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Inchcape: Creating seamless customer journeys with RISE with SAP on Google Cloud

About Inchcape

Inchcape is the world’s leading independent automotive distribution company partnering with some of the world’s best known car manufacturers. Inchcape’s dealerships and dealer networks have specialist, manufacturer trained staff to ensure customers and their cars receive the best possible attention.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: United Kingdom

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By migrating to RISE with SAP on Google Cloud, Inchcape has built a global enterprise platform for enhanced data analytics and richer customer journeys.

Google Cloud results

  • Simplifies and scales business-critical processes at a global level with a cloud-based SAP deployment
  • Creates a richer, more personalized experience throughout the lifecycle of the customer journey
  • Improves employee engagement, achievement, and retention with SAP SuccessFactors

Optimizes customer journeys in real time with Google Cloud

Sustainable success is all about building lasting relationships with your customers. Inchcape, one of the world’s leading independent automotive distributors, puts customer retention at the heart of its strategy. The company partners with some of the world’s best known automobile brands to sell their cars in more than 40 markets across six continents, and constantly has to prove it understands changing customer needs in a demanding market.

"Customer retention is a key differentiator for us," says Gaurav Swarup, CTO, Inchcape. "We have to show our partners that we understand what customers want, how they like to be treated, and that they will come back to us. Otherwise there’d be no difference between our partners distributing their cars themselves or us doing it on their behalf."

Inchcape uses the enterprise software SAP for its business operations and customer relations management. Inchcape’s on-premises SAP deployment was starting to show signs of age, with legacy systems scattered across the world. With its customers increasingly moving online, Inchcape wanted a solution that could provide sophisticated data analytics. The time had come for a digital transformation, which began with a migration to RISE with SAP on Google Cloud.

"We wanted to remove the obsolescence of the legacy platform that we were using," explains Swarup. "We needed to modernize and ensure that we had a scalable, globally consistent SAP solution that was optimized for data analytics. That’s why we chose to deploy RISE with SAP on Google Cloud."

"We wanted to remove the obsolescence of the legacy platform that we were using. We needed to modernize and ensure that we had a scalable, globally consistent SAP solution that was optimized for data analytics. That’s why we chose to deploy RISE with SAP on Google Cloud."

Gaurav Swarup, CTO, Inchcape

Adapting to online retail channels

Inchcape’s priority is to provide its customers with the best possible service, wherever they are. Increasingly, that is online, where customers can browse, interact, and buy the cars they want at their own convenience.

This has led to Inchcape transforming itself into a fully digital organization with two main objectives. The first is to make the customer journey as smooth as possible. "We want to build a seamless omnichannel experience for our customers," says Swarup. "They should be able to interact with us without having to go through multiple steps of friction. It should just work."

The second objective is to expand the company’s data analytics capabilities for greater insight. This is where SAP comes in. For years, the enterprise platform has been at the core of Inchcape’s commercial business as a platform for its financial operations, its business intelligence and, in some markets, its logistics operations.

"SAP is the backbone of our commercial business, but we had multiple legacy instances in multiple data centers all over the world," explains Swarup. "That meant that we had to keep on top of upgrades, supportability and security for each instance, which was a creditable risk to the organization both in terms of financial health and business continuity."

Bringing SAP to the cloud

With a cloud-based rollout of SAP, Inchcape could not only build a centralized platform that maximized scalability and minimized complexity, it could also pave the way for a complete digital transformation of the company. RISE with SAP is an initiative designed to help enterprises migrate their SAP solutions to the cloud with minimal risk by partnering with a “hyperscaler” cloud provider. Inchcape chose RISE with SAP on Google Cloud because of its close integration with SAP and the options provided within the wider Google Cloud ecosystem. Inchcape felt that Google Cloud had a greater technical and application stack than other cloud providers. Two examples being Google Apigee for integration and management of API’s, and Google Cloud Cortex Framework for integration of SAP data into Google BigQuery.

Inchcape’s new SAP solution means that every branch of the company uses the same application to track cash flow from the initial sale all the way through to final payment, simplifying its commercial operations considerably. Inchcape also uses SAP to keep track of its back office operations like expenses as well as vehicle importing, exporting and distributing cars to its dealership network. All of these activities are not only enhanced and streamlined with Google Cloud, but they also provide the company with valuable data.

"RISE with SAP on Google Cloud generates millions of lines of data for us in terms of inventory movements, financials, and customer interactions," says Swarup. "With Google Cloud, scale and computing power are no longer a constraint for us and we can turn that data into something meaningful."

Improved scalability and sustainability

It is now much simpler for Inchcape to ingest, process, and analyze all its data streams on one platform to gain crucial insights faster than ever before. For Inchcape, improved data handling is all very well, but the real aim is to serve its customers as best it can.

"We want to maximize the value of the data we get from RISE with SAP," explains Mark Dearnley, Chief Digital Officer at Inchcape. "With Google Cloud, we have the resources to access the data, process it, analyze it, and change what we do with customers on a real-time basis."

"We want to maximize the value of the data we get from RISE with SAP. With Google Cloud, we have the resources to access the data, process it, analyze it, and change what we do with customers on a real-time basis."

Mark Dearnley, Chief Digital Officer, Inchcape

Inchcape’s ability to handle data at a much greater scale also means that it can maintain its relationships with customers well past the point of sale. "Thanks to Google Cloud, we can provide a more personalized, more valuable service to the customer throughout the entire life cycle of the vehicle. And when they’re ready to change their car, we can make that experience as seamless as possible," explains Swarup.

Managed services on Google Cloud helps the company to scale its SAP deployment at a global level without having to worry about overheads and maintenance, allowing its employees to concentrate on providing value to the business and its customers instead. With the addition of Google Cloud, Inchcape has adopted the HR-focused- SAP SuccessFactors, SAP’s human capital management product. "It will become the backbone of our employees’ career journey across the world," says Swarup. "We’re using it to drive productivity, retention, and ultimately engagement. If we have engaged employees, they’ll make for happier customers."

Inchcape has seen great rewards from its deployment of RISE with SAP, but its journey with Google Cloud is only just beginning. "We’re excited about the benefits we’ve seen in terms of scalability and sustainability, but we’re also excited about exploring the Google Cloud ecosystem," says Swarup. "For instance, we’re exploring Apigee API Management to establish a global integration framework for the system. That will help us absorb and integrate new systems quickly when we acquire new companies. Rather than worrying about scale and infrastructure, we’re beginning to focus on the areas that really matter to us."

"Thanks to Google Cloud, we can provide a more personalized, more valuable service to the customer throughout the entire life cycle of the vehicle. And when they’re ready to change their car, we can make that experience as seamless as possible."

Gaurav Swarup, CTO, Inchcape

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Inchcape

Inchcape is the world’s leading independent automotive distribution company partnering with some of the world’s best known car manufacturers. Inchcape’s dealerships and dealer networks have specialist, manufacturer trained staff to ensure customers and their cars receive the best possible attention.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: United Kingdom