Dealerships Need Data Access through APIs
"Car Dealers, if you purchase a tech solution you must insist on having access to Data APIs that allow you to read your data in an automated fashion. You won't need all access types from the traditional Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) processes but you definitely need to be able to Read your data. The benefits are enormous.."
APIs are Application Programming Interfaces and all of the software solutions you use in your dealership should make them available to you.
The availability of APIs is an important aspect of the tech solution selection process. For example, your phone system should have a Data API you can access that tells who made a phone call and to what number, when, and how long the conversation was. Ideally, you would also want be able to retrieve the audio file of the conversation via the API and a voice-to-text transcript.
There are really two types of APIs in terms of what they do for you:
- Data APIs - these are interfaces you can request data from using a multitude of programing and scripting languages and,
- Service APIS - these are both internal and external APIs where the dealership can access bits of functionality that perform complex actions or calculations and return the results.
Manheim has extensive Data and Service APIs you can sign up for and access. CDK Global has Data Access Bulk Extract (DABE) which gives you access through online database connectivity (like an API); ADP Payroll systems have an API; Banks and finance companies are beginning to make APIs available to Dealers, and so on. CRMs should have an API but many don't probably because Dealer's aren't asking.
Dealerships are considered small business but dealership groups are big business. There is no reason why they shouldn't enjoy the benefits of being able to automate processes just as large companies in other industries. If you are negotiating the purchase of any tech solution make sure to inquire about API access. If you need help, call me.
Using access to categorize them, there are basically three types of APIs:
- Public APIs - Those available to the public with no access restriction. For example, Google Maps and Bing Maps.
- Partner APIs - APIs exposed to strategic Business partners. For example, Manheim and CARFAX. Typicaly involves an onboarding process and validation to gain access.
- Internal APIs - These are less known and are only exposed by internal systems. They are also not meant for consumption outside of the Dealership but rather are used by those you retain to develop automation for your store. For example, CDK Global Data Access Real Time (DART) and other DMS' data access connections. There are currently lawsuits regarding a Dealer's right to unrestricted access to the internal data APIs of their DMS. This position that some DMS providers are taking is contrary to where the API world is headed and it is not in the Dealer's best interest. I believe CDK Global has the best internal APIs available.
The technical aspects of accessing these APIs vary, some using the latest protocols to some using the oldest protocols. Either way, as long as you can get your data in real time (or close) the protocol doesn't matter. Call me now to kick these recommendations around and see how they can improve your store's performance. (702) 498-8777