|Host Connectivity Solution
||PowerTerm® Host Publisher
||15 car dealerships
||To integrate AEROS, a web-based CRM software solution for automotive sales opportunities management, into a series of back-end legacy systems.
||PowerTerm Host Publisher enables e-Auto to pull host-based customer information into e-Auto's OMS system to establish a single source of customer data for putting at the fingertips of the car dealership sales people.
"Ericom got us out of a tight jam by enabling us to address the urgent challenge we faced. It gave us the tools we needed to quickly and affordably bridge the gap for connecting to the back-end systems on the auto-dealership side."
Jonathan McGuire, e-Auto Vice President of Engineering
- PowerTerm Host Publisher offered flexibility in choosing the development components e-Auto needed to meet its requirements.
- Because PowerTerm Host Publisher is straightforward and easy to use, in-house programmers could do the job. No outside consultant was required.
- PowerTerm Host Publisher's simple scripting language made it easy to get the work done quickly. E-Auto was able to get their system up and running at customer sites within a matter of days.
e-Autobusiness (e-Auto), a subsidiary of Impact Solutions, Inc., is the leading provider of CRM Software designed to deal specifically with
"opportunity optimization" in car dealerships. E-auto's products and services allow car dealerships to build and improve the relationship with new
buyers and existing clients in order to improve retention and maximize the bottom line.
In 2000, e-Auto began developing and marketing the AEROS® Opportunity Management System (OMS) as a web-based, CRM solution for
automotive sales opportunity management. By providing functionality via an ASP Model (Application Solution Provider), the product provides a
number of cost advantages over more traditional systems. With advanced functionality, Aeros helps car dealerships improve sales effectiveness
and overall dealer operations, enabling sales representatives to automate the process of collecting customer information, submitting it, and
retrieving a quote for closing a sale - without having to leave the dealership floor.
Prior to Aeros, sales representatives would talk to a customer on the sales floor, scribble down notes on pieces of paper, which someone would
need to key into a back-end system to get a quote or make a deal — all while the customer sat and waited. With Aeros, the sales representative
is empowered to make the deal himself. He collects all the information at his keyboard on the sales floor, gets a quick link to the back-end
accounting systems, and completes the whole process in minutes.
In order for Aeros to work effectively, e-Auto needed to tie the product into a series of back-end systems including ADP and Reynolds& Reynolds,
two leading products used by approximately 80% of the auto retail community. These systems are primarily UNIX-based systems, and use green
screens with server-based processing and direct database access. e-Auto needed to connect to the back-end legacy systems at two separate
integration points — first to extract information from a batch-based extraction program running as a Windows service, and second to push the
information to the systems on demand.
Neither ADP nor Reynolds & Reynolds could offer the integration capabilities e-Auto required - capabilities that were critical to Aeros' success.
"One of the major problems we had to overcome was that so much of the business logic of these systems was built into the front-end user
application, so we were losing vital information during the integration on the back-end," explained Jonathan McGuire, e-Auto Vice President of Engineering.
Why Ericom Software?
With only a few months to launching their Aeros product, and no closer to finding a solution among the products with which they were familiar,
McGuire started to look for an integration solution outside the auto industry. He found Ericom during a web search. "Ericom got us out of a tight
jam by enabling us to address the urgent challenge we faced. It gave us the tools we needed to quickly and affordably bridge the gap for
connecting to the back-end systems on the auto-dealership side," said McGuire.
PowerTerm Host Publisher offered e-Auto an immediate solution without complications. "Some of the other companies we talked to wanted to
make the deal, but needed to put a consultant on-site for up to 4 weeks to make sure it succeeded. We simply didn't have the time. We also
figured that if the solution is so complicated that we needed a consultant on the job for that much time, then it sure wasn't the solution for us,"
commented McGuire. "Ericom was so simple, we pretty much figured out everything by ourselves, and could get up and running fast."
McGuire says that PowerTerm Host Publisher was easy to work with and offered e-Auto flexibility in functionality, at an affordable price. It allowed
e-Auto to pick and choose the components it needed to meet its exact requirements. "Compared to the other solutions it we tried, Ericom was the
only one that didn't require an 'all or nothing' situation. We could use certain components of the solution without having to be locked into the
entire solution. This also enabled us to gain some flexibility in the pricing structure, making PowerTerm Host Publisher extremely cost-effective."
According to McGuire, installation was fairly simple. Since the company deals with two completely different, customizable dealer management
systems, set-up and screens vary from dealership to dealership. PowerTerm Host Publisher's simple scripting language made it easy to get this
done quickly, standardize certain screens and make changes on the fly. As a result, what used to take 3 to 4 weeks now takes less than 2 weeks.
"There's a 2-week churn period to stabilize the product and we pretty much keep to that timeframe. That is all the time it takes to install Aeros
and fine-tune the product to meet each of the dealer's exact needs. This makes our customers happy and frees up our own resources for other
jobs." McGuire says that their goal is to get implementation down to just a few hours, which will free up internal resources for other tasks.
PowerTerm Host Publisher has helped e-auto accomplish in a few months what it was previously not able to accomplish in two years — sell and
implement their car dealership product. With PowerTerm Host Publisher, Aeros easily integrates major dealer management (DMS) systems.
PowerTerm Host Publisher creates a bridge between Aeros and the archaic back-end systems (operating on Value Pick databases that were once
difficult to work with), establishing a single source of customer data available in real-time. Every sales representative and manager has access to
the system. All the sales representatives must do is key in customer details so when they go to close the deal — all the information is there.
PowerTerm Host Publisher runs in the background, and is completely transparent to its users.
McGuire says that they have achieved their primary goal with PowerTerm Host Publisher: "The bottom line is that PowerTerm Host Publisher has
enabled us to take all the customer information, including vehicle ownership history, contract information and service records, and put it at the fingertips of every sales rep in the dealership."
To date, over 15 dealerships use Aeros with Ericom Software's PowerTerm Host Publisher embedded into it, translating into over 300 concurrent
licenses among their dealership customers. While most of their integration deals with ADP and Reynolds systems, e-Auto believes that
implementation will be just as simple for the other dealership management systems on the market.