By Larry Kettler, CEO, Procede Software, and the Procede Software Leadership Team
This year marks Procede Software’s twentieth anniversary, and like all anniversaries, it is cause for celebration, reflection, and deep gratitude. As we think about where we started and where we are now, it is important to acknowledge this milestone as more than a reflection on our own longevity and growth. In fact, it is a celebration of the longevity and growth of the entire ecosystem of our employees, partners, and customers. We wouldn’t be here without you.
With gratitude in our hearts, we’re marking this milestone by taking a look at where we came from, where we are, where we’re headed, and the people who make it all possible.
Founded on a Commitment to Bringing Value to the Customer
Twenty years ago, Procede Software’s founders recognized the multitude of challenges the transportation industry was facing and saw an opportunity to innovate. They believed that dealerships deserved a better partner, one who would really listen to their needs and concerns, and in better technology that streamlined processes instead of hindered them. Dealerships were frustrated with the business solutions, known as Dealer Management Systems (DMS) available at the time. Providers were difficult to work with and slow to make changes; technology was complicated and outdated; support was inconsistent; costs were high, and contracts were long-term. They couldn’t access their own data, were locked into hardware, and some even had to pay for every sheet of paper they printed. It was time for a change.
From the beginning, Procede Software was determined to do things differently, with more focus on bringing value to the customer. Where other providers were difficult to work with, we were determined to listen and to deliver. Where other solutions were built on outdated platforms, we offered modern technology. Instead of locking down access, we opened it up, and instead of long-term contracts, we opted for simple annual ones. Then, we set about building the kind of relationships that would result in long-term partnerships, built on commitment, trust and value.
Technology that Put Customers in the Driver’s Seat and Data at Their Fingertips
In fact, 20 years ago, Procede Software was one of the first DMS providers to embrace the recently introduced Microsoft SQL Server, a relational database designed to provide unprecedented data access. It was a smart move. Over the years, many programming trends have come and gone, but SQL still stands as one of the most powerful, efficient, and stable data platforms available. And as our customers’ businesses have grown, we’ve grown alongside them: as a Microsoft Certified Partner, we’ve continued to adopt the latest versions of Microsoft SQL and optimize our software to support it, first on-premises and now in the cloud with Microsoft Azure.
Familiar Faces, Consistent Values
20 years later, many of our earliest customers are still with us, although they have grown and expanded over the years, and in some cases, even transitioned their dealerships from one generation to the next. Decades in the making, these are just the kind of long-term relationships Procede Software’s founders envisioned. We’ve had a front-row seat to how consistency, stability, and a commitment to their own values have resulted in steady growth, and it has served as an inspiration for us as we set about ensuring our own longevity. Our commitment to the values we were founded on has served both our customers and us in good stead.
Many of our leadership team have been with Procede Software since our early days—with an average tenure of 15 years. Each one of them serves as careful stewards of the values the company was founded on: accountability, dependability, responsiveness, engagement, transparency, and results. Over time, these values have become part of our DNA, ingrained in our culture, and reflected in all our employees. While the industry will continue to evolve, our customers’ businesses will grow, and we will scale to meet demand, you can count on our values to remain.
Still Doing Things Differently
Our growth to date is more than the accumulation of our years. It’s reflective of our commitment to working closely with the entire ecosystem—customers, partners, and OEMs—and developing a strategy with it, not outside of it. We continue to do things differently, now with more infrastructure: our early passions have become an industry-leading product platform and a robust set of programs.
Our willingness to challenge the status quo and even our own assumptions can be seen in the latest release of Excede DMS. In version 10.1, we rethought several critical workflows and even reinvented the way search is done. Our commitment to making data accessible has matured into Excede Analytics, a full suite of business intelligence tools. Equally important has been the growth of our Insider Program, which is at the heart of each one of these product advancements. We engage our customers in our product development process through this essential program as they test and provide vital feedback on features, enhancements, and upcoming releases.
Over the years, we’ve also developed industry-leading service offerings that prioritize straightforward processes and the human touch. From a comprehensive set of Education and Training programs, to a Support team with a 97% Customer Satisfaction Rating, to our top-notch Implementation and Professional Services teams, we are here to optimize your business processes and use of our software. We’re proud, too, of our deep relationships with OEMs as well as our Certified Partners and the impact those integrations have on your businesses.
Looking ahead, we’re prepared and excited to move forward on all fronts. We’ve put the internal structure in place to scale in support of our customers as they scale, and we look forward to growing all these programs and thoughtfully and strategically adding to them to continue to bring the greatest value possible to our customers.
Looking Ahead with Gratitude
By way of closing, we’d like to take a few moments to let you—our employees, partners, and customers—know just how much you mean to us.
To our employees, thank you for your dedication, hard work, energy, and spirit of fun! We couldn’t ask for a better team. Please know that whatever your aspirations, Procede Software is committed to providing you with the opportunities and resources to grow and thrive.
To our partners, we deeply appreciate the important role you play in the ecosystem and in making our solutions even more robust. By partnering, we are able to bring even more value to our customers. Thank you for going above and beyond and for caring about our customers as deeply as we do.
To our customers, thank you for believing in and supporting us. Trusting your business to our software is a responsibility we do not take lightly. Without you, we wouldn’t be here, and we stand ready to work hand-in-hand with you as we both take our businesses to the next level.
It is with deep gratitude and excitement that we look forward to the next 20 years and beyond.
Together, all things are possible.
Larry Kettler and the Procede Software Team