How to Ensure a Smooth Transition to a new DMS for Your Dealership’s Team



The selection of a new DMS system is one of the most stressful things a dealership or OEM will have to do. Unlike most other decisions, a new DMS will affect every single dealership employee in some way. The best way to ensure the switch will go smoothly is to use all three ways to train your employees: online e-learning, on-site training, and post go-live support.

Online e-learning

We have seen that many people think e-learning is “just one more task in my already busy workday,” and they whip through it so fast that they cannot recall a single item during live training. However, the point here is to see how each employee’s process would be affected and to pick up terminology along the way. So make it clear to your team how big the impact on their daily work is going to be and motivate them not to simply race through the e-learning. Even if they do not take notes, taking ample time to absorb what they see will make a difference.

On-site Training

On-site training is part two and typically happens right before go-live when systems officially change over. On-site training will come with a demo system so you will have access to your own data but in a new format. Normally, there will be a training schedule for all departments and, in best-case scenarios, training is individual or in pairs. It is important that everyone attend the training sessions. It will be harder to schedule make-up time because the trainer also will need to answer questions, do last-minute configurations, train other departments, and more.

Another good tip would be to focus on processes, not only the software’s functions. The process will show the flow of your daily activities, and the functions will naturally fall into place. Encourage your team members to point out missing pieces to the trainer. They will note these pieces down and come back to them once the process workflow is complete in the new DMS. The new system might have that function elsewhere in the process, and you may not be there yet.

Two more tips for individual team members to get the most out of on-site training:

  • Ask questions; this is the best time for it.
  • Practice! Once you have done something in your old system, try again in your new demo system when you have time, just to make sure you can do it.

Post Go-Live Support

Post go-live support is arguably the most stressful activity for both the end user and the trainer/support team. The old DMS is gone and cannot be referred to. However, the trainer will still be there and can help you through your daily tasks. Maybe the hardest thing will be trying to manage your own expectations because you will not know the new system and its tricks as well as you know the old DMS.

You might want to put up a sign telling your customers that you just switched and to be patient. But practice makes perfect, so take advantage of the trainer’s time while the trainer is with you. When the trainer leaves, the trainer will leave you with a support number, but it will be easier to ask questions when the trainer is in front of you.

Everything is difficult the first time you do it. Learning your current DMS was difficult once upon a time. If you take the time, asking questions and practicing any new DMS will rapidly start to seem less intimidating.


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