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Thursday, 11 January 2018 21:50

CCC Drops Proposed Charges, Makes Other ‘Secure Share’ Changes

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Jack Rozint of Mitchell International said his company will continue to support the “EMS” data export file rather than requiring the use of the newer “BMS” data export file. Jack Rozint of Mitchell International said his company will continue to support the “EMS” data export file rather than requiring the use of the newer “BMS” data export file.

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Following months of industry criticism as well as recent strategic announcements from its competitors, CCC Information Services said in late December that it was making significant changes to its new “Secure Share” data exchange requirements scheduled to go into effect in April.

CCC had said that beginning next spring, all CCC ONE collision repair shop estimate data transfers to third-parties---such as shop management systems, rental car companies or CSI providers---would have to go through Secure Share (rather than shops sharing the data directly as they do now), and those third-parties would have to pay CCC $0.50 for each estimate they received. CCC has now halted plans for the $0.50 toll.


The company also said that contrary to its announced plans, it will still allow such data transfers to be done via the commonly used “Estimate Management Standard (EMS)” data export file rather than requiring the use of the newer “Business Message Suite (BMS)” data export file. This will allow third-party vendors more flexibility in implementing systems to accept BMS files.


CCC also said it has made changes to its terms of agreement in an effort to alleviate some of the other concerns voiced by industry vendors.


“CCC is committed to facilitating efficient, collaborative and secure communication between our customers and the business partners,” CCC’s Mark Fincher said in a written statement announcing the changes. “We’ve had ongoing discussions with customers and industry stakeholders on the best ways to do that, and [this] announcement is in response to that feedback.”


Change Faces Criticism


Since first announced more than a year ago, elements of “Secure Share” drew fire from various segments of the industry, often voiced at the quarterly Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meetings.


CCC’s support for use of BMS (rather than EMS) was widely praised, because the newer standard gives the user more control over which portions of the data from an estimate are shared. It can limit a parts vendor’s access, for example, to only the portions of the estimate needed to accurately fill the parts order (while not including, as an EMS file does, data relative to the customer and labor times).


But critics felt CCC’s scheduled elimination of the option to use EMS as of April 2018 was arbitrary and unnecessary. Some third-party vendors not set up to receive data via BMS said that that change alone, even aside from the $0.50 fee they would have to pay CCC for each estimate data file received, was an undue expense.


Others felt the mandatory transfer of data files through CCC gave the company too much control, in theory enabling CCC to decide which third-party vendors or “applications” are in the system and able to receive a shop’s data, as well as which portions of the estimate they receive. Secure Share, critics said, also gave CCC unprecedented access to what information is being sent to which vendors, including some CCC competitors.


“They will know which CSI companies are successful, and they will know who [those companies’] customers are,” Jack Rozint of Mitchell International cited as an example, noting that CCC competes for business with other CSI providers in the industry. “And if they want to target those products and customers, they now have a perfect platform to do it.”


Mitchell and AudaExplore also added to the pressure on CCC to amend its plans for Secure Share by vowing to continue to support data exchanges using EMS (while also moving toward using BMS) with no additional fees.


“We see no compelling reason at this moment to stop supporting EMS,” Rozint said at CIC in November. “There is somewhere between 100 and 200 different services and applications that consume EMS data today. Those applications and services are fundamental to processing claims, repairing cars and ensuring that our industry is operating efficiently without the need to rekey data. EMS can be communicated securely, as can BMS. Neither one of them has inerrant security built within. We don’t see any reason at this time to cut off EMS, and so we won’t.”


Secure Share was also facing push-back from a variety of segments of the industry. General Motors’ John Eck, for example, said his company was concerned about the “impact on the [parts] procurement process for our dealer network.” Dan Friedman of Enterprise said his company wouldn’t participate in Secure Share and vowed instead to “keep collaborating and partnering with businesses that believe in open technology platforms.”


Other Data-Sharing Lawsuits


CCC’s about-face may also have been influenced by some lawsuits related to data-sharing arrangements in another automotive industry segment. Authenticom is a “data scraper” that collects, compiles and sells information from dealership management systems, with the permission of the dealers whose data it gathers. It is now suing two companies---Reynolds and Reynolds, and CDK Global---that dominate the market for dealership management systems. In recent years, both Reynolds and CDK implemented technology to block data scraping. The two companies, Authenticom’s antitrust suit alleges, also formed agreements to allow each other’s own data analytics subsidiaries--- which compete with Authenticom---to access the data from the other company’s system, while pledging not to help any other business gain access to one another’s systems.


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