Many repairers are unaware of the breadth of data being extracted from their servers, where it is being extracted from, what settings they could employ to better control the flow of information, or even how that information may be used beyond its intended purpose. For years, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has alerted its members about the potential risk and liability associated with inadequate control over estimate data and business information.
As one recent example, SCRS was notified of growing concerns relative to the collection of data through participation in the PartsTrader parts procurement program. As the program rolled out across the nation, more questions began to arise when end-users noticed key identifying information from non-State Farm estimate files populating their PartsTrader dashboard. The repairer concern surrounds the amount of non-voluntary information being provided through the data collection process, which could offer valuable information surrounding market volume and shop volume, raising further concerns over the potential of violating agreements with non-involved carriers by sharing information with an unrelated third-party.
SCRS researched the issue with PartsTrader, and each of the estimating system providers to identify the means and extent in which the data is being accessed and collected, and inquiring if repair facility end-users have options to restrict non-required data from being collected, accessed, or shared. As a result of that research, SCRS issued an article outlining the resulting responses from each of the technology organizations. The article concludes that:
- Technology has increased the ability to communicate information amongst businesses; however, the increase of applications that indiscriminately extract data in the background for unknown or unintended purposes is a concern for repairers who have obligations to protect data generated by their business.
- There are advancements being made, or already in place, from some estimating system providers that allow collision repair facilities to maintain better control over the data files being exported from the estimating systems to other data collection sources.
- The solutions and options for each estimating system vary, so it is important to compare capabilities of the software programs relative to features that allow greater control over unwanted data transfer, and to make any necessary profile changes in line with individual business practices.