Annata Ask The Expert Series | Q&A with Dave Cope: Business intelligence and analytics

Share on

In the ever-evolving landscape of the automotive and equipment industries, data-driven decision-making has emerged as a critical driver of success. As businesses continue to navigate complex challenges and embrace digital transformation, the power of business intelligence (BI) and analytics becomes increasingly apparent. To shed light on the significance of BI in the automotive and equipment sector, we had the honor of sitting down with Dave Cope, Head of Global Black Belts at Annata.

As the leader of Global Black Belts—a team renowned for their expertise in process optimization, data analysis, and business strategy—Cope brings a unique perspective on the growing role of BI in driving innovation, efficiency, and sustainable growth.

In this exclusive interview, we delve into Dave Cope’s insights and observations regarding the impact of business intelligence on automotive and equipment companies. We explore the strategies, challenges, and opportunities that lie ahead for the industry, and uncover the key to unlocking the full potential of BI in the pursuit of excellence.

1. Tell us a bit about your professional journey.

I joined Annata in Spring 2018 having worked as a Business Analyst within the UK Construction Sector for the previous 10 years. My time in the construction industry taught me many things, not least that my passion for analytics isn’t always shared.  When the opportunity arose to join a company that would allow me to work with the latest technology and explore the art of the possible, I jumped at the chance.

Since arriving I have been fortunate to see my role evolve from that of a BI Developer to being able to embrace the entirety of the Microsoft Power Platform and Microsoft Dynamics 365 stack daily. Working closely with my colleagues and with Microsoft has given me the ability to challenge myself continually which is something that drives me forward.

More recently I have assumed the role of Head of Global Black Belts meaning I get the chance to work with a wider network of people across Annata, our customers, partners, and Microsoft.

2. How do you think business intelligence and analytics are transforming the automotive and equipment industries? 

Ask me anything Dave Cope BI & Analytics image 2

3. Do you think analytics has been gaining momentum in these two industries in recent years? Why do you think this is happening now? 

Absolutely! Analytics has been gaining significant momentum in the automotive and equipment industries in recent years. There are a few key factors contributing to this. Firstly, advancements in technology have made it easier and more cost-effective to collect, store, and process large volumes of data.

The advent of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, connected vehicles, and smart equipment has exponentially increased the amount of data available for analysis. This data explosion has created a tremendous opportunity for businesses to leverage analytics to gain valuable insights and drive innovation.

4. Predictive analytics is developing into a powerful tool for generating an enormous boost in forecasting efficiency as well as operations and performance. How will this benefit automotive and equipment businesses?  

It is one thing knowing what has happened, but it is something else entirely being able to predict what will happen next. Moving from reactive to predictive analytics offers automotive and equipment businesses several significant benefits. By leveraging predictive analytics, businesses can achieve operational excellence, make data-driven decisions, and gain a competitive edge in their market.

5. How will analytics shape the future of the automotive and equipment industries?  

Analytics is going to have a huge impact on the future of the automotive and equipment industries. As these industries get more connected and data-driven, analytics will be a game-changer, unlocking new opportunities and driving innovation. Businesses, as well as devices themselves, will be able to make real-time decisions, adapting to different situations and making smart choices based on analytics.

Analytics is also going to transform the customer experience. With IoT and connected devices, automotive and equipment businesses will be able to gather ever more data on how their products are used, maintained, and serviced. By efficiently harnessing this data via the Annata solution stack, A365.

A365 delivers a comprehensive and future-proof solution that empowers our customers with the latest tools and functionalities, ensuring your business remains equipped with state-of-the-art capabilities.​ This enables companies to personalize their offerings, give targeted recommendations, and deliver best-in-class customer service. 

6. There have been a lot of advancements within the analytics sphere. What are some future trends we can anticipate for analytics within the next 3-5 years? 

In the era of AI, it will be easier than ever to find insights into data. Asking natural language questions about your data will become commonplace. This will enable non-technical users to access data in real-time and get the results they need in the blink of an eye. Those results will be curated into apps and reports on the fly giving users the ability to slice and dice millions (even billions) of rows of data as easily as slicing through butter.

The future of analytics will revolve around automation, advanced AI techniques, real-time capabilities, and integration with other emerging technologies. These trends will further empower businesses in the automotive and equipment industries to make data-driven decisions, gain valuable insights, and stay ahead of the competition.

7. What are some challenges automotive and equipment businesses today face with analytics? 

Traditionally the integration of data from disparate sources can be complex and time-consuming. Additionally, ensuring data quality and accuracy is crucial for reliable analytics, requiring businesses to establish robust data governance practices.

Businesses will need to invest in training their workforce with experts to build a capable analytics team. Additionally, staying up to date with rapidly evolving analytics technologies and techniques is essential.

Modern analytics require robust and scalable infrastructure to store, process, and analyze large volumes of data. Building and maintaining such infrastructure has previously been costly and resource intensive. Cloud computing and scalable analytics platforms, utilizing Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Fabric, can help overcome these challenges by providing flexible and cost-effective solutions. 

Organizations must also carefully plan and design their infrastructure to support growing analytics needs.

Adopting analytics often requires a shift in mindset and culture within a business, where data-driven decision-making becomes the norm. Resistance to change, lack of buy-in from stakeholders, and organizational silos can impede the successful adoption of analytics. Businesses should foster a culture that embraces analytics as a strategic asset.

8. How can businesses capture and utilize their data more efficiently and effectively?  

Ask me anything Dave Cope BI & Analytics image 4 Ask me anything Dave Cope BI & Analytics image 3

9. How is Annata supporting automotive and equipment businesses in their pursuit of harnessing data? 

Annata is at the forefront of empowering automotive and equipment businesses in harnessing the power of data. Through our product, A365, we offer comprehensive capabilities that cover finance, operations, and the full Customer Engagement (CE) stack of Microsoft Dynamics 365.

A365 provides a unified platform that integrates with various data sources, allowing businesses to capture and consolidate data from different systems and processes. This ensures a single source of truth and enables organizations to gain a holistic view of their operations.

By partnering with Annata and leveraging our robust solutions, automotive and equipment businesses can effectively harness data, unlock valuable insights, and achieve operational excellence in a data-driven world.

As we strive to work on the bleeding edge of what is possible, Annata has helped customers around the world harness their data more successfully. From our out-of-the-box data models and reports that ship with A365 Finance & Operations to working on the latest capabilities provided across Azure, and now Fabric, we are continually shortening time to insight for our customers.

By providing a modern approach to analytical solutions we have helped drive the adoption of analytics into businesses that previously had little to no experience in this area. From enabling citizen developers to work on certified datasets and create reports for their teams to putting key KPIs and metrics into the hands of the CxO we can provide powerful insights right in line where users benefit most.

This means A365 users can continue to use the modern workplace in the way are used to and get the data they need when and how they want it, whether this be embedded in A365, or on their mobile device.

10. How does analytics drive sustainability initiatives for the automotive and equipment business? 

Analytics can play a crucial role in driving sustainability initiatives for the automotive and equipment business by providing valuable insights and facilitating data-driven decision-making. 

For example, analytics can help identify energy inefficiencies within manufacturing processes and operations. By analyzing energy consumption patterns and identifying areas of improvement, businesses can optimize energy usage, reduce waste, and minimize their carbon footprint.

Predictive analytics within maintenance practices can help reduce equipment failures and optimize maintenance schedules. By analyzing sensor data, historical maintenance records, businesses can detect potential failures before they occur, reducing downtime, optimizing maintenance activities, and minimizing the need for emergency repairs or replacements.

Also, by analyzing customer data, businesses can gain insights into consumer behavior, demand patterns, and market trends, allowing them to design and market sustainable products that meet customer expectations.

11. In your opinion, what are some ways businesses can use data to prepare for a digital future? 

Harnessing data to understand customer needs and preferences is crucial for staying competitive in a digital world. By analyzing customer data businesses can identify preferences, behavior patterns, and emerging trends. This insight enables them to personalize their products and services, tailor marketing strategies, and enhance the customer experience.

Similarly, businesses should leverage data for predictive analytics and forecasting. By analyzing historical data and market trends, businesses can make accurate predictions regarding future demand and market conditions to enable proactive planning,

Analyzing operational data can help businesses identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement. This includes streamlining processes and supply chain operations as well as automating manual tasks. 

Businesses can also harness data to drive innovation and develop new business models. Data-driven innovation allows businesses to stay ahead of the curve, adapt to changing market dynamics, and create new revenue streams.

12. Is there anything else you would like to add?

The integration of BI and analytics into the automotive and equipment industries is revolutionizing the way these businesses operate. The ability to capture, analyze, and utilize data offers tremendous opportunities for improving efficiency, making data-driven decisions, and driving innovation.

With the increasing availability of data from various sources and advancements in analytics technologies, businesses can gain valuable insights to optimize their operations, enhance customer experiences, and embrace sustainability.

As Annata continues to grow, our dedication to helping businesses harness data will undoubtedly help to drive innovation, optimize operations, and fuel success in the ever-evolving automotive and equipment industries.

Being part of this journey within these industries, and with Annata, presents a unique opportunity to shape the digital future, contribute to sustainable practices, and be at the forefront of the exciting transformation happening in this space.


For further information on how A365 supports automotive and equipment businesses in their business intelligence and analytics needs, visit Annata Analytics.

Similar posts

Hydrogen-powered commercial vehicle purveyors selects Annata to fulfill global scale ambitions

North America

In 2020, Annata was chosen by a heavy truck manufacturer to assist in developing their business processes and the systems required to support them. The company has more than 400 employees to support its rapid growth as a leading automotive innovator in zero-emission vehicles and trucks.

After a rapid and intensive validation cycle, Annata was chosen because of Annata’s 20-year automotive industry experience and extensions to the Microsoft Dynamics platform that formed the basis of the manufacturer’s finance and manufacturing systems.

Designed with cloud scalability and agility built in, the solution covered all critical processes. To ensure a complete and compelling customer experience, Annata’s solution will ensure the organization is well connected to customer behaviors, both pre-and post-sale for years to come.

The company decided to engage in a multi-year partnership with Annata after the success of the solution implementation. Annata provided the manufacturer with industry insights and experience to drive more value in all its business processes.

Annata picked for superior material handling performance by Leading North American equipment dealer

North America

A prominent material handling equipment dealer, with a network spanning over 60 locations across North America, is committed to delivering a comprehensive range of services, including new and used equipment, rentals, parts, service solutions, and training, with a strong emphasis on exceptional customer service.

The collaboration between Annata and Microsoft that led to the successful partnership with the customer was built on a foundation of team expertise and trust, ensuring a strong working relationship.

In their initiative to replace the current system, the company aspired to migrate to a modern, Azure cloud-based platform to optimize their Microsoft Dynamics investment. The primary goals included achieving business transformation, ensuring scalability, and eliminating system performance constraints.

The decision to upgrade to Dynamics 365 stemmed from challenges such as instability, poor performance, and growth limitations experienced in their previous solution installation. 

The overarching objective was to address these issues and enhance the overall efficiency and stability of their operational environment. Annata’s offering stood out with its comprehensive equipment lifecycle functionality, addressing the customer’s specific needs in a tailored manner. System performance and adherence to Independent Software Vendor (ISV) compliance were pivotal aspects that contributed to the decision, assuring the customer of a robust and reliable solution.

Annata’s commitment to ongoing development, reflected in their ecosystem investment and roadmap, aligned well with the customer’s long-term goals. Microsoft’s Proof of Concept (POC) support played a crucial role in demonstrating the capabilities of the proposed Dynamics 365 solution.

The success of the partnership was further cemented by the strong collaboration and partnership ethos shared between Annata and Microsoft, ensuring a holistic and effective approach to meeting the customer’s requirement.

Automotive powerhouse selects A365 for next-level business optimization

North America

A privately-owned enterprise with a significant presence in the automotive industry, operates as a key distributor for a globally recognized automotive brand. As the largest independent distributor for this brand on a global scale, the division serves a network over 150 independent dealerships.

Previously relying on an outdated “Green Screen” system and managing a complex network of around 200 applications, the company recognized the need for a transformative change. The existing system, developed over 25 years, had become inadequate for evolving dealer needs, leading to technical debt rather than delivering value. To address this, the enterprise sought a modern solution to meet the dynamic requirements of the automotive industry and enhance overall operational efficiency. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 and A365 combination were selected to improve forecasting, streamline vehicle ordering processes, and reduce lead times from inspection to final delivery.

The enterprise now leverages the full A365 platform, including warranty management and rental services, to optimize its operations. The pivotal factor in selecting this solution was the ability to offer a platform tailored to the automotive industry, providing comprehensive visibility, management, and controls throughout the entire vehicle lifecycle. This capability formed the cornerstone of a compelling value narrative, resonating strongly with a diverse group of stakeholders.

The decision to choose Microsoft Dynamics and A365 exemplified a strategic approach, wherein technology was prioritized first, aligning subsequently with the market for a systems integrator. This decision underscored the strategic fit of the chosen technology to the specific needs of the enterprise, setting the stage for a successful implementation and business transformation.

Key automotive importer and dealer adopts A365 for comprehensive operational enhancement

Latin America
Importer and dealer

Founded in 1963 in Latin America, this key player in the local automotive industry has solidified its standing among the top groups in the sector. Over six decades, the company has maintained consistent growth, establishing a robust financial foundation.

Central to their success is a commitment to transparent management, enabling them to overcome challenges. The company prioritizes key strategic pillars, including business sustainability, delivering exceptional customer experiences, nurturing a skilled workforce, embracing technology, and forming strategic alliances. These pillars reflect the company’s comprehensive approach to ensuring long-term success and resilience in the dynamic automotive industry.

To enhance their operations, the company opted for Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations combined with A365 and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement combined with A365. In the evaluation process, various global and regional players were considered, with the chosen combination ultimately selected based on key factors.

The decision to choose this particular combination was influenced by factors such as embracing new technologies for future growth, an abundance of experienced consultants for technology implementation, a holistic solution with cloud hosting and flexible services, and an excellent cost-benefit Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) ratio.

Additionally, the choice of Annata was motivated by their extensive expertise in the automotive sector, a strong market presence, a robust research and development (R&D) plan, and certification capabilities with a cost-effective Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

This combination of solutions was deemed the optimal choice, aligning with the organization’s strategic goals and ensuring a comprehensive and effective solution for their business needs.

European vehicle manufacturer unlocks competitive edge with Annata


The European automotive manufacturer was increasingly challenged with their internal reliance on their existing systems as they felt that they were losing a competitive edge by not having the ability to benchmark functionality, performance, and cost. 
To address this, they started to investigate adding D365 as a second practice. They, however, soon found a need to bring in the Annata extended solution to fully understand the capabilities of the underlying D365 platform with the vertical extension for their specific business. 

Through the roll-out, the manufacturer was able to move from local, siloed solutions to a common enterprise standard solution which drives down costs, mitigates risks, and improves the customer experience with a consequential uptick in sales. 
In essence, the customer views the solution as providing the systems that run their captive fleet dealers in-country, as well as providing the integration from captive and non-captive dealers into the central solution.

Annata expands Dynamics solution for South African arm of major importer and distributor

South Africa

A South African arm of a major importer and distributor of cars and spare parts was looking to expand the use of the solution into Dynamics 365 Sales. A365 Sales was selected as the preferred industry solution.

The reputation of Annata working with the Microsoft team in South Africa helped to land the deal. The underlying Common Data Model for Automotive was also an important factor in the decision.

The expansion of the use of Dynamics CE for sales was already planned but the business felt that the Annata Sales app would provide ‘out of the box’ functionality and save them a considerable amount of time and effort. The business estimated that implementing the Annata Sales app would save them up to 3 years compared with developing the functionality themselves.

The Annata Sales app provides functionality to handle vehicle configuration, and sales quotations including financing options, trade-ins, test drives, etc.

The Annata Sales app will hopefully be the first of several products that the business will implement. This includes D365 F&O; A365 for Dealer management; Customer service; Annata Dealer portal and; Annata Field Service. The 5-week implementation of the Annata Sales app was another compelling factor.

Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer arm selects Annata to replace existing vehicle division systems

Northwestern Europe

A division of a Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer serving developing markets chose Dynamics 365 + A365 to replace all their current systems for their vehicle division across Africa and selected countries in Latam and Asia. 

The implementation was complex as it involved replacing three heavily customized, on-premise solutions with a standard, (based on a global template), cloud-based offering. The complexity was further increased as the connectivity in some African countries can be intermittent, and delivering a project across many countries requires a great deal of experience and planning.

The solution implemented covered importation, dealerships, aftersales, and service, in addition to rental and fleet in specific markets. The device types cover all vehicles; from motorbikes to cars, lorries, tractors, construction machinery, etc. – and in some markets even boats.

D365 + A365 provided the manufacturer with the confidence that  existing processes would all be supported and that moving to the Azure cloud would drive additional benefits.

Annata brings agility to a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer

East Asia

The North American arm of a Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, with a 450,000-square-foot bus manufacturing and forklift assembly facility, required an agile solution to manage its supply chain, assembly, dealer orders, and post-sales processes for parts, warranty, and dealer management.   

The existing solution was unable to support these business processes cost-effectively with the same flexibility and agility. Annata’s automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) experience and track record of successful and agile implementations, particularly in the U.S. market were key to winning against other competitors.  

Key decision makers of the manufacturer were primarily of Chinese descent, with some residing in corporate offices in China. Working with Microsoft China, Annata was able to leverage its insight into Chinese business culture and its relationships with the business’s corporate IT.

Annata’s ability to adjust to an unconventional sales process and accommodation for cultural differences, coupled with an implementation approach and agile solution that could grow with the North American arm, was key to winning the business. 

Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer partners with Annata to drive the shift towards sustainable transporting


A Swedish trucking manufacturer selects Annata and Dynamics 365 to replace their current wholesale and dealer management systems around the globe. By adding A365 to the Dynamics solution, the company is provided with the comfort to cover almost all its operational processes and drive additional benefits by moving to a cloud-based system.

The company’s primary challenge was that it was dealing with large sets of homegrown solutions and legacy vertical solutions with a separate outdated dealer management system that did not communicate with each other. The current on-premise portfolio needed to be replaced with a standard, cloud-based solution, that covers imports, dealerships, aftersales, and service operations, in addition to its rental and fleet-based markets.

Annata, Microsoft, and the manufacturer worked together to build a golden template and blueprint to be used in future rollouts globally. The solution combination adds future capabilities and support for ML, AI, IoT, and more automated business executions, which will have a positive impact on the ROI.

The manufacturer has transformed its dealer management system, replacing its outdated solutions with Annata’s integrated, cloud-based solution using Microsoft’s infrastructure.

RV manufacturer streamlines business processes with Annata

North America

Annata was chosen as a solutions provider to replace a 20-year-old heavily customized legacy system for an RV manufacturer. The systems in use were not supplying prompt information to the management team and model changes for production were painful to implement. 

The implementation was vital to simplify access to data and increase service levels to its different dealers. The manufacturer selected Annata due to Annata’s global ISV status and strong solution functionalities to manage their critical workload, particularly those that require interaction with their dealer channel.   

Annata’s robust dealer portal solution has improved dealer relationships with a quicker turnaround on warranty claim decisions and processing.

In parallel, the manufacturer can now leverage warranty rules and validations. The dealer portal is a win for the manufacturer in reducing warranty costs while improving dealer and customer relationships.

The manufacturer expects overall improved management reporting for executives and operations. Operational improvements include rationalized bills of materials, costing, and managing production change orders effectively. The manufacturer expects its dealers to have a more efficient process for warranty claims that will result in a reduced payment time, while still preventing fraudulent or duplicate claims.

Swiss agricultural equipment and machinery supplier accelerates cloud migration with Annata

Central Europe

As an existing customer of AX and Annata IDMS on-premise, the Swiss company decided to start its journey to the cloud in early 2020. Annata’s finance and operations solution was the core of the solution proposed to the company.  

Annata’s full suite of capabilities was implemented and included extensive device management functionalities that support the entire lifecycle of a machine encompassing imports, sales, and lifecycle management with service/work order management, warranty handling, parts management, and rental. 

In addition to a proven solution, Annata was the primary choice due to the strongly committed executive management team which is very much supportive of the strategic project goals.

The project enjoys a high focus at the executive management level and is supported by a strong change management approach aiming to avoid unnecessary customizations. 

The industry competence of the Annata implementation team was well equipped to mitigate challenges typically encountered when setting up new customer solutions in replace of their heavy customized “homegrown” solution.

Annata selected to digitally transform distribution channel of agricultural equipment manufacturer

Central Europe

With a primary focus on excellent product quality and outstanding customer service, the equipment manufacturer made a company-wide decision to shift their business process to the cloud using Dynamics 365 and Annata’s Finance & Operations solution. 

The solution was rolled out to several major markets within Europe and the Americas in a span of 3-4 years, before offering the industry template to their independent dealer network. Annata was selected as the preferred industry solution partner to move their on-premise solution within their headquarters to the cloud within three months, utilizing its extensive industry and digital competencies in the Annata team. 

As soon as Annata engaged with the equipment manufacturer, it was clear to them that the industry IP was key to their goal to digitally transform their distribution channel.

Coupled with finance and operations implementation expertise, the equipment manufacturer was confident that D365 with Annata was the best to provide industry knowledge to help them make the right process choices and a full set of industry functionalities around the full lifecycle of their equipment.

Mexican subsidiary of an international motor company implements Annata solutions to modernize business processes

Southern North America

A Mexican subsidiary of an international motor company was utilizing multiple and heavily customized legacy systems which were around 20 years old and did not improve the business. The financial reports generated caused many discrepancies in the business which dampened business decisions. 

The management was looking for an Integrated system that was consistent and easily manageable, in which all users from different departments could manage business processes in a co-dependent and competent manner.  

Annata’s extensive solution provided the Mexican subsidiary with a technology transformation through its transition to digitized workflows.

The new system enabled the company’s dealerships to seamlessly communicate and collaborate with suppliers and service partners, while the company focused on creating an integrated supply chain. 

With Annata’s unified solution, the company benefited from providing accurate, analytical data through the implementation of key functions in cost management, inventory management, warranty management, sales, and service departments. It also provided the company with a range of business data (in real-time) for analysis at a reduced time rate and this provided the organization with major improvements in its management reporting. 

Hydrogen-powered commercial vehicle purveyors selects Annata to fulfill global scale ambitions

North America

In 2020, Annata was chosen by a heavy truck manufacturer to assist in developing their business processes and the systems required to support them. The company has more than 400 employees to support its rapid growth as a leading automotive innovator in zero-emission vehicles and trucks.

After a rapid and intensive validation cycle, Annata was chosen because of Annata’s 20-year automotive industry experience and extensions to the Microsoft Dynamics platform that formed the basis of the manufacturer’s finance and manufacturing systems.

Designed with cloud scalability and agility built in, the solution covered all critical processes. To ensure a complete and compelling customer experience, Annata’s solution will ensure the organization is well connected to customer behaviors, both pre-and post-sale for years to come.

The company decided to engage in a multi-year partnership with Annata after the success of the solution implementation. Annata provided the manufacturer with industry insights and experience to drive more value in all its business processes.

Forestry equipment global manufacturer selects Annata for company-wide digitization


Operating in forestry markets of more than 40 different countries, the manufacturer had an IT landscape that was complex, fragmented, and varied greatly between countries. As part of their future-proofing efforts, they needed a platform to bolster them as they navigated into the future, providing them with the flexibility required to digitize their entire business. 

Annata’s complete set of industry functionalities around the lifecycle of heavy equipment, the strength of the application and platform, as well as in-depth knowledge and vast experience within the industry were reasons why Annata was selected to support them along their transformation journey. 

Annata also displayed strong awareness of future capabilities specific to the manufacturer’s needs aside from proving a strong partnership with Microsoft. 

Annata’s flexibility, scalability, and capabilities to take on the ever-changing environment in the forestry manufacturing industry have since enabled the manufacturer to maintain a competitive edge digitally.