At Motive Retail we believe a formal certification process and program is critical for Automakers, DSPs and dealers.
Certification involves establishing technical interface and business requirements for those companies who will participate in your program. Compliance with all program requirements must be verified and certification testing is one important aspect of this verification. Certified systems and vendors should be published to dealers so they have the knowledge of those systems and vendors which have been fully vetted, tested and meet your requirements.
Automakers need to have a Certification Program, they need to take it seriously and they need to invest in it. It affects business decisions your dealers make about the key systems running their businesses. Certifications of systems and DSPs should be carefully managed because dealers are depending on those certifications. Mistakes can be very costly for all parties. Certification also helps to improve the quality of operations within your dealer network by ensuring systems operate to your standards and support your business processes. This isn’t simply about technical issues and it isn’t just an IT function. Certification is a business issue. Managed well, there can be enormous value for your dealers and your customers.
At the end of the day it’s up to each Automaker to define, for their program, the criteria for a dealer system or a DSP to be “certified”. Certification should include technical implementation requirements for any new integration, verified by a certification test, and more. Certification may mean meeting certain operational service levels or collaborating on dealer support processes. It may mean supporting specific integrations, the idea of mandatory vs. required interfaces. Meeting implementation timing might be another requirement. Requirements may also vary depending on the type of dealer systems and the nature of a particular interface.
Certification should carry with it credentials which are valued by DSPs and which can be easily communicated to dealers. Certification should provide confidence and assurance for dealers that each certified system and DSP has been verified according to your program and standards. For a DSP, the value associated with certification can provide a competitive edge, offering strong incentive to participate and support your program and new dealer integrations.
None of this is new. The idea of certification is generally pretty well understood, especially in IT. Yet in dealer systems integration we often find certification programs are poorly defined and loosely managed at best. This is a business issue which shouldn’t be overlooked.