This is my third and final blog in the series about what to look for when choosing a DMS.
In this final part of the series, I cover three more areas to consider when investigating what should be a long-term relationship.
1. Evaluate for the Future – When it comes to choosing a new DMS provider, many dealers evaluate for the very near term. It is wiser to look at a return for the next ten years or more.
Have you ever purchased a desktop or laptop and, within 6 months or less, found it to be somewhat outdated? This is a frequent occurrence with technology. When considering a software service that will be the backbone of your business, you can not just look at what it can do NOW. You should also investigate how it can grow with your dealership and keep up with the future.
Sure, in today’s market, contracts tend to be short-lived. This can be enticing for those dealers grown weary from decades-long contracts with their DMS. Therefore, it pays to evaluate the history of a DMS and seek a provider with a track record of improving their product. Look at how the DMS provider addresses new features and enhancement requests. Most importantly, take a good look at whether they provide for new feature sets.
For example, certain DMS providers “fix” a particular version of their platform and begin working on the next generation. While other providers continuously improve their existing platform. There is no sure answer other than the fact that technologies advance each year at a greater pace. Choose a partner you feel will best meet your needs for the next 10 years – not necessarily the length of your contract.
2. Evaluate the Technology – Researching the technical aspects of a DMS is one of the most challenging things to do -- but is very important. The software platform on which the DMS is built; the underlying operating system; and its servers; play a significant role in how flexible and accommodating it can actually be, compared to how much it wants to or claims to be. This can be difficult to research given the technical nature behind the tools used to develop the software. But it is an essential part of the selection process.
For example, if a DMS is built using proprietary tools and utilizes several databases to operate, the system will be inherently less flexible. It will also be challenging to develop streamlined, user-friendly processes. Also, it will be much harder for the DMS provider to integrate new technologies that appear on the scene. This could prevent your dealership from adopting new technologies that can help you sell more cars.
3. Evaluate the Training – Every department in a dealership requires the assistance of the DMS. From sales to inventory management, to service, to parts, to the business office, a DMS is essential in the efficient operation of the dealership. Therefore, training on the DMS platform is vital to its success. With the high turnover rates dealerships typically endure, training costs are real and can add up.
The DMS should be intuitive in its use and provide a natural flow to support your dealership’s desired processes. Consistency with various functionalities, work-flows, and the general feel of the DMS can help shorten the training cycle and increase utilization. So be sure to study these attributes because they are essential to ensure you get the best ROI from your DMS investment.
Most dealers know that switching to a new DMS provider can be an arduous process. By asking the right questions while making that decision, I hope that you can minimize failure and make decisions which lead to the ultimate match made in heaven.
To your success!