“Every time we brought in a new dealer, there was a lot of development effort that had to be taken into account, whereas with Astera, it’s a lot faster process, and it doesn’t require a developer to be involved every step of the way.”
– Mike Ethetton, Senior Programmer
Founded in 1996, AutoTrader.com is now one of the most popular sources for market data on new and used automobiles for sale. But they’re more than just a single website: the AutoTrader Group of companies is a $1-billion operation that includes AutoTrader.com, Kelley Blue Book, and VinSolutions, among others.
VinSolutions is the data service middleman between car dealerships and internet car marketing companies like AutoTrader.com and Cars.com. The company not only manages their own data integration, but is responsible for integrating their software into the dealership management system (DMS), the core software application that automates car dealerships. In addition, VinSolutions works with another 60 to 80 smaller DMSs as well as custom-built DMSs.
VinSolutions bears the brunt of the data integration challenges for AutoTrader and the other websites that dealers use to advertise their vehicles. Each car may have over 100 pieces of data that need to be updated on a daily basis. That includes critical data, such as the list price, along with various other pieces of metadata that determine how the vehicle should be listed. With listings on more than a million cars requiring updates every day, each with their own massive heap of data, the scale of the challenge for VinSolutions approaches big-data territory.
Enter Astera Centerprise
After evaluating several data integration software solutions, VinSolutions chose Centerprise because it provided all of the functionality they needed, including automated ETL, and the easy-to-use interface enabled even non-IT employees to operate the software smoothly.
Astera Centerprise is a high-performance, scalable data management platform that allows businesses to meet today’s advanced business needs. Powered by an enterprise-grade parallel-processing engine, Centerprise offers data extraction, transformation, integration, and warehousing—all through a single platform.
Autotrader is a billion-dollar conglomerate, handling massive amounts of automotive sales data.
Autotrader used Centerprise to integrate dealer car DMS data with their core system, as well as integrate data for marketing, finance, SEO, mobile, and social media.
Autotrader was able to cut new dealer onboarding time from two months to one hour using Centerprise.
Vinsolutions found that Centerprise dramatically reduced the need to custom-code the integration into each dealer’s DMS. Before Centerprise, it could take up to two months for a developer to do the custom-coding that ensured the accurate capture of data from a new client’s DMS into the VinSolutions network. With Astera, that time has been cut down to about an hour. With 70 to 100 car dealers going online with VinSolutions every month, the company has eliminated mountains of manual data-mapping work on the part of its development team.
“One of the big advantages in using Astera is it allowed us in development to build the core data flows, which then allows non-developers in our implementation department to use Astera to build sub-flows to connect into those core data flows. That enabled us to create an environment where we don’t have developers doing the actual configuration for every single independent dealer. It allows the variances from dealer to dealer to be configured in Astera by our implementation team building data sub-flows. Trying to write code to do all that—that’s a lot of heavy lifting.”
– Doug Maskill, Director of Integration