Annata Ask the Expert Series | Q&A with Peter Selvaraj: Dealer management and portal

At the heart of the automotive, truck and bus, and equipment industries lie dealerships, serving as crucial connectors in the expansive supply chain. Their intricate relationships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), importers, and customers underscore their significance, necessitating robust solutions for seamless operations. Dealer management systems or portals stand out as essential tools for these businesses. 

Our conversation with Peter Selvaraj, the Dealer Portal lead in Annata’s product team, delved into the core functions of a dealer management solution in the contemporary landscape. He walked us through some of the common challenges faced by dealerships, Annata’s proactive approaches to address these issues, and shared insights on emerging trends set to impact these industries. 

  1. Tell us a bit about your professional journey.

Stepping into Annata back in 2018 marked a game-changing shift from my eight-year journey as a consultant in the heavy equipment industry. The rich experiences honed from that chapter laid the groundwork for the challenges and innovations that awaited me here. Honestly, I was drawn to Annata’s nature of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. 

Fast forward to today, my trajectory at Annata has been nothing short of transformative. From wearing the consultant hat to now being in a product owner role for the dealer portal feature in Annata’s A365 solution, it’s been a journey fueled by collaboration, constant growth, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. 

  1. In your experience, why is dealer management considered a crucial functionality in today’s dealerships?

Dealer management is the backbone of today’s dealerships. It seamlessly brings together inventory, sales, customer relations, finance- you name it, into one powerful system.  

Why does it matter? Well, it’s the efficiency booster every dealership needs, making decisions a breeze with real-time data. But the clincher here is that it’s not just about numbers. 

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  1. Could you highlight some of the common challenges dealerships in the automotive, truck and bus, and equipment face in their day-to-day operations?

In every industry, encountering challenges is a given. However, for dealerships in the automotive, truck and bus, and equipment sectors, often considered the vital intermediaries connecting end customers with OEMs or larger brands, these challenges take on a heightened significance.  

Given their pivotal role in the supply chain, these dealerships grapple with a unique set of obstacles that are not only inevitable but also tend to be more complex and substantial such as: 

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  1. In today’s digital age, how do evolving customer expectations impact what dealers seek in a solution with dealership management capabilities?

In the fast-paced digital scene, customer expectations are the architects reshaping the game for dealership management solutions. Picture this: dealerships are laser-focused on delivering personalized experiences, weaving in seamless omnichannel communication, transparency, and efficiency. It’s all about riding the wave of data-driven insights.  

What’s on their wishlist? Adaptable, secure solutions that go beyond the sale, aiming to keep up with ever-evolving customer needs while nurturing that sacred trust. And when it comes to software, they’re all about the integrated magic- think CRM, inventory management, and analytics working together for that cohesive, customer-first approach. 

  1. How does utilizing the dealer portal give dealers a competitive advantage, especially in a highly competitive industry?

With this question, what I want to do is take a step back for a minute and distinguish between a dealer management solution and a dealer portal using A365 as an example.  

A365 is our Annata solution, built on the robust foundation of Microsft Dynamics 365 and other cutting-edge Microsoft technologies. We offer end-to-end capabilities such as import management, rental, parts, sales, and service, you name it, we’ve got it. 

Now, our A365 Dealer Management focuses on the operational aspects of day-to-day tasks within the dealership while A365 Dealer Portal takes a more strategic role, fostering communication with manufacturers, providing exclusive insights, and contributing to the dealership’s adaptability and competitive edge in the broader industry landscape.  

It’s a symbiotic relationship within the comprehensive A365 solution, ensuring both operational efficiency and strategic positioning. 

Back to the question at hand, diving into a dealer portal is like arming dealerships with a secret weapon for a serious competitive advantage. It’s a direct line for efficient conversations with manufacturers and importers, real-time control over inventory, and exclusive tools for strategic decision-making.  

Quick access to accurate data is also a game-changer for top-notch customer service. And when it comes to relationships, a dealer portal helps forge strong bonds with manufacturers, potentially unlocking some extra perks. Ultimately, with a dealer portal streamlining operations, dealers get to enjoy the benefits of staying ahead of the curve with industry innovations. 

  1. Could you provide a brief introduction to Annata’s A365 solution and its dealer management functionalities?

Annata’s A365 dealer management feature is an all-in-one solution tailored specifically to meet the demands of the automotive, truck and bus, and equipment industries. Our dealer management feature offers comprehensive capabilities that effortlessly blend all the necessary elements to ensure seamless operations and efficiency for dealerships. 

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  1. How does the dealer portal empower dealerships, and what benefits do they gain from using it?

A dealer portal is the powerhouse for dealerships, simplifying everything. It’s the central hub for operations, making communication with manufacturers smooth, mastering inventory management, and supercharging service operations for top-notch customer satisfaction. 

And when it comes to costs, the dealer portal is a wizard at saving money, especially with precise claim management. Here’s the real game-changer: exclusive insights that give a competitive edge, making adaptability a breeze in the ever-changing industry. 

If I could sum it up in one sentence, a dealer portal puts dealerships in control and at the top of their game in a dynamic industry. 

  1. Can you describe the user experience within the dealer portal, and how it simplifies complex tasks for dealership staff?

The dealer portal is here to make life easier for dealership staff, with no complications.

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  1. How is Annata helping businesses meet their dealer management goals?

Annata is your partner in achieving dealer management goals through our A365 integrated platform. It seamlessly unifies operations, offering a customizable and scalable solution tailored to specific needs. Our focus is on streamlined efficiency, achieved through automation, optimized workflows, and insightful analytics that empower informed decisions. 

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  1. Looking ahead, what emerging trends or technologies do you believe will shape the future of dealerships?

In my opinion, the future of dealerships is gearing up for a revolution, and it’s not just another tech upgrade. Dealerships will need to brace for a seismic shift fueled by emerging trends and technologies. You need to be ready for a full-on embrace of digital tools across operations, a sales surge propelled by cutting-edge electric and autonomous vehicles, and personalized customer experiences amped up by the wizardry of AI.  

But that’s not all. Subscription-based vehicle ownership will soon change the business models of dealers, data analytics will be predicting the future, a green wave will champion sustainability, blockchain will make transactions crystal clear, and not forgetting remote services and mobility solutions. These trends are the architects of a transformation, reshaping dealership practices and flipping customer interactions. 

  1. How will Annata support businesses in riding these new trends and technologies in dealer management?

Annata stands ready to arm businesses with the tools to sail through the ever-changing seas of dealer management. We do this by offering adaptable and customizable solutions that seamlessly incorporate emerging trends and technologies.  

Here at Annata, we’re all about continuous innovation. Our scalable offerings evolve with the industry- from robust data analytics to educational resources and agile support. Our goal is to help dealers understand, embrace, and leverage the full potential of these advancements.  

For further information about A365’s dealer management and dealer portal features, visit our website or connect with us for a personalized immersive experience session through our Digital Sales Room.    

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