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Press Release

PROS Survey Identifies Big Data as Biggest Challenge for Service Parts Companies

HOUSTON, July 30, 2012 – PROS® (NYSE: PRO), a world leader in pricing and revenue management software, today announced results of a global survey of more than 100 service parts executives that sheds light on the strategic business challenges faced by these organizations. More than 65% of the participants identified the inability to leverage, acquire and integrate big data as their most significant business challenge.

Participants identified themselves as representatives from the automotive, heavy-duty equipment and aerospace industries. The group was evenly split between the manufacturing and distribution service parts supply chain.

Equally as revealing, the majority of participants – more than 50% – rated their operational pricing maturity as “slightly above average,” though the survey results indicate a far different picture. The survey suggests most service parts companies struggle with at least four of the ten strategic business challenges identified in the poll. 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.

“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 behavior 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.”

The survey is segmented into three categories: Strategic Business Challenges, Technology Usage and Pricing Strategies:

  • Strategic Business Challenges: While the ineffective management of big data creates issues in the service parts industry, responding executives also identified difficulties related to promotions and rebate programs, analyzing pricing changes and addressing the complexities of global competition.
  • Technology: Despite the industry’s complexity in managing thousands of customers and millions of SKUs, more than 62% of the participants indicate they rely on spreadsheets, and a full 50% 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 toward using spreadsheets because of their pervasiveness and familiarity, the application in a high-performing pricing organization can create an entirely new set of challenges.In his white paper titled “7 Sins of Dependence on Spreadsheets for Pricing,” industry analyst Michael Dunne, senior vice president at Creative Executions, points to why organizations should choose a different path. “Dependence on spreadsheets can pose inherent inefficiencies and even liabilities for major pricing initiatives.”
  • Pricing: More than 75% of the executives surveyed use cost-plus pricing, while more than 30% recognize the practice as problematic. Traditional cost-plus pricing often lacks disciplined pricing execution, and ignores price elasticity and customers’ willingness to pay. By contrast, organizations that analyze transactional data and evaluate customer behavior are better able to optimize their pricing strategies and provide their sales teams with negotiating confidence to win more business.

To learn more about the survey, PROS has developed a white paper – titled “Pricing to Outperform: A Better than ‘Average’ Strategy for the Service Parts Industry” – that provides in depth insights into the results. To download a copy, visit the PROS website.

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