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5 top tips when selecting a Business Intelligence Solution

Given the clear commercial benefits, an increasing number of Retailers and dealer groups across the UK are starting to look more closely at Business Intelligence solutions. So, what are the key things to consider when making that all important purchase decision?

 min read

As many in the motor trade look ahead to a time of decreasing demand, reduced supply and spiralling costs, the ability to interrogate all aspects of business management and financial performance is fundamental to ensuring a robust future.

So, it’s no surprise that senior management teams in automotive retail businesses are considering upgrading or implementing Business Intelligence solutions for the clear benefits they bring including:

·     Making informed decisions

·     Identifying operational efficiencies

·     Spotting profit potential

·     Focusing on one source of truth across the business

·     Supporting an enhanced customer experience

At first glance, choosing the right solution might seem straightforward – after all, how different can these solutions be?

However, on closer inspection there can be varying levels of quality, complexity, reliability and usability.

Given your choice of platform can have a long-term impact on the efficiency of your teams and your ability to generate a return on investment quickly, it’s a decision you need to get right.

While the correct choice will ultimately boil down to your organisation’s specific requirements, there are some fundamental elements everyone should think about during their decision-making process.

1. Look for genuine automotive industry expertise

Dealerships are unique retailing environments with a range of different manufacturer and third-party IT systems, bespoke sales and aftersales processes, tailored reporting requirements plus ever-changing regulatory standards.

Consequently, a one-size-fits-all approach to Business Intelligence will not give the best return on investment.

The best platforms for automotive retailers are designed by people who have lived at the coalface and truly understand life in a modern Retailer. Without this intimate understanding, it’s likely that compromises will have to be made in terms of functionality – or further development time (and cost) will be required to make the platform deliver in the way that you need it to.

2. Look for a proven track record

Switching to a new Business Intelligence solution is an important commercial decision that can often involve multiple people within an organisation.

And for good reason.

Even though the benefits they bring can essentially make introducing these platforms cost-neutral, there is a financial commitment to be made to get the system up and running and, inevitably, to see a rapid return on that investment you need buy in from people across the business quickly.

You’ll need to persuade team members in your organisation that this new approach is better – guiding them through a change in process and attitude.

If your Business Intelligence solution fails early on, then initial reservations towards the new approach will surface and resistance to change will increase.

You need to be sure your chosen system won’t let you down, so it’s important to look at who else is using it, how long it has been in the market and, crucially, what current users are saying about it.

3. Interrogate claims of seamless integration with showroom systems

To enjoy optimum return on investment you need your Business Intelligence platform to integrate with your current DMS and showroom systems as seamlessly as possible.

The best solutions will be able to automatically extract data direct from your DMS and third-party systems – helping you turning traditional spreadsheet-based processes into visually engaging Business Intelligence Workspaces.

However, without this integration working effectively you will negate the benefits you were looking to enjoy in the first place. You could even end up increasing the amount of work your team is required to do – as they are forced to use the new Business Intelligence solution in conjunction with a traditional spreadsheet-based approach.  

4. Think about ease of setup and implementation

Just as an unreliable platform can trigger resistance to change, so can a platform that is time consuming, expensive or tricky to implement and set up.

Every second counts in automotive retailing and you need your teams to be maximising every opportunity to drive sales and profit. After thinking long and hard about which platform to choose, you need set up and implementation to happen as quickly as possible.

Talk to your potential providers about their implementation processes – how long will it typically take? What work do they do up front to understand your business and current set up? What do they know about typical software and systems with car dealerships? What form will the training take?

The best providers will be quick to respond, will have an experienced training team and will ensure you’re enjoying the benefits of your Business Intelligence Solution as quickly as possible.  

5. Responsive backup & support

Once your platform is up and running, no matter how reliable and secure it is, you will still need to be confident about the back-up and support available.

You may have new team members who come on board and need to be trained on how to use it, you might tweak your internal processes and need the platform setup to update accordingly or you might need help to get to grips with new features or system upgrades.

Knowing there is a team ready and willing to answer your questions and help whenever you need it is hugely important. Not only for your peace of mind but for optimising the potential of your new digital processes.

If you’re looking for a Business Intelligence solution with all of the right answers to the above questions, then contact the AutoBI team today via hello@autobi.co.uk or call us on +44 (0) 1952 443 900 and we can set up a system demonstration.

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