SAN FRANCISCO – Tim Gill believes it’s time for dealers to place their bets on the cloud.

CEO of Advent Resources, Gill says his firm is the first supplier to develop a cloud-computing dealer-management system said to be 20% less expensive to install and promising greater functionality.

Gill, who helped found the California-based company 26 years ago, admits Advent never will be one of the big guys in the DMS market, saying a few companies control 80% of the business in the sector and Advent is “one of the 20% group.”

But he contends that’s what has allowed the company to lead the leap into the cloud and develop a simplified, highly integrated product that requires no unique hardware and little start-up costs for dealers.

The new system took seven years to develop, including about 24 months for a pilot program to test its viability.

Speaking to media on the sidelines of the 2015 NADA Convention & Exhibition here, Gill says most DMS systems in use are “based on (outdated) ʼ60s and ʼ70s technology.”

And because many were stitched together from a variety of software programs as the big competitors gobbled up smaller companies and integrated their technology, operation isn’t always as simple and seamless as it should be, and, ultimately, the software can be difficult to update, he adds.

Cloud computing, where the user doesn’t purchase and install software but accesses it from central network that serves multiple clients, already is a $58 billion industry and headed to $190 billion by 2020, according to Forester Research. It’s time for dealers to join the modern movement, Gill says.

Other DSM provides are selling their systems as cloud-based, but Advent says those competitors actually are employing less sophisticated and flexible Application Service Provider (APS) technology, where a third party simply manages software updates for the end user.

“Our clients told us loud and clear that current DMS systems do not meet their needs,” Gill says. “Automotive retailers need a 21st Century technology solution that will allow them to improve their overall business operations. It is a natural evolution to move the industry to the Cloud.”

There is no hardware to buy with the new cloud-based DMS. Advent charges training, licensing fees per user at each installation.

Data can be accessed anywhere on any type of device, from a desktop to a tablet or smartphone, and can be shared across dealership departments. Users can customize the look and operation, as well as the dashboard reports the system produces tracking key dealership data.

Software is automatically upgraded and dealers can cost-effectively scale up or down simply by adding or subtracting seats, the developer says. Invoices and other forms are customizable and can be printed with standard office equipment.

“So a dealer can save $2,000 per month (in printing costs) alone,” Gill says.

Advent, which says it processed more than a half a million new- and used-vehicle retail transactions last year, is targeting two installations to start and then looks to grow steadily and incrementally after that.

“No one else is on the cloud,” Gill says. Compared to the Advent product current competing systems are “like a Model T versus a Ford GT.”

dzoia@wardsauto.com

http://wardsauto.com/nada/dms-provider-takes-cloud