will begin construction this summer on a new $100 million Enterprise Data Center at its proving grounds in Milford, MI.
The operation is the second of two such facilities planned that will consolidate operations at 23 former GM data centers and three information technology suppliers around the world.
The new Milford operation will open in July 2014 and house an estimated $158 million in IT equipment. It will share data with the new $130 million Warren, MI, center, officially unveiled today, so that if one facility is off-line for any reason, the other can keep GM functioning.
“It’s all about reducing risk and making sure no one event would affect both centers at the same time,” Curt Loehr, GM IT project manager, says in a statement. “Each center has its own utility feed using separate paths to provide uninterrupted power. We even checked weather data going back a half-century, and Warren and Milford are affected by separate weather patterns.”
The 5,040-sq.-ft. (468-sq.-m) Warren facility incorporates 48 work stations and a 955-sq.-ft. (89-sq.-m) video wall composed of 28 configurable screens used to monitor data use throughout GM around the clock.
The operation enables GM to conduct high-tech vehicle crash simulations, saving $350,000 for each physical crash test avoided, the auto maker says. It also facilitates work with suppliers and reduces engineering costs, allowing product-development teams to make tooling payments throughout the process and prioritize the timing of critical parts.
“Having a single nerve center for our global operations will get newer vehicle designs and technologies into our customers’ hands quicker and improve the bottom line,” GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson says in a statement. “IT is back home where it should be, and it further drives unnecessary complexity from our businesses while improving our operational efficiency and better supporting our business strategy.”
GM announced more than a year ago it would bring formerly outsourced IT and data functions back in-house. Along with the two Enterprise Data Centers, the auto maker has set up four IT Innovation Centers that will perform software development, database administration and systems analysis.
Once hiring is concluded, GM’s IT staff will have ballooned to 5,000 people from about 1,500 a year ago. Ultimately, the auto maker expects to have about 9,000 employees involved in IT, including 3,000 it acquired from Hewlett-Packard after ending its IT service contract with that firm.