Car dealers generate massive amounts of data during their daily operations. Whether from their dealer management system (DMS), or other operational tools like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, this data can provide dealers with invaluable insight into how their business is performing, what their customers expect from them, and how they rank against competitors in the market.
However, these insights are not accessible automatically. Dealers must invest in reporting and analytics to turn complex, distributed data into comprehensive reports and dashboards that measure performance, inform decisions, and improve forecasting across multiple business areas.
Business intelligence (BI) is the key to transforming business data into user-friendly reports and dashboards that highlight key metrics and provide your car dealership with actionable insights.
Report generation is one aspect of a well-managed BI practice, but your BI operations should go beyond manually generated reports and hard-to-read spreadsheets. Instead, you should focus on making data accessible to everyone at your dealership and using it to inform strategic business decisions.
So, is your car dealership ready to implement a business intelligence solution? Keep reading to see if any of these common signs sound familiar.
Manual report generation is often tedious and time-consuming. You or your team of analysts must extract data from your DMS and other sources, manipulate it based on multiple users' needs, and validate it to ensure reports reflect the correct information.
If your reporting process takes days or even weeks, you are always looking at outdated information when assessing performance or making critical business decisions. When you do not look at this month’s sales figures until the first day of next month, you miss out on the opportunity to dive deeper into areas of concern or capitalize on areas of high performance.
Without access to timely insights, you certainly cannot make decisions that will improve your car dealership operations in real time. Plus, if a department veers off track from its key performance indicators (KPIs) or other success metrics, it could take days or weeks before this is noticed, and corrective action is taken.
BI steers you away from delayed analyses, allowing you to generate automated reports hourly, daily, and weekly as needed. That way, everyone can keep a pulse on current performance and use the latest insights to inform time-sensitive decisions or quick adjustments to their day-to-day work.
Excel-based tables and reports are more than just tedious to create; they are also challenging to maintain between multiple contributors. It is unfortunately very easy for Excel files to become obsolete or inaccurate once reports go out to managers or decision-makers in your organization.
Consider what happens when users download static reports on a one-off basis: One manager may download a report and copy the data within it directly to a PowerPoint deck. Another manager might download the report, edit certain cells, and save the modified version to their computer.
Suddenly, two versions of the truth are circulating throughout your company, and the employee who asks manager number two for the latest sales report will walk away with inaccurate results. This problem multiplies as data spreads throughout your organization and only increases in severity as users attempt to run analyses or create new reports on their own via Excel or other offline sources.
The right BI solution brings order and consistency to both your dealership’s data and its reporting operations. Meticulously maintained data warehouses ensure clean data on the back end, and users can access web-based analytics dashboards to see the latest insights and operating results from a single location. When you need to generate PDF-based reports, you can use your solution to send out the same up-to-date file to everyone simultaneously via email, so your entire organization can work from one source of truth.
Dealerships struggle with data accessibility for several reasons. If you do not have a well-managed reporting process, some of your most valuable business data is likely locked away inside your DMS and other core systems. This information is challenging to access without a dedicated BI solution, forcing you to either extract, organize, and analyze it manually or simply leave it out of the equation.
In other cases, you may already be analyzing data from your DMS on a routine basis, but the analysis is complex and therefore restricted to a small team of tech-savvy data experts or IT professionals. This means the impact and insights drawn from your data will be relatively limited since business users — like department heads, technicians, and salespeople — can’t access reports and other analyses on their own.
When you implement a business intelligence solution, you can put analytics capabilities in the hands of your entire team. Your new solution should equip them with easy-to-use reporting tools and intuitive dashboards that leverage charts, graphs, and other data visualizations to turn robust data sets into engaging, actionable insights. You can even use embedded links to display these dashboards directly inside the tools your employees already use, like your DMS or CRM platform, so they can see the latest KPIs and reporting insights without clicking between multiple systems.
Car dealers rely on BI data to shape their business strategies and keep up with changes in the market.
Download our free guide to learn more about the role of BI in car dealership operations and see which KPIs you should report on in every department within your dealership.