Cloud-Based Dealer Management Systems: What to Look For

Roman Massey
June 15, 2022

The rise of cloud-based dealer management systems (DMS) has been nothing short of meteoric. In just a few years, these systems have gone from being a niche product to being adopted by dealerships of all sizes across North America.

Cloud-based dealer management systems offer a number of advantages over traditional on-premise systems, including lower upfront costs, easier implementation and maintenance, and increased flexibility.

Before we review the actual options that you have when it comes to cloud-based dealer management systems, let’s first go over some of the most common questions.

What is a Dealer Management System (DMS)?

A dealer management system (DMS) is a type of software that helps businesses in the automotive industry manage their day-to-day operations. It can be used to track inventory, customers, sales, and more. A DMS can help a business run more efficiently and improve customer service.

There are many different types of DMS software on the market, each with its own set of features. Some systems are more complex than others, and some are geared toward specific types of businesses. For example, there are DMS systems designed specifically for car dealerships, boat dealerships, and motorcycle dealerships.

No matter what type of business you have in the automotive industry, a DMS can help you streamline your operations and improve your bottom line. If you're considering implementing a DMS in your business, make sure to do your research to find the system that best meets your needs.

The Benefits of Using a Cloud-Based Dealer Management System

One of the biggest advantages of using a cloud-based dealer management system as opposed to an on-premise system is that it allows you to access your data from anywhere with an internet connection. This can be helpful if you have multiple locations or need to access your data while you're away from the office.

Another advantage of using a cloud-based system is that it's typically more affordable than an on-premise system. This is because you don't have to pay for the hardware and software upfront.

With a cloud based DMS, you also don't have to worry about maintaining or upgrading any software or hardware. This can save your business a great deal of money in the long run.

You can get the benefit of increased flexibility and scalability. With a cloud based DMS, you can easily scale up or down as your business needs change. This can be a great advantage if you're expecting a sudden increase in business (such as during a busy season) and need to accommodate more customers.

Lastly, cloud-based systems are often more secure than on-premises systems, since they're hosted in a secure, off-site data center.

How to Choose the Right Cloud-Based Dealer Management System for Your Dealership

Once you've considered what you need from a DMS, you can start narrowing down your options. Of course, comparing features will be very important, and we will discuss that in-depth in our next section, but there are also a few other ways to approach your search.

One way to do this is to read online reviews from other dealerships. This can give you a sense of how well the system works in real-world situations.

You should also compare pricing between different providers. This will help you find a system that fits within your budget.

Once you've narrowed down your options, you can contact each provider to get more information. This is also a good time to ask any questions you have about the system.

What to Look for in Cloud-Based Dealer Management Systems?

For dealerships considering a move to a cloud-based dealer management system, it is important to understand the key features to look for in order to find the best system for their needs. In this article, we will examine the following:

  1. Cost
  2. Ease of use
  3. Flexibility
  4. Integration
  5. Support

Let's take a closer look at each of these key features.


Perhaps the most obvious advantage of cloud-based dealer management systems is that they typically cost less than traditional on-premise systems. There are several reasons for this.

First, cloud-based dealer management systems are typically subscription-based, which means that you pay a monthly or annual fee to use the system. This is generally much lower than the upfront cost of purchasing and implementing an on-premise system.

Second, since cloud-based dealer management systems are hosted off-site, you don't have to worry about the hardware and software costs associated with an on-premise system. This can add up to significant savings, especially for dealerships with multiple locations.

Ease of use

Another big advantage of cloud-based dealer management systems is that they are generally much easier to use than traditional on-premise systems. This is because they are designed to be user-friendly and require minimal training.

Most cloud-based dealer management systems offer a simple, intuitive interface that can be easily navigated by users of all tech levels. This contrasts with on-premise systems, which can often be clunky and difficult to use.


One of the biggest benefits of cloud-based dealer management systems is their increased flexibility. This is because they can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

This is a major advantage for dealerships with multiple locations or employees who work remotely. It also makes it easier to add or remove users as needed, since there is no need to install or maintain software on each individual computer.


Another big selling point of cloud-based dealer management systems is their ability to easily integrate with other systems. This is because most cloud-based systems are built on open platform architectures.

This means that they can easily connect to other popular business software, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems and accounting software. This is a major advantage for dealerships that want to streamline their operations and have all their data in one place.


Finally, it's important to consider the support offered by the vendor when choosing a cloud-based dealer management system. This is because you will likely need help at some point during the implementation and use of the system.

Most reputable vendors offer 24/7 customer support, which can be a lifesaver when you're dealing with technical issues. It's also important to choose a vendor that has experience working with dealerships, as they will be better equipped to understand your needs and provide tailored solutions.

Now that we've gone over the key features to look for in cloud-based dealer management systems, let's look at some of the best options on the market.

Top Cloud-Based Dealer Management Systems

CDK Global DMS

CDK Global is a leading provider of dealership management software (DMS) solutions. CDK's DMS offerings include the popular OpenRoad and PowerDealer platforms, which are used by tens of thousands of car dealerships around the world.

CDK Global's DMS solutions are designed to help dealerships manage their day-to-day operations, including vehicle inventory, sales and marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), finance and accounting, and more. CDK's DMS solutions are backed by a team of experts who can provide support and training when needed.

Reynolds and Reynolds DMS

Reynolds and Reynolds is another top provider of cloud-based dealer management systems for dealerships. Their systems, called ERA-IGNITE and POWER, includes the following features:

  • Affordable monthly pricing
  • Intuitive interface
  • Seamless integration with other software programs
  • Powerful reporting and analytics
  • Comprehensive training and support

PBS Systems DMS

PBS Systems DMS is a powerful and easy to use document management system that helps businesses keep track of their documents. It offers a variety of features that make it an ideal solution for managing documents, including:

  • Centralized storage: PBS Systems DMS stores all your documents in one central location, making it easy to find and retrieve them when needed.
  • Version control: PBS Systems DMS keeps track of all versions of your documents, so you can always access the most up-to-date version.
  • Security: PBS Systems DMS offers security features that protect your documents from unauthorized access and ensure that only authorized users can view or edit them.

These are just a few of the best cloud-based dealer management systems on the market. Be sure to do your research to find the system that best meets your needs.

How to Switch to a Cloud-Based Dealer Management Systems

If you're currently using an on-premise DMS, there are a few things you need to do before you can switch to a cloud-based system. These might seem obvious to some, but we want to assure you that once you break it down, the process is not that complicated.

1. Export your Data.

The first step is to export your data from your current system. This will ensure that you have a backup of your information in case anything goes wrong during the transition.

2. Choose a Provider.

Next, you need to choose a cloud-based dealer management systems provider. There are several different providers to choose from, so it's important to compare them to find the one that's right for you.

3. Set Up Your Account.

Once you've chosen a provider, you'll need to set up an account with them. This process is usually straightforward and just requires you to enter your contact information.

4. Import Your Data.

After you've set up your account, you can import your data into the system. This process will vary depending on the provider you're using, but most systems have tutorials that can help you through it.

5. Start Using Your Cloud-Based Dealer Management Systems.

Once your data is imported, you'll be able to start using your cloud-based dealer management systems. This process is usually straightforward and just requires you to enter your contact information.

The Cost of Switching to a Cloud-Based Dealer Management System

The costs you incur will vary depending on the size of your dealership and the system you choose. You'll also need to consider whether you're switching from an on-premise or cloud-based system.

If you're switching from an on-premise system, you'll need to factor in the cost of migrating your data to the cloud. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, so it's important to consider whether it's worth the investment.

In Conclusion

Switching to a cloud-based dealer management system can be a great way to improve the efficiency of your dealership. It can also save you money in the long run, since you won't need to maintain on-site hardware or pay for software updates. However, it's important to do your research and choose the right provider before making the switch.

Need help choosing the right cloud-based dealer management system for your organization? We're happy to lend a helping hand - feel free to reach out to one of our IT strategists at and we'll do our best to help you make the next big move for your dealership.

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