Cox Automotive provides services to car manufacturers, leasing companies, and dealers throughout the used vehicle lifecycle, with brands including Manheim, Motors.co.uk, Xtime, CloseIt, Modix, and NextGear. With a vision to transform the way the world buys, sells, and owns vehicles, the Cox Automotive data solutions team’s mission is to help clients make smarter and more informed decisions at every stage of the vehicle lifecycle, provide meaningful, actionable insight into every part of Cox Automotive UK—driving sales, providing better customer service, and improving operational efficiency—and deliver automotive intelligence to transform the way the world interacts with cars.
Allison Nau explores how Cox Automotive is becoming a data-driven business, demonstrating how mobilizing data from across the organization has helped drive sales, provide better customer service, and improve operational efficiency. This in turn has enabled the company to develop new products for the automotive industry, using data to transform the way the world buys, sells, and owns cars. Allison offers a perspective on Cox’s journey from the midpoint, sharing the pitfalls, the challenges, and what has enabled the company to move quickly. Along the way, Allison demonstrates some live examples of how Cox Automotive uses Hadoop to provide actionable insight for its business and power products for its automotive clients.
In August 2015, data analysis was happening in isolated pockets in the business, analysis was done on tools that were not fit for purpose, and much of the focus of the analysts was responding to urgent, ad hoc requests—limiting the company’s ability to deliver more impactful, strategic analysis. Since that time, Cox Automotive has successfully deployed a Hadoop cluster in the cloud using Cloudera, its data scientists use this data with R and Python to develop predictive algorithms, its BI analysts use these algorithms with Tableau to create dashboards accessed via a live connection to Impala, and these dashboards are ultimately used by hundreds of internal users to support business decisions ranging from account management prioritization, vendor ROI, and client complaints to KPI performance.
By enabling business stakeholders to self-serve the relevant information they need, Cox Automotive was able to gain resource capacity to focus on R&D, development, and launch of new products. Its first insight product is in the market, and over the coming months, future enhancements will begin to incorporate predictive analytics as the company leverages its Hadoop cluster. In just 20 months, the company has made significant progress toward becoming a data-driven business while providing actionable insight to our business and our clients’ businesses.
Allison Nau is head of data solutions at Cox Automotive UK. Allison is a highly driven and self-motivated big data, analytics, and product executive with a proven track record in transforming businesses and driving strategic growth through data analysis and product development. Previously, Allison worked at LexisNexis, where she developed the entire product portfolio of data and analytics products for its expansion into the UK, leading to double-digit growth year on year for that new venture while transforming the motor insurance industry. A trained quantitative political scientist who got her start as a price optimization consultant, Allison holds a BA in mathematics and international relations from the College of Wooster and an MA in political science from the University of Michigan.
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