Share and Share Alike?
CCC responds to concerns about its new Secure Share Network and discusses the impact it’s expected to have on the collision repair industry.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series on CCC Information Services’ upcoming launch of its new Secure Share Network. Part 2 will appear on our website, AutoInc.org, when the July-August issue comes out and will include more details about when it will roll out, what a shop needs to do to convert, how many vendors already have applied to become compatible and how CCC is responding to some industry complaints.
For many in the industry, CCC Information Services’ announcement last fall about the launch of its Secure Share Network may have gone largely unnoticed. The announcement included lots of technical terms such as “application program interface (API)” and “Business Message Suite (BMS),” and the new system wasn’t set to become available for months.
But the change is a significant one, impacting not just the 70 percent of shops that use the CCC estimating system but also virtually all of the parts vendors, CSI providers and others with whom those shops exchange estimate data.
In a nutshell, after a shop creates an estimate today, it transfers the data from that estimate, using a standardized Estimate Management Standard (EMS) file, to the appropriate insurance company, parts vendors, etc. But EMS is an older standard that offers the shop little in the way of control over which parts of the estimate data get sent. A parts vendor, for example, can receive all of the data relative to the customer and labor times.
Secure Share, instead, will allow for the use of the newer, industry-developed BMS standard. BMS allows communication of more data but also gives the user more control over which portions of the data from an estimate are shared. It can limit the parts vendor’s access, for example, to only the portions of the estimate needed to accurately fill the parts order.
CCC has won praise for being the first to widely implement use of BMS, something many in the industry have pushed for. Some have raised concerns about the change, however, because Secure Share will require users to transmit the BMS files through CCC, and there will be a “surcharge/handling fee” (50 cents per estimate, charged to the vendor) for each estimate received. It also gives CCC control over which vendors or “applications” are in the system as an option for a shop to send its data to.
ASA recently asked CCC to answer some basic questions about Secure Share, and respond to some of the concerns raised. Here’s what we learned (some responses were edited for length or clarity).
What does a shop need to understand in terms of the basics of how the system will work or may change their day-to-day processes?
The CCC Secure Share Network will greatly simplify the way repairers share data with others. But, more importantly, it will give repairers visibility and control over whom they share data with and which data they share.
Instead of managing EMS export settings and computer file directories, installing data pumps or manually uploading files, Secure Share allows repairers to click on the application – a parts ordering system or CSI provider, for example – they want to connect with, view the data that will be shared with that specific application and set applicable filters to ensure only the data they want to share is being sent. Repairers can easily see all of their active connections and can activate or deactivate those connections at any time.
Why is CCC making this change?
Our customers, and many of the associations that represent our customers, have been asking us for years to move to the BMS specification. We feel the technology within the industry is finally at a place where a full-scale implementation of BMS is feasible. For repairers and insurers, the BMS message provides an enhanced level of security. For application providers, Secure Share [could] eliminate the cost of supporting EMS and provide simple access to our network of repairers.
How much control will a shop have on where their data is shared? Do they determine which vendors receive their estimate data? Can they determine which sections of their estimates a vendor receives?
Shops will have more control over their data than ever before. The Secure Share Marketplace will display all registered applications (vendors), and a repairer can choose to connect with any, or all, of those applications. Each application will be assigned a message type based on the intended functionality of the application. The repairer will be able to see which data is included in each message.
To eliminate complexity, the Secure Share Marketplace does not provide the repairer with the ability to configure the hundreds of fields that are available in the BMS message. However, the shop can set filters to automatically send messages [when saved or locked], or they can choose to send messages manually, so they can control when they send data to their chosen application provider(s). The shop also has the ability to filter the messages they want to send by payer type (i.e., exclude warranty or internal jobs), insurance company, vehicle make or even part type.
Shops are hearing from some vendors that this will require the vendors to incur the expense of writing a new set of code to accept the BMS data, go through an approval process with CCC and pay a fee for each set of estimate data they receive from the shop. Are these legitimate concerns?
Application providers will need to develop an interface with the Secure Share Network to allow data to be transmitted directly to them using the BMS specification. Instead of having hundreds or thousands of individual data pumps installed locally at each shop, or having repairers upload EMS files manually, the application provider will make one connection to the Secure Share Network and will have the ability to connect to any repairer using CCC ONE.
Through use of the Secure Share Network, app providers receive and approve connection requests from repairers, view all connections, set their own filters to reduce incoming data and monitor real-time statistics on volume.
CCC has made, and will continue to make, significant investments in infrastructure, application development and ongoing support to process thousands of BMS transactions per minute. CCC is charging the application provider a 50-cent-per-work-file fee. There will only be one charge per work file regardless of the number of times the work file is sent.
While there is not a charge for the [current] EMS transaction, there are significant costs to the industry associated with the development of software applications and ongoing support of EMS. At CCC, for example, we process about one million EMS files per year across multiple applications and incur significant costs in development, support and infrastructure to do so.
Currently, a shop has the ability to send an EMS file directly to any vendor it chooses. Under Secure Share, the BMS file will have to be sent through CCC to vendors that have agreed, and been CCC-approved, to use the CCC system. Why not allow the shop to continue to send its data, using the BMS rather than EMS file, directly to any vendor it chooses?
The Secure Share Network is about securing data for the industry. Repairers are not the only parties that have a claim to the data. Insurers also have an interest in the data, as do original sources of the underlying data points and databases. As a steward of data, CCC takes seriously its role in providing a secure, transparent mechanism for the transfer of data that advances the interests of the industry as a whole.
We’ve been clear that the Secure Share Network is open to all application providers within the industry. Like Apple, Google and Microsoft, we have an approval process to ensure that repairers can trust that the applications in the CCC Secure Share Marketplace are legitimate applications that serve a purpose for the collision repair industry.