The Internet of Things is here. Consumers are starting to expect that their refrigerator can talk to the stove and their GPS knows where to take them based on calendar appointments. These innovations require software services and devices to communicate with different systems. With open systems comes efficiencies, convenience, and ultimately a better customer experience for all of us. That same logic applies to the technology stack in a dealership. The modern dealership needs all their software solutions—more than 8 per dealership on average—to communicate with each other without the need for custom code, integration fees, or downtime.
Open Platforms Comes to Automotive Retail
What does that mean for car dealerships and their technology stack? It means that a more effective and expansive way of selling and servicing cars starts with sharing secure data, accessible between key partners—all via an open platform.
Indeed, a perfect example is the experience at Big Two Automotive Group. Fed up with their DMS provider’s lack of service and capabilities, they switched to Dealertrack DMS and soon discovered that the power and immediacy of an open and modular platform was required to keep their operation thriving.
Overall, the Group moved toward an open and accessible platform to run their operation due to several key benefits, including:
- Quick access to relevant data: The ability to apply data in real time made decisions more fluid and efficient, meeting customer expectations and helping to create a more productive and nimble environment. For example, data such as customer information, vehicles, and VINs, employees, parts inventory and transactions (ROs, deals, parts tickets, etc.) can help to do one very important thing: use data to better meet the needs of customers and create process efficiencies.
- Common system versions for all employees: Having all employees—from sales to service and accounting—on the same version helps to ensure accuracy, reduce confusion and the cost of miss-timed upgrades.
- Availability for all important vendors and services: The concept of dealer control and open access to ALL vendors creates efficiencies across the entire group. This is perhaps the most challenging aspect to open and accessible platforms: it must be secure enough to protect the dealership, yet open to all third-party sources of information and service. It’s also an area in which dealers are often taken advantage of, by vendors seeking to charge them for the use of their own data. It’s vital that dealers retain control of their own data!
- Convenience of integration points that matter: Integrated data across vendors and store systems helps to eliminate manual data entry – such as name and address – as well as provide timely and proactive reminders about service and more. Of course, remember too that the point of integrated systems is to work with humans to provide better-than service through technology. In fact, a recent study by Price Waterhouse Cooper found that the majority of consumer wanted integrated and automated technology to improve the human customer service experience – not replace it.
Big Two Automotive Group discovered that closed systems and restrictive policies were about as effective and convenient as roll-up windows on cars. Indeed, most retail operations are now realizing the same thing: closed systems symbolize the status quo and a static and frozen picture of automotive retail—not the evolving and growing reality of the business.
Learn more about open and integrated DMS systems in this blog post, Demand More from your DMS: Open Integration.