About LSH Auto
LSH Auto International is the world’s largest Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles dealer group with decades-long heritage and expertise in retail operations and more than 22,000 employees worldwide.
As of December 2017, LSH Auto International’s business footprint covers over 240 outlets in 110+ cities across seven markets: Mainland China, Taiwan Region, South Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and Cambodia.
LSH Auto Australia are a premium automotive retailing group and the leading dealers of Daimler, AG and Mercedes Benz. They have a market-leading presence, comprising a total of 11 outlets in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
In 2018, the business sold over 5,600 new vehicles and over 6,300 pre-owned vehicles in Australia. With a team of 520 employees nationally, LSH Auto runs a lean operation with a high reliance and requirement for IT to drive digital transformation and innovation.
The initial challenge
LSH Auto experienced rapid expansion following the successful acquisition of Daimler AG and Mercedes Benz dealerships across Australia.
With this rapid expansion came the requirement to bring all dealerships onto the one IT network quickly and without business interruption. This provided Somerville with the challenge of reviewing their existing setup, advising on the changes required and completing the transition at the first site in Sydney with only six weeks-notice. Above all, LSH Auto were focused on ensuring business continuity during the transition, so every risk had to be considered and mitigated well ahead of time.
As part of the transition, LSH Auto wanted to use the opportunity to integrate new technologies that would enable them to deliver a better customer experience. They also wanted to remove unnecessary complexity and reduce avoidable roadblocks for their in-house IT team.
“Our people are more interested in delivering a superior customer experience. We wanted to move from a reactive IT environment to a proactive environment – without having to worry about the basics” – Alex Wong – Head of IT, LSH Auto Australia
Somerville’s team had to develop a transition plan and a fit for purpose solution that would address LSH Auto’s immediate business continuity needs, while also creating a bridge for future digital transformation. Each site required a significant upgrade to HPE Aruba network infrastructure, endpoint devices, as well as the procurement, configuration and installation of HPE on-premise server infrastructure.
The Somerville team had a 24 – 48 hour period, over a weekend to complete this component of the project, ensuring minimal disruption to the business during their regular trading hours, and that all systems were back up and running for the start of the work week. Somerville formed a team of their leading technical experts and project managers to oversee and successfully deliver this project from conception to completion.
“We knew how crucial it was for the project to have minimal impact on LSH Auto’s daily operations. At the same time, we had to ensure that the overall solution provided both immediate value and the scalability for long term growth” – Kevin Koelmeyer – Somerville.
In addition to the infrastructure and endpoint upgrades, there was a significant transfer of data and workload management onto the new hybrid IT environment which is made up of a mix of on-premise, colocation datacentre and private cloud; all underpinned by HPE server and storage infrastructure. Each branch was also transferred onto the latest version of Pentana, a CRM for auto dealers.
However, due to the unique auto dealer regulations and reporting requirements for different states, these CRM implementations needed to be customised for each location. Somerville worked hand in hand with each site and required software vendor to ensure a smooth transition took place.
As part of the agreed SLA, connectivity and uptime had to be guaranteed. Each location was transitioned onto new internet links and switching infrastructure from HPE Aruba that allowed for redundancy. Newly installed Wi-Fi infrastructure had to ensure every device was connected from day one. Where possible, legacy hardware was integrated into the transition to maximise resources and extend the useful life of existing IT investments.
LSH Auto’s In-house IT team is now focused on business solution delivery, and less concerned with IT infrastructure maintenance and the routine burden of IT operations. This allows them to concentrate on innovation across their business rather than getting distracted by the complexities of their IT management.
Where applications were once patched on to their legacy system, at great cost and wasted time, they now experience greater IT agility to deliver innovative new services and digital transformation that enhances their customer experience. This is imperative at a time where differentiation and outstanding customer experience is critical in an increasingly competitive market.
As part of this digital transformation, the soon to be opened Breakfast Creek Wharf Automotive Centre is built on state of the art technology that will reinvent the customer experience for buying vehicles. Without Somerville removing the burden of day-to-day IT management, the IT Team at LSH Auto would not have the time or resources to focus on these digital transformation initiatives for innovation and growth.
“Somerville lent its hand by having the right skills, right people, and the right technologies. We have vastly improved capabilities for providing what our customers want, which is same day service and a great experience. One of the big measures of efficiency is Right First Time – one interaction solution – We’re right up there now thanks to Somerville.”
“The technology environment they’ve created for us has also led to a more productive workforce and increased staff morale. Working with Somerville is a shared experience and they’re invested in our success – they function as an extension of our team.”
“You can’t match the skills of a dedicated solutions provider, so choosing a provider like Somerville gives you access to the best of the best.” Alex Wong – Head of IT, LSH Auto Australia