Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
The DMS market is dominated by two companies today: Reynolds and ADP.
So I ask dealers on this forum:
"Has the dealer community not seen a willingness from DMS providers to adapt to changing market needs and dealer requests? Have dealers grown tired of waiting for innovation from DMS providers?"
If you step back and look at evolution of auto dealership websites over the past 5 years, innovation was propelled by passionate marketers, dealers, and consultants who demanded more from automotive website providers. For the most part, website vendors realized that with ample competition, they had to listen to dealer feedback to remain relevant.
The introduction of the Automotive Website Awards (AWA) in 2009 created an independant standard for judging websites and elevated the core search functionality that all vendors needed to deliver. The AWA judging forced vendors to listen to the dealer community to deliver a better product in a timely manner.
Since the DMS software is critical to dealership operations, why has so little innovation been tolerated?
Has the lack of competition allowed DMS vendors to rest on their first to market advantage?
Is anyone else tired of hearing how long it takes to integrate new products into a DMS system? How about the politics surrounding that approval process?
So, for 2013 let's start a new thread about what dealers would like to see changed in their DMS systems. If you had to list 3 things that you would like DMS developers to deliver to dealers in 2013, what would they be.
Use the blog numbering tool to list your suggestions like this:
This way comments can be address to the author and the feature that they would like to see added. I'm looking forward to seeing if there are many common threads that DMS vendors would benefit from hearing on the ADM forum.
Join in the discussion and please share this post on your social media channels to get other dealers to engage in the discussion.
I am not sure what you are referring to with this comment: "We saw Reynolds spend 70+ million to develop an innovative system only to throw it in the dumpster."
Jeff, thank you for mentioning Reynolds Generation Series browser based DMS... I was peripherally involved with the project, from a consulting services perspective. There were over 40 dealerships that were installed with RGS, and many of the benefits of this DMS were not known by the people who made the decision to scrap over $70 million in Research and Development investments made to develop the ground-breaking DMS. For example, (one of many) the integration of the RGS system with a GENUINE "EAI" (Enterprise Application Interface) server meant that the dealer had "Real Time" integration with their Reynolds Web Solutions website... Within 3 minutes of punching the "F9" button in Finance, closing the deal on a vehicle sale, the inventory was removed from the dealer's website... If a deal was saved and not closed, the website would show a vehicle as "Deal Pending". This is when I learned that if you want to REALLY sell a vehicle, let it go into "Deal Pending" status on the dealer's website! It was amazing how the offers to purchase would start rolling into each of the RGS dealerships when a vehicle showed "Deal Pending" status!
Anyways, the decision by a new CEO to scrap RGS probably did more damage to the future of DMS research and development than anything else in the history of automotive technology... The news coverage at the time was enough to ensure that anyone who cares about their career at a DMS company would think twice before recommending that any money be invested in R&D for Dealer Management Systems.
Having worked for both Reynolds and Reynolds as well as ADP, I have a unique perspective on DMS development. In my opinion, the real innovation will come from outside of the two leading DMS providers. Although, Microsoft has crashed and burned their automotive DMS program after making several high profile announcements and presentations that created quite a stir within both Reynolds and ADP that the technology giant was entering the DMS business to compete with them. What would make a lot more sense would be for Microsoft to PURCHASE either the ADP Dealer Services Division from the corporate parent... or, for Microsoft to purchase Reynolds and Reynolds. For anyone who thinks that Microsoft buying either Reynolds or ADP is a far fetched concept, let me assure you that I have been required to sign a couple of Non-Disclosure Agreements (since expired) prior to attending meetings with Microsoft executives while I was employed at each of the two major DMS providers.
The use of Dealer Management Systems in automotive retail presents a genuine quandary of contradictions... What should be the centralized database empowering development of class leading customer service and profit center based software development has actually impeded development of such systems by the companies who sell them to dealerships (ADP/Reynolds). what we have seen instead, is a strategy based on locking down that data to prevent third parties from developing the software that the DMS suppliers SHOULD be developing and selling. Unfortunately, car dealers are not perceived as consumers by government regulatory agencies, so the anti-competitive practices of business leadership at the two leading DMS providers have never been subject to any of the actions that would have been brought to bear if these products were sold to the public.
By The way... Here is a small bit of DMS type historical trivia: To this day, the email address for dealer's using the Reynolds "Contact Management CRM software ends with "yourname_dealername@GS.ReyRey.com" and many people believe the "GS" designation for the Contact Management email server stands for "Generation Series" since both systems were developed during the same time frame... WRONG!
The "GS" server designation in all Contact Management email addresses refers to the original code name for the project while it was still "Top Secret"... That project code name was "Grand Slam"; hence the GS server name designator which has persisted long enough that many current Reynolds employees do not know the origins of the GS designator, incorrectly believing it to be "Generations Series".