Auto dealers are awash in data. Today, every customer transaction is recorded in their CRM tool. Vehicle information abounds in the Dealership Management System. Local market data on age, race, income, education level and media habits are readily available from various marketing partners. There is software to help dealers track a variety of business processes.
Unfortunately, data on its own provides little value. It is merely the first building block to a more extensive process that grows from data to actual business value. The big question for dealers is: How do we improve along the Data-to-Value (D2V) Continuum? That is, how to transition from just gathering reams of data to having it provide helpful intelligence and improved decision-making to achieve the end goal: significantly increasing value.
Turning Data Into Results
No dealer we know wants to spend their days looking through reams of data and an endless parade of spreadsheets. Nor do they want to saddle their operationally focused IT resources with the responsibility of developing products to harness and analyze data.
What they need, and what is one of the fastest-growing categories in the business world, is Self-Service Business Intelligence. According to Allied Market Research, the Self-Service Business Intelligence market will reach $14.9 billion globally by 2026.
At first blush, Self-Service Business Intelligence sounds like one more responsibility on a dealer's plate. In reality, Self-Service Business Intelligence is an approach to data analytics that enables users to access and explore data sets and make sense of what they mean. Even if the user is not an expert in data mining or statistical analysis, Self-Service Business Intelligence enables them to review information quickly. With ""Speed-to-Knowledge"" being a critical aspect of D2V, the easier it is to obtain insights, the faster you can increase value.
Business Intelligence in Three Easy Steps
The best business intelligence systems simplify a user' 's life by quickly doing three things:
- Digesting a lot of data, turning it into information, and providing a quick snapshot into what is happening now.
- Determining how various actions will impact dealership performance against specific Key Performance Indicators.
- Providing a simple way to cascade the user's instructions throughout the organization to make sure team members take appropriate action.
How to "See" Your Performance
Data visualization is the key first step and is one of the most important aspects for creating usable Business Intelligence. A dealership principal or general manager who has the ability to quickly review the data on their desktop, tablet or iPhone can immediately see where they stand for a particular business function. For example, at AutoAp, we provide a simple Safety Recall Liability score which rates dealers on their relative liability. This information is provided in graphical form and is based on how the dealership is actually using AutoAp's solutions combined with our proprietary recall management technologies.
Once a dealer knows their score, the next step is to provide recommendations to quickly and easily improve performance. For Self-Service Business Intelligence in general, this means "How can I put in the minimum amount of work to get the maximum performance for a given KPI?"
The final and perhaps most crucial step is to provide a way to send specific action steps to team members. Once a dealer has identified a business challenge and how it can be solved, the last thing they want to do is convene a team meeting to rehash the issue and slow down their employees. They simply want to send a message to the team that says, "Fix this problem by taking these actions."
Once team members have their marching orders, they can execute following the dealership principal's wishes.
At this stage, the dealer has moved up the D2V Continuum from data to increased value, all in just a few minutes. Their people can then execute against this knowledge and the dealer principal's vision to achieve even better results.
Dealers have the correct data to make myriad business decisions. They have to commit to the right tools to harness the power of data to make meaningful business improvements.
Mark Paul (pictured, above left) is CEO of AutoAp, a Beaverton, OR-based company which helps clients increase profitability, decrease liability and reduce customers’/drivers’ risks with comprehensive, accurate and timely safety recall management and business intelligence solutions.