General Motors’ (GM) Saturn Division has contracted with Global services company EDS to migrate Saturn’s U.S.-based retail facilities from a distributed dealer management system environment to an EDS-hosted application service provider (ASP) environment. The two companies declare GM to be the first U.S.-based automotive company to move an entire division’s retail community to the ASP model.

EDS will migrate the current U.S. Saturn Retail Systems applications suite which 8,500 users access daily for sales, service, parts, accounting, data mining and reporting.

Currently, U.S. Saturn retailers own and maintain servers that reside inside the retail facilities. Instead, EDS will maintain several midrange servers that will support Saturn remotely from an EDS systems management centre. Retailers will also receive features such as network-wide e-mail capabilities, managed Internet access and centralized credit bureau access.

The joint GM/EDS announcement cited the recent Forrester Group TechStrategy Research white paper titled Connecting Dealership Computing. It predicted that moving to remote, ASP-delivered DMS solutions is about to accelerate as automobile manufacturers expose dealers to remote computing.