ERAnet Service

edited January 2011 in ERAnet
We have ERAnet Showroom at the moment but have been turned away from ERAnet Service based on feedback from other dealers. Sore points have included it being too slow in an area where a lot of keystrokes are made in quick succession, crashing too often in such a business critical area, too many bugs & script error messages. Some dealers have had it installed, only to take it back out again in preference of ERA service.

ERAnet seems to be where all the development work is headed for service, and naturally we want to take advantage of the new features, and would like to be able to train new staff in an intuitive windows environment. It concerns me though that Parts & Accounting are not getting into ERAnet, and Service is having so much trouble

Do you have ERAnet Service? If so, how is it going at your dealership? If not, what is holding you back?

Comments

  • RayRay
    edited October 2010
    Michael,

    We took on ERAnet Service back in the early days and it was absolutely terrible. A couple of years on and we are now reasonably confident with it. There is still the odd issue but if you can find someone at Pentana actually willing to do something to fix it in a reasonable amount of time then you should be fine.

    If you are used to ERA it may take some time to get used to - especially if you don't like change. With ERA you get used to how many key strokes it takes to get to certain screens, the menus, how many times you need to press enter before you are in the field you need to be in and so on. The change to ERAnet completely throws this out. Everything is point and click (Windows based). If you've never used ERA before, you will probably pick it up much quicker.

    That said, it can be setup so that you can run ERAnet and ERA simultaneously. Most of our advisors have both open but work out of ERAnet primarily. Should issues with ERAnet arise, they jump back into the old screens.

    I **WOULD NOT** install ERAnet service unless Pentana agree to enable this for you as well. Until the time Pentana can offer some absolute guarantees about the stability, reliability, overall speed, and response times to incidents, we wont even consider having this disabled.

    I believe ERAnet 7.2 is being released very soon. I think one or two dealers are currently piloting it and we are taking it on in the next month or two. 7.2 has some really nice changes in it which makes the process of booking in a vehicle a whole lot easier and free flowing (from what I've seen/been told).

    Overall, I think Pentana have got on top of most of the issues but occasionally something will pop up.

    Definitely make sure your workstations are up to date. Running ERAnet on a 4 year old workstation will probably not work so well.

    If you want to know anything more specific, feel free to ask.

    Cheers,
    Ray.
  • Thanks Ray. Didn't think about the workstations issue. Definitely had a few showroom PC's to upgrade for ERAnet to work.

    Anyone else have any experiences to share with ERAnet Service?
  • We use ERAnet Showroom and don't get me started about speed. Even if your workstations are a little older this should not affect the operation too much. Moreover consider server and network speed first. ERAnet is an HTA (HTML application) think of it like a webpage but instead of using internet explorer or some other browser to run HTA's are opened by MSHTA.exe instead so apart from needing to set the zone security options you don't get issues with ActiveX permissions and the like. HTA's are server side applications just like browsing a web page - the web page itself (the data behind it) is stored on a remote pc. The local pc (yours) receives this data, interprets this through the browser (eg IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome...) and renders out a webpage. If you find your pc's speed is adequate when browsing the web (and you're not still on dial-up, old ADSL plan or a congested network) then something else is slowing ERAnet down. Look to link and server speed.

    Current version of ERAnet doesn't like Internet Explorer 8 - various script errors - won't stop you but terribly annoying and looks bad when working in front of the customer. Turn off automatic updates to update to IE8. If you've already updated I'm sorry but even though it's technically possible to go back to IE7 it isn't a good thing to attempt. You'll just have to live with the script errors. The application that creates the HTA's is called Visage Designer. The version of Visage that creates and deploys the HTA application known as ERAnet is not fully compatible with IE8. Need to use Visage version 7.30 however apparently 7.30 has degraded performance issues with the ERA server particularly AIX based systems.

    As for keystrokes being faster than a GUI? ERAlink is faster for a skilled operator compared to ERAnet. GUI's (mouse point and click) are always slower irrespective of the application however with well designed keyboard shortcuts an experienced user will not lose too much speed and the GUI benefits new and casual users as being easier. Alas ERAnet keyboard shortcut are not well designed.

    All in all we have enough problems and faults in ERAnet Showroom that ERAnet Service is not going to be considered at this stage. Though a worthy disclaimer - Pentana have been given an ultimatum - fix ERAnet Showroom or rip it out and we'll consider Revolution or something else instead. Whilst the wheels are slow to move they are moving and certains things are being corrected slowly. For instance it will be sometime this month that the descriptions entered by the salepeople on 99 accessories will print on the service RO used for build-up (not just "miscellaneous" as is the case now) - no longer will you need to take a copy of the contract or print out a separate build up sheet for service instead. Click generate RO and away you go.
  • Sean - we are on Visage 7.30.4 & AIX and not experiencing slowness beyond the expected GUI & ERA server communications delays, other than on individual PC's that are underspec'd. Nothing worse than on previous visage versions, in fact 7.30.4 is supposed to be slightly faster. How long ago were you told there were performance issues? If it was a while ago, I would check whether that still applies, as you are spot on with trying to use IE8 with anything earlier.

    Regarding 99 accessories, that sounds like a half-baked solution to me, as without selecting an actual accessory code you are relying on the salespeople to enter the list & cost prices, and not giving pre-delivery any information on the part numbers & fitting times as you do when you select an accessory which will have a service operation attached to it.

    We run with the Vehicle Order Forms printed from Manager Review, and our pre-delivery staff tell salespeople to go away if they have used the 99 code for anything other than sublet.
  • Thanks michaeld - I did say "apparently" because that's what we were told by Pentana. I will ask Pentana again about Visage 7.30 as that will solve a great many issues. Where are you at? Can I quote you as having a successful result? Quote from Helpdesk -

    Hi Sean,
    Unfortunately Visage 7.30 is not available for general release as it
    is being worked on further to improve performance on AIX based system
    s. Until the performance issues have been cleared out and we are sati
    sfied that Stamina have improved the performance of Visage 7.30 parti
    cularly on AIX systems we are not loading the software on any sites.
    Therefore, until the time that this gets sorted out you would need to
    revert the version of Internet Explorer to version 7. Thank you for
    contacting the helpdesk.
    Regards,
    Yusuf

    You hit the nail on the head about using the 99 miscellaneous accessory code - BUT we also ONLY use for sublet that is NOT regular and considered a "one off SPECIAL" build for which there is little gain to creating more accessory/opcodes. Different dealerships use different work arounds which mostly consist of either providing a copy of the buyer order form or vehicle order form to PD. But it is a speedier process and better communicated if all instructions are listed on the RO rather than relying on additional pieces of paper.
  • I've been running IE8 on a number of workstations, specifically those running Windows 7 and one or two Windows XP machines and there have been very few problems - I'd say no more then any other machine running IE7 anyway.

    I'm currently running IE9 Beta on my Windows 7 machine and again, no problems at all beyond what would be considered normal - the occasional glitch here and there.

    I think it's more so the case of ensuring that firewalls/anti-virus/pop-up blockers and anything alike that you may have running on your network (servers and workstations) aren't preventing access to ERAnet in anyway, shape or form. The stupid Google toolbar that everyone installs caused some issues for us originally but I created a Group Policy to disable that pile of crap and deployed it to all workstations and since then, providing everything else is in check, we haven't had a great deal of issues.
  • Sean - that sounds like the state of play around Q1 this year. Not 100% sure though. We were loaded with it around May - Ireland's Cairns. Check back with Yusuf, he will be able to tell you.
  • @ michaeld, May was our initial installation. Sent Yusuf an email on Monday. Waiting to hear back so have escalated accordingly.
  • Hi All,

    We have just replaced our ERANET SERVER, and have now removed access to 3651 for all Service Users (they previously had ERANET and 3651, but all were using 3651 for R/O close-out).

    Are other dealers using both ERA and ERANET for R/O Close-out, or are using only ERA or ERANET.

    All our Service users (about 70 spread over 9 sites) are complaining daily about the speed of ERANET, particulary the speed at which the system changes between screens within an R/O.

    Is there anything being done about the general speed of ERANET. Some Pentana staff don't even use the product themselves, and revert back to ERALINK for troubleshooting.

    I am also amazed at the issues that are caused in ERANET (in R/O closeout), which work fine in 3651. Whenever there is an issue in R/O Closeout, the first thing I do is check the R/O in 3651, and 9 times out of 10, it will close fine in 3651 (which doesn't help any of our users who don't have access to is).
  • Hi presmo. It is disappointing to hear errors and slowness are still occurring. We would really like to get ERAnet Service to have an intuitive windows based system that is easy to use and teach, but not at the expense of having a reliable system that doesn't slow you down.

    Pentana staff using ERALink for troubleshooting is not all that remarkable, as that's where all the files and setups are that ERAnet references. I would hate to be in your position though with 70 staff complaining daily about speed, I experienced just a fraction of that when installing superservice due to the extra operations that were loaded to select from.

    Hopefully progress can be made with your issues & the slowness, please let us know of any developments
  • I'm not sure what Pentana were thinking when they decided to make ERAnet web based but it should never have been done. Although we don't have too many issues today, it is regularly (more often then not) slow and you still come across issues fairly regularly.

    That said, ERAnet should have been made into an installable application that runs entirely off the workstation and simply pulls data directly from the ERA server - exactly how ERAlink works at the moment - essentially eliminating the need to have the ERAnet server at all.

    I really don't know who comes up with the ideas on how ERA/ERAnet should be developed but it seriously needs review.
  • Totally agree with you Ray. Another server just adds another component where by things can fail, EG Hardware, Visage. I believe Pentana had gone too far, and had spent so much money trying to get it to work, they couldnt go back.
  • edited February 2011
    @Ray "ERAnet should have been made into an installable application that runs entirely off the workstation and simply pulls data directly from the ERA server"

    Agreed - in fact if you look closely, ERALink is simply a product called wIntegrate, formerly owned by IBM and now owned by Rocket Software who purchased the UniData and UniVerse products sometime last year I think.

    The latest version of wIntegrate lets you modernise your applications from the old character based screens to GUI within wIntegrate itself. See http://www.rocketsoftware.com/u2/products/wintegrate/wi62-ann

    The Stamina Visage setup to give ERA a GUI is just woeful, and as mentioned above it's just several more points of failure, which all to frequently introduce errors and glitches.

    And don't get me started on how we pay monthly maintenance fee's for ERAlink licences yet never receive any software updates for it the ERAlink/wIntegrate product.

    Edit: And this link sums up interface design & usability so well :-

    http://stuffthathappens.com/blog/2008/03/05/simplicity/
  • Who's going to bite the bullet and go ERAnet Service after seeing the v8 presentation? Only 3628 split by make and a clocking rewrite were done for ERA, the other 15 new developments in Service were all ERAnet. Looked like some good stuff in there. Disappointing that the Predelivery module will be optional though.

    There was some interesting news regarding the future of ERAnet too, Accounting will be coming on board but Parts may be looking at an alternative platform to produce a windows style interface. That caused quite a stir at the Brisbane presentation, with suggestions that Service and Showroom products need to do the same.
  • Hi all,

     

    I've only just joined the forum and found this thread very interesting. We're a Mercedes-Benz dealer and have had eranet for approx 3 years and have just had version 8 installed recently. With the promise that nothing would change, i came into to find my system crashing, various dealer interfaces not working or changing. Its taken me a couple of weeks to get all this sorted, with the usual amount of hassle from the helpdesk.

    My question: Is any one using workshop control? We are looking at installing it, however are getting superservice menus installed first (infomedia) to trust the times coming through. My main concern is that there are other control programs that seem to have a bit more user friendly operating controls, however require a excel dump out and manual input in. Just looking for peoples thoughts on this optional software.

  • Hi Jason, we don't have ERAnet Service however workshop control is one of the attractions that makes me want to put it in. A lot of optional product competitors to Reynolds are hamstrung by the ease of integration that the Reynolds option provides, e.g. website, registrations, floortraffic, eBay parts, redbook, carsales etc., and I expect this will again be the case here. I can't imagine having to download from Reynolds every time you needed to update the scheduling would be practical.
  • Hi Michael and others, Workshop control is certainly a product worth considering, along with the rest of the ERANET Service module, Pentana have certainly put a lot of effort into functionality and stability. Speed will be an issue for AIX users but i have seen other - linux/windows and speed is better. An earlier post from Michael spoke about age of PCs. For ERANET Service you should ensure Monitors have high enough resolution, especially workshop control. Wide screen units are good.
  • Hi Ross, great to see you around the forum & thanks for your comments. We're AIX unfortunately, but I might see if we can get this on trial & report back how things go
  • @michaeld Due to the excessive pricing for optional software like the PreDelivery application (although I'm not entirely sure what this costs but like anything from Pentana there will be upfront and ongoing costs) we've actually had software custom made for us to our own liking that just runs off a MSSQL database and live updates. Works extremely well and fast. No ongoing costs and the upfront cost to have the app made is generally far cheaper, not to mention it can be made to suit us rather than it being dictated by Pentana. 

    We do the same thing for floor traffic, stock control and workshop control. I'm currently looking at integrating all these individual apps into one bigger application (a portal I guess you could call it) more so for the purpose of making things easier to manage and simplicity.

    If the Pentana pricing wasn't so high and ERAnet was faster, we would probably look into ERAnet optional software with a little more interest.
  • Hi Ray,  Sorry to hear that you feel that we dictate to our dealers.  Unfortunately that's not the case as most of the changes that we make are based upon CDC requests and us working with dealers to enhance our software.  With PreDelivery we are currently working with two different dealers on making it as flexible as possible to be able to cater for the different ways that dealers handle their processes.  As with all things it is virtually impossible to cater for everything and I'm sorry that comes as across as us dictating.  You are correct there is an upfront fee for PD and then monthly on going. 

    As to the speed of ERAnet for Service, we have made many changes in this area and will continue to do so.

    If you have a specific issue that you would like escalated in the Service area, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

    Regards

    Kerry

  • Hi

    Not sure how many of you on this trail are also on the previous one that I posted, but thought i'm offer you the same as with Crediting of ROS.  If you are interested in giving us feedback into our proposed changes/enhancements, then please send me your email addresses and i'll add them to our [email protected] email group.  My email address is [email protected].

  • is anyone else experiencing stability issues with ERAnet service since GU 8.1? We have lots of users every day needing to close their sessions and reopen to make it respond again?
  • Hi joellly, we've had GU8.1 since June and haven't had that issue
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