Aust & NZ
18th Aug 2015

It is with great pleasure that we announce Pentana Solutions’ listing as one of the BRW Top 50 Most Innovative Companies. Over 550 companies from a variety of industries qualified for consideration with the final 50 announced in Sydney this week.

The Pentana Solutions newsroom talks to Sean Brown, CIO (Chief Innovations Officer) about his thoughts on the award.

Pentana Solutions Newsroom: How does it feel to be listed as one of BRW’s Top 50 Most Innovative Companies?

Sean: To be nominated as an innovation leader is of course, an honour, to be listed in the final top 50 however is fantastic! I’m very proud of our listing as one of BRW’s Most innovative Companies. This listing is vindication of the work the team puts in every single day to get this done.

Pentana Solutions Newsroom: How would you define innovation?

Sean: Sometimes people confuse innovation with invention, the idea of doing something different or something new is more closely tied to invention rather than innovation. I would define innovation differently, with just four words – change that adds value. An innovation doesn’t have to be something completely new, it just needs to add value for its users be it a business, an individual or an entire industry.

Pentana Solutions Newsroom: What were the products you feel highlight Pentana Solutions innovation spirit best?

Sean: It’s always hard to pick two stand out innovations but when Inventium and BRW said only two could be included I looked to our value added services as these really encompassed innovation for me.

Innovation One – Online Service Bookings

Sean: We told Inventium and BRW that the bulk of our customers were retail automotive dealers who not only sell cars but service them too. With service work being very profitable for our clients we set about finding a way to improve the end customers’ ability to book service work for their car. We knew retail dealers needed another way to take advantage of the mobile and second screen phenomenon. In response, we created Online Service Booking and integrated it into each of our Dealer Management Systems.
Some dealers are now seeing in excess of 190 bookings through this product each month which is great to see.

Innovation Two – Handle.

As dealership customers are moving to a different buying model for spare parts and we need to keep car dealers ahead of the trend. Buyers of automotive spare parts will order from where its most convenient, opening hours are a key consideration in the concept of convenience and the internet is never closed. Sites like amazon and ebay offer dealers an established customer base but those who manage to list parts told us the time lost and paper shuffling of reconciling online parts orders in their dealer management system (DMS) outweighed the benefits. Not only was this a waste of time but it detracted from the positive experience of the sale. In response to this change, the innovations team at Pentana Solutions created Handle.

Pentana Solutions Newsroom: Does innovation just happen?

Sean: The short answer is no.

Innovation needs structure, an environment to live within and most of all guidance, in order to cater for these needs clear and transparent processes need to be put in place. Our processes at Pentana Solutions are programs such as Innovations Time and i2i coupled with a formal structure of estimations and approvals. From these early points a concept is guided through to delivery ensuring transparency of development phases as a product goes through the innovation process. You can have eureka moments but they’re few and far between if you don’t provide clear structure.

The other clear requirement is resource, we invest over 14 million dollars each year in innovation and we have a dedicated team of full time innovations specialists numbering over 120 people globally. We are an innovations business through and through, we have built a good structure and will continue to support it long into the future.

Pentana Solutions Newsroom: What’s next for the Innovations team at Pentana Solutions?

Sean: The sky is the limit and along with the rest of the leadership team I’m looking forward to delivering some real change that adds value to the automotive industry. It goes without saying that we want to make sure we’re named on the BRW most innovative companies list in 2016.