Cloud computing is changing the technology landscape at a rapid pace, including Dealer Management Systems (DMS) and associated third-party providers.
DMS solutions have come a long way from their first iterations that appeared in the 1980s. In the early days, dealer management systems required on-site servers and therefore demanded manual work from dealership personnel. Server-based DMS solutions require employees to perform system updates, daily data backups and other routine maintenance.
In an effort to remove the server from the dealership and eliminate these duties, some DMS providers moved to remote server farms, where the maintenance was done by the vendor or an outside company. However, just because a DMS is in a server farm and no longer onsite does not mean the software has been updated — it simply means the server is no longer at the dealership. While this may have alleviated the maintenance requirements, it consequently added new challenges, like the need for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to communicate to the server farm.
With the new availability of true cloud software in the automotive industry, it is time to understand the benefits it can provide for your dealership. True cloud software is built on the cloud for the cloud. This allows the software to take full advantage of inherent cloud computing features designed to maximize development and performance potential.
Below are the five main advantages of true cloud software and why it’s a must-have for your dealership’s DMS.
1. Cloud Security
Security is more important than ever due to rapidly changing threats. Anything that relies on an internet connection is at risk of a security breach. True cloud security combats constant security threats with advanced security audits.
For example, Microsoft is constantly monitoring threats and making updates to protect their cloud computing technology, Microsoft Azure. According to Microsoft, 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies trust the Microsoft Cloud with their business. Microsoft Azure provides bank-level encryption whether it’s supporting a government entity or a small startup business. When accessing true cloud technology, it’s like accessing Google or Amazon, there is no need for an expensive VPN.
Businesses live and die by connectivity. If your server farm or VPN goes down, so does your dealership. Geo-redundancy service replicates data on two or more cloud locations and is able to instantly switch if one site goes down. True cloud allows businesses to stay secure and running if one site fails. If you’ve ever been working and your system goes down for several hours, you know how detrimental that can be to your dealership’s productivity.
3. Elastic Scalability
Before cloud computing, dealers had to add memory to their server-based systems to prepare for peak demands. Every time a dealership reached the peak capacity, they had to add more memory, an additional cost. True cloud software provides elastic scalability, which allows for additional resources to be easily added or reduced depending on demand. You no longer have to pay for additional resources when your dealership needs them.
4. Modern Development Tools
Modern development tools provided by true cloud computing lead to faster development. True cloud allows for faster application testing, so developers can test and scale applications much faster.
5. Built on the cloud, for the cloud
Software that is built for server-based platforms is limited, at the core, to the constraints of that specific technology and will increasingly cost more to maintain as time passes. When considering a new DMS, look deep into two key elements that significantly influence the final solution: 1) Is the DMS on a server in the dealership, on a server farm or in the cloud? 2) Is the old DMS software placed in a different location, or was it written in the cloud for the cloud, to truly take advantage of all modern tools?