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IT insight: Make your investment work hard

DMS demands a considerable investment and level of commitment from both you, the dealer, and the providers. But do you know what your provider’s five-year strategy is and how it could make an impact on your business?

Or their views on how well dealers utilize their systems?

We ask seven major players the top 10 questions that all dealers want to know. The results may shock you – let us know your reactions by emailing:

A bespoke alternative
Newcastle based retailer CarShock is proof there is an alternative to signing up to an off-the-shelf DMS solution. With a business model built firmly on the principle of low overheads, a cost effective bespoke DMS seemed an obvious choice.

CarShock IT manager Luke Thomas, says: “Our system is written entirely in-house using MySQL and PHP. It runs seven sites and is infinitely expandable. We have been running it for three years and it has saved us thousands of pounds.”

Named Porritts, in honour of CarShock managing director Mike Porritt, the Linux-based system goes directly on to a CD. When users turn on their PCs, the disk boots up and the system runs directly from that. Staff have differing levels of access dependent on their position, meaning their activity is fully traceable. Their ability to use other aspects of the web is also predetermined by their clearance levels.

The PCs themselves are ex-NHS Compaqs, brought for just £30 each. The inner workings of each computer were stripped out and replaced to CarShock’s specification. The cases are stored out of view, while new keyboards and LCD screens have been added so that customers are unaware of the cost saving system.

The panel of DMS experts
The people behind your dealer management system

Dragon 2000
Mark Cooper
Managing director

MMI Automotive
David Hayward
Managing director

Neville Briggs
Managing director

Autoview UK
Walter Hinds
UK director of sales

Adrian Moss
EDvantage sales

ADP Kerridge
Simon Wardle
Marketing director UK & Ireland ADP Dealer Service UK Ltd

We asked the panel two questions: What is your five year product strategy? and what is the lifetime cost of the system – including training and implementation of software revisions?

Below you will find their respective answers:

David Hayward, MMI Automotive:
Answer 1: "One of continuous product improvement based upon the constant evolution of our underlying development language/ database, Progress.
"We are committed to building the deepest possible integration with manufacturer systems."

Answer 2: "We provide upgrades to the latest version of Automate free of charge for life. One investment, once.
"Typical five-year cost of ownership of applications built on the Progress platform is 40% less than those built on Microsoft and 90% less than those on Oracle."

Neville Briggs, Pinewood:
Answer 1: "The product strategy is to remain within the automotive sector and continue to lead with innovative technology. Pinewood will further develop the core DMS, taking Pinnacle into areas not usually associated with a DMS vendor."

Answer 2: "Pinnacle is priced on a simple per user basis, the more users that a dealer takes the more cost effective each one becomes.
"As no two dealers are the same, it would be difficult to determine a lifetime cost."

Mark Cooper, Dragon 2000:
Answer 1: "Our challenge is to strengthen core functions within a system that enables dealers to manage their business more effectively.
"Our task is to ensure dealers can interpret the system’s findings in a way that allows them to steer the business in the correct direction."

Answer 2: "For a single-user system there is £695 one-off fee, or £2,465 including support and product revisions for five years.
"A typical 10-user system would be £5950 one-off, or £16,570 including support and product revisions for five years."

Simon Wardle, ADP:
Answer 1: "The key factors that influence our strategy are the needs of dealers and manufacturers, changes in technology, and legal and fiscal changes.
"Our strategy will address the requirements of the marketplace to ensure we deliver on these factors."

Answer 2: "To give an average price of a system would be misleading as each Autoline implementation varies greatly, depending on the size and shape of each business where it is deployed. We do not offer an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution."

Walter Hinds, Autoview UK:
Answer 1: "Our strategy is to provide lower costs and greater ease of use to the dealer, combined with comprehensive communications across the web and between staff, departments and ranches."

Answer 2: "The 10-year cost is approximately £4,500 per user."

Adrian Moss, Ebbon-Dacs
Answer 1: "The core strategy is to continually enhance EDvantage and redevelop one module each year as part of a rolling cycle of redevelopment. This removes the need for a big single new release every five years, which creates business uncertainty and disruption."

Answer 2: "The EDvantage model is extremely simple. We provide a fixed monthly user fee plus implementation costs to ensure the client can budget for their systems. Five-year cost of ownership equates to a typical charge of £76.67 per month."

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