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Managing Big Data Is a Challenge, Finds PROS

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October 2, 2012- 

In a survey of more than 100 service parts executives, PROS has found that more than 65 per cent of participants identified the inability to leverage, acquire and integrate big data as their most significant business challenge. This is just one of the findings that have been reported in a new whitepaper released by the company, Pricing to Outperform: A Better than ‘Average’ Strategy for the Service Parts Industry, which sheds light on the strategic business challenges faced by organisations operating in this sector.

Representatives from the automotive, heavy-duty equipment and aerospace industries were invited to take part in the survey, which asked them to gauge their strategic pricing performance considering business problems, technology and pricing strategies. While many highlighted ineffective management of big data as a key issue in the service parts industry, the survey also found that most companies struggle with at least four of the ten strategic business challenges identified in the poll, including difficulties related to promotions and rebate programmes, analysing pricing changes and addressing the complexities of global competition.

With today’s competitive business climate, a single challenge may well cast a monumental shadow on profitability. That these companies face issues with almost half of the challenges identified in the survey suggests there are a number of opportunities for leaders in the service parts industry to take action by using big data to improve operational performance and sales effectiveness.

And while more than 50 per cent rated their operational pricing maturity as ‘slightly above average,’ the survey results indicate a far different picture. Despite the industry’s complexity in managing thousands of customers and millions of SKUs, more than 62 per cent of the participants indicate they rely on spreadsheets, and a full 50 per cent use spreadsheets as their sole pricing technology. Beyond the sheer volume of data, the human interaction within a spreadsheet can lead to frequent errors and quality issues, which causes sales and pricing teams to lose confidence in the strength of their business decisions. While companies may naturally gravitate towards using spreadsheets because of their pervasiveness and familiarity, the application in a high-performing pricing organisation can create an entirely new set of challenges.

“Virtually every industry faces challenges related to managing big data, which is a key driver of competitive advantage,” said PROS vice president of product marketing Patrick Schneidau. “Since its beginnings, PROS has helped companies understand how customer behaviour translates into better sales performance. By using real-time big data at the point of negotiation, sales teams increase both their odds of profitably winning deals, and getting the value companies deserve for their products and services.”

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