Annual Letter from the General Manager

It’s been an exciting year for IDS and the RV, Marine and Trailer dealership industry as a whole.  Over the last 12 months, industry growth and consolidation have allowed us to continually improve our capabilities and provide services and software solutions that scale to your needs. Since we are currently in the middle of several long-term strategic projects, this trend will continue as we move into 2018.

Product Development

We feel that a high-value, high-quality product is the single most important thing we can deliver as a software provider. That’s why our product investment rate has doubled in the last three years, and why we will continue to invest heavily in product development.  

 

Usability, Quality and Performance

By prioritizing usability, quality and performance, here’s what our development team has achieved in the last 12 months:

  • 300+ improvements
  • Greater portability for your retail customers thanks to PDF Sales and FI Quotes
  • Improved customization and performance due to Departmental Manager Screens that have been re-written in .Net
  • 8% improvement in quality from last year, as measured by the number of defects reported by our customers
  • A move to Agile development and continuous delivery, so that we can release software faster

 

CRM 2.0 Brings Simplification, Customization and Flexibility

We addressed much of the feedback from our users in a major update to our CRM this year. The highlights of this release include:

  • Customizable Home Page, including Interactive Graphs and Dashboards
  • Enhanced search and filter capabilities to make it easier to find contacts, leads and opportunities
  • Improved usability through elimination of mouse clicks

 

Mobile Applications, Document Management & Paperless Transactions

In our latest releases, we have focused on marginal improvements in usability, stability and performance based on your feedback rather than major enhancements.  Improvements include:

  •  Ability to track the time remaining for the job versus the amount of time spent on it by the technician
  • A list of all the tasks recently completed by the technician
  • Searching capabilities for the technicians
  • Dealership approvals and disclaimers on the electronic signoff by the customer for the service writer
  • Mobile utilization has more than doubled in the last year 
  • There are more than 2.5M documents being managed through your DMS on our cloud platform

 

API (Application Programming Interface) Version 1.0 is Now Available

The IDS API allows you to easily share your valuable DMS data with third-party software or service vendors, such as your website provider, menu-selling systems, extended warranty companies and inventory management tools, all of which have historically existed outside of IDS.

The current API allows you to pull information related to:

  • Customers
  • Unit Inventory
  • Deals

 

Future API development will also include:

  • Parts
  • Service
  • Accounting

 

With the API, these other software or service vendors can use web services to access your data in real time, while we provide the infrastructure and blueprint of the services offered through the API.  You can find a complete listing of the specific data that can be accessed and documentation at http://developer.ids-astra.com/.

 

Unit Rentals, Dock slips and Storage Module

Boat Launch and Haul capabilities are now built into our rental module and are part of our mobile application.  This allows field people, deck hands or technicians to use a mobile device to conduct Launch and Haul operations.

Cloud Based Server Hosting and Cloud Based Development

We are undergoing a major technology refresh of our Cloud services, which will impact our hosted customers.  We are currently replacing all of our server equipment with the latest and greatest networking devices, servers, storage and software, which will result in improved performance and greater expansion.

We will also be integrating Microsoft SQL Server into this environment to power our reporting capabilities and customized dashboards that have been added to the CRM.

Annual Conference

Over the last few years, we have held several customer conferences. During these conferences, our Professional Services Team emphasizes valuable ways of using our product, while our guest speakers – and industry experts – shed light on the challenging problems faced by many dealers.  We also offer a look at our product roadmap and development plan, so that you can understand our future vision of the product.

What our customers love most about these conferences is the opportunity to interact with other dealers and our employees.

Watch this short video to see what dealers are saying about our last conference >

We are already looking into the timing and venues for our next conference.  We will keep you informed, so that you can pencil it into your calendar.

Customer Service

In October of last year, we added a Director of Customer Service, Frank Tamburrini, to our team.  Frank brought with him a wealth of customer service experience from other software companies.  His sole charter is to ensure that your experience dealing with us is prompt, professional and complete.  

A few of his key goals based on your survey feedback are improving response time and close rates. Here are some of his achievements:

  •  Response times on inbound calls have improved by 70%
  • Call closure rates have improved by 52%
  • We have added team members to help improve our throughput and response times as well as enhance our communication back to you to provide status reports on your calls
  • The personnel investments we have made in the past few years are starting to pay off as they have developed domain expertise and product knowledge

 

Although our support team has gotten faster at responding and closing tickets, we do recognize that at times it still takes too long to make changes to the actual software.  However, we are confident that moving to the Agile methodology of continuous delivery will help us make those fixes at a much faster rate.

 

The current trajectory of product and service improvements is positive reinforcement for the investments we have made in the business.  We will continue to strive for greater improvements and I look forward to keeping you apprised of our progress.

Best Regards,

Sean Raynor

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