LänsiAuto is one of Finland’s largest players in the automotive industry. The company provides automotive-related services for every stage of the automotive lifecycle. Whether it was buying a vehicle or upgrading to a newer model. LänsiAuto has operations in nine different locations and five car brands to be represented.
LänsiAuto wants to be a pioneer in its field both in the direction of its customers and within its own organization. The automotive industry is undergoing a transformation where the sale of services is changing. LänsiAuto wanted to modernize its existing ERP, sales, and marketing applications and openly explore new opportunities brought by technology. The end result was something quite different from the usual ERP upgrade project.
“Zure’s team can explain complex things simply and with a twinkle in the eye.”Henri Molin, Head of Digital & Business Development
The goal is to improve sales results
Henri Molin is responsible for developing LänsiAuto’s business. Henri was the owner of the project and explains why the existing systems were left aside and LänsiAuto decided to implement a completely new solution.
The initial need for application development arose through the existing ERP system, which also served as a CRM and sales management tool. While the system is good at where it is built, it did not allow the development of new features such as automation and artificial intelligence for marketing and sales. So we came up with a solution where a sales support application is built on top of existing solutions.
The problem that needed solving was related to car sales. One salesperson has 500-2500 customers with whom they try to be actively connected. Customer handling was previously difficult and manual. Salespeople had to go through their customers one by one with notes as well as calendar reminders. The quality was totally dependent on how well we got in touch. Länsiauto found it unreasonable to require sellers to maintain good customer relationships without the necessary tools. The problem solving started with an application that communicates through the interfaces of the ERP system utilizing customer data, automation, and computing power. The goal of the app was to provide sellers with relevant information about customers and when to contact them.
Appropriate planning and reaction space
To ensure that the problem was properly understood, the project started with vision and roadmap workshops. These were followed by the definition of the concept, on the basis of which the actual solution building started iteratively, piece by piece.
From the beginning, it was clear that the application would be implemented as a cloud service. Azure was chosen as the platform, based on Zure’s recommendation and experience.
Challenges of the project
Software development projects are full of surprises and challenges when new and old meet. Henri brings out how continuous learning is essential for both the customer and the supplier.
The biggest challenges during the project came from the integrations between the new application and the old ERP system. The necessary changes and additions were challenging and slowed down the development work, but they were also overcome through cooperation. With complex algorithms, the importance of documentation came to the fore strongly during the project. Through the lessons, documentation was developed and all decisions and rules were carefully documented. In addition, we also managed to make decision-making more efficient.
Throughout the project, the collaboration worked well. The operating methods were continuously developed so that the operating model up to the meeting practices became functional. Covid-19 didn’t seem to have too much of an impact on practices because the work done was very unprompted and self-directed.
Henri was positively surprised at how holistically the problem field was approached.
The benefits of the project were enjoyed as early as three months after the new application was ready for use. According to Henri, both sales and marketing activities have undergone a change.
The app has clearly improved the ability of sellers to do their work with quality and efficiency. The biggest benefit has been that sellers no longer have to spend time searching potential buyers from databases. Now they can focus on where they are good. Thus, work efficiency has improved considerably.
“All the vendors who have switched to the solution have been very happy with it”
As the project progressed, it was noticed that the solution was becoming much more than the originally planned sales application. It also serves as a CRM tool for marketing automation. Discussions with sellers quickly revealed that the new software has brought value and increased understanding to the core of sales work.
At first, there were a lot of doubts as to whether the customer highlights displayed by the algorithms are actually relevant, afterward the feedback from the sellers on the solution has been positive. In the beginning, suspicions arose e.g. when the algorithm proposed customers who had purchased a car only a year ago. Upon closer examination, it was found that the replacement cycle for cars was much shorter than previously thought. The solution has thus helped to be in touch with the customer at the right time. The process of buying a car is often long, so it is important that you get in touch in good time.
“The project, and the app, wasn’t cheap, but it paid for itself in three months”
If you are a customer, and you are reading this reference, this is not a paid ad and for me this was the first project with Zure. Collaborating with several dozen companies, I appreciated Zure’s expertise, transparency, and team initiative. We didn’t have to think through everything, but after the briefing, the development team was able to think about things from the perspective of our business and the end-user of the application.
If you are a developer: Every project always has its own environment – and especially the customer. But whatever the project is, it is extremely important for the client that the developer is interested in the client’s business and goals. As in our project, the client is often blind to their own ideas. At this point, the real added value for the developer comes up when you further process the customer’s ideas or provide counter-arguments.
“After the briefing, the development team was able to think about things from the perspective of our business and the end user of the application. ”