September 2011, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive
One major area of concern for dealers is what happens if their DMS goes down. DMS redundancy was one issue Blake Ledet, IT manager, addressed for the Team Automotive Group. The group uses ADP to maximize efficiency, which includes “payroll, dealer inventory, service and everything else the dealership needs.” In the past, the three-dealership group relied on one in-house server, which depended heavily on the Toyota store; it was the lifeline to the rest of the locations. Ledet added multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) as a back-up plan, which allows traffic to be rerouted around areas of failure in the system.
MPLS helped eliminate the three other locations’ dependency on the Toyota store. The Honda dealership now has its own Internet connection to access ADP. “By adding redundant routers, we created a safety net.” He installed a redundant router with two different providers (MPLS and a cable connection), so if one has a problem the other would pick up the connection. “Each location has its own Internet connection. MPLS connects you together on the street level … By having that, you can get the redundancy [you need].”
Addressing DMS redundancy didn’t save the dealer group any money up-front, as it’s more of a preventative measure. Before, if the Toyota store went down, all locations went down. Now the other locations will still operate smoothly if the Toyota store’s DMS goes down, so the safety net provided by the investment was worth it. Ledet posed the question, “If [three dealerships] are down two hours, how much does that cost?” Three stores down simultaneously would be very costly.
Read about Ledet's IT-cost-cutting efforts at Team Automotive Group here.
Vol. 8, Issue 6