There was a time when auto dealerships could get by with manual data capture, analysis, and reporting using spreadsheets. Today, massive changes in the automotive market make it vital for dealerships to invest in automotive BI software — or automotive business intelligence software — to survive.
Traditional spreadsheets like Excel are still popular despite their obvious limitations. However, even with new versions like Google Sheets, spreadsheets can only offer static data sets that are of little value when it comes to predicting fast-moving market forces.
Let's compare SalesLogs automotive BI software with traditional spreadsheets to learn how dealerships can use advanced tools to thrive.
Why does every business love spreadsheets?
Many small businesses still operate using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Spreadsheets are cheap and easy to use, and everybody knows how to use them. Few employees and managers are ready to give up that familiarity for completely unknown software.
Also, most dealerships don't see the need for advanced analytics. Instead, some dealership managers still rely on instincts to run the business. To them, there's little need to cross-reference complex data sets and run complicated reports for insights.
Above all else, spreadsheets are cheap. They don't require monthly subscription charges, and the business runs no additional staff training costs. Anyone can enter figures in an Excel table, and a good accountant or manager can generate basic reports like expenses, sales, or P&L.
It takes a leap to buy subscription-based BI software, pay for training, and change your entire management style to one that's dependent on data.
Is your cloud solution really effective?
The new generation of spreadsheets is a big improvement on Excel and other traditional software tools. Google Sheets, for example, works on the cloud and allows simultaneous access, auto-saving, and some modern analysis features.
But even then, spreadsheets are still limited in functionality and are vulnerable to deletion and data corruption. Without purpose-built accessibility, security, and data analysis features, dealerships still face the same limitations present in older spreadsheet technology.
- Spreadsheets can't handle large amounts of data.
- Spreadsheets rely on humans to update, format, and analyse data.
- Reports require manual generation.
- Access control is difficult, even with password protection.
SalesLogs automotive software solves all these problems. For starters, our platform offers intelligent, self-service analytics. You get to generate reports with one click of a button, even when it involves large amounts of disparate data.
Our dealership business intelligence software also controls permissions that you can manage by user or department. This allows you to eliminate silos in the business without compromising sensitive business information.
But remember, not every "business intelligence" platform is truly smart. Some are based on spreadsheets and may not offer true BI functionality. A purpose-built BI tool like SalesLogs is heads and shoulders above the competition because we designed it purposely for dealerships.
Cost of spreadsheets vs. dealership BI software
Spreadsheets may cost very little, but they are extremely labour-intensive. They require manual data entry, constant maintenance, formatting, and analysis. That's not even considering the cost of expensive errors.
Imagine that a customer ordered parts, but someone made a mistake. When the parts arrive a month later, they're wrong, and the customer gets angry. Remember that the more complicated a spreadsheet gets, the more open to human error it is.
At the same time, spreadsheets have minimal ability to collate data collected from other departments. Without this ability, dealership managers won't have a clear view of the business's current position and future prospects, which is extremely costly in terms of missed opportunities and operational inefficiencies.
Keeping a bird's eye view of things requires collecting and tracking many independent data sets. From revenue streams to costs, your dealership needs a powerful business intelligence tool that analyses data and delivers real-time reports.
The real value of business intelligence software lies in the analytics and insights it provides. This is what helps dealerships to pivot and adapt to changing conditions.
The cost of operating traditional spreadsheets versus the gains of adopting business intelligence software makes it an easy decision. It's a question of paying a little now or more later.
Off-the-shelf vs. purpose-built
There's no question that the modern dealership requires accurate and timely data to navigate successfully in the current automotive market. For instance, traditional vehicle manufacturers are now following Tesla's direct-to-customer model, bypassing dealerships in the process.
Changes like this affect the dealership's relationship with the manufacturers and customers. In conditions with low and uncertain profits (such as during this post-pandemic period), dealerships have to become more competitive under hostile market conditions.
To get the edge dealerships need to survive, advanced features such as automation and big data handling are necessary. Spreadsheets do not have this powerful functionality.
Despite recent improvements in analysis and visualisation tools, tools like Sheets can actually cripple dealership growth. Plus, even the newest features available in cloud-based spreadsheets require a lot of expertise, including some knowledge of Excel programming.
The amount of time and effort needed to prepare and format data for analysis is often impractical, defeating the purpose of analysing data to grow. As a dealership manager, you can't spend all day, every day, crunching numbers.
According to McKinsey, dealerships now need to focus on customer experiences. Automotive BI tools like SalesLogs feature cutting-edge features that significantly reduce the time you spend crunching numbers.
With timely business intelligence, you can make decisions to take advantage of innovative ways to grow. Also, as the automotive industry evolves, so does business intelligence software. At SalesLogs, we keep our ears on the ground to continuously improve our platform. We even have API integration for connecting with OEM portals, as well as DMS, finance, and other industry-specific systems.
Scaling potential: spreadsheets vs. BI software for dealerships
Spreadsheets are not scalable. They take too much manpower to run and maintain. Also, they don't handle segmented data well. Even with cloud-based spreadsheets, you can't handle the task management, team collaboration, and workflows necessary for large businesses.
Plus, working with spreadsheets creates silos between your teams and prevents effective communication. It becomes difficult to share information at the scale enterprises require to perform efficiently.
On the other hand, dealership business intelligence tools bring all team members, projects, and departments together under one roof. Even when you have multiple branches in different locations, management has all the information they need to captain the business without having to juggle spreadsheets.
Business intelligence software for dealerships allows management to have a clear view of each department's performance and how each decision affects dealership performance. SalesLogs scales with you as your business grows and adapts to the new challenges you face.
Spreadsheets and automotive BI software both increase operational costs as your dealership grows. But only BI tools like SalesLogs increase your management and growth potential, no matter how big your business grows.
Embrace dealership business intelligence software
Dealership performance, efficiencies, and profits are closely tied to the type of technology you use to run your business. Data on spreadsheets hardly reveals its secrets, which can hurt your growth potential by keeping you blind to what's really happening.
With SalesLogs automotive BI software, you have a software solution that actively supports your growth by providing real-time insights and business intelligence to help you navigate. Book your demo now, and discover just how much our automotive BI software can do for you.