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Going Mobile: How Tech Anyware Helps Dealers’ Techs Be More Productive

24 Feb, 2012 By: Sand Sinclair, imageSource imageSource

Tech AnywareThe announcement of the ECi acquisition of Digital Gateway, Inc., that brought e-automate, OMD and LaCrosse dealer management software systems together under the Digital Gateway brand, was big news. For James Davis, Digital Gateway’s former president, the event was a big milestone.

“After more than a decade of hard work, we were embroiled in a ‘Coke-Pepsi’ war with OMD. Who would have thought that Coke and Pepsi could work together and be friends? But that’s exactly what we did because it was the best thing for our dealers,” says Davis.

When the acquisition created a requirement for Digital Gateway to divest itself of Remote Tech, one of its most popular products, Davis saw this as an opportunity. “I had sponsored and managed Remote Tech from a fledgling concept to a full product used every day by thousands of people. I saw first-hand how it helped dealers increase the profitability of their service organizations by making their technicians more efficient and accountable. The key was to give technicians in the field the ability to close service calls in a single visit, and a critical component of that was the ability to connect to each other and to the home office from anywhere.”

Davis continues, “To lose the momentum we had built felt like abandonment of the dealers we had worked with and who had become our friends. So I approached Jim Phillips, then CEO of Digital Gateway, and offered to take the Remote Tech product forward on my own. He agreed (too quickly; I think he was glad to see me go), and that’s how Tech Anyware was born.”

Davis’ philosophy behind the Remote Tech product remains the same—to give dealers the tools they need to turn their service departments
into one of the biggest profit centers inside a dealer’s business.

“When we first started building Remote Tech, we had a vision of dealers being connected to all the forces and all the information that make up the ingredients of their success. Since that time, the unprecedented advances in mobile technology and communications have really made that vision a possibility. The people that travel to a customer’s site to make sure that contracts return profits are more empowered and effective than ever before through proper use of these new tools. At Tech AnyWare, we’re thrilled to be part of this leap forward in the office equipment industry.”

In this day and age, service can make or break a dealer’s gross profit margins. As the office equipment industry continues to pull out of a tough economy, hundreds of dealers nationwide have become reliant on Remote Tech to help them retain every dollar they can from their service department. With features like dispatch, arrival, record parts and meters, labor, odometer, call history, reschedule, field transfer, inventory searches for part availability, timecard entry, integrated mapping, bluetooth barcode scanning for parts entry, and more, Remote Tech has grown to become an industry staple for many looking to boost productivity and profitability from their service teams.

Wanting to know more, imageSource asked Davis to share directly:

imageSource (iS): What has been your greatest challenge in breaking off from Digital Gateway and starting Tech Anyware? What has been your greatest opportunity?

Jim Davis (JD): Our greatest challenge has been associated with the uncertainty in the market that seems to always accompany a change like this. People want to know who we are and whether or not we’ll be around next year. Communication is always the key: we tell everyone about the 7800 techs that use Remote Tech, and we emphasize the fact that our product is very tightly integrated with e-automate, and will always be tightly integrated. We have also worked very hard to get going as quickly as possible under full sail; we’re proud of our December product release, and we have four quarterly releases planned for 2012.

Our biggest opportunity is that we have a full-featured product that addresses one of the most critical aspects of any dealer’s profitability. We can offer marked operational improvement and a quick ROI to any dealer in this industry, and this year we’ll be able to offer Remote Tech to everyone out there.

iS: What makes Remote Tech different from other mobile service management options available to dealers?

JD: There are a few things that distinguish Tech AnyWare from other organizations: our complete focus on a single product, our rapport with a large customer base of nearly 550 dealers, and our experience in providing clean, powerful software products that offer a maximum value in terms of functionality and price.

iS: What training and support options are available to users of Remote Tech now that it’s no longer under the Digital Gateway umbrella?

JD: Oh, another distinguishing characteristic: Tech AnyWare has an agreement with Digital Gateway where they provide ongoing, world-class customer support and training to dealers that use Remote Tech.

iS: What improvements have been made to Remote Tech since Tech Anyware was created five months ago?

JD: We’ve added functionality in the inventory management area, allowing technicians to create inventory requests involving transfers from company and customer warehouses. We’ve also included more flexibility in sorting and viewing calls, configuring technician features, displaying equipment history, and managing passwords. We’ve added capabilities to display monthly averages on the meter detail page, and equipment warranty dates in the call summary report. For Point of Sale dealers, we’ve added the ability to swap non-metered equipment in the field.

iS: What new features do you have planned for this year?

JD: Here are a few: native apps with offline capabilities, call quotes with signature authorization, access to customer pricing, enhanced time tracking functionality, technician assists, call notes, multiple bin support…that’s enough for now; I’m out
of breath.

iS: What new features do you have planned for next year and beyond?

JD: We’ll focus on further leveraging the built-in platform capabilities of native apps, provide project management features, expand technicians’ capabilities for communicating with customers, and other features that our dealers tell us they need.

iS: What changes do you see in our industry and how can Remote Tech help dealers respond to those changes?

JD: Managed services are going to be an increasingly important part of many dealers’ offerings as IT VARs try to compete in this space. Dealers in this industry have a huge advantage in their ability to manage contracts; what they typically need is to be able to sell managed services and to manage the activities, costs and billing for large projects. I think Remote Tech can help in the service delivery area of managed services.

iS: Any final thoughts you would like to share with our readers?

JD: With so many challenges and opportunities in this industry, it’s a great time to be in business. We can all win together, and I believe we will.

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