Operating system (Windows, etc.) expense is also significantly reduced as you no longer have to invest in the higher priced server based software required. This feature alone will save your dealership thousands of dollars in initial investment. In addition, the technical expertise and expense of maintaining your server is eliminated. While you will probably not completely eliminate the need for onsite computer technicians, this need will be reduced to a minimum. Simply put, you will not need a full-time network administrator (i.e. computer technician) thereby freeing a staff member to perform more profitable functions or you may outsource your network maintenance to a local provider.
Multiple remote lots are much easier to setup and maintain. No more T1, static IP, frame relay or other telecommunications will need to be maintained by your staff or an outside consultant. Simple DSL or any broadband internet service will provide all the speed necessary for most dealerships.
Data backups are done by your ASP provider assuring that backups are done regularly and maintained in a secure environment. The only down side here is if you feel the need to lay your hands on backup tapes or disks for comfort.
After all of these pros, what are the cons to an ASP service. First, you now rely on local internet access for all your dealership computing needs. Should your internet service provider (ISP) or phone service (whichever variety) go down, you are temporarily without computing services. Your information is stored elsewhere; therefore you must rely on someone else to maintain confidentiality of your dealership and customer information. The effective speed of your local computing becomes a factor of the vendor’s investment in infrastructure. Should your vendor oversell the capacity of your server, you may have to wait for them to upgrade capacity and speed to see improvement.
We have covered some items to look at when evaluating whether or not to install or upgrade your own internal network or to implement an ASP solution for your dealership. This is not a complete list of factors to consider but a good starting point. Shop wisely by determining your wants and needs and then, of course, select the answer that best fulfills your objective.
Vol 2, Issue 5