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Cox Automotive provides the digital infrastructure for the new and used car market. They’re the company behind well-known brands such as Kelley Blue Book, the Most Trusted Resource for used car pricing.

If you have bought a car, your dealer would have touched one of their components. Cox Automotive provides digital services for the buyer, the dealer, and the lender that make car buying, shopping, and servicing easy. They’re the backbone of the industry.

Dealertrack, a subsidiary of Cox Automotive, provides accurate retail sales data that includes dealer management systems (DMS), sales and financing solutions, and complete vehicle registration and title management. Much like financial technology companies, Dealertrack is mission-critical with no room for failure or downtime.

Watch Cox Automotive’s full presentation at the Automated Software Testing & Quality Summit. Learn how the team defined a new testing discipline, established processes to address defects earlier in the test cycle, and achieved end-to-end testing with service virtualization.


The Challenge

The biggest challenge for Cox Automotive, and Dealertrack in particular, is the sheer scale of the services they offer. Dealertrack services the entire car dealership network in North America from the time a customer enters a dealership and sits down with a salesperson, to financing, contracting and signing (online and in-store), registration and titling, to the delivery of the vehicle.

There’s a large number of services at play and the dependencies inherent in such a complex system means that even small changes can have significant ripple effects in the entire system. The following diagram provides a top-level overview of the Dealertrack services and system architecture.

Top-level view of Cox Automotive Dealertrack services architecture

“I would call our challenge a ‘perfect storm.’ We have large data centers with numerous network segments—each containing thousands of servers, and many, many services. Our problem was we were having too many incidents, too much downtime, and many client issues to resolve.”

—Roya Montazeri, Senior Director of Quality at Cox Automotive

In light of this perfect storm, Cox Automotive decided to attack it head-on with a new quality initiative. Rather than get caught up in tracking multiple KPIs, Cox Automotive chose to reduce escaped defects by 5%. This simple goal required rethinking their quality processes, particularly their end-to-end testing.

The Approach

Service virtualization was a natural fit for Cox Automotive to help them achieve their goals. Given their mission-critical application and the sheer scale of their service offering, service virtualization allows them to isolate applications under development without affecting, or being affected by, the vast dependencies in the operating environment.

Use our handy ROI calculator to assess potential savings in your testing processes.

The Solution

Cox Automotive took a holistic approach to their goal of reducing their escaped defects by 5%. They put in the necessary quality controls and practices to improve their end-to-end functional and performance testing. They also improved their test and release management practices. Their test automation focus was clearly set on virtualization.

“Virtualization was the best thing that could happen to us in the way that it enables us to test the right thing at the right time. We already had many automation tools and could have some ability to mimic component behavior, but it wasn’t what we needed. We needed our virtualization services fast, because our problem was here and now, right in our lap.”

—Roya Montazeri, Senior Director of Quality at Cox Automotive

Cox Automotive is using service virtualization for more than just testing. The implementation team is using these virtualized services to simplify the development of new features. They can also use these virtual services to help demonstrate new functionality to their clients.

The Results

Parasoft assisted Cox Automotive with their POC and training rollout plan of service virtualization with Parasoft Virtualize delivered through online training for the team. By working directly with Parasoft, Cox Automotive was able to train their team and enable many teams across the organization.

“We totally achieved our escaped defect KPI, same with our defect aging goal of no more than seven days to respond to urgent defects. When it comes to our availability, we really are at 99.97%. So, I will say, yes, we achieved and accomplished our goals through a true partnership with Parasoft.”

—Roya Montazeri, Senior Director of Quality at Cox Automotive

Cox Automotive views their investment in positive terms to the point where they consider their virtual assets as important as code. The Cox Automotive team appreciates that Parasoft has a long-term roadmap that enables them to support and sustain their virtual assets for years to come.

Identify the critical features and key capabilities your team needs to adopt service virtualization and maximize ROI.

  • Industry: Automotive
  • Company Size: 10,000
  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Solution: Virtualize