Case Study

Accu-Trade Partners with NextLink Labs to Power-up its Digital Trading Platform and Achieve DevOps Excellence

NextLink Labs provides DevOps consulting services and custom software development to Accu-Trade, the real-time digital automobile information service that powers the TrueCar Trading platform.

  • NextLink Labs delivered a holistic digital transformation roadmap and provides continued DevOps leadership.
  • Improved Accu-Trade's Auction functionality, providing dealerships with real-time market data to enable informed buying decisions on the fly.
  • Implemented a User Management System so dealers could create and manage permissions for employees.

Primary Industry:Automotive
Partner Since:2017
Technology Used:Kubernetes, GitLab, AWS, Elastic, Terraform, Ansible, Twilio, Angular, Django, Python, JS

Project Overview

Accu-Trade initially approached NextLink Labs to provide software development engineering services to their digital marketplace, which provides dealerships in the United States and Canada with the ability to buy and sell cars, trucks, vans, and other types of transportation.

The engagement blossomed into a long-term partnership with NextLink Labs providing ongoing software development services, strategic consulting, and DevOps leadership. Accu-Trade and NextLink Labs work together to ensure the success of the automobile trading platform.

The Challenge

Accu-Trade needed to supplement its current development team with outside resources to keep pace with the growing demands of its users. There was an immediate need for UX/UI updates across its frontend as well as features development and enhancements.

In addition, the company was growing considerably and needed to ensure they were positioned to capitalize on that growth from a systems and development standpoint. Accu-Trade recognized a need to “level-up” their DevOps strategy and set the stage for tomorrow’s success. That meant strengthening their DevOps foundation to thrive.

The Solution

NextLink Labs contributed both frontend and backend development for the company, working on custom software development projects in all aspects, whether independently, as part Accu-Trade’s existing team, or from a consultative approach as an outside resource.

Also, NextLink Labs provided a DevOps roadmap for success and executed upon the plan, providing Accu-Trade with a platform for success. NextLink Labs continues to provide consultative leadership in Accu-Trade’s DevOps success, giving staffing guidance, technology suggestions, and overall direction with respect to development and operations.

Jeff Zamora
Chief Technical Officer
Prior to hiring NextLink Labs, we didn’t have a lot of involvement with outside agencies. But we started working with the NextLink team and the partnership grew to where they helped source staff and bring our DevOps up to speed. Now, we trust NextLink Labs to provide leadership to that side of our business. We see NextLink Labs as a trusted advisor and partner in our DevOps practice.

Project Details

DevOps Watermark

DevOps as a Service: Building Upon a Framework for Success

As Accu-Trade’s services achieved traction within their target markets, the company’s team and product offering began to grow at a rapid rate.

Accu-Trade started to accumulate a growing number of technologies to accommodate growth. In addition, the company’s digital infrastructure grew as well, increasing the digital footprint Accu-Trade was required to manage.

To address their growing needs, Accu-Trade sought a partner to help build on their solid base and continue to enhance the company’s DevOps practice to meet both current and future challenges.

NextLink Labs came on and built upon the solid framework Accu-Trade’s DevOps Practice had in place.

NextLink continued to mature and guide the DevOps practice to increase stability of their services, shorten development cycles, and bring in technologies as needed. NextLink also helped guide Accu-Trade in evolving security and compliance needs.

As a result Accu-Trade is able to meet the growing needs of their customers and partners through scalable and secure technology offerings.

Technologies used:

Amazon Web Services
Chat Watermark

Embedded Chat: Providing User Communication

Accu-Trade has a suite of products covering many aspects of buying, selling, tracking, and valuing automobiles.

Their suite of products dealers, valuators, consumers and other groups of people that have a role to play in the processes.

Accu-Trade needed a way to have real time communications about a specific vehicle between users of their different products.

NextLink Labs helped to architect and implement a real time chat application.

This application built upon the existing user management system as well as the Twilio programmable chat API.

We built out both API management layers in Python/Django as well as an Angular component module that could be embedded in multiple applications.

Technologies used:

Marketplace Watermark

Marketplace Overview: Implementing a Plan for Success

Accu-Trade’s Marketplace is a digital commerce platform used by thousands of dealerships across the United State and Canada on a daily basis for buying and selling vehicles. Accu-Trade puts a heavy emphasis on vehicle valuation as well as providing buyers as much information as possible so they can make informed buying decisions.

Project DetailAccu-Trade's Valuation Tool

That means displaying hundreds of variables including year, make, model, features, history and more in a way that will serve the user quickly.

"Being able to provide the valuation to the dealer along with the depth of information we have available in a quick fashion is the key to our product. They need to be able to pull up a vehicle either on the web or on mobile and be able to work through that value very quickly.” -- Jeff Zamora, Chief Technology Officer, Accu-Trade.

To meet the information delivery needs and exceed customer expectations in its display, NextLink Labs built the technology to aggregate automobile data from multiple sources and present it in an intuitive format to ensure an optimal user experience.

NextLink Labs relied on a Python backend utilizing a Django framework to handle the data load. Additionally, NextLink built an application programming interface (API) to expose this data for use by other backend systems in their product suite. Finally, NextLink Labs worked to expand the frontend Angular/Javascript application interface so end users were able to easily consume this information.

Technologies used:

Amazon Web Services
Auction Watermark

Auction Information Tool: Giving Buyers a Competitive Edge

Project DetailAccu-Trade's auction tool (right) during a live event

To help give buyers an edge in online auctions, Accu-Trade developed VIN-dow, a real-time information system in the form of a browser extension that sits directly in the window as the bidding unfolds.

The tool syncs directly with cars as they come through the auction process, processes the automobile’s vehicle identification number (VIN) and displays information vital to the buying process.

This information includes the Accu-Trade instant offer and target auction prices, retail value, odometer readings, vehicle colors, common problems known to occur in the vehicle, and much more.

That’s where NextLink Labs comes in.

Accu-Trade trusted NextLink Labs to help to build out an API web service in order to manage the backend data for the auctions process.

NextLink Labs also developed the VIN-dow browser extension written in Angular which interfaces with this API and displays vehicle data on the fly without the need to copy and paste.

This browser extension supports all modern browsers.

Technologies used:

Amazon Web Services

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