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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | India plays a strategic role in the development of our various products
India plays a strategic role in the development of our various products
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With numerous benefits of integrated technology across industries, automotive dealerships across the globe are getting smarter, and are installing technology to collect data and improve their services for products, manufacturers and for their customers. (L to R) Mahesh Shah (MS), VP & Chief Product and Technology Officer, Amy Byrne (AB), Chief Human Resource Officer, Arvind Chaturvedi (AC), MD, Joy George (JG) VP-HR India, CDK Global shares their global outlook and Indian talent, global products and observations on the Asian market.
What are your focus areas in India?
AC: We are an automobile retail software manufacturer and we have customers in 100 countries and have been in the industry for over 40 years now. We have gone through a series of human resource changes globally and we are looking at changing the way we look at India, in terms of talent and driving innovation in new products. We are investing in talent in order to bring it to a global stage.
Today, many of our products that are led and conceptualised from India are developed in US or Europe. Thus, we truly are a global company leveraging talent across the globe.
Are you routing your products through OEMs or targeting directly via dealers?
MS: Part of both we do today. Historically, yes our products were targeted to dealers. What's happening today is more and more software is built into the car and with that the car becomes an IoT device that helps to connect back. In order to drive value for our customers, you need to look back like what is in the vehicle, what about dealership and what is with the manufacturer.
We are working with manufacturers. Fortrellis is a platform for us to do that. For example, we have a solution which we have built for our USA- based client, Lyft which is a lift for business and is integrated with our DMS and billing and such activities are taken care. With such an offering, we opened our DMS, working with third parties, bringing in their solutions as well to add value to our dealership. The value in this case for a dealer is that you don’t need to carry a car, if your car is in service, and you can use Lyft for transport.
If you have a closed software dealership management system (DMS) solution you may not be able to integrate other platforms. Thus, we have an open environment with our software to integrate it with others.
What difference do you see in terms of Western and Asian market?
AC: In Asia, automotive dealers are small and they are many. For small dealers, we need to incorporate many small workflows in our software according to the number of people who are using it, their skills to understand the software functionality, person working in two areas like service and sales where you need to manage workflows differently. In case of larger dealerships, many different roles and people have to be managed with workflows designed accordingly. In case of India and Asian countries, small dealers require different kinds of workflows, different manufacturers involved and each of them require specific type of integration and inventory status. In Indian market, we may need to go through third parties or small dealers or manufacturers.
MS: The European market is more manufacturer-driven with showrooms and experience centres/ zones while in USA the franchise and dealership laws are very specific in requirements. Considering East and West, the automotive business is completely different. In each of these market, customers' entity changes and thus we are very cautious about the same.
Tell us about your customised offerings.
MS: It is Saas software and is built for a general segment. DriveFlex is a good example as we were using it to be focused and independent, meaning not tied-up with manufacturers, which is quite similar to Indian market.
Tell us about your investments in India and what are they targeted at?
MS: As of now, we are considering India as our talent pool. It will be too early to launch our products. In China, we are not looking ahead to have a product development pool alike India rather we will expand there as our customer base.
AC: CDK Global continues to invest in the talent that the Indian market has to offer for the development and support of our products. Our investments in our Graduate Program and our partnership with various technical institutions for providing internship opportunities, is towards our commitment to develop entry-level talent. The learning platforms and programs that we invest in, are designed to create a world-class product-engineering workforce that is capable of delivering products for the global markets. We are also investing in establishing the right partnerships with industry thought-leaders and experts, to enable our people to be forward-thinking, through the right insights into the trends and innovations happening in IT.
MS: None of these investments are directed at any specific market. Our outlook is to create global products that can be localised, based on specific market needs when we are looking to open any new market.
CDK Global has been in India since 2014, why haven’t you launched a product for Indian market?
AC: We came to India for its talent and over the years, we have been able to leverage this great talent to provide global solutions and products. While we see India as a good market to explore, we are focussing on other markets at present. Our solutions are designed and developed across locations, wherein the engineering and/or product leadership could come from any of our various locations that we operate from, including India. Thus, India plays a strategic role in the development of our various products.
As of now, we are considering India as our talent pool. It will be too early to launch our products. In China, CDK Global will not conduct product development alike India rather we will serve as a customer base.
Tell us about your product, Fortellis.
MS: Fortellis can be used by dealers for connecting with multiple applications made available through Fortellis and integrating with their existing solutions to help them manage their dealership. Examples are: CRM Solutions, booking car rides for customers, service appointments and multiple other solutions and their associated data can be used by dealers. The Fortellis solution has a quick and easy way for dealers to subscribe to solutions.
Fortellis allows solution providers to improve their solution adoption by placing their solutions on Fortellis Marketplace. Dealers can subscribe to solutions or either pay based on volume/requests, monthly flat fee or based on small service charge for each request.
Will Indian dealers be keen on adapting to such a product?
AC: The dealers across the world, including India, are keen on improving their profitability and reducing the costs of holding cars in their lots. They also focus on improving revenue from parts & service and creating a great customer experience. Fortellis has solutions and data that can help dealers improve their profitability and improving their operating margins.
Tell us about the recent restructuring that help you establish connect across the departments.
AB: CDK Global is an acquisitions company. The ‘C’ stands for Cobalt Digital Marketing, ‘D’ references dealer services and ‘K’ links to Kerridge Computer Company.
2.5 years ago, we had not integrated our acquisitions into a global company. Earlier, India, North America and international were three dimensions of our business, operated separately. Restructuring some of the leaderships, we connected these departments. Various product development and HR teams were unified into one, globally.
JG: We focussed on developing products from India rather cutting on budgets among teams, which regarded as a backward strategy and not generally recommended.
It has come to our notice that linking teams across the globe helped to better understand customers and passing knowhow of the industry knowledge.
Kerridge Computer Company
Dealership Management System
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