Open access DMS? Not before time
26 March 2018 - 8:36am | Tristan Young
CDK Global’s launch of its Fortellis open access DMS platform on the eve of the NADA Show 2018 could be the breakthrough the industry needs to finally achieve seamless online and offline retailing. Senior CDK execs painted a Utopian picture at the launch of data shared and flowing across a wide range of applications; all talking to each other without any of the barriers or bottlenecks of the past.
“The world is too complicated for any one vendor to bring all the solutions to market,” said Ron Frey, chief strategy officer of CDK at the launch.
‘Not before time’; was the reaction of some. And, privately, those same execs admit Fortellis is a complete U-turn in company strategy, brought about by changes at the very top of the company. Previously CDK had argued it could provide all necessary bolt-on services internally and effectively blocked any access to its DMS hub by outside providers.
That attitude led to it facing legal challenges in the US courts, with Cox Automotive launching a lawsuit against CDK (and rival Reynolds and Reynolds) alleging unlawful competition violations.
Whatever the back story on Fortellis, it should be welcomed and needs to be embraced. One former CEO of a major web developer told Auto Retail Agenda: “It really does open up the digital end-to end sales opportunity. Maybe automotive is finally coming of age.”
For the moment early adopters are likely to be the bolt-on companies, such as lead management and data providers that already have a close relationship with CDK. But pressure from carmakers and major retail groups should accelerate the adoption process.
Ultimately, Fortellis could become an industry-wide standard; but that will depend on the attitude of CDK’s DMS rivals. The company itself appears open minded.
“Why wouldn’t we integrate with other DMS systems,” said Neil Packham, the Brit who is president of CDK Global’s international division. “Partners don’t want to integrate just into our DMS, they want to integrate into everybody’s. That’s the ultimate end goal.”
If true, that really is a seismic shift for our industry.
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