Auto Industry Ranks #1 in Digital Transformation

New ABI Research report reveals which sectors rate highest in digital maturity—and how manufacturers can get ahead.

The automotive industry ranks first place in digital transformation, according to a new report from ABI Research.

The sector scored a 3.7 out of 5 on ABI’s Digital Transformation Index, which assesses digital maturity across seven criteria including robotics, manufacturing process, software, control, data management and analytics, connectivity, and worker enablement.

“There are massive differences in digital maturity and needs across companies and industries,” said Ryan Martin, ABI’s Industrial and Manufacturing Research Director, in a company press release.

ABI says that the automotive industry scored so highly because of the pressure to keep up in the face of an industry-wide transition to new types of vehicles.

“An industry like automotive is going through tremendous change in the shift to electric and autonomous vehicles that presents a unique opportunity for companies like Ford, GM, and Hyundai to completely revamp operations as new cohorts of suppliers join rising OEMs other than Tesla, including Rivian, Polestar, and Fisker,” said Martin.

The automotive industry may be in the lead, but ABI Research says that digital transformation significantly accelerated in 2022 across industries. Electronics/High Tech scored a 3.3 in digital maturity and the manufacturing sector scored an average of 2.4.

ABI Research points to a growing cohort of industrial cloud software as one of the main reasons digital transformation is on the rise, including software for CAD, PLM, MES, and plant-scale simulation.

Despite the positive signs, ABI says that manufacturers shouldn’t charge headfirst into large-scale digital transformation projects.

“Big Return on Investment (ROI) projects with undefined or lengthy periods of return simply do not cut it in the current macroeconomic environment,” said Martin. “Manufacturers need to improve or maintain the current order of business through quick wins that solve immediate challenges and pain points. At the same time, suppliers want to ensure they deliver that same value to the customer. Level 5 lights out manufacturing at scale is still a way out.”

Written by

Michael Alba

Michael is a senior editor at He covers computer hardware, design software, electronics, and more. Michael holds a degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Alberta.