I was recently asked if a dealership should upgrade their computers to Windows 10, and how will it work with their DMS systems and factory? When it comes to change, it is human nature to avoid change. But a stronger motivation is the offer from Microsoft to get an upgrade to Windows 10 for free. How can you turn down free? I admit that I’m not happy with Windows 10. I installed on one computer, but rarely use it.

One of my problems is similar to my complaints about so many websites; big fat graphics designed for mobile access and attempts to steer me someplace I don’t want to go. I spend about 90% of my time using a PC and 10% on a mobile device like my iPad or phone. It’s hard to find a menu and for those of us on a PC, we have to scroll down pages and pages to click on the program that we want to use.

In addition, Windows 10 uses up some of my screen to suggest “apps” like games. When I’m on my PC, I’m working and not browsing and shopping, so it is annoying.

The new taskbar is confusing. It is hard to tell that a program is already open, so I end up opening three sessions of Excel and crippling my memory. On the plus side, Windows 10 is a lot like Windows Server 2012 R2 so it helps me learn that better.

I know that I’ll have to eventually upgrade to Windows 10 but for those of you at dealerships getting that free offer – how do you decide to upgrade?

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

The biggest factors should be compatibility with your DMS and factory. Most legacy DMS systems have overlay software to make them easier (although sometimes slower) to use. For CDK/ADP users this overlay is called Drive or Dash and for R+R users it is Ignite or Power that sits over their older “green screen.” One of our advertisers calls this, “Lipstick on a Pig” because every few years DMS providers upgrade the overlay rather than upgrading the core software platform.

As a consultant, I’m often asked why so many DMS providers haven’t updated their system during the past 20-30 years. It is an easy answer; they tried and it didn’t go well. Some updated to a Microsoft-based system and ended up terminating the projects.

The risk of a costly failure would make any DMS company key executive afraid of trying that again, especially after the consequences of those terminations. But in the technology world, you must change or die. Our fifth cousin, Winston Churchill (his mother was Jenny Jerome) had this to say about change, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

One newer DMS provider, DealerStar changes their software every week to stay agile. But getting back to your Windows 10 decision, first find out the name of the overlay software that each PC is using to access your DMS. Next, ask your DMS provider if that overlay is compatible with Windows 10.

Next is a browser issue. Many of the OEMs and other integration sites require a certain version of browsers like Internet Explorer 8 or 9, but Windows 10 comes with Microsoft Edge (and a lot of advertisements). Although you can backwards install the old IE version that you need, Microsoft will only provide security patches for their latest versions, which will be the Edge family.

Ask providers if they support Microsoft Edge and if not, ask if they recommend another browser like FireFox or Chrome that run well under Windows 10. There are some YouTube videos that show you how to change your default browser from Microsoft Edge to Chrome or Firefox. Regardless of what you decide the prospect of change is often based on fear. Taking some of that pressure off of users by helping them manage time a little better could be your best solution. During any period of change, analyze tasks and try to delegate or eliminate reports and processes that don’t have focus on profit or protecting your assets.

Author: Sandi Jerome

Sandi Jerome is the owner of Sandi Jerome Computer Consulting. Sandi founded DealerStar, a web-based DMS. She is a former CFO, System Administrator, Fixed Operations Manager, and Controller with over 30 years experience in the auto industry.
Email: sandi@sandijerome.com.

Digital Dealer