Porsche Informatik GmbH, headquartered in Bergheim, Austria, is a subsidiary of Porsche Holding, whose purpose is to produce first-rate software solutions for the automotive trade. Porsche Informatik’s global business focuses on dealer and importer systems for brands owned by the Volkswagen Group, as well as applications for financing and insurance services. Through tailored, highly integrated software solutions, Porsche Informatik helps increase the efficiency and profitability of its customers. Some 320 employees support importers, dealers and financial service providers in Austria and 23 other countries.
A key milestone in Porsche Informatik’s history was the development of an application service provision (ASP) offering starting in 2000. As its parent company expanded globally, Porsche Informatik decided to provide new sites in southern Europe, eastern Europe and South America with key business applications from its own location in Salzburg. “Our goal was to provide all core applications as central services where possible and advisable,” says Anton Spitzer, Head of Infrastructure Services at Porsche Informatik. “Core aims were more efficient management, as well as better performance and security.” Many applications that Porsche Informatik provides centrally—including the CROSS dealer management system and the Carlos application for importers—communicate closely with IT systems operated by the Volkswagen Group in Wolfsburg, Germany.
With the NetScaler solution, we ensure that our XenApp users in 20 countries have access to their business applications at all times.
Anton Spitzer, Head of Infrastructure Services, Porsche Informatik GmbH
To ensure smooth ordering and business processes, international offices depend on stable connections between their applications and central systems. Porsche Informatik therefore moved client applications to a central Citrix XenApp server farm in the Salzburg data centre. “All communication between client applications and our central IT systems is housed under the same roof, in a powerful, fail-safe network connection, ensuring stable operation,” explains Peter Klinger, Director of Windows & Network Services at Porsche Informatik. “At the same time the administration and the provision of applications for the international locations is considerably simplified with the Citrix technology. We do not have to install and update applications locally on devices in the offices.” The employees working in international offices access centrally provided applications through MPLS or encrypted Internet connections. Because of the lean Citrix protocol, relatively little data is transmitted between international offices and the data centre in Salzburg. Using this model of central application provisioning, Porsche Informatik was also able to establish a high standard of security as it maintains full control of business-critical applications and data at all times, ensuring that sensitive information is not stored on potentially insecure end devices. “When we first begin working with new vehicle importers and dealers, we have only limited influence on which client hardware and security systems international sites work with,” says Peter Klinger. “That’s why we provide business applications in a protected environment—and our users around the globe only need a Citrix receiver on their end device to gain secure access.” Even organisational changes such as switching to a new main importer will not pose any risk to data security. This is because Porsche Informatik only has to disable access to the central systems once a cooperation agreement comes to an end, thereby preventing sensitive information from remaining on local computers owned by the contractual partner.