Case Study : CaffynsDelivering enhanced customer experience through an intelligent, software-defined network
With roots predating the first production automobiles, Caffyns is one of the longest-established car dealerships in the world. Now trading from 13 sites across Kent and Sussex, and enjoying franchise partnerships with prestige brands spanning Audi to Volvo, the company distinguishes itself by making a long-term commitment to its customers and their cars.
As car buyers become more connected, car systems more intelligent, and manufacturers more data driven, connectivity is increasingly vital to Caffyns’ business. The company strategy has evolved to focus on technology as a means to deliver an enriched customer and staff experience. Dealerships require a seamless IT infrastructure with fast and reliable links to manufacturer business systems and tools, to support enhanced technical needs, and to deliver an omni-channel customer retail experience with highbandwidth digital content such as video and 3D modelling. This places ever greater demands on the network.
Poor infrastructure performance and reliability were becoming obstacles to Caffyns’ business objectives. The company realised that satisfying the growing demands on its IT infrastructure and consolidating the disparate legacy systems of its multi-manufacturer environment would require a fundamental overhaul of its IT estate.
Ideal conducted a detailed audit of the existing network, and worked with Caffyns to draw up a roadmap for upgrades that would provide the required performance, availability and security across all locations, without causing interruptions to the business. Key to the overall performance of Caffyns’ network would be the security, speed and stability of its WAN links.
At each site, legacy network equipment was first upgraded with Cisco Meraki wireless networking and Cisco switched infrastructure, providing reliable access to a consistent LAN backbone. Linking the sites, a WAN was created using Cisco’s intelligent WAN (iWAN) technology, which utilises software-defined routing to enable high performance from a far lower cost base. Caffyns’ existing colocated data centre had not proved cost-effective, so Ideal in-sourced a new solution; building identical data centres in two of the dealerships to ensure high availability and business continuity for critical data, applications and services.
Caffyns has the robust, secure and future-proof network it needs to support continued growth, and to enable its increasingly technology-led business strategy. Across the group IT estate, performance and availability are far improved, while costs have been lowered. Greatly increased internet bandwidth and segregated guest connectivity within the Meraki wireless network has enabled ‘blended retailing’, with high-definition tablet content supporting the customer buying process.
The iWAN’s flexibility provides additional benefits. When the need arose later to segregate card payment services traffic, this was achieved quite simply with the addition of a new security domain. When a proprietary manufacturer systems connection became unavailable to one dealership for four days, it was rerouted via another location, maintaining functionality and preventing a significant loss of servicing revenue.
I really trust Ideal – they completed the project under pressure with no disruption to our business. It was all about the planning. Ideal ensured a high level of excellent technical briefing coupled with simplicity, and they ensured that the business understood what was being delivered. As a result we have a faster network, a strong robust system, greater resilience and decreased security risks.
IT Director, Caffyns Group
Ideal’s breadth and depth of expertise gives it a real understanding of business objectives, and the insight to consult on all the IT solutions you may need to achieve them. As a Cisco Premier Partner with Advanced Enterprise Networks Architecture specialisation, Ideal is perfectly placed to exploit advanced Cisco technologies for business benefit, such as leveraging an iWAN to deliver high performance and availability at a fundamentally lower cost. Through its in-house, always-on service desk, Ideal offers unrivalled support for your critical business functions.