Brian Allibon is president of MAM Software Inc., a division of MAM Software Group, a UK-based supplier of business and ERP/supply chain management solutions for the autoparts industry. The company's Autopart solution is targeted at warehouse distributors and jobbers, while its OpenWebs B2B solution is an e-commerce system.
What do you see as the most significant technology related challenge in the aftermarket right now?
There is currently a large disparity in the systems used, between companies that have upgraded to a modern solution and those that are still being held back by legacy software. This makes offerings such as data warehousing and cross-platform EDI difficult to implement.
The industry has to continue moving toward established standards for data. Applications such as OpenWebs are doing an excellent job of combating this obstacle and encouraging companies to upgrade, but as long as some businesses cling to their legacy systems they will continue to struggle.
What technology developments do you think hold the most promise for improving operations in the aftermarket?
Moving into the cloud is undoubtedly the next big step forward for aftermarket technology. By hosting software on remote servers, cloud solutions free the user from hardware and maintenance expense, and eliminate time intensive tasks such as system patching. We are currently exploring this alternative delivery method, and establishing how to make it work best for our customers.
In terms of your own solutions, what new features/functions or capabilities have your customers been most interested in? What other capabilities are emerging that customers frequently request?
Larger customers such as WDs are looking for software to manage their warehouse operations. We are constantly listening to our customers' requests for new functionality, and this year we hope to debut a number of new features including telephone integration; eBay functionality; parcel couriering; credit card integration; and signature capture.
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