How to Switch Your DMS Provider: Plan, Set, and Execute

When upgrading your DMS, planning the technology switch is at least as important as implementation

Make no mistake, changing your DMS provider—the “heartbeat” of your dealership that touches every level and point of your operations—is no easy task.

Of any dealership change, switching a dealership’s DMS provider is perhaps the most difficult. An entire organization must be trained on how to use this new technology, data transference can be an extremely trying process, and employee questions often linger far after the implementation date due to the complexity of DMS technology.

It is no wonder that many dealerships are frightened to switch their technology providers. If the process is so taxing, why do dealerships even contemplate switching at all?

Ultimately, dealerships switch DMS vendors to remain up to date in the ever-changing, technologically savvy landscape that is currently taking shape in our automotive retail environment.

Making sense of change

The most difficult variable that dealership owners must judge when switching is how their employees will react. Will they be receptive to the change or resist the incoming technology?

Often, a sense of resistance will be presented from dealership staffers, many of whom will be reluctant to the technological change, given their familiarity to the old-guard tech. “If it’s not broke, why fix it?” may very well be an ongoing refrain.

Another major area of resistance that DMS providers encounter is anxiety regarding data transference. It’s a legitimate, but manageable, concern.

Employees often worry about whether the dealership’s data will transfer correctly, and, even if the transfer goes smoothly, will the data appear in the new DMS system in an acceptable manner?

The key to solving these employee issues is finding the right provider, one that will implement an easy-to-understand and streamlined process for DMS installation and data transference.

Approaching the switch

Planning the technology switch is at least as important as implementation.

The best DMS providers will spend multiple days in a dealership working with all the employees to train them and ensure all staff are comfortable with the new technology prior to the implementation date.

A competent provider will have a carefully designed and easy-to-communicate installation process to which dealership employees can refer to long after the DMS installation and transition is completed.

And the very best providers offer their dealership clients ongoing, high-level support and performance management.

As part of the planning, the provider should offer workplace support, both before the implementation date and long after that date comes and goes.

It is crucial for DMS providers to show continuous support to their new dealership clients well after the installation date because it reflects ongoing dedication to the success of the dealership’s business.

In addition, the best providers enable easy access to data and real-time reporting, constant technology support, and open DMS architecture to accommodate third-party providers.

The newest DMS technology is an incredibly powerful tool that can help dealership employees increase their productivity and efficiency.

Outdated technologies aren’t good for anyone; the fact that dealership employees are comfortable using outdated, legacy technology should not matter to dealers when making the decision to switch.

Instead, strive to find a DMS vendor that can be a true partner—one that works well with your employees throughout the implementation process and beyond. The result will be increased efficiency across your dealership’s operations.

Dealertrack DMS, under the leadership of Sharon Kitzman, vice president and general manager, is helping to transform the way dealers sell cars, engage customers, and run their businesses. Kitzman is a 25-year automotive industry veteran responsible for leading Dealertrack’s DMS division from single- to double-digit market share, and for executing triple-digit growth.

Sharon Kitzman


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