Motor trade keeps up with average IT spend despite ups and downs along the road

Business Focus is a weekly column providing at-a-glance statistics and commentary on spending priorities and trends in particular sectors. This week we look at the motor trade.

Business Focus is a weekly column providing at-a-glance statistics and commentary on spending priorities and trends in particular sectors. This week we look at the motor trade.

Average IT spending in the motor trade is very close to the UK-wide average IT spend, but the figures conceal variations across the different operations covered, including new car sales, motor spares sales and servicing.

Overall, large motor trade operations spend £8,312 per desktop each year, against the all-industry average of £8,455. And among small and medium-sized enterprises the figures are also near to the UK average, with smaller motor trade businesses spending £3,482 a year, against the all-industry average of £3,132.

Recent developments that are changing the IT landscape in the motor trade include the launch earlier this year of an electronic MOT testing system for use by all of the UK's 18,500 authorised testing centres.

Since March, all the centres have linked to the Vehicle and Operators Services Agency via the £230m system, which was built for the government by Siemens.

The system has replaced handwritten MOT test certificates, with the aim of wiping out the sale of fraudulent certificates and helping to keep dangerous vehicles off the road.

In motor spares retailing, Halfords is investing in IT to help manage its operations. It runs SAP-based store systems and replenishment systems from Manhattan Associates but, like many of its competitors, keeping systems simple is the watchword.

This emphasis on functional IT is also illustrated by the breakdown of IT spending across the motor trade. It shows that spending among larger organisations on IT staff is well below the UK-wide average, suggesting that many firms are using systems out of the box to keep staff costs low.

Methodology

The analysis is based on Computer Weekly's database of more than 60,000 IT budget holders, twice yearly user IT expenditure surveys, CBI/Kew senior executive surveys, government surveys, government demographic data, HM Treasury economic forecasts and Cambridge Econometrics industry sector forecasts.

Further details: www.kewassociates.co.uk

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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