Project Description

Balise Auto Group – Reorganized For Maximum Efficiency: Upgrading Network Infrastructure And Re-Thinking IT Service Management

The Situation:

The Balise Auto Group is a multi-franchise dealership organization with locations in the northeast of the US. The owner group strived for boosting efficiency and moving the company to the next technology level when they were faced with big challenges. The biggest appeared to be to unify the IT framework across the multi-state organization and to update the network, telecommunication and business applications as they approached the end-of-life. In addition, Balise’s leadership team needed to assess and re-think servicing the IT platforms as most of the support activities relied heavily on internal IT personnel managing over 1,000 workstations, servers, network infrastructure and telecommunication, security and compliance, and IT operations and support process and practices.

What we did:

The first assignment for the Gillrie Institute was to support the dealer to simplify the infrastructure, update the network and telecommunication system, and renew and upgrade the business applications. Initially we needed to evaluate the overall situation specifically related to the hardware (network equipment, PCs and servers) and the proper administrative controls and software compliance. The next steps covered planning for the updating and replacement of workstations and other equipment, contacting IT equipment providers and requesting proposals, as well as benchmarking the equipment quotes to understand the market values of the proposed hardware components and create the negotiation plan.

The second assignment was to analyze the scope and business value of Balise’s IT service management strategy and compare it to other dealers’ approach with special reference to the retention of current group standards and culture. The Gillrie Institute reviewed the long-term IT costs for different IT Service Management alternatives – in-house and through external service providers. Along the process we were also able to establish up to date service agreements for network and phone hardware and assess voice and data carrier contracts.

What we achieved:

With our support the Balise Auto Group unlocked savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. The dealer was able to update the technology framework and improve the business continuity management by replacing mission-critical equipment and establishing true redundant connections to reduce downtime.

Our analyses also supported the dealer’s decision to eliminate redundant IT positions while maintaining organizational morale, group standards and culture code. By outsourcing the network administration to a nationally recognized service provider with a shared infrastructure and a single point of responsibility for all IT issues, Balise is now able to better participate from industry-best practices. Freeing the existing IT talents from too many operational tasks also enabled the company to adjust the internal IT service management scope and focus more on strategic–relevant issues to ultimately prepare the company for future IT challenges. This includes the responsibility to foresee future organizational technology needs and prepare strategic IT decisions, create and update IT policies, oversee group wide compliance, conduct audits, act as the primary contact to authorities (e.g. FTC audits regarding Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), and focus on IT cost planning and management.