4 Keys to a Successful Dealer Management System Implementation

A Successful Dealer Management System Implementation makes all the difference in the world in helping your business flourish. The majority of our customers would agree…but the million-dollar question is, “What are the key differentiators that impact an implementation?”

Keys to Success - Concept on Golden Keychain over Black Wooden Background. Closeup View, Selective Focus, 3D Render. Toned Image.Key #1: Buy-in from the entire team.

Successful dealer management system implementation begins with buy-in from EVERYONE. If the owner, Dealer Principle, or any other decision-maker is on board with implementing ASPEN, but others on the team who will be using the system are not, there is a high probability you will struggle from day one. This is essential for a successful implementation. Not having buy-in from 100% of the team is a red flag before the process begins.

Key #2: Commitment to complete deliverables on time.

Gideon King, GM with Pine Hill Trailers, a recent ASPEN implementation said it best:

“The discussion on procedures and Charter having a full understanding of what Aspen needs to look like at Go-Live, is what gave Pine Hill the ability to transition smoothly as possible”

For our customers, an ASPEN Project Manager will lead a kick-off call and discuss the roadmap to Go-Live. Part of that discussion will be setting expectations on deliverables to come. The Chart of Accounts (COA), process reviews, configuration details, and weekly status meetings are a few of the deliverables that help drive a successful dealer management system implementation. Commitment goes back to the buy-in from the entire team as there may be multiple people involved in assisting with the effort. Having Parts Managers, Service Managers, and Sales Managers involved early will help set the tone for the activities in the weeks prior to Go-Live.


It is said that you must repeat your message 7 times before retaining it. I’ve heard 7 is on the low end and 23 times on the high end. While each person is different, in the world of DMS training, more is better! Charter Software customers who have experienced the greatest success begin early with self-study immediately after receiving their practice database.

Change is hard for most people, even change junkies. A new dealership management system is going to be “different” and until it is not “different” it will seem hard. What I can tell you with 100% confidence is those customers who do little practice (Less than 100 transactions) will struggle at Go-Live and struggle hard. During times when you are busy finding time to practice can be challenging, so try to plan ahead. This may mean early mornings, it may mean lunchtime, it may mean after work…this may mean overtime, BUT the payoff is priceless.

Key #4: Preparing for Go-Live.

Preparation for Go-Live is the final checkpoint to a successful implementation. This means completing the post-conversion tasks including catch up work BEFORE your trainer arrives. Reviewing and verifying data from the conversion as well as inputting outstanding invoices into ASPEN will help prepare you for your Go-Live with the trainer. Doing this ahead of your trainer’s arrival allows you and your trainer to focus on ASPEN workflow. Time the trainer spends on-site assisting with these tasks is not accounted for in the training schedule and every minute spent catching up is a minute taken from training your team.

Our Mission at Charter is to partner with servicing dealers to promote mutual success through the use of our technology. We are here to help you flourish and if you ever have a question, please reach out to us at Support@chartersoftware.com or call 303-932-6875.

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