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Case Study: With Cirrity’s DaaS, U.S. Auto Sales Shatters Sales Records

Case Study Challenge

The Company

Cirrity
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/cirrity
Twitter: @cirrity

Cirrity, a channel-only cloud services provider, offers a suite of secure, compliant cloud-based solutions that deliver recurring revenue, opportunities for add-on services and strong competitive differentiators.  

The Client

U.S. Auto Sales is a “buy here, pay here” network of used car dealerships that serve customers through 17 locations, primarily in Georgia and South Carolina. Established in 1990, the company specializes in selling pre-owned, higher-end vehicles to customers who cannot obtain financing through traditional means.

The Challenge

Every customer counts in industries where razor-thin profit margins are the norm. U.S. Auto Sales is no exception to that rule. When an unprecedented ice storm paralyzed the Southeast for several days, U.S. Auto Sales could not open its location that collects payments from customers, which meant the company could not collect payment from many of its 20,000 accounts.

“IT was given the ultimatum that we cannot ever let this happen again,” said Travis McKeone, director of IR and facilities at U.S. Auto Sales. “At the time of that storm, customers had to either call or visit a store location to make a payment. We can never be in a situation where we have customers who are willing to pay us money and we cannot accept it.”{ad}

Business continuity was only one challenge the company faced. Each location had only a couple of desktop computer kiosks, where sales representatives gathered to process sales and manage customer financing. Sales staff were forced to wait for a computer to become available. Whether the wait was mere minutes or hours, this experience frustrated sales representatives and convinced customers to walk away and purchase elsewhere. It was clear that more computers were needed, but the company did not have a budget large enough to accommodate every employee.

“Deploying desktop computers is traditionally a costly endeavor,” said McKeone. “You have to buy the PC. You must support it. And you need the right staff to support applications.”

The Solution

The executive team initially considered a site-to-site virtual private network and a service that provides the infrastructure. However, the complexity of managing that solution would prove difficult for its three-person IT team.

Based on the advice of its technology consultant, Onepath, U.S. Auto Sales learned that a desktops-as-a-service (DaaS) infrastructure could virtualize the collection of payments and scale the workforce to address customer demand while controlling IT costs and supporting a simplified and responsive customer experience.Cirrity's DaaS solution supports more than 300 virtual desktop employees.

“The ease of the DaaS solution empowers business users to get up and running very quickly. This is the main reason we chose this approach,” said McKeone. “Whether a full-scale disaster or an isolated weather-related event happens, my team can spend less time helping people log in and get back to work.”

Working with Onepath, U.S. Auto Sales implemented Cirrity’s VMware-based Horizon DaaS platform to gain unified access to desktop and application capabilities through the cloud, without sacrificing control and security. By combining the power of the VMware Horizon DaaS platform with Cirrity’s DaaS solution…

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…the company can operate on a secure and highly available platform and expand the desktop footprint as needed. Even better, employees are no longer tied down to a single desktop or thin client.

“U.S. Auto Sales has its desktops, operational servers, and phones in the cloud,” said David Samuel, client engagement director at Onepath. “That’s the entire business. It’s powered by very high-end technology that is delivered in an affordable manner — something that is impossible to do with an on-premises infrastructure. But more important, U.S. Auto Sales’ cloud approach has everything it needs to guarantee that the company’s and its customer’s information is safe.”

Before fully moving to the cloud, the IT team piloted the solution with Onepath and addressed potential issues and business requirements. This phase was so successful that the company decided to deploy 94 virtual desktops across its entire dealership network.

The Results

By deploying the VMware-based Horizon DaaS platform and Cirrity’s DaaS solution, McKeone checked a box on the executive team’s agenda to quickly address disaster recovery. U.S. Auto Sales now benefits from a collection team that is fully virtualized 24/7 which includes an outsourced call center. The business can now collect payments even if its dealerships are closed.

By virtualizing its desktops, U.S. Auto Sales also reduced its total cost of PC ownership from $1,500 per desktop to $500, executed IT activities more efficiently and experienced record-breaking growth.

The DaaS solution currently supports more than 300 virtual desktop employees. The company can also scale up and down as workforce numbers fluctuate, especially during its busiest time of year: the tax-refund season. During this time, the company typically bumps up its DaaS footprint by 30 percent.

“By using thin clients, we send new users their credentials and they go right to work. It takes my team less than an hour to prepare a desktop and get it up and running,” said McKeone.

Because all sales and finance employees are equipped with a thin client, they have access to data, sales contracts and financial processing whenever they need it. The initial reaction? “One of our sales representatives commented that he can now work on two sales at the same time,” said McKeone. “While he is inputting data for a previous sale, he’s running searches for vehicles for another customer from his desk. Since rolling out the VMware and Cirrity solution, one of the key attributes we have right now is that our sales are up 20 percent across the board.”

While improved sales and IT operations are significant benefits, so too is the security of U.S. Auto Sales’ information assets. In compliance with payment card industry (PCI) requirements and Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 accounting standards, the company’s private data remains in the cloud, ensuring the security of sensitive financial data.

As a small and growing business, U.S. Auto Sales couldn’t afford to buy this kind of data security on its own. “Even if one of our thin clients is stolen today, the information is safe because our data management is centralized in the cloud, not the device,” said McKeone. “It’s more secure, scalable and cost-effective.”

Do you have a success story you’d like to share? The Channel Partners Case Study Challenge is accepting submissions on a rolling basis. They will be published in a special section on the Channel Partners site, and the best ones will be awarded a Case Study Challenge Winner logo for use on their own websites. The best of the best will be invited to share their stories during a live session at a Channel Partners event. Case studies should be 1,200 words or less. You can download the form, send responses directly to Lorna Garey, editor-in-chief, or use our Web submission process. Let us hear from you!


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