Cox Automotive seeks to provide quality products and services that simplify car sales in the global market, consolidating wholesale and retail data to provide actionable insights. Allison Nau, Head of Data Intelligence, shares how the company has visibility into more than 3 million used vehicle transactions per year from dealer websites. This data all lands in a Cloudera Hadoop distribution running in Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Tableau connects directly to their Hadoop environment, enabling Allison’s team to create a solution that leverages existing data to calculate repair costs. They can now quickly determine the grade to which a vehicle should be reconditioned to maximize resale value. Because of these analytics, vendors see an average 54% return on investment. Allison describes how their success with Tableau has enabled them to keep “a razor-sharp focus” on the commercial value for their clients.
Tableau: What kind of data do you work with? Allison Nau, Head of Data Intelligence: Cox Automotive has more data than any other company in the U.K. around the used vehicle lifecycle. We bring together wholesale and retail data to provide those actionable insights. We have visibility into more than 3 million used vehicle transactions a year for dealer websites that we host—the used vehicle locators for more than a dozen major manufacturers. I have the awesome responsibility of bringing together the data that we have around each of our business areas in order to provide actionable insight for our team members and our automotive clients. Tableau: What databases do you connect to? Allison: We're setting up our own Hadoop cluster, leveraging the Cloudera distribution of Hadoop hosted in Azure that's really going to be able to give us access to streaming information about our websites. We know which consumers from which areas are searching for which vehicles at what time of day, what's coming up in their search results, what vehicles are they clicking through—we've got that vast array of information. Tableau: What challenges were you facing before Tableau? Allison: One of the things that they've been struggling with is trying to convince vendors (leasing companies, manufacturers), that it's worth investing in the reconditioning of a vehicle in order to achieve a higher price when the cars go through the lanes at auction. Tableau: What role did your team play? Allison: They challenged my team to come up with a tool to help with the presales—something that that the sales guys can use, have it on a phone, have it on a tablet, that they can help to convince vendors that they should recondition the vehicles.