The Road to A Successful DMS Technology Switch

Choosing a new technology for your dealership is a big deal. You’ve likely put in the hours to find the right partner, select a vendor who checks all the right boxes, and get everyone on board with your decision. Under normal circumstances, finding the right DMS for your dealership likely began up to two years before your contract expired with your previous vendor. And, once you’ve made the decision, you have a lot of work to do in order to prepare your staff. Dealertrack’s team of Performance Managers have seen it all. Below are their tips to help your team prepare for your upcoming technology transition.


Dealertrack DMS Performance Manager Garry Shirley has over 25 years of experience in retail automotive. He’s seen successful—and not so successful—DMS transitions. His advice? Make your new partners and vendors carry the load when it comes to transitioning. After all, when learning a new DMS at your dealership, “you don’t know what you don’t know,” says Shirley. Dealer Principals and General Managers will do their best to prepare their teams for new software. But, you need to lean on training and support as best as you can during pre-install. Let your new DMS provider know which reports you use daily, communicate your needs, and take classes again if you’re unsure that you’ve understood everything there is to know. The more you can immerse yourself in a new system, the better your entire dealership will be for it.


Before he joined Dealertrack as a Performance Manager, Shirley held high-level positions within the dealership himself. He’s seen technology transitions first-hand as both a vendor and a client. In his opinion, “The most successful tech transitions take place when the people at the top take the integration seriously.” If a Dealer Principal Owner is sitting in on all the training sessions it communicates several messages to the team. “First, your dealership staff is going to pay attention if your DPO is there taking notes,” he explains. Beyond that, when leadership shows hands-on commitment to the training, transition, and integration of their investment, “there’s a good chance no details will be missed.”


Dealertrack DMS has the unique benefit of partnering with third-party experts in technology to provide best-in-class integrated solutions to our partners. For example, dealers will soon have the option of using an integrated Payroll system provided by Netchex that seamlessly runs through the DMS. Changing your dealership’s Payroll system will impact the way your Human Resources, Payroll, Accounting, and Human Capital Management is run. But, before you roll out such a sweeping change for anything that impacts your business, Shirley suggests establishing some basic measures to monitor its success. In the Payroll by Netchex example, he notes, “Your dealership’s time savings stand to be fairly substantial. Measure how much time your accounting team is actually saving.” If your team normally takes a week to process month-end reporting, or longer, discover whether or not the investment is saving you minutes, hours, or even days. Then, measure the data accuracy. Run a report in your new system against an old one. Are your sales commissions adding up? If you’re saving time, but the data is off, you need to fine-tune the process.

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