There are strict time frames and strict time frames... Really strict ones. Verging on the impossible. A lot of people would throw in the towel while others pull themselves together, taking communication to a new level and making the impossible possible. It was the latter road that Stoll Automotive and Bechtle decided to take— into the cloud together. No ifs, buts or maybes.
Stoll Automotive is the Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Skoda partner in the extreme Southwest of Germany, close to the Swiss border. The team under managing directors Ralph und Florian Stoll are employed across five locations: Waldshut-Tiengen, Häusern, Rickenbach, Lörrach and Binzen. Stoll Automotive is also active in the tuning industry with the APR brand for those times when “normal” isn’t enough.
You can hear the enthusiasm in Ralph Stoll’s voice. The Managing Director of Stoll Automotive has a clear vision—for the here and now, the future and how to get there. A path which he and his brother, Florian, decided to embark on with Bechtle by their side. Systematically. At the right time. As it became apparent in 2018 that Stoll would be purchasing two more showrooms to complement the three they had, the brothers focussed their attention on the biggest issues in IT—infrastructure, security and the modern workplace.
The first and most important step was to integrate the new locations in Lörrach and Binzen into the existing business processes while simultaneously creating a multi-cloud architecture, ensuring Stoll a secure and growth-oriented future. Quickly. Precisely. Faultlessly.
The nearby Bechtle systems integrator in Offenburg took the reins of the project “on the fly”, as Yannick Feuser, Head of Service and Consulting in Offenburg says. The schedule was tight. The Go Live date was determined when the project kicked off in June: 23 October.
Ralph Stoll was well aware of the challenge ahead: “We worked together to pave the way to the cloud alongside ongoing operations. Every person involved did an excellent job to master the project.”
We worked together to pave the way to the cloud alongside ongoing operations. Every person involved did an excellent job to master the project.
Ralph Stoll, CEO, Stoll Automotive
Together is certainly the operative word. As stressed by Bechtle project manager, Nicolas Ell: “The collaboration between all organisations was exemplary. A lot of issues only arose during the project, so everyone had to be very adaptable. Flexibility and open, active communication were decisive in the success.”
It wasn’t only a case of orchestrating the way to a multi-cloud environment, but also coordinating numerous parties so that they were all pulling in the same direction. Bechtle Offenburg managed the colleagues from Bechtle Hosting & Operations and also coordinated other service providers, including IS Handel as an advisor to the trading and service companies of all Volkswagen Group brands; Atelios, who is responsible for the secure and reliable exchange of data between Volkswagen and its partners; and Wagner IT as previous service provider to both new Stoll locations. And so a complex cloud project became a complex infrastructure project.
In cooperation with Volkswagen, Bechtle acquired a lot of expertise within a short time period enabling them to understand und fulfil the Group’s requirements as this project was also a step towards the future for VW. With the cloud architecture set up by Bechtle, Stoll was clearly deviating from their previous operating concept. Unchartered territory. Bechtle. Stoll. Volkswagen.
“We needed to adapt, had frequent meetings in small groups to share knowledge and tie up loose ends”, says Nicolas Ell. “Our employees’ dedication was second to none. We had to work very quickly on highly complex tasks, all the time with an eye on the deadline”, continues Yannick Feuser.
Everyone was working full throttle to make the finish line. “Implementation was completed during a company shutdown between 19 and 23 October 2018. Bechtle’s expertise and manpower ensured the project could go live as scheduled”, recalls Ralph Stoll.
In the weeks leading up to the deadline, Bechtle completely modernised the IT infrastructure in the dealerships by moving it into the cloud from local servers, which required a lot of restructuring. Computing power, memory and software are operated and mirrored for Stoll in the secure and highly available Bechtle data centre and the dealership has been virtualised in the Bechtle Virtual Private Cloud. On top of that are Office 365 installation, the use of Exchange Online, patch management that keeps all clients up-to-date, Sophos Central as the next generation threat prevention for the end points, sophisticated system monitoring based on Icinga2, a modern workplace strategy that enables working from anywhere at any time using Citrix technology, plus a support agreement that guarantees Bechtle second and third level support.
Our employees’ dedication was second to none. We had to work very quickly on highly complex tasks, all the time with an eye on the deadline.
Yannick Feuser, Head of Service and Consulting, Bechtle Offenburg
Stoll Automotive immediately started to reap the benefits. Company data is highly available and secure, employees have access from everywhere, resources and users can be easily expanded, regular hardware and software procurement cycles, numerous services are now automated, monthly costs can be planned and only actual use is invoiced.
Ralph Stoll is delighted: “Our employees can access the working environment they are used to at anytime from anywhere and our systems run very reliably. If we have any issues, we have a strong partner by our side in the form of Bechtle, who are ready to help. For example, after go live, there were some issues with printer controls, which were quickly resolved.
The managing director has nightmares about that how things used to be: “We do a lot of tuning work, and so I often have to visit suppliers, for example, in the USA. I would then try and access my computer at home via TeamViewer, which sometimes had been switched off because I was travelling.” These everyday issues are now a thing of the past.
And Volkswagen? Ralph Stoll recently sent his final report to the headquarters in Wolfsburg, where satisfaction also reigns. “In a project such as this with a large number of parties, of course there will be problems, but we always discussed them openly and were always working towards our common goal. This is why we now have a solution which is perfect for everyone involved”, explains Ralph Stoll.
And this is only the beginning of the relationship between Bechtle and Stoll. Project 2.0 has been drawn up. The goal? Paperless offices in Waldshut-Tiengen, Häusern, Rickenbach, Lörrach and Binzen. Three dealerships are headed up by Ralph Stoll, and two by his brother Florian. Together, they have decided to continue their relationship with Bechtle. Using DocuWare, the intention is that business processes largely be digitalised. “This covers everything from vehicle documents and orders, but also holiday requests”, explains Ralph Stoll. Bechtle is smoothing the way, configuring the system in the Bechtle Virtual Private Cloud in connection with Citrix and using Office 365 and is therefore ideal for Stoll Automotive’s requirements. Tailored services—at the highest level, even under the time pressure.
Head of Service and Consulting
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Published on Nov 5, 2019.