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Driving new technology and innovation in the automotive industry

What’s your dream car? A slick turbo engine with all-wheel drive, parking assist and heated seats? Maybe you want a practical electric commuter with an extended warranty? Or a V-8, three-row people mover with enough storage for your family's camping gear?

Whatever your choice, chances are your last car purchase happened mostly online, by comparison shopping and building the perfect model just for you. You may have even ordered and financed online, a quickly growing trend.

Just as likely: Your car dealership was taking advantage of CDK Global’s integrated automotive technology solutions to meet your purchasing needs.

As an innovative solutions provider to more than 28,000 dealerships, CDK Global is helping the automotive industry evolve to meet rising consumer demand for 24/7 service online on any device.

One of the largest challenges facing CDK Global’s 2,000+ engineers was shifting the technology stack to support transformative, omnichannel customer experiences.

Meeting the needs of modern car shoppers requires business logic, content and common services that are capable of smoothly managing the complete buying cycle. This shift has required CDK Global to evolve its technology and its engineering team’s knowledge.

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There’s a lot of technology innovation we’re putting into our CDK products to improve the service experience. We aim to move from a long vehicle purchase process to less than an hour, where users just show up to the dealership, hug their salesman, get their keys, and drive away in their new car.

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Justin Burger
Senior Director of Engineering, CDK Global 

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Modernizing core systems

And CDK Global has relied on Pluralsight since 2010 to prepare engineers as the company modernizes its core systems.

“Software development has been changed fundamentally by the rise of cloud technology,” said Justin. “With Pluralsight, you can trust the content and the format.”

It started with just a few licenses to help team members move from Microsoft .NET and Java to JavaScript (using Angular and React on the front-end and Node.js on the server side), as well as gaining Python skills for machine learning. But last year, access to Pluralsight was made ubiquitous for many of CDK Global’s development groups.

CDK onboarding: a company
t-shirt and Pluralsight

For new engineers, getting a Pluralsight account is standard, just like being issued a laptop, an office chair, or a CDK t-shirt. And providing modern skill development demonstrates the company believes in a culture of learning, giving new engineers time to get up to speed while fostering growth throughout their careers.

“One of my concerns as a lead developer is providing training for junior engineers as they’re coming through. I simply provide a standard set of courses and have them start out with that,” said Joe Travis, Lead Engineer for Common Services.

Having a consistent foundation for learning has helped with onboarding and ongoing learning efforts.

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Our experienced engineers, some of whom have worked at CDK Global for more than 25 years, also have the ability to learn new technologies quickly and continually grow their skills. With Pluralsight it’s very straightforward to offer consistent training across all four offices and be confident everyone across the team knows the technology. For a global company, it’s also more economical than sending engineers to a conference. 

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Justin Burger
Senior Director of Engineering, CDK Global 

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Learning culture unlocks innovation, deep
knowledge and retention

“Pluralsight really provides the evidence to show that CDK has a lot of focus on learning,” said Deepti Hariharan, Level 2 Engineer.

That commitment to knowledge is paying off in big ways by invigorating teams and increasing their commitment to innovation, while also increasing their value.

“With Pluralsight, we can react quickly to changes in technology. At CDK Global, we try something new every single sprint. Every two weeks, we ask: What about the way we’re doing software development can be changed or improved?” said Justin. “This approach has had drastic impact on productivity and engagement and improves our ability to innovate as quickly as possible.”

Analytics capabilities in Pluralsight also help CDK Global engineering leadership ensure engineers are taking advantage of the high variety and quality of learning available to them to increase their knowledge depth. “With Pluralsight analytics, I can ensure engineers’ career paths align with their interests.”

Keeping ahead of the trends

Another big plus, said Brian Garafola, CDK Global’s Vice President of Platform Engineering: “As we work to acquire skills in rapidly evolving technologies and languages, Pluralsight is ahead of the trend and has training ready for us when we need it – on any mobile, online or offine device we choose. That helps us stay ahead of the innovation curve.”

“If a peer of mine at another company asked me, ‘Hey, should I invest in Pluralsight?’ my response would be yes, double down on Pluralsight today,” said Justin. “We wouldn’t have been able to do what we did...without having tools like Pluralsight available to us. It’s been critical to the success of the company.” 

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