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Helion Reveals Top IT Requirements for Increased Productivity at Dealerships in 2016

Timonium, MD – December 28th, 2015-- Helion Automotive Technologies, a leading provider of information technology (IT) solutions for auto dealers, revealed today the top four IT requirements to support productivity at auto dealerships in 2016. The recommendations are based upon data collected from working with hundreds of auto dealership clients, and recent trends such as the increase in usage of mobile devices.  

"More dealers have transitioned their DMS, CRM and other software applications to the cloud, so having an IT infrastructure capable of supporting the increased Internet and networking needs is critical to conducting business efficiently," said Erik Nachbahr, President of Helion Automotive Technologies. "If the IT infrastructure is outdated or insufficient, productivity can suffer."

According to Nachbahr, warning signs that a dealership's IT network may be hampering productivity, rather than improving it, include:

  • Slow Internet
  • Server or network crashes on a regular basis
  • Emails get lost or are sent and received at inconsistent speeds
  • Computer workstations regularly crash, freeze or are slow
  • Frustrated employees

To ensure that dealerships' IT networks are capable of supporting business operations in 2016, Nachbahr recommends that dealers focus on these areas:

1) Sufficient Wireless Bandwidth. Dealerships that adopt mobile devices into their business processes require large amounts of wireless bandwidth to accommodate all the data. According to Cisco Systems, Inc., a worldwide leader in IT, the Internet of Things (IoT) that connects devices to the Internet will triple in capacity by 2020. If dealers apply that concept on a micro-level to their businesses, their Wi-Fi capacity should double or triple in the next few years. Enterprise-grade routers and multiple wireless access points will be necessary to support increased bandwidth requirements, particularly in the service department.

2) External Security. Hackers, both domestic and overseas, are an ever-increasing threat to auto dealers. Hackers want access to dealerships' customer information, including social security numbers, credit card numbers and bank account information. They also want access to dealerships' bank information. Hackers are using increasingly sophisticated scams to trick employees into giving them the information they desire.

"Recently one of our dealership customers had an employee who fell for a scam and transferred $100,000 into a bank account somewhere. Unfortunately that money can't be retrieved," said Nachbahr. "There is no technical solution that can prevent these emails from coming into the dealership. Employees have to be made aware of what to do and what not to do."

Employee training and ensuring that extra procedures are in place before transferring large amounts of money are recommended. When responding to requests from co-workers, vendors or customers, questions to ask include: Does the return email address match the one in my contacts list? Does this person normally ask me to make these types of wire transfers? In addition to phishing scams, breaches caused by downloading files can create an opening in the network through which hackers may access and steal information from thousands of customer files.

At the minimum, dealerships should have an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), sometimes referred to as a monitored firewall, to help guard against hacking attempts.

3) Internal Security. As more employees and customers use mobile devices to tap into a dealership's network via Wi-Fi, internal security becomes an increasing concern. Every dealership should have a documented corporate security policy in 2016. Corporate security policies outline the steps and procedures needed to keep business assets safe. Security policies can list the types of devices allowed, software that can be distributed or downloaded, what do to in case of a breach, damage control procedures and more.

4) New Technologies to Enhance Productivity.  Two emerging new technologies that Nachbahr suggests for increasing productivity include TelePresence (videoconferencing) and Cisco Jabber.

Telepresence: Large auto groups use videoconferencing to enable employees to conduct meetings and connect face-to-face, greatly reducing travel time and expenses. Many managers find that conference calls are insufficient to convey important information, conduct interviews or for training purposes. Videoconferencing can bring multiple participants in multiple locations together on one large, high definition screen that creates a lifelike meeting experience.

"In dealerships meetings are a necessary part of business. Auto groups in particular often bring the various GMs, partners and managers together," said Nachbahr. "Videoconferencing virtually eliminates the need to fly to different cities because the experience is like being right there. You can read facial expressions and capture all the nuances of in-person communications, which is a critical part of how information is processed."

Jabber: Cisco Jabber is a collaboration tool designed to keep employees productive regardless of their location and device. One employee may be at their desktop PC, using email. Another employee may be on an airplane, with their iPhone. Another may be on a lunch break, using their mobile tablet to research vacation plans. Jabber works across all devices, platforms and applications, connecting employees in real-time, similar to an Instant Messaging (IM) app in function but with the additional ability to integrate with voice and video.

"I predict tools like Jabber may eventually replace email altogether, as anyone can instantly communicate with anyone, anywhere, using any method they want," said Nachbahr. "Dealers interested in keeping employees connected and productive may want to experiment with a collaboration tool in 2016."

For more information, contact Helion Technologies at 443-541-1500 or https://www.heliontechnologies.com/contact/

About Helion Automotive Technologies

Helion...Putting Your Dealership in the FAST LANE! Helion Automotive Technologies is a leading IT solutions provider, providing auto dealers with faster, more efficient networks and secure data protection. From managed services to IT assistance and service desk help, Helion offers both short-term IT fixes and long-term planning so dealers can focus on what matters most: selling more cars. Helion has specialized in IT for more than ten years and works with 650+ auto dealers nationwide. Dealers can request a free assessment of their IT needs at www.heliontechnologies.com.

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