By Veronica Dunford, EVP Business Development
In my experience, one of the top frustrations dealers have when choosing the best solutions from multiple vendors is how to get them to work well together. The problem is, whether it’s a DMS; CRM; service lane tool; or any other significant technology available; not all work together in harmony. And that is what dealers want.
I’m not suggesting that everyone sit in a circle and sing “Kumbaya,” but just that when a dealer finds a solution which promises to increase sales or CSI, they really wish that all their other technology partners would play nice.
Is the vendor community afraid of ‘partnership’? Why is there a problem providing dealers with choices as far as what works best for THEM, rather than the vendor?
Here’s how I see it:
- Lack of Mutual Clients to Justify the Effort – Far too frequently, especially if the solution is a startup, other technology vendors feel it lacks the demand necessary to justify spending much time and effort refining the integration between the two companies.
While understandable, this roadblock for the start-up can also end up being a retention issue for the larger technology vendor, if the dealer(s) want the service badly enough. Many dealers change technology providers merely because they want solutions to work together. If their vendor is unwilling, they go and find others that are.
- Fear or Elimination – Some vendors, especially new technology solutions, fear integration with larger companies, such as DMS and CRM vendors. Rightly or wrongly, they feel the larger company will simply copy their technology and roll it out to their existing dealer clients — potentially putting them out of business. As new technologies continue to roll out, vendors should work together to service the client properly.
- Technical Disparities – At times, larger companies expect smaller companies to adapt to them, not vice versa. However, larger technology companies usually have more resources and the ability to integrate. And, while larger companies sometimes feel that they can’t integrate with every new technology arriving on the scene, for the most part, these new technology companies only need access to and/or cooperation from larger companies in small pieces, which is easier to accomplish.
- Data security – The importance of data security in the industry cannot be overstated. And as an industry, while much has been done, there is always work in front of us. Dealerships want more say in what is transmitted. Who is responsible comes into question. DMS vendors certainly bear a considerable portion of the cost to maintain data With the right safeguards established during the integration and/or data sharing process, by companies both large and small, it is possible to protect the privacy and security of consumer data.
In the end, the goal for any dealer technology provider should be to make things easier and more profitable for their dealers. The best way to do that is for everyone to work together to benefit BOTH dealers and the industry in general. Technology companies will continue to innovate, and DMS providers should welcome that. Those that make integration difficult, or just refuse, will find themselves losing clients.