Appoints Piyush Palkar as Chief Data Officer
KUALA LUMPUR, 20 May 2021: Southeast Asia’s largest integrated car e-commerce platform, Carsome has set up a data center of excellence (COE) to revolutionize the used car industry through digitalization and to empower decision-making in business.
The use of data allows Carsome to power its business at all stages while supporting strategic decisions. The combination of auction and market data, and machine learning (ML) model backs Carsome’s proprietary vehicle pricing optimization and inventory support system. It also helps the company in understanding different user personas and their journey as a customer, and allows for analytics-backed inventory acquisition and liquidation strategy.
Carsome Co-founder and Group CEO Eric Cheng explained that the company has amassed a wealth of data after six years in business, where data of hundreds of cars pass through Carsome’s platforms every single day. “By setting up our data COE, we are on full throttle in implementing data science solutions, along with data-driven insights to increase operational efficiency.
“Our in-house data capabilities and machine learning automations increase work efficiency and enhance timely, evidence-based decision-making abilities, which in turn helps our customers get good quality services from Carsome,” Cheng added.
Internally, data digitalizes workflows and processes by improving internal products with artificial intelligence (AI) and ML capabilities. Application of AI and ML include automating various operations tasks, such as car number plate masking and car scoring engine; these reduce the time an inspector takes to inspect a car and therefore promote better efficiency internally while providing faster car-selling process for consumers.
To further establish the importance of a data-driven business, Carsome has appointed former Head of Data at iflix and subsequently WeTV iflix (part of Tencent Holdings which acquired iflix), Piyush Palkar as its Chief Data Officer (CDO). Palkar, a construction engineer by qualification but ventured into data since varsity days, brings along vast experience in data and analytics across banking, energy, media and entertainment, and retail.
“We are happy to have Piyush join the Carsome family to deliver successful data strategy by establishing company-wide core data principles and best practices. This forms our commitment in building a trusted used car industry and elevating consumer experience, now powered by data,” Cheng said.
Reporting directly to the Group CEO, Palkar will lead data maturity, data engineering and management, ML/AI-based data-driven innovations, business intelligence, insights and data analytics in Carsome. He will also embed data culture in the organization to support organizational efficiency and agility through data.
“I am very excited to be part of the team that digitalizes the used car industry, now further strengthened by cutting-edge data technologies, as democratizing data and providing near-real time insights to different business functions are vital in driving innovation and efficiency. We will leverage on data to improve customer experience via personalization, customer segmentation and propensity models,” Palkar added.
Data brings value to various Carsome stakeholders. For used car dealers, the most apparent is ML-powered auction optimization, which provides personalized recommendations when bidding for cars. Dealers on Carsome’s platform will find the most relevant cars curated and ready to bid on for them before they even start browsing. This allows them to make more bids that increase the likelihood of winning.
For consumers, they benefit greatly from Carsome’s pricing engine, from which car sellers can gain data-backed proposed reserve pricing when selling their cars through Carsome. Data helps them get the best selling price based on market movements and subsequently increasing the chances of their cars being sold via bidding.
Carsome’s commitment to data excellence comes at a time when the company continues to grow from strength to strength, being the largest player in the region and double the size of its closest competition. Carsome is on track to hit an annualized US$1 billion in revenue by the end of the second quarter (Q2 2021), beating forecasts by about a quarter. The company is also expected to complete a number of major merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions that will further cement its market leadership position in the next six months.