At the end of August 2021, Dealerware’s third INSPIRE Session gathered experts from CDK Global, Checkr, Spotify and one of Dealerware’s own to discuss the value of partnerships and integrations.
The INSPIRE Panel
Setting the scene
The panel opened with a discussion of how each of their companies approaches partnerships. What do they look for, and how do they think about the impact a given partnership opportunity might have?
For Spotify, Craig Weingarten explained that partnerships work two ways. He partners with automotive businesses to advertise more effectively to their customers, and works with OEMs to build Spotify into future infotainment systems, in order to give car buyers more control over their in-car experiences.
At Checkr, Marc Diouane says they view their role as the “safety API.” They work with companies like Uber and Lyft to promote safety on sharing platforms, and also sit in the middle of massive enterprise HR processes in which reliable, seamless background checks keep employer/employee relationships safe and fair.
Here at Dealerware, Mark Halsell explained how we’ve always been guided by our customers to provide the most value possible, whether that’s through our own development efforts or through partnerships. And because we work with stakeholders at so many different levels of the auto industry, we have ample opportunities to identify partners who can help us to accelerate the delivery timeline for valuable features and functions, whether they help OEM customers or individual users at dealerships.
Chris Taylor said that, similar to Dealerware’s efforts, Neuron and CDK Global see that automotive industry stakeholders are experiencing an intersection of trends that bring more innovation and more data to dealerships and OEMs alike. For Taylor, partnerships should promote efficiency, and in some cases that might even mean working with direct competitors to simplify tools and workflows for the end customer. Better to collaborate than compete if it makes your customer’s life easier!
Advice for API Newbies
The focus of this panel discussion was all about the power of APIs for digital transformation. So, how can businesses just starting to develop an integration and partnership strategy succeed?
For Dealerware, focusing on shared goals is the starting point. We’re customer obsessed, and that founding principle drives all of our partnership decision-making, Halsell said. If an integrated service won’t mirror your core commitments, then it’s probably not pursuing. But for those that do align with your business’ goals, it’s then also important to be able to articulate internally why that partnership will also help your own teams. Whether it makes it easier to deliver value, opens new opportunities or lowers the cost of acquisition, partnerships are as much about growing your own business as delivering end-user value.
That end-user value can differ across industries or even just across different users. Diouane said many of Checkr’s customers are not using their services in pursuit of better business results, but because their end customers demand reliability, safety, trust and fairness. For Checkr, they keep the consumer front-and-center as they evaluate integration opportunities to see how they can enhance the total proposition that service provides for the end customer and consumer. In keeping that focus on the needs of the end user, the company has in turn found themselves entering more markets because they succeed in meeting the consumer demand along with their partners.