I’m always interested in learning more about the business benefits that our software delivers out in the field. I’m even more interested when the field involves fast German cars.
I’ve purchased one new car in my life – with full mental realization of an immediate 10% depreciation after the drive off the lot was complete. Prior to that any vehicle with less than 100,000 miles on the odometer was typically a treat.
The process of choosing the specific options it was to be manufactured with was fun. I was in direct control of how it was to be built. It was essentially a made-to-order process.
While I watched over the salesman’s screen as we went through options, it looked similar to this:
Every option selected delivered an instant price adjustment, coupled with an instant reaction of either “Sounds good to me!” or “Maybe we can live without that one”. It wasn’t an Audi (and the options priced were much cheaper), but it was still fun. Now I have the opportunity to understand a little clearer what’s going on under the covers.
We were recently engaged by an Audi business partner to assist in the evaluation and implementation of their “Dealer Car Configurator”. In Audi’s case, the options selected by the salesman are driven by XML web services. Web service functions exist to:
- Create configurations
- Save configurations
- Edit configurations
- Add notes
- Compare configurations
- Remove configurations
Parameters exist to identify unique dealers, salesman, countries, brands, languages and more. SOAP requests and responses are needed to be processed via real-time XML between servers involving (you guessed it) – RPG-XML Suite. We can just call it the “heavy lifting”.
So next time you’re configuring that new car of your own and watching along on the computer screen, ask your salesman, “Yeah, but are those web services running under the covers”? Always a good conversation starter – and probably deserving of a discount.