Dealerships are under an enormous amount of pressure to move units and retain service customers while diligently managing expenses, all of which require faster and more accurate data-driven decision making. This means having data analytic capabilities well beyond native DMS capabilities and therefore, a business intelligence (BI) system.
In order to make faster decisions, having a desktop-based BI solution is insufficient. In fact, the era of desktop-only BI is over. BI vendors are providing mobile solutions because users are demanding access right from their smartphones. Since dealership staff are constantly moving, whether working with customers, in staff meetings or offsite, they want the ability to engage with and analyze their data on any device.
What Is Mobile BI?
Mobile BI, at its essence, means that users are able to access their data at any time and any place. Picture this, your service manager arrives in the morning and is swamped with customers, staff issues and other meetings. She gets an alert on her phone from her mobile BI app that one of her service advisors has an open RO with a loaner car out for 11 days, one more than your 10-day maximum policy. Right from her phone, while in a warranty-audit meeting, she’s able to forward the alert to the service advisor requesting clarification.
User Experience/ Platform Considerations
Not all BI platforms provide the same depth or capabilities in their mobile applications — if they provide them at all. For those systems that do have a mobile component, some provide a satisfactory experience from a desktop computer, but the mobile experience leaves much to be desired.
For example, some apps simply try to display the desktop on your mobile. In most instances, this does not work well, and this is why many data-intensive consumer applications, such as Mint and Quickbooks, have dedicated mobile applications which you download. Native mobile applications for BI are optimized to transfer data faster and display it correctly formatted for a small screen. The user experience is infinitely better than a desktop view that is scaled for mobile. Add data-driven notifications and alerts, the ability to annotate and share dashboards, reports and scorecards seamlessly, perform data analytics while on the move and collaborate with other members of your team and mobile BI comes in to its own.
So even though some vendors claim to offer a seamless experience between desktop and mobile, you should probably confirm this before deciding. If your mobile experience isn’t up to snuff, your ability to fully leverage your BI system will be significantly compromised.
Everybody Is on the Same Page
Collaboration between your departmental managers and GMs is key to getting the most out of your investment in a BI platform. You no longer have to gather your team in person around a screen, because mobile BI enables them to see their data from anywhere, at any time.
In fact, having mobile BI, your team is able to respond to changes in their KPIs in practically real-time, which also results in the ability to get everyone on the same page. For example, if you’re a GM, there’s no need to ask your sales manager how much gross you made on a given car, only to get the F&I number. With the right mobile BI app, you’ll have access to the true accounting gross, so there are no surprises or arguments around who has the right information.
As data becomes more available through mobile BI across the dealership or dealer group, managers and even salespeople and service advisors will be inclined to check it, engage in discussions around it, offer feedback and share whatever insights they may have found. Mobile BI provides them with the freedom to do this. Everyone will have the information they need to make real-time decisions.
Implementing a BI solution at your dealership and training your team requires investment of significant time, effort and money, which means your BI solution provider should have a long-term vision for how its products, desktop and mobile will evolve to keep up with technological change such as artificial intelligence. Mobile BI will help to exponentially leverage your BI solution, adding significant versatility and convenience across the enterprise.
Its undeniable that mobile BI is powerful stuff and when combined with data from not just the DMS but also workflow apps, heralds a new era for dealership operating efficiency.