AWS for Industries

Cloud-driven enterprise transformation at the BMW Group

In 2020, the BMW Group (BMW) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a strategic collaboration aimed at accelerating BMW’s pace of innovation across all company processes, from vehicle development to after-sales services. In addition to novel use cases, the strategic collaboration addressed the cloud-driven transformation of business applications.

In this blog post we discuss key accelerators which helped enable BMW’s cloud-driven transformation. Original equipment manufacturers can use the six accelerators described here to help lay a scalable foundation for their own cloud transformation programs.

Cloud transformation accelerators

BMW Group teams designed a six-month migration pilot phase targeting business applications in aftersales, engineering and connected car domains. The pilot phase proved that application teams at BMW Group can modernize applications on AWS. It established an initial experience, processes, and tools to help accelerate follow-on migrations. Next, BMW applied the learnings and accelerators from the pilot phase to other business domains. The six accelerators which emerged aligned with the perspectives of the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF). They were owned by functionally related stakeholders at BMW Group. The accelerators and the related CAF perspectives are summarized in Figure 1 below:

Figure 1 Accelerators in BMW Group’s cloud-driven transformation journeyFigure 1. Accelerators in BMW Group’s cloud-driven transformation journey

Accelerator 1: Organize teams around products and value streams

Prior to the collaboration, core IT systems at BMW ran on highly standardized and cost-optimized infrastructure on-premises. There was a clear separation of duty between application and IT infrastructure teams (Figure 2). To break those boundaries, BMW transformation of internal IT started at the top. All IT functions were aligned to business products, thus directly contributing to a specific business need. The resulting BMW “BizDevSecOps” teams include team members from business, application development and IT operations. This reorganization gives teams more autonomy and decision power and allows the transition to product-based operating model. This enterprise transformation towards product teams is paired with an effective cloud enablement program—our next accelerator.

Traditional view Modern view
Homogeneous Infrastructure Enable agile working model (BizDevSecOps)
Standardized Solutions Nimble, self-sufficient teams (VUCA)
Enterprise-wide architecture management Solution space where builders create products
Cost-optimized infrastructure Use cloud-native features and cutting-edge technologies to innovate faster
Shared platform services Elastic IT consumption enables pay as you go
Duty separation: application development vs. application operations vs. infrastructure operations Maintain architecture flexibility (two-way door decisions)

Figure 2. BMW Group IT transition from traditional hosting to product-oriented model

Accelerator 2: Build effective enablement and support model with AWS and AWS Partner Network Partners

The AWS Partner Network (APN) is a global community of partners that utilize AWS programs, expertise, and resources to build, market, and sell their solutions. Following a migration pilot phase, BMW Group commissioned five APN Partners to scale out enablement activities ranging from general trainings, architecture consulting, to migration support and managed platform services. The enablement activities allowed quick and easy access to specialized resources for BMW teams. AWS also collaborated with these partners to provide support by AWS specialists. The flexibility of having multiple partners allows BMW to plug in partner capabilities for a period of time in order to enable organizational change management and the new way of work, without compromising speed and stability in the short term. The BMW Cloud Native Automation team is responsible for centrally commissioning cloud platform architecture as well as cloud training and consulting offerings on behalf of BMW Group IT. Enabling offerings for cloud migrations are commissioned by the respective IT or business departments responsible for the particular application area. This split of responsibility allowed the teams at BMW Group to scale specialized support across the organization as more business applications moved to the cloud. Figure 3 provides an overview of the APN Partners’ areas of engagement.

Figure 3 Enablement activities with AWS APN Partners at BMW GroupFigure 3. Enablement activities with AWS APN Partners at BMW Group

Accelerator 3: Orchestrate cloud initiatives with future-state software development platform

With the initial migration pilots, we provided a white-glove, intensive hands-on support model rebuilding business applications together with application teams. The purpose of this phase was to develop standards and reusable assets along different migration paths. To scale out DevOps software development in subsequent phases, the Cloud Native Automation team bundled the reference architectures, reusable assets and playbooks in the BMW Developer Portal. This included:

  • Self-service bootstrapping for new projects including collaboration spaces and AWS accounts
  • Development toolchain including CI/CD artifacts with built-in code quality and security testing
  • Codified building block templates
  • Operational integration assets e.g., pre-defined monitoring dashboards (Figure 4)

The self-service model was enabled by:

  • Pre-recorded learning modules and technical how-to sessions,
  • Recurring walk-in sessions, and
  • Consulting offerings such as on-demand cloud architecture consulting sessions.

Figure 4 Components of BMW’s DevOps software development platformFigure 4. Components of BMW’s DevOps software development platform

The BMW Developer Portal emerged as a one-stop shop for building blocks to help expedite initial builds e.g., of container-based applications.

Accelerator 4: Establish a seamless onboarding process for teams to simplify cloud consumption

As a central team providing migration support, the goal of the BMW Cloud Native Automation team was to make interactions with application teams as seamless as possible. Successful engagement required the simplification of the application team onboarding journey. The Cloud Native Automation team established a simple process that bootstrapped AWS deployments for new teams in six steps shown in Figure 5 below:

Figure 5 Cloud onboarding process for BMW teamsFigure 5. Cloud onboarding process for BMW teams

  1. Decide on the best target architecture and landing zone (V1 AWS design) through a cloud architecture consulting session.
  2. Onboard team and use case on new AWS accounts through the Cloud Self Service Portal
  3. Provision the CI/CD toolchain through the self-service modules in the BMW Developer Portal
  4. Configure the building blocks that enable the target architecture through the BMW Developer Portal
  5. Configure the GitOps pipeline to launch the pre-configured AWS resources

Accelerator 5: Maintain security compliance at scale with reusable infrastructure code modules

As part of BMW’s migration pilot phase, we codified the target cloud architectures into reusable modules. These modules provide a blueprint for how the particular infrastructure component can be launched by the BMW Group in a secure way. Module reusability reduced the time to first deployment to a week, and expedited the learning curve for teams who were new to the cloud. Modules consist of launch templates referenced through a central pattern repository. The Cloud Native Automation team maintains configuration state and publishes new releases of the modules. Application teams create wrapper scripts containing different modules including a GitOps pipeline used to deploy to multiple environments—thus bootstrapping automated deployments for application infrastructure from day 1. The design of these modules is detailed in Figure 6 below:

Figure 6. Conceptual design of reusable infrastructure modulesFigure 6. Conceptual design of reusable infrastructure modules

Accelerator 6: Align cloud infrastructure operating models to the new business operating model

To align with BizDevSecOps organizational transformation and cater to different application types, including third-party vendor software, the migration pilot phase addressed applications with widely distributed technology stacks (e.g., Java/Payara/Oracle). The initial migration pilot experience taught us there was not a one-size-fits-all solution. However, common patterns could easily fit the maturity stages of different application teams and the types of applications they run. Today, the BMW Cloud Native Automation team distinguishes and advocates for four target infrastructure models in BMW. Figure 7 provides an overview of the target infrastructure models and associated use cases:

Figure 7. Target cloud infrastructure models at BMWFigure 7. Target cloud infrastructure models at BMW

  1. Shift to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for application components requiring virtual machine (VM) dedication e.g., due to specific licensing requirements.
  2. Containerized applications on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) and AWS Fargate: particularly for application teams who already use BMW Group standard web architectures in combination with tools from the Kubernetes ecosystem.
  3. Simple lift to containers on AWS with Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) and AWS Fargate, especially when teams have no prior knowledge of how to deploy applications or manage infrastructure.
  4. Shift to functions-based development for acyclic workloads operating upon request or in batch, using AWS Lambda.

Business applications are moved to containers and serverless-first strategy, to help reduce management overhead and enable the shift to product team ownership for both application and infrastructure. VM-based migrations have been the exception—for use cases that do not fit either of the paradigms.


The AWS-BMW strategic collaboration aimed at accelerating BMW’s pace of innovation across all company processes. One of the results of this collaboration was the cloud-driven transformation of business applications. With pre-approved building blocks, BMW business owners can now make more informed decisions as needed instead of requiring multiple iterations over several weeks. DevOps teams at the BMW Group can rely on architectural baselines and reusable artifacts to deploy their microservices with minimal friction.

BMW gained this success by designing a six-month migration pilot phase targeting business applications in aftersales, engineering and connected car domains. Through six accelerators, the program paved the way for scalability, allowing hundreds of application teams to benefit in subsequent phases. As a result, over 350 BMW applications transitioned to containers on AWS in 2022.

If you’re ready to embark on your own migration pilot phase, contact AWS Professional Services, explore AWS Migration Competency Partners, or connect with an AWS migration specialist.

Rostislav Markov

Rostislav Markov

Rostislav is principal architect with AWS Professional Services. As technical leader in AWS Industries, he works with AWS customers and partners on their cloud transformation programs. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family outdoors, playing tennis, and skiing.

Carlos Antonio Perea Gomez

Carlos Antonio Perea Gomez

Carlos is a Builder with AWS Professional Services. He enables customers to become AWSome during their journey to the cloud. When not up in the cloud he enjoys scuba diving deep in the waters.

Christos Dovas

Christos Dovas

Christos is Head of Cloud-Native Automation at BMW Group IT. He is passionate about all things cloud and automation. Christos lives with his family in Munich, Germany.