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Autokeskus improved its internal service ability: operations are digitized at an increasing rate

In the Aro-Yhtymä Group, one of the most important players in the Finnish automotive sector and well-known for its Autokeskus brand, IT solutions are a key competitive factor. Migration to cloud-based services has increased the satisfaction of the Group's internal customers considerably. It has also helped further improve their service ability in a large international partner network, where each player is at the cutting edge of digitization.

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We and Enfo are like part of the same family. The past ten years have taught us how to cooperate closely; we trust each other and have confidence in what we do. Our partnership will continue but it is difficult to forecast the future. What I know is that the progress in digitalization that has so far taken 10 years will in the future take no more than 5 years. The rate of change is accelerating!

Tomi Valasvuo, CIO at Aro-Yhtymä

Aro-Yhtymä Tomi Valasvuo

"Technology is a key area in our business. We have already been cooperating with Enfo for more than 10 years. During these years, we have laid the foundation for the present situation where the processes of car servicing and repairs, purchasing, sales, marketing and customer service are as digital as possible, and the services are agile and scalable. This improves our service ability in a partner network where the insurance and financing companies as well as car factories, for instance, are in the vanguard of digital development. We must keep developing our operations," says CIO Tomi Valasvuo of Aro-Yhtymä.

The evolution of car factories is accelerating

"It was already clear to us ten years ago that the use of applications would go online. We could see that the web browser was going to be the new 'application client'. Today we have over 100 different applications provided merely by our partners. Previously, when the applications were still CD-ROM-based or workstation clients, we published some of them through Citrix. Alongside manufacturers and other partners, we have luckily migrated most of those applications to the cloud during the past few years," says Valasvuo.

In 2015, Autokeskus made a major decision to abandon Citrix, and immediately after that the company migrated to the Office 365 cloud service with Enfo's support.

Now even the other applications we use, such as the ERP of car sales, reporting, payroll administration and HR, have been replaced by cloud services. "The introduction of the Office 365 cloud service allowed us to simplify our workstation environment considerably, and it also further improved the mobility in working. We can now work better whenever and wherever: many of the applications for our sales or car service often need to be used through a mobile browser, and this is also becoming more and more common for other applications as well. As a result of this development, the satisfaction of our internal users has increased by 16% from 2014," says Valasvuo.

Cooperation to improve the service ability

In Aro-Yhtymä, IT solutions are a key competitive factor. They enable a better service ability and cooperation with the partners, smoother daily operations, and also decision-making more strongly based on data. As we are at the very core of the industry, we must keep developing our operations, and that is why we require deep knowledge of the business both from our own information management and from our partner.

"Basically, in our cooperation Enfo takes care of the basic services and data center, while our own IT team focuses on designing business applications. However, we build many things together, as Enfo has more extensive competence than us for instance in the implementation of cloud services and integrations," says Valasvuo.

"Our cooperation with Enfo has lasted for a decade, and it has been running extremely smoothly."

"We and Enfo are like part of the same family. The past ten years have taught us how to cooperate closely; we trust each other and have confidence in what we do. As soon as we began our collaboration, we met all the special experts that are important to us, and now we know them well. The thing we value the most is that the people at Enfo understand what is critical to our business: if the technology goes down, all our operations are paralyzed. Our partnership will continue, but it is difficult to forecast the future. What I do know is that the progress of digitization that has so far taken 10 years will in the future take no more than five years," predicts Valasvuo.

Tomi Valasvuo's tips for well-functioning partnership

1. Dare to change and trust your partner: You should utilize the concept that your outsourcing partner offers you. Use that rather than a process you have defined, as the basic services usually operate very well. Talk to your partner about what would be the modern way of operating.

2. Openness between the players: both partners should see to open communications and their needs. The supplier must be informed of the business needs and what materials are provided by different parties. The partner should actively offer solutions and consider what would be the best solution for the customer's business.

3. Service quality = partner's quality The quality is as good as you require it to be. Things will be done when the required level is clear to each party.

Benefits of the services

  • Long-term cooperation makes it easier to identify the needs and requirements of the business; the partner is able to independently offer solutions supporting the business.
  • The customer company's IT department can focus on development projects requiring deeper business knowledge, when the basic solutions can be bought from an external partner, and help is also available for the development work.
  • The cloud service helps to keep a diversified operating environment under control as a whole and is easy to use in the daily operations. Easy access to services provided by partners.
  • Work is no longer tied to the office or workplace.
  • The service level remains high, and an external partner ensures sufficient resources for instance in the event of disturbances. Ensuring the operating capability.
  • Internal customer satisfaction has gone up by 16% from 2014.

Aro-Yhtymä is a Finnish family-owned company and one of the most important players in the Finnish automotive sector. Turnover in 2009 totalled EUR 208 million, and the Group employed approximately 430 people. www.aro.fi