October 30th, 2019

DMI Digital Leader Award — Rick Griskie, ADESA CIO

Transforming Auto Auctions for the Digital Age

What is the ADESA mission?
ADESA delivers wholesale vehicle auction solutions to professional car buyers and sellers. From data-driven research tools to comprehensive reconditioning services, ADESA simplifies the entire auto auction experience. ADESA is a business unit of global automotive remarketing and technology solutions provider, KAR Global. KAR Global has made strategic investments in acquiring, developing and improving technology that better fuels its online, digital and physical marketplaces to meet customers where they want to do business, providing them with smart, intuitive technology for a seamless customer experience. ADESA has 74 auctions throughout North America.

What are your strategic priorities as ADESA’s CIO?
As CIO, my biggest area of focus, opportunity and challenge is enabling the digital transformation of ADESA, KAR Global and the automotive remarketing industry. We are transforming the people, processes, tools, technologies and, most importantly, the culture of the KAR product development team. We’re leading an industry-wide transformation by implementing a Dev Ops culture and leveraging a hybrid cloud strategy to deliver industry-leading solutions with user-centric design concepts that enable a robust digital marketplace.

As CIO, how would you describe your management style?
Since joining ADESA nearly four years ago, I’ve implemented the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and instilled a servant leadership management style across the KAR Product Development organization. Each of our scrum teams strives to deliver on our three primary metrics: Value, Velocity and Quality. This same approach was used to transform how our relationships with supporting business areas are managed. We quickly transitioned from a “staff augmentation” vendor management strategy to a partnership model. We have aligned accountability and authority. Now our partners have entire scrums teams working to meet their needs. These teams are held accountable in ways that allow ADESA to effectively measure performance relative to all other scrum teams. With this approach, we successfully track the quality and velocity of what’s being produced by all scrum teams across the enterprise.

Describe how ADESA has transformed its vehicle auction simulcast technology.

ADESA is leading the digital transformation of the in-lane buying experience. Nearly two years ago, we came to the realization that our current “simulcast” platform needed significant improvement and modernization. As a result, we kicked off an aggressive project to completely revolutionize ADESA Simulcast. We needed to leap frog over other industry offerings and provide a solution that offered the flexibility to create additional digital sales channels. This solution was one of the most complex projects undertaken by KAR Global during my tenure. It required complex integrations across multiple disparate legacy systems with multiple cloud-based solutions for the improvements needed to ensure extremely low latency (milliseconds) between in-lane bidders and on-line bidders. It also required a complete rewiring of all auction lanes in the 74 auctions across North America. In the end, the 18-month DMI-supported project was hugely successful. We completed the modernization one month ahead of schedule and under budget. We are extremely proud of our industry-leading technology.

Tell us why ADESA’s recent simulcast sale in Las Vegas was so innovative.
In September, we were thrilled to successfully pilot an ADESA Simulcast sale at Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s (FCA’s) national certified preowned vehicle dealer meeting. Vehicles were launched into auction from four ADESA auction locations — ADESA Golden Gate, ADESA Indianapolis, ADESA Kansas City and ADESA Las Vegas. Essentially, we brought the auction to more than 130 franchise dealers, empowering them to participate in a fast, live-bidding virtual auction. This format exposed dealers to a broader buyer base and also helped buyers cost-effectively access hard-to-find vehicle inventory. It was a win-win for all parties and helped introduce buyers to the next generation of vehicle auctions.

How would you characterize ADESA’s partnership with DMI?
DMI is one of our top providers of talent and an excellent partner in the consultant category. We’ve partnered with DMI at scale for two years and currently have about a half dozen fully-formed scrum teams. We’re pleased with the results and how the relationship is managed day-in and day-out. We have a very transparent relationship that works well. As a large organization, DMI has exceeded our expectations.

Tags: agile auto digital leader simulcast

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