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You’re Not Just Buying Software Secrets to Digital Gateway’s growth

7 Jan, 2008 By: Editorial Staff imageSource

You’re Not Just Buying Software Secrets to Digital Gateway’s growth

Dealers have been faced with tough choices about what management software
will best suit their needs now and in the future. In light of the recent
acquisitions of two predominant dealer management software solutions, Digital
Gateway has been forced to look inside itself and decide how to best serve its
people and the over 800 dealers now using e-automate management software.

In a recent conversation with Jim Phillips, the founder and CEO of Digital
Gateway, he revealed the secrets behind e-automate’s growth and how he plans to
meet the challenges dealers are facing in the industry.

Secret #1 - Dealers are buying a company, not just software

  When people ask me why we didn’t sell the company in the recent
flurry of acquisition activity, I tell them it’s because it wasn’t what was best
for my people or the dealers that have made us who we are today. Dealers need
the company providing something as mission critical as management software to be
a promise-keeping organization. Implementing the right dealer management
software can be the best single decision a dealer can make for the health of
their business, but it is like undergoing heart surgery. There has to be a high
level of trust in the team who are essentially providing the engine for their
business for years to come. We couldn’t continue to fulfill the promises we have
made to our dealers if we sold the company now.

Our greatest asset is our people, and we count on them day in and day out to
be the difference in our company. Dealers aren't buying software, they're buying
a living, breathing company. It's our people who are keeping the promises we've
made. We’re totally invested in our people because in turn, they treat others
the way they’re being treated. We deeply share the belief that it’s not what you
know it’s what you do with what you know! Our people know what they’re doing,
but they back it up with superior performance every day. Yes, dealers are buying
software code, but essentially, it’s what lies behind the code that really

Secret #2 - The dealer decides

Phillips:  The day we take our dealers for granted is the day they
leave us. They are more sophisticated and educated than ever. Our understanding
of this principle has helped us maintain a stellar record in retaining our
customers. It has also fueled our growth because when dealers find something
that works, they tell their friends. We have an active, independently-run user’s
group and we listen very intently to what they have to say. In fact, 60% of our
development time is dictated by the direction provided to us by the e-automate
User’s Group. The balance of our development capability is driven by intense
research and constant discussion with industry experts about the future
direction of our industry. We have user group meetings twice a year where we
hold ourselves accountable for the promises and progress we’ve made. This tight
knit integration is the only way to provide what dealers truly need and we’re
always looking for better ways to deliver it. If we don’t have it, we partner
with the best in the industry to provide it so we can stay focused on what we do
best. In the end, we owe much of our success to the fact that we know who we
work for.

Secret #3 - Master the fundamentals

Phillips:  Too many companies today look for shortcuts and focus on
what’s in their best short term interest. Great companies accept no substitutes
and know how to stay focused on the daily fundamentals that drive success. The
commitment to excel and the unwavering focus on improving the process are at the
root of superior performance for our dealers and DGI. Because of our
extraordinary growth, things keep becoming more complex, yet we’re able to
deliver at a level and pace that others won’t even attempt. We’ve recently moved
our headquarters to ensure we have a facility that will accommodate our growth
and allow us to continue serving our dealers with care and attention. Dealers
will appreciate our never-ending commitment to refining our conversion tools and
improving our data conversion team’s capability to ensure successful “Go Live”
dates. None of it is easy and it can’t be bought through acquisition. It
requires constant vigilance and refinement.  Without it nothing else matters.

Secret #4 - It’s in our nature to innovate

Phillips:  One of our maxims is “Innovate or Die.” As evidence of our
belief in that statement, here’s what we have lined up for 2008:

  • A new, fully integrated Remote Tech solution
  • A new Sales Configurator & Proposal Generator integrated with leading CRMs
    & SFAs
  • Automated Best Tech reporting solution that will drive service margins
    into the “Promised Land”
  • Move to .NET platform to further extend our open system architecture and
    allow never before realized automations and partner integrations
  • New Alerting Engine with enhanced applications
  • New Dashboard that makes mission-critical BEI information accessible &
    useable at a glance to achieve optimization of key dealer performance metrics
  • Broker-enabling Purchase Order automation

Our approach to innovation hasn’t changed since the day we started this
company over a decade ago: Simpler is better; faster is good; easier to use
takes brilliance. Think something no one else has thought. Make it better and
more valuable. Envision possibilities.

We believe the best innovation comes from listening to dealers,
“e-automating” complex data and delivering it back in a form that is easy to
understand and use. One of the keys to the future success of dealers is their
management software company’s commitment and ability to innovate. Said another
way, dealers need management software that keeps up with industry and
technological trends or they will eventually fail.

Secret #5 - Simplify & Go

Phillips: With so many challenges and changes in our industry, dealers
need a constant that will keep them focused on the things that will truly lead
to their profitability and longevity. To compete successfully and seize
opportunities quickly, they need their management software engine to “make the
complex simple” and help them drive their dealership to success. This requires
us to do two things: focus and change—focus on the thinking and practices that
pushed us to where we are, and change to meet and exceed the demands of dealers
and our industry at large.

With well over 150 dealers converting to e-automate each year and a recent
move to a new 40,000 square foot headquarters and training facility, Digital
Gateway’s secrets seem to be working. For more information about Digital Gateway
or e-automate dealer management software, visit
www.digitalgateway.com or call
1.866.DGATEWAY (342-8392).

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