Is your WAN stuck in 1st gear? It’s time to accelerate change

A couple of months ago I took my car into a main dealership for a service. I expected a phone call to tell me what work was required and how much it would cost. I did receive this call, but also, unexpectedly received a text with a link to a personalised video. The mechanic had recorded a video to show me my brake pad condition and tyre wear. I was both amazed and suitably impressed but as geeky as this may sound, knowing how much bandwidth video requires, I couldn’t help thinking about how their network could stand up to such bandwidth-hungry content.

Customer demand and the ever-evolving technical landscape in the automotive sector is adding pressure to the already contended network. Over the last few years we have seen car dealerships experiencing huge changes in the way they’re using IT and many are discovering that their existing wide area network and WAN providers are no longer fit for purpose. Digitisation within the dealership has accelerated rapidly over the last couple of years and this is set to increase as manufacturers drive adoption of new online services and enhance the customer experience in the dealerships, in line with changing buyer expectations. From our knowledge of the sector, we’re finding more car dealers are making large acquisitions, which again is adding yet more strain on the network, due to the increase in additional dealership sites and user count. In the highly competitive automotive industry, features like product quality and reliability no longer serve to differentiate brands. Service is becoming the key differentiator and, in this customer-experience orientated business, the dealership experience is more crucial than ever before.

The growing dependence on IT, and rising expectations of customers is placing an increasing demand on both local and wide area networks. Dealerships need reliability and availability for their own internal systems, but secure, reliable internet access is also becoming vital, not only for access to manufacturers data, but for the increasing number of cloud services which contribute to the network burden, not to mention guest access. High bandwidth content, such as video is becoming a growing requirement for all aspects of the dealership customer experience right the way from sales engagement through to servicing and aftersales. Brand, used car and servicing videos, all consume valuable bandwidth and compete with other critical dealership applications such as the dealer management system, vehicle and parts ordering systems. It’s clear therefore that the network within the dealership needs to be viewed as a vital contributor to the successful operation of the business.

A traditional view of the WAN as a pure connectivity solution is no longer relevant for the automotive sector. The requirements are so diverse and rapidly changing that, if care isn’t taken, the network risks becoming a hindrance to the business rather than the enabler that it should be. The entire network environment, from the Data Centre, to Cloud and  wide area network needs to be viewed as a holistic system working in an integrated, resilient, scalable and secure way. It’s no longer acceptable to view the network as a commodity. It’s time to embrace change and shift the WAN into ‘top gear’.

So how can ANS Help?

ANS are helping to facilitate smarter, more efficient businesses. Automotive dealerships experience the same IT challenges and depend on the same systems and applications to manage operations across a complex network of sites around the country. Leading companies look to ANS to design innovative end to end solutions in order to deliver their business ambitions.

Over the last 10 years, we honed our expertise in the automotive sector, having helped a number of dealerships to embrace IT change. To find out how ANS helped Swansway Garages to design and implement a new WAN to increase bandwidth, facilitate DR, allow flexibility and support future expansion click here.

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