The Role of Providers in Fortellis
The Fortellis Automotive Commerce Exchange represents a paradigm shift within the industry by defining a standard set of automotive APIs for application developers to interface with. Free from the constraints of needing to interface with dozens of different products, applications can be developed faster and target the entire industry from the word go. These APIs have been produced using Domain Modelling techniques that makes them intuitive to understand and simple to use.
These APIs define the contract through which applications will be able to interface with Fortellis, but that is all they do. Actual fulfilment of these APIs is the responsibility of Providers. A provider is any system that provides an implementation of a Fortellis API. A single provider can implement several APIs, and each API can have any number of providers available. When an application makes an API call, Fortellis routes this call through to the appropriate provider and returns its response to the application.
There is plenty of mature software within the automotive industry and this can be leveraged to get a head start in creating providers. The only restriction enforced by Fortellis is that the provider adheres to the API spec. This allows existing software to operate behind an adaptor layer which translates between its existing API and the Fortellis API. This approach is being actively pursued at CDK to get providers available as quickly as possible. Of course, providers can also be written from scratch; a process made simpler by already having the API spec available to work to.
Once a provider is ready, it can go through an onboarding process to make it available through Fortellis. Information will need to be supplied about the provider, including the APIs it claims to implement. Fortellis will then verify that the provider has implemented these APIs correctly. The provider onboarder will also need to provide security information so Fortellis can attach appropriate security tokens when it routes requests to the provider.
Users will then be able to tell Fortellis which providers they use for which APIs, and any applications they subscribe to will be able to make API calls to Fortellis and have them fulfilled by the users’ selected provider.