Our series on testing began last year and it’s time to pick this topic back up again with a new installment about the importance of Dealer Pilots. The Dealer Pilot phase is the last and final step in the certification process. It follows the completion of all Certification Testing and requires the deployment of the dealer system software for use by a dealer in live operations.
Dealer Pilots are the final phase of the certification testing process, demonstrating that the integrated system performs in accordance with the specifications in real world conditions. Pilots require careful management and a high level of support where new business process and system functionality is involved to ensure that any disruption to dealers operations is avoided or minimized. The dealer pilot process and requirements will vary between different automakers and interfaces. Depending upon the nature of the interfaces, DSPs may manage dealer support with limited involvement by the OEM. Where a dealer-facing OEM system is being introduced or impacted by the new integration functionality, there is generally very close coordination needed between the DSP and OEM.
Motive Retail works with its clients to define the dealer pilot process:
- Pilot Dealer selection – which dealers, rationale for selection, approvals. The fact is some dealers are more suitable than others as pilots for a given interface. In some cases the DSP can solely determine which dealers should be pilots; in other cases OEM approval is appropriate.
- How many dealers – does the DSP have a general practice here, what does the OEM require? Decide upfront what scope is needed.
- Duration – Is it more important to have each pilot run for a certain length of time or can a pilot run only as long as necessary to verify correct integration performance?
- Other Requirements – be clear about expectations upfront. Define clear exit criteria so all parties (including the dealer) understand what is expected.
- Dealer Support / Training – who does what? How should this be coordinated between DSPs and the OEM? What is the escalation process to be used if things go wrong?
- Set-up – clear instructions are needed about what it takes to get a dealer into production with the new interfaces. This will be needed for the full roll-out and the pilot should test this process out also.
There is a lot of coordination and communication needed to conduct a successful dealer pilot and Motive Integrator provides Apps for both DSPs and Automakers to support the entire process and facilitate collaboration and communication. This way even field personnel can be kept informed and a single repository of information (including dealer feedback) is available for all parties.
Successful completion of a dealer pilot means that all exit criteria have been met, no technical or business problems exist and the dealer is satisfied. At this point we can confidently declare a dealer system to be fully certified. Once certified, a DSP can proceed to the roll-out phase of a project. Lastly, we should also point out that there may be non-technical requirements relating to certification, we’ll cover this and the roll-out phase in future posts. For more details on the Motive Retail Dealer System Certification process feel free to visit our website at www.motiveretail.com.