A mobile enabled strategy

AW Rostamani’s Sebastian T. Samuel unveils the award winning implementation that is helping bring the group’s automotive business to the next level

Tags: AW Rostamani Group (www.awrostamani.com)Mobile applicationUnited Arab Emirates
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A mobile enabled strategy We are looking at a lot of sales marketing, sales-related initiatives, and digital customer experience initiatives, says Samuel.
By  Alexander Sophoclis Pieri Published  December 13, 2016

One of the many companies to enter the spotlight at this year’s ACN Arab Technology Awards was the AW Rostamani Group, a long-standing and reputed name in the UAE market. Winning the accolade for Retail & Trading Implementation of the Year, the family-owned conglomerate was recognised for its ground-breaking work within the automotive field.

Following a comprehensive review of its sales process, and an evaluation of the overall customer experience when purchasing a car, the group discovered that precious time and efficiencies were being lost across the entire cycle.

Sales executives (SE) were losing time between the engagement of prospective customers in the showroom, test drives for the cars, and the return to the SE’s desk to check for availability and booking.

To tackle this challenge, AW Rostamani opted to introduce a mobility solution that not only manages the entire sales cycle, but also enables SEs to continue working and selling on the go.

“We looked at how our sales executives could provide better product demonstration and better explanation of the products and services, which is loaded onto a car … we wanted to track the entire cycle of sales, right from lead to opportunity, quotation, ordering, booking and final delivery of the vehicle,” comments Sebastian T. Samuel, chief information officer, AW Rostamani Group.

“We wanted to change these dynamics in the showroom. We wanted to enable our sales executives to discuss the product features in front of the car using an iPad or a tablet,” he adds.

At the heart of the implementation is the Opportunity Management System (OMS), which is pre-loaded on each iPad issued to the sales executives.

Developed wholly in-house by the group’s core ERP team, who have been present in the company since the implementation of Oracle ERP, the system and its related app, took four to five months to develop and stabilise.

The creation of OMS involved multiple departments however, which included AW Rostamani’s IT and CRM teams, as well as the business excellence and business units.

“The whole development came from our own internal analysis of how actually deal with our customer. Basically we were looking at an outside perspective, how a car purchase can be made simpler and better experience for the customer,” explains Samuel.

“We began with interviewing customers and we also put a consultancy engagement on how our sales process work. We then looked at the various groups involved and the steps involved in the car sale.”

The initial analysis also considered the various sources of leads, whether through face-to-face interaction in the showroom or via digital channels, such as social media or online inquiries, and explored how these leads progressed over time.

Furthermore, the analysis also factored in data from the inventory department, who maintain stock availability, as well as the pre-delivery inspection department who prepare the car for delivery to the customer.

It addition to identifying several points across the entire process that were streamlined to reduce turnaround time, the development of OMS also integrated systems from the finance and insurance department.

The end result was the creation single platform that encompassed virtually every aspect of the sales cycle, which also moved away from the traditional desktop-based form application that the AW Rostamani Group was utilising previously.

“Sales executives will be able to know at what stage the process is in, it [OMS] will always give information about the status of that order. It cuts across the entire sales cycle and up to the post-delivery conversation,” comments Samuel.

“In certain areas it is an actionable system that creates and updates inquiry information. At certain stages, it only provides information to the sales executive, but they will always have a 360 degree view. SEs can step in where needed and ensure a better conversion rate.”

When asked about challenges surrounding the implementation, the CIO highlighted two areas where the business faced some difficulty. The first was an adoption challenge experienced by the company’s staff, who prior to the current mobile-enabled approach, utilised Oracle forms and desktop-based applications.

Describing it as a “big cultural change” for some, Samuel points out that within the company, a handful of employees were selected to become what he identified as super users. These tech-savvy individuals who were distributed across various branches of the business, were trained on the new platform, and then subsequently oversaw the adoption by their respective teams.

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