The demand for new cars has been shrinking for years. To get a competitive advantage, companies are systematically on the lookout for improvements and innovations on the product side, but also on the business side.
In 2019, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), a holding company of luxury and sports utility vehicles, reviewed its business process for variable marketing expenses. These expenses reflect the importer’s financial support of its dealership for selling the cars. Reviewing the business process, Jaguar Land Rover decided to implement a new tool because the use of the old tool was time-consuming and did not provide sales and finance with the necessary insights either. Developing that new tool, JLR needed someone to bridge the gap between the finance department and the IT development team.
Reviewing the variable marketing expenses process
TriFinance supported the translation of the business processes into actual user stories. The business analyst team worked with stakeholders in the organization to elicit requirements and capture them in the form of user stories. User stories are brief, written descriptions of functionality that the business wants to see in the Salesforce tool.
‘Let’s take the example of a car driving in adaptive cruise control,’ project consultant Lander Coene, says. ‘The business process can be seen as keeping a predefined speed. When a car pops up in front of you, the adaptive cruise control will maintain a predefined distance between you and the car in front of you.’
By having a clear understanding of the business context and requirements, the development team could write the codes that would implement the desired functionality and align with the overall goals of the organization. This process of translating business requirements into technical requirements is an important part of the software development lifecycle and helps ensure that the end product meets the needs of the business.
‘Eventually,’ Lander Coene says, ‘, we reached our goal with the minimal requirements of a working tool: the minimal viable product’.
When business requirements were not completely reflected in the functionalities, we challenged the development team, collaborating with them to find a suitable solution
Lander Coene, Project consultant, CFO Services - Pragmatic Advisory & Implementation
From a minimal viable product to a steady, user-friendly software
Like building a car, you cannot implement software in one day. The custom Salesforce tool that manages the variable marketing expenses was implemented in multiple waves. The variable marketing expenses cover for example the sales support to the Jaguar Land Rover dealer network for selling cars. TriFinance offered extra support from the user story to the go live of the minimal viable product (MVP) and finally, broadening the further development, into the hypercare phase.
A minimal viable product contains all the necessary functionalities to get the tool running, but is known as a ‘quick and dirty’ setup. A minimal viable product often contains lots of time-consuming workarounds and manual interventions. To move away from a minimal viable product into a steady, user-friendly software, new functionalities were added to the tool. Thanks to the extensive knowledge of the salesforce tool and the business processes, the scope was moved away from the minimal viable product.
‘We tackled this in two different ways,’ Lander Coene says. ‘We closed the gaps between the business processes and the actual functionalities to ensure fewer manual interventions. Next to that, we took the first steps toward an RPA solution. By introducing this RPA solution, we managed to reduce the number of hours spent on manual data loads, data extraction, and other less-value-adding tasks.’
Having the variable expenses engine go live in January 2020, meant that the project was delivered on time and within budget. Extra RPA functionalities were added in co-creation with Jaguar Land Rover’s RPA development team. The project generated specific benefits for the client:
- At the retailer level, it has become more convenient to track the progress of the current sales claims from the National Sales Company (NSC) for sold vehicles in the tool and create better forecasts of their vehicles to be delivered in the upcoming months. Next to that, they were able to match all their outstanding claims in a more simplified way with their current bookkeeping system.
- Retailers received their claim payout much faster than before (an average improvement of 15 days). The reason? There were fewer confirmations to be made by the financial analyst in the National Sales Company (NSC) to pay out, resulting in an improved cash flow for the retailers.
- More insight was created for the National Sales Company (NSC) into retail behavior: reporting and dashboarding to follow up on the retailers, tracking their performance in submitting their claims and their current claims to support.
- Next to that, the structured data provided by the tool could be used to make better forecasts for as well as finance as the sales teams.
- All the processes in the tool were fully documented, as well as the outbound processes of the tool: from budgeting to campaign setup to actual payout. The documentation of the process creates more clarity and improves knowledge sharing. For the claim analysts, work instructions were created as well.
Reducing the workload
Jaguar Land Rover now has a fully operational tool at their disposal that communicates between dealers and the National Sales Company, reducing the workload at both NSC and retailer levels. To further reduce the workload at the NSC level and move away from the minimal viable product the TriFinance experts created, the start of an RPA implementation was initiated.
‘We brought a valuable combination of process improvement and technical expertise to the project,’ Lander Coene says. ‘Our persistence in challenging the development team with a critical and pragmatic approach was key to the project’s success. By asking questions like "how can we actually work with this tool the way it is designed?”, we were able to ensure that the tool was optimized for the needs of the organization.’
This approach is important in any project, as it helps to identify and address potential issues early on, leading to a more efficient and effective implementation.’