Q&A: Stopping Data Pumps at Your Shop

July 5, 2024
DataTouch's Pete Tagliapietra chats with us about how to protect estimate repair information from being sold by third-party companies.

In April, DataTouch announced the commercial release of the Data Pump Manager, a new technology that provides control over software data pumps installed on shop computer systems.

Some might be surprised to learn that there is valuable data to be gathered in shops, which leads to questions. That’s why FenderBender was pleased to speak with Pete Tagliapietra, the managing director of DataTouch, who also founded the company in 2022, to discuss data pumps and what his new venture is doing to combat them.

What is a data pump?

“Data pumps are software controls that typically reside on a collision repair shop’s computer system. The purpose of these data pumps is to copy the export routine from an estimating system,” he explained. “They can work with any one of the three major systems out there and then seamlessly transfer that information to the recipient.”

It’s noteworthy to mention that he doesn’t want to identify these systems by name, but he trusts collision repairers to know which ones he’s referring to.

How do these data pumps work or operate?

“In the supply chain, the typical collision repair shop will interact with several vendors. Many of these vendors have data pumps installed on the shops’ computer systems, which automatically take a copy of an estimate when it is created,” Tagliapietra said. “The downside to this is that, as we got into doing our research and learning more about data pump functionality, we learned that typically the installed data pump won’t just take a copy of the estimate that it needs to complete the business transaction. It takes a copy of every estimate that’s on the shop’s computer system, and we believe, in the best interest of protecting the shops’ information, that this is a major fundamental flaw.”

What kind of valuable data are these data pumps getting and what do they do with them?

“Imagine if I’m in a collision repair business and all of my information about who my partners are, who I’m buying parts from, what parts discount I get, what I charge, what my labor rates are, all of that information with these data pumps is being shared today and we fundamentally disagree with that information sharing. We want to help facilitate shops to not share it.”

“Can you imagine understanding, for a parts manufacturer, to know exactly what the price of every part is from the manufacturer so they can manufacture an alternate part and price it more effectively in a certain area of the country?” Tagliapietra asked hypothetically. “I’d know, as a company, exactly what vehicles are most likely to be repaired in a ZIP code, and then I can market my products to that ZIP code.”

He picked the rural Illinois market as an example. “I’m not going to be focused on Teslas as far as marketing my parts information. But in Southern California, where Teslas are so dominant, I’m certainly going to want to market and have parts availability for Teslas in those marketplaces,” he explained.

“So, I as a manufacturer can control my manufacturing and as a supplier, I can manage my inventory more successfully or in the case of an insurance company, with all of the underwriting information that’s needed.”

How is Data Pump Manager combating this issue? 

“The Data Pump Manager is all about having sufficient intelligence to understand the transaction between the shop and the supplier and restrict the estimate flow only to the transaction that’s relevant to the supplier,” said Tagliapietra. “So instead of, in summary, the supplier receiving every estimate that’s on the shop’s computer system, they only receive the estimate that’s relevant. For example, if I am affiliated with an OEM collision repair network and I am a provider to that, what we refer to as OEM CRN today, with many of those data pumps, the information technology company that’s providing the service for the vehicle manufacturer is getting a copy of every estimate. Well, when we install the Data Pump Manager at a collision shop, that IT provider will only get a copy of the estimate that’s relevant for that manufacturer.”

Would the Data Pump Manager make a major interruption to the typical collision repair workflow?

“One of our main focus points is not to disrupt the workflow,” Pete Tagliapietra said. “Typically, when companies add technology, it also creates an administrative burden. We designed our applications so that wouldn’t happen. So we can administer the program and allow the shop to decide through an administrator or what I would call a filter screen that says ‘OK, for this particular company in the supply chain, this is the information that I only want to send them’ and once that’s configured, the system takes over and then automatically does it for the end user. So the end user doesn’t have to be burdened with repeatedly making decisions on what information is being restricted and what information gets sent. So we don’t want to disrupt the workflow that exists in a collision repair shop today. We want to integrate into it and then use technology to automate the process.”

Where can people get more information about DataTouch?

Tagliapietra directs readers to datatouch.us for more information. “All the product announcements are on that website,” he said. “We’re very committed to collision shops and continuing to help them.” 

About the Author

Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa | Associate Editor

Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa is an associate editor at FenderBender. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and has covered various beats beyond collision repair news such as politics, education, sports, and religion. His first car was a silver 2009 Chrysler Sebring which he nicknamed the Enterprise because he’s a Star Trek fan. He now drives a 2014 Jeep Cherokee in order to tolerate Minnesota winters.

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