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Inaccurate and inconsistent vehicle information contained in as many as 300 disparate dealership systems is stifling growth, creating inefficiencies, and leaving dealer groups open to non-compliance irregularities, according to Autofinity’s CEO Andy Whitehair.

“The multiple systems in the dealer’s eco system have specific purposes and tasks to fulfil but are not compatible and nor are they set up to collate rich data on each vehicle,” Whitehair said.

“One of the dealer groups we are talking to has undertaken a systems audit across its 35-strong dealership group representing six brands and they have found in some of their businesses, as many as 300 systems are in use. It could well include applications like Outlook, but even so, that’s a phenomenal amount of information sitting in systems which invariably don’t talk to each other.”

Most dealer groups haven’t undertaken a systems’ audit so have little idea about how many are in operation across its individual businesses and more importantly, the extent of the wealth of data, much of it untapped, contained within them.

Worryingly, because of staff having to input data manually into the variety of systems in operation, vehicle information such as price and spec is mis-keyed which, if finance quotation software is in use on online marketing channels, can see dealer groups fall foul of Financial Conduct Authority regulations. Meanwhile, often inadvertently, the business becomes reliant upon individual experts who have developed a deeper understanding of one particular system which is dangerous when they leave the business.

Autofinity creates a single depository to provide a richly enhanced vehicle description which is then used as ‘a single source of truth’ eliminating inaccuracies and inconsistencies and is used to populate various consumer-facing online marketplaces including the dealer’s own and manufacturer websites.

Whitehair added: “A customer wants to know the story of a vehicle and that information does not come from the sub-systems. Our system builds that story around a vehicle from various sources creating one single source of rich, accurate information. We are literally in the middle of multiple disparate systems making sense of everything.”

“By creating one information silo, dealers have access to group information which would otherwise prove impossible to retrieve such as the number of overage vehicles in group stock, asset price versus retail price, vehicle location and whether a test drive has been booked or a deposit paid. This all provides senior managers with the ability to operate a more flexible and agile business.”