Best Practices Criteria for World-Class Performance
Frost & Sullivan applies a rigorous analytical process to evaluate multiple nominees for each award category before determining the final award recipient. The process involves a detailed evaluation of best practices criteria across two dimensions for each nominated companies. Excellon Software Pvt. Ltd. excels in many of the criteria in the dealer management space.
Addressing Unmet Needs
Excellon Software Pvt. Ltd. is a cloud-based sales, delivery, and service management software company based in Nagpur, India since 2000. The organization leverages the latest developments in cloud, mobility, and analytics technology to find creative solutions for complex automotive industry challenges, and it has collaborated with some of the largest global automotive, consumer goods, and manufacturing equipment firms.
Excellon products are used by more than 30,000 users in more than 7,000 locations in 60 countries and now influence all levels of society. For example, a mechanic in rural India can use his mobile phone’s internet to access training videos and order genuine parts from reliable sources. Similarly, a small remote business can access the same knowledge, tools, and spare parts as its urban counterparts. As a result, the automotive industry is providing better service to its customers as a whole.
Excellon’s unique flagship dealer management system (DMS) not only allows automotive dealers to manage their operations, it also allows automakers and other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to communicate with dealerships to perform various critical functions in a timely manner, such as running marketing campaigns and reporting inventory. This is possible because, using the latest technology, the Excellon platform was specifically designed to operate both a dealer’s solitary business and an OEM’s entire global dealership network. A company can now deploy a single solution for an entire ecosystem of dealers, distributors, service providers, OEM sales/service teams, and even serve certain critical needs of end customers. There is no other solution suite in the automotive industry that can provide such breadth, depth, and extensive functionality across continents via a single deployment. Excellon has deep expertise and over two decades of experience in Sales, Distribution, Inventory Management, Service Management domains and thus its solutions have been adopted not only in the automotive industry but also other industries where such expertise is needed. Excellon’s solutions support multiple currencies and multiple languages and thus are easily adapted for business environments in various countries.
Price/Performance and Values
Most current solution providers are not specialized in the automotive sector and do not tailor solutions for it. As a result, many automotive industry customers end up spending a lot of money either to customize solutions to make them work effectively with legacy systems or to build new functions for systems that were inadequately designed. Because no single solution can satisfy every customer need due to technology’s swift rate of evolution, customers end up buying multiple products from multiple vendors and then spending large sums on integration and customization.
Excellon products solve these challenges by designing its solutions specifically for the automotive industry. In many cases, it is proving to be the most cost-effective solution provider for its OEM customers. For example, if an OEM buys an eCommerce platform from a major multi-industry platform vendor, it will get dozens of features that are not useful for its particular product portfolio. When the company then tries to integrate it with a lead management system from another vendor or with a legacy system, integration can become very expensive and time-consuming.
Excellon offers a more cost-effective solution by providing specific module-based packages that a typical automotive OEM will likely need. These core automotive functions are pre-integrated with each other in Excellon’s flagship DMS product and with its other products, such as Sales App and Excellon Connect (which also runs marketing campaigns to provide the greater outreach to its customers which has become a key concern of OEMs in the post-Covid world).
Customer Purchase Experience
Most Indian automakers are planning to integrate digital dealerships into their service offerings, which is important to improving their brand perception in the minds of tech-savvy customers. Excellon has worked hard to upgrade and extend its platforms to meet the challenges of the digital era, such as ensuring that end users do not feel intimidated by gadgets or technology. For example, Indian customers want a simple way to make appointments, they want cost estimates up front, and they expect their services to be delivered according to agreed-upon prices and schedules. The Excellon Business-to-Consumer Mobility Solution integrated within the DMS platform efficiently plans all these activities, such as reserving service bays, finding mechanic timeslots, and maintaining spare part inventories so that customer’s timeliness and transparency expectations are exceeded. This in turn helps automakers build reliable services and a loyal customer base.
Customer Ownership Expirience
Excellon pioneered the ability to quickly implement high-quality solutions for a network of dealerships. For instance, the company completed implementation at pilot dealerships in Latin America in less than 3 months. This included meeting all LATAM statutory operating requirements, such as value-added tax (VAT) regulations and e-Invoicing. It typically takes more than a year to implement such complex projects. Excellon’s success can be attributed to the company’s years of experience and its in-house talent pool, which is a high-performance team with great technical capabilities guided by dynamic leadership.
The company's focus has been to offer better solutions to its customers by introducing the right technology to the right markets at the right time. For example, when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and India was put into months of lockdown, Indian automakers started looking for eCommerce solutions to sell their vehicles via contactless sales and delivery. Excellon was ready with its products to help customers transform their businesses according to the need of the hour. The company saw an excellent opportunity to expand into new markets across the world given its advanced solutions and its proven ability to adapt to new geographies, tailoring its solutions to the unique sales and service requirements of any country.
All of Excellon’s products are designed to optimize the complex processes and unique requirements of the automotive industry. It believes its customers should not be burdened with the weight of extra features designed for other industries, nor should customers be saddled with additional integration costs. All of Excellon's products are already integrated for maximum efficiency.
In the early stages of the company’s inception, Excellon’s thought leaders saw a huge unmet need in India for DMS that could better integrate the overall operation of auto dealerships. It worked with different supply chain stakeholders to build robust software with closed-looped ecosystems that offer flexibility, security, and best-in-class communication systems. For this reason, Excellon was able to secure a first-mover advantage and demonstrate that a blue ocean strategy, if formulated correctly and executed well, can result in great success.
Excellon’s visionary leadership invested significant time and resources into studying best practices and engaging in market research. With its in-house product management processes, the company can quickly study the requirements of a potential customer and then incorporate them into its products using its highly efficient agile software process. For example, this was a major factor in its successful expansion into Spanish-speaking countries in South America. Forging local alliances to ensure alignment with local practices and government regulations is a key part of the company’s strategy in such cases.
When it comes to customer support, the company believes in a combination of best practices, the use of best available technology, the extensive training of team members, and most importantly, great execution by its team members.
Customer Service Expirience
Excellon’s business model centers on creating long-term relationships with customers. It uses multiple methods to collect customer feedback and ensure that newly added features meet customer requirements. The company offers modern feedback mechanisms to ensure continuous and period feedback, and this is supported by the state-of-the-art technological infrastructure used by its support teams. Excellon’s leadership team also takes great efforts to reach out to various clients and makes sure its offerings meet customers’ needs. Excellon believes that while various technological advances have brought about greater efficiency, there is also a level of frustration experienced by customers when they hear “Press 9 to talk to a customer service representative.” As such, Excellon sees it as important to balance technology-driven efficiency with a personal touch. Excellon’s processes also include gathering data on Net Promoter Score to understand its customer requirements and better serve them. This personalized customer support, coupled with tight monitoring and aligned with best practices, has helped the company ensure timely resolution of customer calls and a high customer satisfaction rate.
Implementation of Best Practices
Excellon follows product management best practices outlined by leading management institutions and by NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies, India). By adopting these practices, the company can align its product strategy with the requirements of its customers and with the overall market direction. Combined with Excellon’s deep knowledge of the automotive industry, these practices help it anticipate customer needs. As a product-driven company, Excellon has also taken great efforts to identify and embrace leading software best practices used by highly successful software product companies around the world. As a result, Excellon software development costs are lower and quality is better when compared to competitors. This allows it to release software upgrades at a faster pace.
Independent Repair Shops
Excellon solutions are being adopted at independent mechanics and at repair shops beyond the traditional market. These secondary markets for spare parts are an important source of lead generation and additional sales, especially in rural areas. In the fastest-growing areas, its eCommerce products and mobile apps are in high demand due to the need to minimize interpersonal contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the longer-term, the company intends to extend functionality into these outlets by incorporating virtual reality and augmented reality to provide virtual showrooms. Integrating these and other up-and-coming technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IoT, will help OEMs maximize revenue and help dealers and service stations provide better, faster, more economical service. Excellon has already started working on these technologies and expects to make them available to customers in the near future.
The Indian automotive aftermarket industry is currently going through a rapid digitization phase and most unstructured vendors are adopting digital services to increase their market footprint. Apart from simplifying day-to-day operations, the company plans to bring in three changes. First, minimize personal contact and interaction during sales and service. Second, help dealers and OEMs reduce their operating costs. Third, help dealers and OEMs achieve greater revenue with existing resources. After COVID-19, Excellon plans to make its systems more intelligent (e.g., by using artificial intelligence based on large historical datasets collected over decades) and more interwoven into the everyday lives of its users. The system will make suggestions or prompt users (such as salespeople, mechanics, service advisors) with the next steps needed to deal with customers and cater to their preferences, thus helping them make decisions. Excellon’s innovations which use latest technologies are received very well in the current environment, and Excellon is positioned well to lead the digital transformation.
Excellon Software Pvt. Ltd. has successfully differentiated itself in the Indian Automotive Dealer Management System Industry. The company is the largest Indian provider of software on the cloud that uses a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model to run a dealership or service network in the automotive sector. As a pure-play, cloud-based SaaS product company, Excellon revenues are derived entirely from product subscriptions and related services. Despite the challenges in India, the company has continued its journey to profitable revenue growth and strong EBIDTA over the last 5 years, even while continuing to invest heavily in R&D. The company successfully addresses industry challenges through superior features to provide an optimal customer experience, including business intelligence and the integration of artificial intelligence. Excellon is a customer-centric company that leverages customer feedback to fuel innovation and superior performance and its technical excellence and efficient operations will support the company’s expansion in India and beyond.
With its strong overall performance, Excellon Software Pvt. Ltd. has earned Frost & Sullivan’s 2020 Company of the Year Award.
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