Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Marc Fischer, Head of IT Services, Switzerland, of Swiss Automotive Group (SAG), one of the largest suppliers of automotive spare parts in Europe. SAG, based in Cham, Switzerland, serves customers in 10 European countries through over 200 branches. SAG has equipped 450 Swiss employees with Chrome OS devices.
In the 45 SAG contact centers across Switzerland, sales and customer service employees help automotive service providers find the exact part needed to bring a client’s car back to great running condition. While a significant part of our sales are online, the rest are through the contact centers, since customers often have questions about part options and availability and want to speak to local experts. To keep our contact centers and customers connected and communicating, we’re using Chrome OS devices, which are also significantly reducing cost and IT management time.
Securing business data in the cloud
The search for cost-effective and easy-to-manage technology started when we decided to move work applications to the cloud. At the time, we used VDI software through a service provider to access apps like Microsoft Office 365, and the costs were going up, much to the dismay of SAG’s leadership. The solution wasn’t as easy as simply cutting the budget. Security was high on our list, therefore we wanted a productivity platform that secured business and customer data. Along with a secure platform, we needed to replace the old computers with devices that were well-suited to the cloud, and that didn’t demand extra maintenance and troubleshooting from IT.
A pilot program proves the value of cloud devices
When our last remaining on-premise Engelbart software solution, an Avaya call-center application, launched a web version, we worked with our deployment partner, StackWorks, on a three-month pilot program in a Zurich branch to replace the VDI software with Chrome OS. We know that Chrome OS is a secure operating system—one that assures us that we can avoid future ransomware incidents and keep our business data secure.
As part of the pilot, we gave sales people ASUS Chromeboxes. During the pilot program, we kept Citrix VDI software on the devices in case salespeople were having trouble finding customer information over the web. The idea was that we’d give people time to learn the minor differences when using their apps over the web, such as how to search for adocument. That process went very quickly, and didn’t get in the way of sales people helping our customers.
Expanding Chrome OS devices across our company
The pilot program showed us that employees could work just as efficiently as they did with the old devices, even as we eliminated significant operational, management, and licenses costs. But we also discovered how little time is needed to care for, manage and troubleshoot our Chrome Enterprise solutions. Since Chrome OS automatically updates itself, we only need a few clicks to make sure all 450 ASUS Chromeboxes always have all necessary updates. The “admin console” is so easy for our IT team to use—getting a new device ready to give to an employee, or adding a new app to the Chrome browser home page, just takes a few seconds. The cost savings and ease of management are being noticed beyond SAG’s Switzerland offices. We have partner companies in Czech Republic, Austria, Romania, and other countries, and they’re curious about the money we’ve saved and the reduction in time spent on IT management and troubleshooting. We’re pleased with our success in winning attention from other companies in the SAG family.
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