There was a time, long ago, when you could sell and service a car or a truck without the need for technology. Those days are long gone. Today, technology plays a critical role in a dealer’s ability to make money.
Most dealers understand the importance of technology to run their business. As a result, many have established an in-house IT team to handle the technical aspects of the dealership. Often, a dealer’s IT team is made up of those who lack formal technical and cybersecurity training. In fact, according to a Total Dealer Compliance survey only 30% of dealers employ IT staff with computer security training and appropriate certifications.
However, there are also plenty of dealerships that have very competent and well-trained IT staff. Overtime – to keep up with technological advances and the increasing cybersecurity threats dealers face – the percentage of dealerships with highly skilled IT teams will expand. The question that dealers need to contend with is whether or not they should develop an appropriate IT team internally or should they outsource?
Before we get into whether or not to outsource, let us first be clear about what we mean by an “appropriate” IT team. To deal with rapid technological advances, you need experts in networking, telephony, desktop support, and cybersecurity. In addition, your IT team should be certified to support the hardware and software you use within your dealership. For instance, members of an appropriate IT team might have someone with a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification and a Cisco Certified Network Associate – if of course you use Microsoft and Cisco. And, from a cybersecurity standpoint, you will need a Certified Information Systems Security Professional. An appropriate IT team is not comprised of a business development representative who seems to understand technology and the guy who designed your website.
Now, let us try to answer the question about outsourcing to build an appropriate IT team. IT professionals who are certified and formally trained are in high demand. This means they are hard to find, expensive, and difficult to keep. Those with cybersecurity training and certifications are in even greater demand. Also, consider that those with formal training and certifications will want to maintain their certifications. Therefore, they will expect their employer to pay for them to take ongoing training classes to keep their certifications and to stay up to date on technological advances. Building an appropriate internal IT team is very expensive and difficult – but it can be done. However, if you can build an appropriate IT team then most likely, the best you can hope for is a small team. Keep this in mind as we now look at the benefits of outsourcing.
With outsourcing, you benefit in the following ways:
Let Someone Else Find, Hire & Maintain IT Talent – The hassle and expense of recruiting and keeping IT professionals with the appropriate certifications falls on someone else’s shoulders. You don’t need to worry about it. Instead, you can simply focus on selling and servicing cars and trucks.
Avoid Key-Man Syndrome – If you build your own IT team then most likely it will be a small team. Therefore, each individual within the team will carry a heavy load and will be indispensable. By outsourcing, you escape the pain of relying on a specific individual who may be here today but could be gone tomorrow.
Enjoy More Bandwidth & Expertise – With a small internal IT team, your ability to handle the everyday desktop support issues and take care of strategic projects, technology upgrades and cybersecurity defense will be difficult. Your team will struggle to do everything that needs to be done to keep your dealership operating optimally within the timeframe that these things should be done. Delays to things like technology upgrades have consequences. Such delays present a cybersecurity vulnerability that could lead to a cybersecurity breach. Additionally, your team may lack specialty skills like those needed to properly defend against a cyberattack (digital forensics, threat hunting, malware reverse engineering and technical surveillance countermeasures). By outsourcing – with the right IT company – this all goes away. You can enjoy access to ample resources and a wide range of expertise.
Get Strategy, Not Just Tactics – Technology and cybersecurity best practices are evolving rapidly. Failing to stay ahead will dull your competitive edge, damage your reputation, and cost you money. IT today requires more than just handling the day-to-day support needs of users. It requires the bandwidth, knowledge, and skill to be strategically proactive. Thinking about and preparing for tomorrow becomes much easier when you outsource.
For the vast majority of dealers, outsourcing your IT will be a more effective approach. Even if you insist on having internal IT staff, augmenting your internal team with the expertise and resources of an IT service provider is a good idea and will help you to reap the benefits discussed above.