giving birth to excessive and unnecessary delays, increasing human error, and pumping up processing costs.

Now, with a shared cloud platform that extends to the length and breadth of India, exchanging or availing of transactional data will become a cinch, according to IBM. "Representing over 750 of India's top auto manufacturers and parts suppliers, ACMA and SIAM expect the majority of its members to adopt the platform by the end of the year, making IBM the prevailing provider for Electronic Data Interchange in India for the auto industry," said the company.

According to an IBM press release, some of the big names in manufacturing of both automobiles and their components have jumped onto the platform, such as Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, SSS Springs, and Sundram Fasteners. AutoDX will also benefit the trading partners, logistics providers and banks amongst other entities that are allied or linked to these companies.

If AutoDX lives up to its billing it could bring major — and urgently needed — efficiencies and cost savings to a cyclical industry that needs all the help it can get today. It could also be a poster child for how cloud solutions can engineer elegant solutions to industries mired in unwieldy processes.