6 Things We Learned about Automotive Industry Software

Worthwhile’s team recently attended the 2017 South Carolina Auto Summit. We are amazed at how this industry continues to grow in our state, and we’ve had the privilege to start partnering with companies in this space to build business-critical applications.

At the Auto Summit, we conducted a brief survey of attendees to learn more about the state of business application software in this particular industry. We wanted to share six key things we learned—and some takeaways from these results that can help your business.

1. Employees are largely satisfied with the business application software they use. 

On a scale of 1-10, the average score landed at 7.4—which is a solid result. Only about 10% of respondents fell into the truly dissatisfied category.

Takeaway: This sounds like good news—but it may be more of an acceptance of the status quo than true satisfaction. The rest of the survey revealed some issues that might be bubbling below the surface.

2. Employees largely believe the software they use supports their unique business processes.

This was the most decisive result of any question on the survey, as 81% of respondents agreed. This is a critical key to successful business applications.

Takeaway: every business is different. Whether you choose custom software or a large ERP company like SAP, IBM, or Oracle, you need software that supports your company’s particular business processes. If your software doesn’t, your company is lagging behind your competitors and your industry.

3. Employees largely believe that their company’s business application software is better than what their competitors use.

About 70% of respondents said their software was better. That’s reassuring, because it shows that employees believe they have a key tool they need to do their jobs and surpass the competition.

Takeaway: First, if you are an automotive industry company and your employees do not believe your software is good, or that it surpasses what the competitors use, then you need to know you’re clearly behind in this key area. Your software stack needs an upgrade, and you need to start conversations about how to move forward in this area soon.

If your employees are happy with your software, at least in comparison to your competitors, then you’re in a little better shape. However, you still may have room for improvement. The next survey result shows why.

4. Employees say their software is not as easy to use as a mobile app.

More than half of employees (58%) compare the usability of their business application unfavorably to a mobile app. In some ways, this makes sense. Usually, an ERP or other business-critical application requires you to do more than a mobile app. But just being more robust in terms of functionality is not a good excuse for being less usable—because usability leads to value through improved efficiency, employee satisfaction, and more.

Takeaway: It’s worth doing a usability review of your business applications on a regular basis. Survey your employees. Consider shadowing them as they use your core pieces of software. Learn where their questions and frustrations are, and take steps to smooth out those edges.

5. Employees have some trouble getting the information they need from data analysis and reporting systems.

On a scale of 1 to 10, the average fell at 6.7. Half of the responses were grouped between 4 and 7, which indicates that this is an area of improvement.

Takeaway: While there is not a sharp pain point here, this may be a consistent annoyance for your employees. It may well be worth your time to review your data analysis platforms and reporting options to see where you can improve. Even if you don’t have time for a formal review, you should start making note of times when you or someone in your company cannot answer a question you have with data. By collecting these questions, you may unveil areas where your reporting can improve.

6. Only one of the employees at a Tier 1 supplier was fully satisfied about software. 

Others indicated that their software had usability issues, or that they were behind their competitors in this area.

Takeaway: Bigger companies don’t necessary have better software. From an international OEM to a Tier 1 manufacturer to a small Tier 2 company, any company in the automotive industry must intentionally choose to obtain and maintain business application software that contributes to success. An internal stakeholder or external partner should help any company stay proactive in finding ways to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently through the use of software.


Software is critical to the success of companies in the automotive industry. It’s clear from the results that many companies are paying a lot of attention to this factor.

If your company is succeeding in this area, congratulations. You’re setting the bar and, more importantly, setting your employees up for success.

If your company is falling behind in this area, it may be time to find someone internally or externally to help you identify areas of improvement. That will help you upgrade this key aspect of your business.

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