DealerScope Software was created from the commercialization of "DealerAlert", software originally written by Jay Alosa for use in his family's dealerships. He owns two truck dealerships and his father owns five others (both car & truck). Jay was frustrated with the accepted method of reviewing reports and schedules at month's end.
"It was just too little too late, I thought. What a terrible way to manage my company; wait for my managers to decide to run a report and then go back, manually reviewing things that happened weeks ago", Jay said.
"A Dealer's computer system has a record of every single dealership transaction. It seemed like an awful waste to do nothing proactively with the data. Dealerships are so complex and difficult to manage. Why not aid management by having the computer system point out what's going right and wrong within the business - and do it as it happens?"
He thought about the problem further and came up with the following theory:
In order for a Dealer's business data to have maximum utility as a management tool, it must be methodically analyzed as soon as a transaction is complete enough to do so. The results must be compared to the Dealer's standards, and exceptions have to be delivered to the manager in charge in a timely manner, and without prompting by a person.
Using this theory and his formal training in computer science, Jay wrote his first "management alert"; a program that sent him an email whenever a questionable credit override was performed.
Meanwhile, Dave Schneider was Jay's DMS (Dealer Management System) account representative and the two had become friends during the installation of Jay's system. They both shared an interest in making dealership management easier, and were frustrated at the pace of innovation in the dealership software industry. After seeing Jay's credit alert program in action, Dave asked Jay if there was anything else it could monitor. This started a conversation about all the information stored in the system that wasn't being used effectively.
The two decided it was time to write a commercial version of the alert program and set about creating "Dealer Alert".
Jay started work on the screen layouts and Dave began a series of meetings with key dealership managers. He made long lists of alerts that could be written and what kind of information the managers would need to be provided with.
As the concept of DealerAlert started taking shape, some obstacles appeared. Many Dealers, including Jay, had more than one location, and more than one corporation, all running on one DMS. Some people were responsible for more than one dealership; others needed information for their one specific job function.
Much discussion was held about how best to deliver alerts to Dealers and their staff. In the end, it was decided that each dealership has its own level of comfort with technology and so five different methods for alert delivery were built into the product, ranging from low tech to high tech - printed-paper, Internet Email and Internet FTP.
Faced with the challenge of off-site alert delivery methods, Jay and Dave decided they needed some additional expertise. "We needed a way to bridge the gap between the DMS and the public Internet that was completely secure, cost-effective and would be compatible with most every Dealer's existing setup." Jay said.
They turned to their friend and long-time development partner, Cullin Wible, who had cut his teeth on Linux operating systems. Cullin had worked for Jay in his dealerships and went on to become well known in the dealership software industry. Cullin & Jay came up with a way to transmit the dealer's alerts from the DMS out through the Internet using encrypted HTTP protocol to a server, which then forwards the alerts on to their final destination. "Because the system uses an HTTP client - not a server - there are no significant security issues", Wible said.
With the major obstacles out of the way, development on the underlying software began, and after a year of programming, testing, and real-life use, they proudly introduced DealerAlert to the dealership community in June of 2002.
"DealerAlert provided our beta testing dealers with immediate value. The Alerts were brutally honest and as the first few e-mails arrived, even the most seasoned Dealers received some eye-opening information", Schneider went on to say. "Two of our beta dealers learned about problems they never knew they had, resulting in policy & procedure changes on the very first day we installed DealerAlert." Based on their feedback, ROI was estimated at just two months.
"Because each alert is a module that can be snapped into place, there is no limit to what the software can do. We look forward to creating lots of new alerts in the years ahead," said Schneider. If the Dealers need it, we'll build it.