Established in 1948, Finmeccanica has long been Italy's leading aerospace and defense manufacturer, providing helicopters, defense and security electronics, and aeronautics. It is renowned for its technological excellence and has partnered with some of the world's biggest players on marquee projects such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, the FREMM Multipurpose Frigates, the International Space Station, the Joint Strike Fighter, the SuperJet 100 and the satellite navigation system Galileo. Today, Finmeccanica Group is a €16 billion conglomerate that ranks as one of Europe's largest defense systems providers and among the top 10 global players in the field of aerospace, defense and security (AD&S).
Like other AD&S industry leaders, Finmeccanica has recently faced growing economic pressures and tightening defense budgets. As a result, its executive leadership developed a bold strategy for the renewal of its business model. "We want to become the world's leading high-tech company, rooted in the defense sector, but also make a name for ourselves in the civil sector thanks to the development of dual purpose technologies."1
Corporate acquisitions have been a key part of this strategy. For example, the acquisition of DRS Technologies expanded Finmeccanica's presence in the United States while formation of Selex ES has opened opportunities in global electronics and information technology. Expansion into new regional and vertical markets is exciting – but with change come challenges.
"We need to understand the different players in this new world," said Dr. Carlo Musso, Head of the Research Department at Finmeccanica. "With our rapid growth, we also have to ensure we are setting strategies for new directions and integrating our various companies to maximize the synergies."
Building a Best-in-Class Research Team
In 2006, Finmeccanica established its corporate Research Department as an internal think tank to provide thorough analyses of both national and international economic and geopolitical issues as well as multi-faceted market opportunities. Since then, the department has become a central business intelligence resource for hundreds of decision makers across the company – by publishing policy papers, conducting study initiatives and managing relationships with a community of institutes, universities and other external research organizations.
For many years, the Finmeccanica's research team has also partnered with IHS Markit for information, analytics and expertise to optimize their company's strategies and enable better business decisions. In particular, they have relied on IHS Markit Aerospace, Defense & Security for best-in-class defense and security information and looked to Economics & Country Risk for macroeconomic, country and business intelligence and forecasting.
IHS Markit is unique in that information is being integrated in an intelligent way so we can see potential connections between different markets. It's a 360-degree outlook that's difficult to find.
"Our job is to harmonize data and analysis for the entire company," Musso said. "IHS Markit is unique in that information is integrated in an intelligent way so we can see potential connections between different markets. It's a 360-degree outlook that's difficult to find."
The Finmeccanica research team does not simply receive data and analysis from IHS Markit, they actively collaborate with IHS Markit experts on various projects. In 2009, for instance, Finmeccanica joined IHS Markit and other industry leaders in supporting global and energy research for a study called Global Scenario to 2030 that offers insights for investment planning.4
Participation in IHS Markit initiatives has often provided Finmeccanica decision-makers with market insights that proved valuable for planning technology innovations and product development. In return, Finmeccanica's researchers have provided feedback to IHS Markit, offering innovative ideas for the enhancement of information resources and services.
Exploring Worldwide Opportunities
Finmeccanica is consolidating and building upon its proven leadership in aerospace and defense to drive future growth. Finmeccanica is forming joint ventures with local companies in order to enter high-potential emerging markets -- for defense and/or civil systems – in South America and Asia.
"Our researchers are dedicated to understanding the international defense market and exploring opportunities in adjacent vertical markets," said Musso. "We often rely on IHS Markit to provide a macroeconomic perspective and in-depth analysis of specific opportunities to help us determine who the market participants are, what business model is required and potential risk factors."
Finmeccanica is currently investing in a host of joint ventures worldwide, ranging from helicopter assembly in Turkey to modernization of armed forces in Brazil5 as well as in innovative solutions like Di-Boss smart skyscrapers system in Manhattan6 and TramWave®, the catenary-free solution in China.7
Focusing on Efficiency and Sustainability
Increased operational efficiency is another critical part of the Finmeccanica's strategy for renewal. Recently, the company adopted best-practice guidelines to optimize the use of information resources for strategic, technology and business planning – based on a proposal from the Research Department, with input from IHS Markit experts.
Another project between DRS and IHS Markit is underway that will harmonize the market research databases that Finmeccanica uses in Europe and the US.
"We appreciate that IHS Markit is working with us to provide a more integrated, modern way to access information. That's something we cherish," said Musso. "If the different companies within Finmeccanica can see the same data and talk with the same IHS Markit experts then we will be better able to work together."
Over the past decade, Finmeccanica associates around the world have been committed to ensuring optimal performance across three axes of business sustainability: economic, social and environmental.
"We work hard on sustainability across our companies," Musso said. "Being ranked in 2013 on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index – at the European and World level – for the fourth consecutive year was a real success that IHS Markit helped us attain."
Achieving Benchmarks of Progress
Finmeccanica's strategy for renewal of its business model, supported by the Research Department (with information and insight from IHS), is working:
- The company's returned to net profitability in 2013 with new orders increasing by 11% and profitability up in the core AD&S market.8
- Finmeccanica's offices and production sites now span 50 countries, and 55% of its revenue comes from outside Italy9 – with both defense and civil projects on track in new high-potential regions.
"Working with a highly recognized group like IHS Markit adds value to our research and is a clear sign that we are thinking more broadly about our business," concludes Musso. "Finmeccanica and IHS Markit are very different companies, but we've formed a real partnership that is mutually beneficial."