Sept. 6, 2010 – Expanding product portfolio

An industry company that has links to a number of dealer service areas expanded its footprint with the acquisition of a dealer management system (DMS).
Dominion Enterprises, the owner of Cycle Trader and PowerSports Network, added a start-up DMS to its product portfolio in early August. The acquisition represents the second time in less than a year that the Norfolk, Va.-based company expanded its holdings. Last October, the company purchased Traffic Log Pro, a lead management/CRM provider.
“Clearly we see there’s a good opportunity,” Rick Murchake, vice president of Dominion Innovations, a division of Dominion Enterprises, told Powersports Business.
Ziios is a Web-based DMS that was developed over the past several years by Curtis Conner, a former powersports dealership owner who also once worked as a Microsoft software developer.
“We feel fortunate that we found somebody with Curtis’ unique set of talent,” Murchake said.
The DMS is just coming online as it has gone through beta testing with several dealers, who are now going live with the system.
The acquisition represents a different type of purchase for Dominion Enterprises, which Murchake noted has in the past purchased companies that have been farther along in their development process.
“Yes it is very different,” he said. “Our past history has been in acquiring companies that have customers and revenues and so this is a little new for us. We see an opportunity.”
That opportunity figures to proceed at a measured pace at least for the short term.
“One of the advantages of the investment by Dominion is we’re going to start building out the organization and we want to be very careful,” Murchake said. “We want to bring dealers on in a manner that we’re sure we can delight them. In other words, if there are 20 dealers lined up tomorrow who want to buy this, we’re not going to sign them all up because we know we don’t have the staff yet to serve their needs.”
The company, however, has already hired staff to add to the Ziios team — Conner will remain onboard as CEO — and has plans to further enlarge the group going forward. The enlarged Ziios team will not only be working with new dealers, but also ensuring the system can integrate with Dominion Enterprises’ other offerings, like Cycle Trader and PowerSports Network.
“An important point is we’re going to integrate seamlessly with anybody that is serving the powersports industry,” he said. “So even if it’s not a Dominion business and someone has customers that wish to use Ziios and another Web service provider and another lead management provider, we will enthusiastically work with those other providers to serve the customers.”
That could even include other companies that wish to build off the Ziios platform.
“There has been a lot of interest in it,” Murchake said, “so we’re very excited about it.” PSB

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