About the Customer
As an increasingly information-driven business, European Motor Distributors turned up the focus on its use of Jet Analytics, improving information accessibility for better decision making across all four of its business units. As a result, today it benefits from a true operational intelligence solution which draws data from across the full value chain to provide actionable insights that can rapidly influence business direction.
European Motor Distributors (EMD) holds the national import and distribution rights of Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Skoda. As a collective of national brands, EMD is the custodian of bringing these brands into New Zealand, engaging and aligning the vehicles with their target markets, and communicating the points of difference. Its activities include product planning and pricing, sales, service, parts, and marketing. EMD is a Giltrap Group company.
Matt Tohill, EMD’s GM of IT & Digital, provides a brief insight into the company’s IT landscape: “We use Incadea, an automotive industry vertical solution, built on top of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and CRM; we integrate all the way through to the factory systems of the manufacturers in Europe, and we integrate forward with our retailers across the country. We have Flow Software [middleware] sitting in between for the data integration between these systems; there is a lot of back and forth with our product master data across the whole value chain as we keep an eye on a lot of metrics such as pricing, parts and costs, sales analysis, and more.”
It may not occur to the man on the street, but the vehicle business—like a lot of other industries in the modern era—is highly-data driven. “Understanding that data effectively is challenging; more than that, it is important that we understand the end customer and what products they are buying, how often they are serviced, and their satisfaction. We need to tie that together and offer insights to the business on what products to offer so it can get the right vehicle in front of the right customer at the right time. You want to make sure the customer’s experience is a good one from when they first think about a vehicle to when they talk to the dealerships.”
Tohill says the challenge is to join the dots and present the data to the business in a meaningful way. “We’d started by using Jet Reports, which was very successful. But there were some limitations, including that it took data directly off the ERP systems and that meant performance limitations; it could put out reports, but these were static and not very user friendly.”
With the initial usage of Jet Reports demonstrating the promise of the reporting solution in its business, Tohill says EMD didn’t hesitate to step things up by implementing Jet Analytics, the fully-featured solution which incorporates a data warehouse.
“Because Jet Analytics offers a standard data warehouse for the NAV environment, that means cubes out of box and an implementation which was really cost effective. By creating a separate data repository outside of core platforms, allowing for the combination of multiple internal and external data sources with our ERP and CRM, and using Excel as the presentation layer, Jet Analytics proved ideal.”
Excel, says Tohill, is a solution that the business is comfortable with. “That meant from a change management perspective, things were easy; and Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis.”
Having used Jet Analytics for over 18 months, Tohill confirms that EMD has had ample opportunity to put it through its paces. Notably, he says, getting it up and running for the first time and delivering actionable intelligence took just a matter of weeks. “It’s not a big, Tier-1 solution; it requires some infrastructure, but you can flick that up pretty quickly these days and the client install is straightforward. Being so closely tied to Dynamics meant that within a few hours of completing the implementation, it produced a few standard cubes that were immediately usable and from which we started to build a suite of reports.”
He agrees that there is nothing more satisfying than seeing immediate results from an investment. “Absolutely, that’s what you want. Within hours, we were running pivots across cubes from a number of data sources.”
This approach, Tohill continues, meant it was possible to get to grips with Jet Analytics while establishing how to get the best value from it. “We built and presented those reports to the business to demonstrate what was possible and to start driving demand within the business for those insights. Once we whet the appetite, the business started to demand more.”
Subsequently, the company employed a BI specialist to drive the performance and value of the data in its information systems, ably supported by Jet Analytics. “As a result, we’ve got consistency of measures and reporting across the four business units. We have more reports, which are easily produced; key performance indicators are made available to all—and that helps focus people—and we’ve had numerous examples where decisions are made on the basis of reports from Jet Analytics. Where the supporting reports might once have taken two weeks or more, we get it in half an hour.”
There is a “self-service” component, too, with managers able to access information around the cloud using mobile devices to access a portal which has dashboards of relevant information. “Jet Analytics is a solution that the business is comfortable with. The information it presents is consistently valuable, has a real impact on business direction, and, because it updates from our core system every half hour, it keeps an accurate finger on the pulse of the company,” Tohill concludes.