Software sans Process - The Rikess Group Software sans Process - The Rikess Group

Software sans Process

by / Tuesday, 07 February 2017 / Published in Uncategorized

Software sans Process


Like apple pie without vanilla ice cream, a Bugatti Chiron without fuel, a saw without teeth ok, ok, enough. As I come home from NADA, I am struck by the volume of innovative software solutions available to change the way vehicles are sold and serviced, enhance the dealership experience, and otherwise change the century-old retail automotive model. It is evident the industry is poised to significantly transform itself in the very near future.


While the technology on display at NADA was wide-ranging and truly exciting, I have to register some concern about the absence of corresponding information on the impacts of these solutions on how the dealership operates. A tool or software solution is only as good as the process to support it and how well that process is executed.


Sadly, underutilization of technology solutions is commonplace in our industry (and others) driven primarily by faith in “silver bullet” solutions, the challenges of changing how we do business, and by the initial additional cost associated with fully implementing a technology solution. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems represent a good example: their returns on investment are only as good as the data entered, how it is used, and the consistency and quality of that use. Too often, business owners make an “8-foot leap across a 10-foot gap” and then wonder why the silver bullet didn’t solve their problems.


So before writing that big check for a new software solution I encourage you to consider three key ingredients in getting full return on your technology investment: dealership IT infrastructure, learning ability, and management capability:


  • Installing a new software solution requires “rewiring” your information systems. What—besides the new technology solution—needs to be added, removed, or changed? For example, can your web host support the tool? Do you need to buy tablets or cell phones for your staff? Are your Internet speed and wireless access adequate? What will your IT, marketing, and other vendors and business partners have to do differently?


  • Installing a new software solution requires learning. Many dealership managers and employees are working at breakneck speed, devoting long arduous hours in stressful, performance-intense environments. How accustomed and receptive are they to learning new things? Does the software solution provide adequate training and support for the new tool? Did you try the training provided and does it appear easy to access and use?


  • Installing a new software solution requires operational change. Are your key managers able to make time for and facilitate process, policy, and (potentially) organizational change? How effective are they at basic process management and improvement? Are they technologically savvy? Are they flexible enough to be “change agents”? And most important, do they have the right attitude to ensure new technologies produce the business results you want?


I also invite you to have a look at a recent article we published on how successful dealership leaders with whom we’ve worked think about acquiring technology solutions for their businesses:


While The Rikess Group is primarily known for its two-plus decades of work in Negotiation-Free Selling, we too have been undergoing our own transformation. We’re still focused on improving dealership productivity, profitability, and customer and employee retention, but have also been working with top dealership software and online technology providers to make those goals easier to achieve. While business strategy, leadership roles, operational planning, process redesign, and human resource management research, training, and advisory services are still very much our “deliverables,” we have also for the past seven years been building a very useful expertise in leveraging technology to make our people and process solutions more efficient, effective, and permanent.


To find out more about evaluating, planning for, and successfully implementing technology solutions for improved business performance, please contact Mike Anderson or Mark Rikess at

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