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Posted: 1/14/2013
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Toyota Motor Europe Automotive Retailer Avoids $1.3 Million in IT Costs with Cloud-Based PC Management Tool

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) had no tools to manage 3,500 car-diagnostic PCs running outside the corporate domain at 3,000 dealerships. TME chose Windows Intune to manage the PCs remotely from a web-based console. It can standardize software deployments to ensure consistent customer service and enhance the security of managed computers to reduce downtime at dealerships. Remote assistance capabilities will also help reduce on-site support costs.

Business Needs
Toyota Motor Europe (TME) manages a network of 30 national marketing and sales companies (NMSC) across Europe. These organizations oversee more than 3,000 dealerships.

In early 2012, TME replaced its stand-alone car-diagnostic tool called IT2 with 3,500 new PCs running more up-to-date software, including Tech Stream and Picoscope. The PCs also store technical documentation. Mechanics attach the PCs to a Vehicle Information Module that connects to a vehicle’s engine to provide critical maintenance information, such as how to reprogram and update a vehicle’s computer chip. The PCs were installed by an external company. The computers are not joined to the domain and operate outside the corporate firewall.

* With Windows Intune, Toyota Motor Europe can see if all dealerships are using updated car-diagnostic systems. Now we can ensure consistent, quality service for all customers at more than 3,000 facilities. *

Niels Svaerke
Manager, Business Process Office, After Sales, Toyota Motor Europe

TME did not have a management solution for these 3,500 computers. “We wanted everyone to use the new tools, but we had no visibility into how the dealerships were working with the PCs,” says Niels Svaerke, Manager, Business Process Office, After Sales at Toyota Motor Europe.

NMSC staff downloaded diagnostic software to the PCs from a Toyota intranet site. However, there was no way for headquarters to verify that all dealerships received and installed the software updates concurrently. “It was difficult to ensure that everyone was providing the same level of service by using the same corporate systems and auto diagnostics,” says Dirk Christiaens, Manager of Enterprise Architecture at Toyota Motor Europe. “Also, the head office had no way of knowing if the dealerships deployed an antivirus solution for their PCs, a worrying scenario as they were connected directly to the Internet.”

NMSC employees performed on-site support for mechanics, which often entails travel time. Sometimes, NMSC staff called an external company to reinstall all the software on the PC. Either scenario incurred wasteful downtime at the dealerships.

To solve these issues, Toyota Motor Europe decided to evaluate Windows Intune, the cloud-based PC management service from Microsoft. Staff at the NMSC can use the web-based Administration console in Windows Intune to run PC management tasks remotely, including software distribution. All that is required is a standard Internet connection, a browser running Microsoft Silverlight, and the Windows Intune client software installed on the PCs at the dealerships. The client returns information on the PC, including software and hardware inventory, and endpoint protection and update status to the Administration console.

“We wanted to move into cloud computing, so Windows Intune met our needs perfectly,” says Christiaens. “Windows Intune had a more flexible, pay-as-you-go model, with no additional bandwidth or server costs.”

TME worked with Infront Consulting Group, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network with Gold competencies, to deploy Windows Intune. Infront set up a test environment at headquarters and created documentation and training materials. Because staff members at each dealership do not have administration rights to the PCs, which is necessary to install the initial Windows Intune package,

TME IT staff created an installation package which installs the Windows Intune client with elevated administrator rights. That way the installation process was transparent for the retailer.

Then, TME sent each dealership a link to a Toyota website where staff could retrieve the Windows Intune client to download on the PCs. The new solution is used by a few businesses and IT staff members at each NMSC. TME expects to deploy Windows Intune to all 3,500 PCs by end of March 2013.

“We were impressed by the easy deployment,” says Svaerke. “Windows Intune is intuitive to use and only took a few hours of training for a business person to learn.”

By choosing Windows Intune to manage its 3,500 PCs, Toyota Motor Europe expects the following benefits:
  • Avoid infrastructure costs. By deploying Windows Intune, TME estimates that it avoided more than €1 million (US$1.3 million) in infrastructure and management costs over three years. Instead, TME can acquire Windows Intune licenses as needed. This will be beneficial as the company plans to add tablet PCs for staff to use at the dealerships.

  • Enhance endpoint security. TME uses Windows Intune for endpoint protection and to schedule regular virus scans, so it can ensure that the PCs at each dealership have up-to-date virus protection. If the solution detects malicious software, then NMSC staff members can immediately remove it. “Windows Intune helps seal our security risks and gives us piece of mind,” says Christiaens.

  • Improve customer service. By using Windows Intune to perform global, simultaneous software distribution, TME can improve customer service. “Now we can distribute new diagnostic software from Japan faster than before, so our customers start benefitting right away,” says Christiaens.

    TME can also use Windows Intune to maintain a consistent software inventory at all dealerships, so customers can expect the same service anywhere. “With Windows Intune, Toyota Motor Europe can see if all dealerships are using updated car-diagnostic systems,” says Svaerke. “Now we can ensure consistent, quality service for all customers at more than 3,000 facilities.”

  • Reduce operating costs. TME expects that better managed computers will equate to a reduction in travel costs. “Now that NMSC staff can manage PCs remotely and accurately troubleshoot issues, we won’t have to travel as frequently to the dealerships,” says Svaerke.

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 94000 employees

Organization Profile

Based in Brussels, Belgium, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) oversees the wholesale sales and marketing of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, parts, and accessories and Toyota manufacturing and engineering operations in Europe.

Software and Services
Windows Intune

Vertical Industries
Automotive, Industrial Equipment & Aerospace


IT Issue
Cloud Services


Infront Consulting Group