Neerav Bhansali on How Data Needs To Function in Automotive

May 25, 2023
Neerav Bhansali is Head of Industry Strategy, Automotive & Mobility for Adobe
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Neerav Bhansali is Head of Industry Strategy, Automotive & Mobility for Adobe

Key Takeaways:

  • Adobe's presence extends beyond Creative Cloud and Acrobat, encompassing a broad range of solutions in the digital transformation space.
  • Adobe's Experience Cloud includes data analytics, content management, personalization, and customer data platforms for digital marketing and customer experience in the automotive industry.
  • The automotive industry is experiencing a wave of digital transformation due to external pressures, including disruptive business models like Tesla's.
  • Connecting OEMs, dealers, and consumers through technology and data platforms like CDPs (Customer Data Platforms) can improve customer journeys and data governance.
  • Clear governance, transparency, and agreed-upon rules between OEMs and dealers are essential for successful data collaboration.
  • Technologies like APIs and data-centric platforms help mitigate risks and ensure compliance with legal and business requirements.
  • The biggest barrier to widespread collaboration and data utilization in the automotive industry is the lack of urgency and external pressure for immediate change.
  • The entrance of new OEMs and external threats can act as catalysts for accelerated digital transformation and collaboration.

This is Amplify, the retail automotive podcast by Reuters Events and ASOTU.

During Automotive Retail USA 2023 in Las Vegas, Paul J Daly and Kyle Mountsier interviewed dealers, OEM representatives, industry partners and more, looking to make the most innovative voices in retail automotive louder.

Paul Daly: 0:01Today on the show you have Neerav Bhansali head of industry strategy and go to market for automotive for Adobe.

Unknown: 0:08

This is amplify, a retail automotive podcast brought to you by Reuters events and ASOTU. It's time to make the most innovative voices in retail automotive. Louder.

Paul Daly: 0:25

Neerav, thank you so much for joining us today. It's good to have you here.

Neerav Bhansali: 0:28

Thank you.Thank you looking forward to it.That's a great intro. This lives up to that

Paul Daly: 0:34

kind of gives you all the energy. There expected something from me. So we'd like to set the tone.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:40

Now it's interesting, because when people hear Adobe, they most like from if they've

Paul Daly: 0:46

just our whole company is like Creative Cloud,right? Creative Cloud, right?That's

Kyle Mountsier: 0:50

our kind of,that's our side of Adobe. And that's, I think, the way that most people see Adobe, or they've opened a PDF in Adobe Acrobat, and that's their relationship with Adobe. But Adobe is so much more of a broad company, and an actually has a lot more interaction on the data content management side of things. And that's kind of where you come in. Right?

Neerav Bhansali: 1:11

Yeah,absolutely. I mean, that's a that's been my introduction to Adobe, like four or five years ago was like, okay, Dobies,beyond Creative Cloud. That's kind of the same, you know, how do we come up against but it's a good, it's a good question.Like, that tells you the power of like, when things become verbs like going to, you know,give me a PDF, or like no PDF this or Photoshop that. It takes time for people to then think about it in another context. But your point, yeah, Adobe's been in this digital transformation space for over a decade, it all started like 10, plus years ago,when Adobe acquired an analytics company called Omniture. And since then, Adobe is kind of built out similar to a Creative Cloud, or we call Experience cloud, which is collection of different solutions across data analytics, content, management,personalization, customer data platform to bring together for any large company, right, like we have some of the biggest auto OEMs here or dealer groups to use it for, you know, their digital marketing and customer experience.

Kyle Mountsier: 2:17

Yeah, you know,it's interesting, because for Adobe, doing that 10 years, and you know, that was fairly early in the light, you know, that type of data utilization, Adobe,and Amazon and Google were kind of like, early early in that game. But Auto is just starting to really come around, at least at the dealer and industry partner level, the OEM level has been operating in that for quite some time. Why? Why do you think that? That that's kind of like finally hitting the wave of auto where E COMM And a lot of other experience stuff we're Telecom has been in personalization and data data efficiency for a while.

Neerav Bhansali: 3:00

Yeah, I mean,like, that's a great point, like even the first set of digital applications and auto were just simple websites, right, like,the catalog that we had sitting on the couch at the back of the dealer, and then it became the website, right. And that's really the initial digital kind of onset for the industry. But obviously, a lot of strange.Like, personally, like I come from the industry, I used to work as a product manager within the connected car space. And I saw this firsthand. I think a lot of what has happened over the last decade has been external pressure. Like, I think, you know, if you take Tesla as an example, most people will say, Tesla, you know,electrification, autonomous driving, amazing experience,seamless purchase. But personally, I think the biggest disruption is, the model is the business model, right? And that has now come to a place 10 years later, where we're starting to see the effects across so many aspects of the industry, like a lot of the teams to 10 years, it took 10 years, but it took, you know, a point now where everyone's starting to realize that yeah, either they have to follow the model, or they have to fix the model. And, you know,both will likely exist, but the fix the model. That's where the dealers and the OEM, I mean, the OEMs. And dealers really have to come together. But yeah, I think that's happening. So I think that's why we're seeing a lot of the frenzy around digital and using digital because that's going to be the way to connect those two, and do it in a way that's, you know, beneficial to both parties.

Kyle Mountsier: 4:38

Yeah, connecting is extremely important. And when you think about, especially OEMs, and dealers, really recognizing that when we are dealing with data, it's been like almost a complete separation down the middle for so long. And what that actually does is destroy customer journeys. How How are you able to and how are technologies like a CDP? Or an analytics platform or an experience platform able to kind of like meet both the dealer and OEM to bring them together with the consumer?

Neerav Bhansali: 5:15

Yeah, yeah. No,that's a great question. Like, I think there's two parts to the answer. There's a technology piece, which we, you know, think we're helping solve for, but there's a people process, but which no matter what technology you have, cannot solve for,right. So ultimately, the two parties have to come on the table, and agree, but on the technology side, you know, like,what we're starting to see is,and it's not just auto, if you look across and other industries, like look at travel,look at hotels, like anywhere where you are even like QSR,anywhere where you have this corporate and franchisee relationship, this problem always exists. So, what we're starting to see a pause real

Kyle Mountsier: 5:56

quick, because I think a lot of times in auto,we're like, we're alone. Nobody else deals with this. Worry.Yeah, lots of other people deal with this in the franchise, you know, OEM kind of nature.

Neerav Bhansali: 6:09

Yeah,absolutely. And like, it's obviously all those more complex products more complex, and it's getting more complex, and it's tougher to sell. Like, it's not the same as some of these other examples. But I think that technology, but that we can do is, you know, offer a solution.I think it was shared earlier today as one of the points where it's, it's kind of a distributed CDP. It's a model that, you know, the dealers and the OEMs,both can tap into, there's clear governance, there's transparency built in, you know, if the OEM wants to protect certain data that's that they believe is, you know, theirs or opted in by their customers only for their use, they should have those guardrails in same thing on the dealer side, and also the OEM should then ensure that they have to be stewards of the dealer data as well. So that you know, one dealers data is not lining up in another dealers marketing campaign. Yeah,that's, that's the bit that the problem

Kyle Mountsier: 7:04

No, but it's,it's a real real problem,because there's not data standards around all of that type of stuff. Like, I mean,like, a lot of people are throwing around the words like ISO and sock and and, and these these compliance metrics, but like, something simple,something as simple as like,someone extracting data out of a platform, and then typing in Jo into the email, attaching that data and it going to the wrong place, like major major fireable red flag, and that's where data centric platforms where people can actually touch it with an API, like, clean a lot of that up. And that's, that's what Adobe has the ability to do.

Neerav Bhansali: 7:47

Yes, and that's kind of the thing. So I think that your point is, like, super valid, like we, there are certain, like legal things that all data platforms have to follow. Like, if it's, you know,if it's in the healthcare space as HIPAA staff, right, if it's like GDPR, and you're right,like, but then there's stuff that's not written in regulatory or legal code. But that's,that's the bit, that's the business requirement. But that has to be written in and like,the technology can help code that and make sure that it's like solid, and that no one's taking advantage of something that they shouldn't be, or even by mistake, right like that,that's probably the likely scenario that it just happens to show up and someone's segment when it shouldn't have shown up,right. But that has to come from the agreement between the OEM the deal, right like that, those sets of rules have to be written, like, almost located as when they you know, when when they roll out, like physical changes to the dealer's like layouts or things like that.There's a lot of stuff written and on their own, like, how much investment you put in and what what level of upgrade, you want to make my level of detail, high level, right, and things are and people are held accountable to that right. There are people who will be out in the field to make sure that implemented and going well. So I think you take that approach back to digital, it's just, it's kind of the same thing hasn't been done, but kind of, I think that's where you can learn a lot from it. There are places where it's happening.

Paul Daly: 9:16

Yeah, like there's a way to understand that I like I like when you drew the parallel between the two because dealers understand that exactly. And when you say it's like that for that. Alright, which helps me to because it helps me understand

Kyle Mountsier: 9:30

what what do you think the biggest barriers are to a world where like, that is happening regularly? Yeah, right now.

Neerav Bhansali: 9:40

Yeah, I think

Kyle Mountsier: 9:41

he's like, let me here's my bulleted list and I don't have anything prepared.You

Neerav Bhansali: 9:46

know, like, I think the biggest barrier is like the probably like there,there still hasn't been the origin see where like, business is gonna shut down tomorrow,right cars are still being sold the regular way like so. Because things take time to change and evolve in this industry. That pressure isn't there. But I think that's changing, like so the more external threats come in, like, we were just talking to someone about, you know, Neil was here today talking about them, potentially coming here to the US and vinfast. And a bunch of other OEMs are planning to come in, right, like, so I think that that might be the catalyst,right? Like, that just like shocks the system. And they're like, alright, that's let's do it. I hope you don't get there because probably don't want to come work from a place like that.

Paul Daly: 10:37

Because there's a chance right now you're saying like, we can't get ahead of this is the window, and how long in your opinion is the window? 24months, 23

Neerav Bhansali: 10:46

days. And before we go?I looked at this podcast. I hope it was. I hope it's already like in discussion. And I think it is like every customer we speak to on both sides. You know, this is top three, right? Let's never like Oh, down the thing.

Paul Daly: 11:02

Yeah, I mean, two years ago, even like 18 months ago, that wasn't the case. Yeah,right. When we started to hear even CDP come out, it was like

Kyle Mountsier: 11:09

I think I said CDP on LinkedIn posts and everyone. Everybody was like,

Paul Daly: 11:14

so it's been it's been like really ramped up in the last 20 months. How long have you been in the position you're in? Right now?

Neerav Bhansali: 11:21

Current Position two years.

Paul Daly: 11:22

Okay. So literally,right when the conversation good timing, timing,

Kyle Mountsier: 11:26

great timing.You're in it. You're ready to go. Thanks for sharing a little bit about the side of Adobe that maybe maybe people don't know exist. And thanks for joining us on the podcast.

Neerav Bhansali: 11:34

Thank you so much. Appreciate you.

Unknown: 11:39

Thanks for listening to the amplify podcast brought to you by Reuters events and ASOTU.For more engaging episodes like this, subscribe or follow on your favorite podcast platform.You can learn more about our hosts Paul J. Daly and Kyle Mountsier by visiting

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