A growing business with fluctuating IT needs
Whether it happens once a year or once in a lifetime, purchasing a new vehicle is a big, emotional and somewhat complicated experience. Dealership staff play a key role from the very beginning, whether it’s answering potential buyers’ phone calls or greeting them as they peruse the lot. Dealers like Mitsubishi know: Building trust and rapport helps make buyers more comfortable as they weigh the pros and cons of each model and, ultimately, begin discussing the terms of a purchase.
At that critical point in the sales cycle, everything at the dealership must run smoothly, particularly the IT network. If the network is slow or unpredictable, the customer may grow impatient, lose trust or walk away from the sale altogether.
Fortunately, the sales staff at Mitsubishi’s dealerships is knowledgeable, personable and experienced, and the vehicles they sell are attractive and reliable. But the organization’s IT infrastructure, which runs all of its core business processes, was beginning to falter during high-demand periods like month-end sales promotions. The system slowed down when it became busy, making it difficult for staff members to be as responsive and attentive to their customers as they needed to be.
The challenges go beyond increased volume at busy times. Says Mark Tiddy, Chief Information Officer, “at Mitsubishi, growth has been quite significant, and we’re now seeing sales volumes around about 50 percent greater than what they were five years ago.”
Keeping the organization’s IT infrastructure running reliably while also managing continued growth and a variable sales cycle was becoming increasingly difficult. Rather than continue to perform incremental upgrades to the individual infrastructures at dealerships across Australia, the organization decided to become one of the first in its industry to make a full transition to the cloud.
A quick, seamless migration to the cloud
Mitsubishi Motors Australia migrated 200 of its Australian dealers to the IBM Cloud to deliver sales, inventory, spare parts, and service, warranty, reporting, compliance and dealership customer relationship management systems.
Mitsubishi relied on Kyndryl to help build its SAP system, which is based on SAP ERP and includes SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM), SAP NetWeaver® Portal, SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW), and SAP Governance, Risk and Compliance (SAP GRC) and runs on IBM® DB2®. Kyndryl has also helped with several significant upgrades to Mitsubishi’s SAP environment. Seeking to continue its positive 30 year working relationship with Kyndryl, formerly IBM Infrastructure Services, Mitsubishi selected IBM Cloud SAP-certified infrastructure to support its growing IT requirements, and Kyndryl to help complete the transition. Kyndryl managed the entire migration to the IBM Cloud SAP-certified infrastructure, including enterprise resource planning, enterprise warehouse and CRM applications.
The migration of their mission-critical SAP applications allows dealers to meet peak sales demands and minimize disruption by scaling the environment to meet the needs of the business.
Tiddy notes migrating business-critical applications to the cloud held some potential for trouble. “One of the issues that was identified was that SAP has very stringent certification processes for the various infrastructure platforms,” he explains. “[Kyndryl] worked directly with SAP to make sure that the [Kyndryl] infrastructure was certified appropriately,” thereby keeping the project on track and allowing Tiddy and his staff to focus on preparing for the migration.
The result was a successful migration. “The actual migration of data from the old system to the new system was seamless.” says Tiddy. “It was done without disruption to the business. The final cutover occurred over a weekend, and the downtime for that was quite minimal, given the fact that there was a huge amount of data that needed to be migrated from one system to the other.”
Resilience, reliability and scalability
With the migration behind it, Mitsubishi is pleased with the improvements brought about by its new cloud infrastructure. Tiddy is particularly happy with the resilience of the new solution. He explains: “Prior to moving to the IBM Cloud solution, with our dedicated infrastructure, if we had a need to actually switch over to a DR (disaster recovery) system, we would have seen downtime for the business of weeks.” Today, potential downtime from a disaster is just hours.
This reduction in potential downtime is particularly important to Mitsubishi, says Tiddy.
“The business really would not be able to tolerate anything more than one to two days, particularly given the peaks and troughs that we see in our business throughout the month.”
Another key advantage of the new cloud infrastructure is reliability and ease of administration. Salespeople can now access the system quickly, from the sales floor, without interrupting the momentum of a vehicle purchase.
Lastly, moving its SAP solution to the IBM Cloud brings Mitsubishi unprecedented scalability. With several years of growth behind it and more growth on the horizon, Mitsubishi is positioned to handle increased volume gracefully. In fact, the organization is already looking at expanding the solution beyond Australia. “What’s next in the partnership is to leverage what we’ve learned here in Mitsubishi Motors Australia and take that to the global level,” says Tiddy. “Our parent company, Mitsubishi Motors Corp., is looking to reuse our application platform with other distributors throughout the world.”