Dealerships were amongst the first community businesses to be computerized. So why are most dealers having such a hard time with e-mails, spam, viruses and other computer issues?
Dealerships are essentially behind because they were so far ahead. Dealer management systems were developed long before the technology reached the masses — long before there were PCs, e-mail and today’s plethora of PDAs and smartphones.
Today’s dealership looks nothing like the dealership of the past. Remember when there used to be satellite dishes (lots of dishes — one for each franchise) on the roofs of dealerships and dumb terminals on the desks? That was how we communicated with the DMS and OEMs. Remember the day of servers underneath a desk or in a closet next to the reams of paper and extra toilet paper? Unfortunately, this early computerization delayed the utilization of PCs and certain common programs. We now have PCs on just about every surface of the dealership, and smartphones and tablets sprinkled all over the store. Regrettably, they don’t all sync with their e-mails — or each other — and most are using outdated or unlicensed software.
As technology and digital marketing take a greater role in selling cars, every dealer needs a competent, reliable and current data infrastructure.
If you’re wondering if any of this is important to your dealership, ask yourself the following questions:
Corporate America handles these issues with servers and, if you answered “yes” to any question, then you should consider the same technology but in the cloud. In the past, that would have meant a substantial investment. Not anymore. Now the solution is already at your store because you have internet access and all you need to do is tap in.
What previously would require equipment, trained I.T. Staff, back-up, licensing and more is already around you and yours to tap into — on the cloud. You can easily transfer all of your employees to a cloud-based Microsoft Exchange solution for dollars per head. Moving to cloud-based services enables your employees to interact more efficiently and access information from nearly anywhere, on many types of devices, which increases their productivity.
Imagine life on a full-fledged platform with e-mail, calendar, contacts, team sites, anti-virus, anti-malware, desktop management, operating system upgrades and remote support. Corporate America does business that way, and so should you.
Does your organization have a mix of hardware devices? (Do your employees use Windows PCs, Apple Macbooks, iPhones, iPads, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones?)
Do you have any issues with e-mails — receiving, responding or syncing — across all devices? (Do you find your important e-mails are not accessible in real time across your devices? Are e-mails on your computer but not on your phone, and vice versa?)
Are you concerned about compliance with e-mail and privacy in communicating with your customers?(Just like everything else in our industry, tech communication is becoming regulated and, if you want to be compliant, you need to make sure the solution you choose is secure, secure and, most of all, secure.)
Do you have an anti-virus/anti-malware and software-installation strategy? (Most dealers either have purchased anti-virus software or are using a free version to protect their computers. You get what you pay for.)
Employee access — who has access to your customers and company communication? (When an employee leaves the organization, can you be confident they aren’t taking valuable clients or communication with them? Do the e-mails and contacts stay with the dealership?)
If you have any questions or comments, we'd be happy to continue the conversation below. Thank you for reading.
Kevin McMillen, Founder
Microsoft Cloud Services and RyanTech