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The Eternal Tech Dilemma

12th March 2024

Matt Kroll

Matt Kroll, MD, Titan DMS

 

Does any of the following ring true?

– “Whenever we implement a new system, I reckon we use less than 50% of its effectiveness and pay 100% of its cost.”

– “The software isn’t the problem, I just don’t think my team is great at embracing new processes or systems.”

– “When is the right time to change? What if I invest in something now that’s out of date just as quickly?” 

– “I know my current software won’t manage in the future but the cost and pain of change really doesn’t excite me.”

– “I know I need to upgrade, but to what?  There are so many options and everyone promises everything and how do I know which to choose?”

These are all variations of conversations I’ve had in the last couple of months with dealers and OEMs and they are perfectly understandable. 

Our industry is full of talk about disruptions in customer experience delivery and vital changes in the tech side of automotive but condensing all this chatter into a valuable and actionable plan isn’t quite so straightforward. 

Nobody in the examples above doubted technology was going to play an increasingly prominent and important part in their future service delivery, so it wasn’t the “why” that was causing problems, it was the when, how, and what.

So, if you know you need to drive technology change in your business where do you start? Here are some thoughts that I hope prove useful in establishing direction.

 

  • Focus on strategy.  Analyse how software contributes to overall future business strategy. Are you sticking with outdated and frustrating technology because avoiding change is the easier short-term option? Clarity on longer-term goals helps you work backward to establish the steps & resources needed to achieve them.

 

  • Build on solid foundations – Are your data processes robust? Is your core data system future-ready, flexible, and capable of enabling successful change? Is your team educated and prepared for tech change? Are you? If not, any future investment could be wasted.  Get the right foundations in place then small improvements, done consistently over time, can have a huge impact.

 

  • Seek partnership.  Does the supplier understand your business intimately? A large proportion of any project’s success is knowing the software can do exactly what your business needs. Will the supplier support your team to create a good process and help your people become experts in using that software?

 

  • Ensure compatibility – Can the software integrate with the other technology in your business?  Will it be able to successfully integrate with software you are likely to need in the future?

 

  • Define success – what does a successful result look like?  Share that vision with the team and the supplier so everyone is clear on the ultimate goal.

 

  • Prioritise security – Will your and your customers’ data be secure with this system? Investigate the technology stack of the supplier and ask for reassurance.

 

  • Empower champions Spread the responsibility for success.  Your team will engage better if they are given fair warning of the change, understand the importance of its success to the business, and are afforded individual responsibility over different aspects of that change.

 

  • Seek reassurance – is the system being used successfully elsewhere in your industry?  Does it work in real-world applications? Can you speak to people, in your situation, who are using it successfully and would recommend it?

 

Automotive is no different from most other business sectors today in that technology is a core pillar of success but rarely a specialism of the people in charge. This makes adoption challenging but hopefully returning to basics like those above can help navigate some of that complexity

Ultimately, the pace of technological change is only going to increase and the winners will be those who embrace it. So, make sure your foundations are in order then grab those opportunities, and shape a future where technology fuels the automotive journey, whatever that looks like!

Matt Kroll, 

MD, Titan DMS

 

 

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