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Auto retailers must know how to monetise big data, says CDK Global’s Nina Sethi
February 22, 2016 News

Big data and predictive analytics can help automotive retailers and original equipment manufacturers face increasing pressures of cost and competition, says Sethi

Sourabh Gupta,

Boundaries between automotive retailers and original equipment manufacturers are changing with the increased usage of big data and predictive analytics and they must figure out a way to monetise the massive amounts of data being generated by the vehicles, says Nina Sethi, associate vice president-ARI India at CDK Global, a provider of integrated computing systems to vehicle dealers. She also says that to adapt to this change, today tech professionals need to get out of comfort zones and seek cross-functional collaboration.

Excerpts from an interview with

Amid IoT and big data, what kind of tech requirements will the automotive industry see in the future? 

Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than 250 million vehicles will be connected globally. In fact, car manufacturers have been playing with this technology for a long time and most vehicles on the road today are connected cars. This is making it easier for customer identification data, vehicle performance, repair history, vehicle issue reporting and location data, which is technically integrated into the vehicles computer to be available to the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) via wireless communication. Traditional boundaries between dealers (automotive retailers) and the OEM are changing.

Although the data is readily available, it has not been converted into significant revenue generator. Available technology with the help of upgraded infrastructure will leverage this data in bridging the gap. Some benefits already being enjoyed are — aftersales services integrated into the vehicle with targeted offers to consumers and traffic congestion avoidance helping in reducing accidents and impacting insurance costs and asset management.

Big data and predictive analytics have a huge potential to help automotive retailers and OEMs face increasing pressures of cost and competition, of globalisation and unstable markets. The key is for retailers to understand that they can collect all the data but most importantly, they need to know how to monetise it.

Can you list a few emerging tech trends that could soon become mainstream in your industry?

Connected cars, big data analytics, cloud-based data warehouses and real-time information updates.

Has the hiring process changed in tech companies like yours? How effective are coding contests?

The hiring process has not changed significantly. Since we hire for niche skills for a niche domain, all our hiring has a stringent selection process suitable to the business unit that requires the heads.

What steps CDK Global is taking to be an employer of choice?

CDK Global was formerly ADP. We inherited the core principles of a family values driven successful organisation and continue to build on those. Our focus is towards building products and we have created the environment with a world class facility in Hyderabad and Pune to house the talent that is our strength and asset.

Most of our initiatives are around understanding our associates needs and ensuring accountable and timely action to deliver on those needs.

Being world class to me means having engaged associates and that translates into enabling a system of two-way communication, effective management & leadership and alignment of associate goals and companys success objectives. Specifically, we are aligning job roles across the globe and strengthening our appraisal processes to offer clear career development paths.

Global recognition schemes, actively encouraging an innovative culture, investing in industry leading tools for our shared services and encouraging a culture of transparency and integrity across the organisation is what I believe will also help enhance our position in the industry.

How would you rate the innovation quotient of todays candidates? What are the skill gaps?

The IQ for todays candidates in R&D is pretty high. What we need are senior leaders to actively give confidence that failing is OK and for organisations to enable recognition and reward around innovative outputs.

The candidates themselves must be able to get themselves out of their comfort zone to actively seek cross-functional collaboration. What I see is that they talk the talk around innovation, are happy to perform in organised events but do not actively seek out opportunities in daily work for discussing ideas with a view to taking them to completion. I see a distinct lack of interpersonal skills which is critical to weave innovation through your normal work flows.


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