On one hand, Canadian markets are very similar to the US markets. On the other hand however, there are several differences that are important and critical.
Canada is a large country, but its population is about a tenth of the US and so is the overall market and the franchise network. For most of the OEMs, the number of dealers is 10 – 15% of what they have in the US. This has a bearing on the importance of Network Development solutions.
Language is another key area of difference. Any company that operates in Canada has to be able to support both English and French language equally effectively.
As Optimum Info grew its presence in the US, it was natural for us to consider extending our suite of Network Development solutions to the Canadian market considering the proximity of the US and largely similar profile of our customers, keeping in mind the important differences we recognized. We have taken several important steps to ensure that our solutions align well with the Canadian market requirements.
Our Network systems were designed ground-up with multi-language capabilities, so it is easy for users to select their preferred language while working with our solutions – whether they are internal solutions or dealer facing solutions.
In our Business Management solution, a French speaking dealer will not only see screens in French language, but also the Financial Statement, Account Descriptions, KPI Descriptions as well. They will get a seamless French language experience. Similarly, our Dealer Package Management solution has capability of managing sample documents, templates and agreements in different languages. Therefore, a package can be prepared for French speaking dealers in all French documents and communication to dealers can also be sent in French language template. Our Dealer Evaluation system is also multi-language so users in Quebec region can read the evaluation questions in French while the corresponding review can be done in English language by English speaking users.
This ground-up development of the system with multi-language capability has helped us launch our systems with good acceptance in the market.
When working with our customers in Canada, we have been able to establish file integration with American DMS vendors operating in Canada as well as some DMS vendors that specialize in the Canadian market. As the underlying file formats are very similar to the one’s used in the US, we were able to easily adapt to the formats provided by the Canadian DMS vendors. Our systems are running effectively with Volvo and Porsche franchises and dealers have no difficulty submitting their financials through the Optimum portal.
We also recognize that it is important to support our customers from either a direct presence in Canada or have someone operate from the Eastern time zone so we have a better overlap with most of the users in the Quebec and Ontario region. While being a California headquartered company, we are strengthening our presence in the Toronto region as well as our support through Optimum teams located in other suitable time zones. Other time zones in Canada are easily supported through our corporate office in California.
We also provide French language support to the French-speaking dealer personnel though our team of native French speaking staff.
Canada is an important & strategic market for Optimum and we continue to strengthen our solution offerings and service delivery capabilities to align with the specific requirements of the Canadian OEM customers and their dealers.