Things change, and when it comes to IT, there’s nothing quite like a trip down memory lane to remind us of that. Not so long ago, the primary purpose of information technology was to serve corporate infrastructure. If someone needed a new screen, the IT specialists would see to it. If a new network was required, organizing it was a job for IT.

Now, just a few years down the line, IT plays a fundamental role in shaping the company as the key driver of its digital transformation. The aviation industry exemplifies how big data and artificial intelligence (AI) can pave the way for new levels of automation in production, for more efficient development and manufacturing processes, and for cost-effective and bespoke service solutions—to name just a few examples.

MTU Aero Engines is seizing the opportunities that big data, AI and heuristics offer across the entire company. Whether from the production line, the test stand or maintenance, all the information MTU gathers from the world of operations is incorporated into its development of new engines—making them even more robust and, above all, more efficient.

Some years ago, Germany’s leading engine manufacturer launched a comprehensive digital transformation program. Now, the company is reaping the benefits from all the digitalization projects it set up across the company. But unlike product developers, digital experts drive their companies forward in unseen ways. Initially, their work is visible only as bits and bytes on a screen or behind the scenes, where data analysis, self-learning algorithms and AI are ushering in a new era in engine development. In other words, anywhere that the digital and real worlds come together.

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