This is the second entry in our blog series entitled, "Demand More from your DMS." Each post discusses the gap between available DMS technologies and the solutions currently being utilized by most dealerships. In this post, Kai Nielsen, Director of Strategy and Business Operations at Dealertrack DMS, shares his thoughts on the importance of data accessibility and the benefits of cloud-based solutions.
In a previous post within this blog series, Dealertrack DMS Vice President and General Manager Sharon Kitzman discussed the ways in which open integration has made technology more useful, more affordable, and more effective. The impact of those technologies on the automotive industry has been significant. Many new innovations have made dealerships better, faster, and more efficient at performing traditional tasks. One technology in particular, however, has had a truly transformative impact on the way dealerships run their businesses. Cloud computing has opened new possibilities by making dealership data and DMS platforms accessible at anytime and from anywhere.
A History of Static Technologies
For decades, dealerships hosted their data on their own servers, located on their own properties. Recognizing the hassles and limitations of on-premise servers, many dealerships moved their data and their software applications to hosted servers, owned by third-party data centers. Unfortunately, both options have left dealerships with the additional burdens of protecting data, managing growth, and maintaining and upgrading physical hardware.
Both of these traditional data storage methods have subjected dealerships to the same challenge—a lack of accessibility. Naturally, when data is stored in a single location, it can only be accessed from that same, single location. Site-based data is less accessible to third-party vendors and is more difficult for dealership managers to access. Limited access makes reporting, real-time performance analysis, and the management of multiple dealerships more challenging.
The Benefits of Cloud-Based Technology
Eventually, dealerships began to discover the benefits of new cloud-based technologies, which had started to gain traction in other industries. Information stored in the cloud could be accessed anytime and anywhere that an Internet connection was available. Cloud-based solutions, including cloud-based DMS platforms, soon became available to forward-thinking dealerships.
Cloud-based DMS platforms alleviate the need to manage, maintain or update server hardware and DMS software. They also free dealerships from the burden of physically securing equipment and protecting invaluable customer information. However, the primary benefit of cloud-based DMS technologies is accessibility.
The Dwayne Lane Family of Auto Centers in Everett, Washington is a great example of a dealership taking advantage of anytime/anywhere access. The growth-oriented group recently acquired three new locations and relies heavily on its DMS to monitor multiple locations. In particular, the ability to view financial reports and store performance metrics for any location in real-time was a crucial component of the successful acquisition. "The Dealertrack system allows me to access all the data, all the financial reports, and see any store in real time," said Ken Barczyszyn, the group's CFO.
Cloud-based technology, including modern DMS platforms, have the ability to transform the way dealerships do business. The anytime/anywhere access available through these cloud-based platforms allows dealerships to view real-time data, manage multiple locations, and monitor performance from anywhere. These features are providing a sustainable competitive advantage to early adopters of cloud-based DMS platforms.
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