Whats the MOST important piece of technology?

Jared Hamilton
Times are tough but I hear from some dealers who have found a niche that is working or a technology that they are exploiting for gains despite the tough times. Given all the choices on the market today, what is proving to be the most important piece of technology in a dealerships arsenal today? Is it CRM, inventory analysis tools, Search, your website, 3rd party leads??? Id love to hear where you are putting your emphasis and why.
Philip Zelinger
A dealership can be related to a living organism in many ways. I won't dillute my answer by expanding on how or why but I will assume it to make my point. The brain of the dealership is the DMS. The integrated applications like CRM and Desking tools - amongst many more -all flow through and are linked through the "brain" so technically that is where I start my analysis when evaluating current and potential opportunities for a dealer client. Crap in gives you crap out and a DMS that is not easy to use or integrate into existing and developing applications will bring even the best designed processes to a grinding halt when people don't know how to use it to integrate information across all departments. Also, a centralized "dash board" that allows a decision maker from each department - or a dealer or general maneger to monitor and manage processes across all departments - is critical to maximize R.O.I. by cross selling between sales and service as well as new and used. Redundancy of da
Matt Lamoureux
What an interesting question. One could clearly argue that a dealership's own website is the single most important piece of technology in his or her arsenal. After all, next to bricks and mortar, a dealer's website is, in my opinion anyway, the most valuable peice of real estate the dealer owns. One might then ask: what good is a high performing website without a quality CRM system to support it? Just picture someone working the old index card system to record the many hundreds and perhaps even thousands of leads generated from their dealership website each month. Believe it or not, I am of the opinion that a telephone remains the single most important piece of technology. When I was selling cars I could still operate even without a website or a CRM system. Had you taken away my telephone, that would have been a much more difficult handicap to overcome.
Matt Watson
I like the telephone as the best answer! That's a great one! I guess my personal vote is a good CRM. Keeping track of your unsold customers and knowing when to call them back and get them back in the dealership has to be pretty important.

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