Inside My-Villages’ acquisition of DockMaster

My-Villages
October 9, 2013
Filed under News

What’s the News?

My-Villages, a leader in marine mobile technology, acquired DockMaster, the top information management solution for marine retailers, marinas and service centers. The integration of DockMaster software and the My-­‐Villages’ consumer and professional application, called The Boat Village, will create the largest and most integrated software solution in the marine businesses in the industry, a next generation business solution that can drive operational efficiencies, increase customer loyalty, improve profitability and vastly enhance customer service and coordination.

Why is this important?

The combination of DockMaster and The Boat Village will bridge the information and coordination gap between boaters, marine retailers and service centers and transform the way they communicate and transact business. Today’s technologies focus on more than simply automating internal processes to improve operations. They extend beyond the walls of a company and allow consumers and businesses to engage and transact, from anywhere, on any device and at any time of day. The integration of DockMaster and The Boat Village will improve how marine industry professionals engage customers, in ways similar to other industries such as banking, healthcare and retail.

Who is My‐Villages?

My‐Villages is a technology company dedicated to helping people better maintain and operate the things they love. The company improves communication and coordination between product owners, manufacturers and service professionals, using mobile technology to simplify life for consumers and help businesses engage customers more effectively. The company’s first product, called The Boat Village, launched in an invitation‐only beta in October of 2012.

What is The Boat Village?

The Boat Village works on any computer, smartphone or tablet and allows boat owners and marine professionals to radically improve how they interact. The Boat Village Premium service and Professional edition provide boat owners and technicians an all-in-one platform to easily communicate, coordinate service and share information. Service requests can be exchanged — including supporting photos and video — maintenance reminders can be automated, and service history can be documented, all in one place. The boat’s equipment inventory, service history, manuals, usage trends, and other helpful information are also readily available, giving technicians and owners a powerful communication tool. The Boat Village is in use by major firms like The Hinckley Co., Westerbeke, and more than a dozen service yards up and down the east coast.

The Boat Village is also available as a free service for boat owners and marine businesses and has features much like an industry‐specific social network. Individuals can create a profile, follow marine‐industry companies — including their own product manufacturers — share advice and upload photos and videos. The free service also provides boat owners with access to a one‐of-a‐kind database, with more than 25,000 manufacturer maintenance recommendations, beloved archives from DIY Boat Owner and Mad Mariner, and advice from fellow boat owners, marine professionals and industry experts.

What is DockMaster?

DockMaster is an information management solution for boat yards, dealers, marinas, retailers, and distributors. DockMaster is available as both a cloud‐based and server-based solution and consists of a series of integrated software modules that address specific functions within a marine business. Modules include inventory and point of sale, service and repair, storage and billing, customer relationship management, boat sales and inventory, transient reservations and more. DockMaster has been providing marine management products and services since 1984 and is used in more than 600 marine retailers, marinas and service centers across North America and the Caribbean.

What led to My-Villages purchase of DockMaster?

My‐Villages and DockMaster have been in discussions for several months about integrating their platforms for the purpose of sharing information. As both companies began testing this idea with mutual customers it was clear the customers not only wanted to see integration of the two products, but were very excited about the vision for where the two products could go together. This customer reaction caused Cam Collins, CEO of Exuma Technologies, and Kevin Hutchinson, CEO of My-Villages, to sit down and share their individual visions for the marine industry. It was clear after only a few meetings there was huge synergy and that it was important to work together in ways that went beyond simply integrating the products. Both agreed that would be best done under one roof, with one integrated team.

What does this mean for average boaters? What can they do that they could not before?

For users of The Boat Village Premium whose service yards are also DockMaster users, they will experience improvements in how they exchange and access information, thanks to the integration of the products. However, even if a service provider is not currently a user of the DockMaster system, boaters can, with the press of a button, turn a maintenance reminder into a service request and have it routed to their boat yard, marina, or dealer of choice and retain a detailed record of all requests. For boaters that use The Boat Village free service, there will be no change. Users will continue to have access to the site’s 25,000+ maintenance recommendations from equipment manufacturers, more than 1,000 expert articles, and advice and tips shared by marine professionals and fellow boat owners.

What does this mean for service yards, marinas and dealers that use DockMaster?

Service yards and marinas will now have new ways to interact and engage with customers electronically. This will reduce the amount of time marine retailers spend playing phone tag with customers, digging through endless emails, and searching for information that customer’s request or service managers need to properly schedule a service call. For service yards using DockMaster, the integration with The Boat Village will allow clients to easily submit electronic service requests, which will automatically generate a work order that could get updated dynamically as the client adds items or the service manager assigns tasks.

How many boaters, marinas, yards and facilities will be impacted?

DockMaster is used by more than 600 marine retailers, marinas and service centers across North America and the Caribbean. The Boat Village is completing an extensive 12-month, invitation-only beta program, with rigorous testing by some of the industry’s most well known boat builders, equipment manufacturers, service yards and marine businesses. My‐Villages has a growing network of Innovation Partners, including companies such as Hinckley Yachts, Regal Boats, Whiticar Boat Works, Saunders Yachtworks, Yacht Tech, North Atlantic Marine, MPI, Yacht Concierge and Boat Yard Services, that are committed to both using and promoting the service.

What are the technological implications for people already using DockMaster and/or The Boat Village?

DockMaster and The Boat Village users will not need to change the way they use these products at all. The company will use DockMaster’s Web Connect technology to marry the two products. The company will be announcing more details on integration shortly.

Can The Boat Village and DockMaster still be used with other products?

My‐Villages was built with a focus on industry collaboration and will interface with other technologies, from simple accounting software systems to more robust software systems, used by service yards and marine retailers. DockMaster also has the ability to integrate with outside systems using its Web Connect technology and that will continue.

What happens to the DockMaster team?

The DockMaster team will continue providing superior service to its growing client base. Cam Collins, leader of the DockMaster team and CEO of Exuma Technologies, joins My-Villages as president and chief operating officer. Kevin Hutchinson, founder and CEO of My-Villages, and Collins will lead the integration of both the My-Villages and DockMaster Teams. The company headquarters will remain in Florida.

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