The car market of today is quite different from the 1980’s when Innovative Aftermarket Systems (IAS) was founded. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, IAS specializes in providing warranties to the automotive industry, including a broad range of finance and insurance products, with a network of business partners that includes some of the U.S.’s largest car dealerships.
The main difference over those many decades is how cars are purchased. Prospects are savvier and much more informed than years past. They sift through online reviews for the right mix of best price and value, with the haggling of yesteryear long gone. For IAS to best serve today’s agents, dealers and customers, the company needs to be readily informed in real time across a variety of data points, since a car purchase today involves more than just the sticker price, and includes projections on maintenance, repairs, service and other costs.
“Educating customers on all the cost aspects of car ownership is essential to our value proposition,” said Patrick Straub, IAS’ Vice President of Business. “As a company, we realized we needed the most up-to-date, sophisticated market intelligence and visibility that our digital age requires.”
Looking Towards the Future: Data Transformation
IAS’ challenge wasn’t that it lacked data, but how that data was being accessed and leveraged. Decision making relied too heavily on institutional knowledge alone, with information residing in the minds of its senior management or Business Intelligence department. This model limited the whole enterprise and its employees from maximizing the value of their data, and IAS looked to move toward a model that modernized its data sharing model at scale.
After an extensive search, IAS adopted Qlik Sense for its ease of use, robust functionality, and user-friendly interface. With Qlik Sense, IAS could enable users to build their own apps, which skyrocketed data use. Users were able to interrogate data more easily, reports were produced faster, and insights were more accessible and actionable across departments. And IAS’ analysts could use Qlik Sense to delve more deeply into the data, iteratively engaging with the platform to unearth increasingly powerful intelligence to inform business strategy. With Qlik Sense, data exploration quickly became an IAS byword.
The Need for Integration
As IAS grew both organically and through acquisition, the company took on more data and systems, requiring a retooling of existing IT processes. Acquired companies were sending siloed data in a range of formats, requiring heavy manhours to reconcile. IAS once again turned to Qlik, this time for help integrating these growing volumes of data from disparate, inaccessible repositories into an analytics-ready resource.
The company selected Qlik Replicate, Qlik Compose and Qlik Data Catalyst as the foundation of its data integration strategy. Each lend significant value along the data supply chain:
• Qlik Compose automated and optimized IAS’ data warehouse creation and operation, leveraging best practices and proven design patterns;
• Qlik Replicate handled the task of data replication and ingestion from any source; and
• The catalog deployed with Qlik Data Catalyst served as the secure, governed repository, from which to organize and access analytics-ready data
IAS was now able to harmonize data sources with each acquisition. This strategy provided great value to a structural change around Business Intelligence IAS made in parallel. It created the “BI Guild,” made up of Qlik Sense developers; empowered Data Stewards to manage data rationalization; and created a Data Governance Committee, all of which benefited from the modern approach to data integration through Qlik.
The benefits extended beyond insights to employee efficiency gains. Before Qlik, IAS business analysts would spend excessive time on reports instead of data analysis, synthesis and recommendations. Today, analysts spend 90 percent of their time solving business problems, and developer productivity also increased five-fold.
Smarter Business Decisions through Data
IAS now looks at data in a whole new way. Instead of being confined to how data is stored in databases, analysts construct information models from new vantage points. Actionable insights have enabled IAS to access customer and dealer penetration by ZIP code, deploy a more insightful revenue-by-VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) model, and leverage a more strategic way to look at revenue by region. By identifying the best performing dealers in the country, IAS is now better able to repeat best practices and focus budgets more effectively.
The effect has been transformational. IAS users now have the tools they need to share and access a consolidated view of their data, and the business has gained a new level of insight to inform future strategy.
Patrick Straub notes that IAS’ focus is now on enablement. “For our sales team, we want to increase the availability of product assets and content, training and coaching, and the readiness of all of our team to help each of IAS’ customers along the buyer journey. With Qlik’s help these past few years, we wouldn’t be at this point now or looking toward an increasingly bright future.”
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