Hyundai bumps apps onto virtual platform for mobile staff

Hyundai has worked with BEarena to implement a virtual computing platform from Nutanix to provide its mobile staff application access while they work offsite.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

With an increasing number of its staff working on the road, Hyundai Motor Company Australia wanted to make sure they were able to access the same applications as they would if they were working in the office.

To do this, Hyundai worked with its IT service provider, BEarena, to implement a virtual computing platform from Nutanix, designed to support in-house applications and free up the space in its data centres.

According to Bala Kothandaraman, Hyundai Motor Company Australia ICT general manager, the role of IT in the company is to lend itself to support business needs, and in this case, it was to ensure that its mobile staff were able to have access two particular in-house applications — the purchase order system and invoicing — as it was taking up to 10 days for paperwork to be signed-off.

"Fifty percent of our 200 staff is mobile because we are in the car industry and their primary function is to spend more time in the field," he said.

"This technology has helped us take the technology to those people. They have not changed their way of working, but it has made them more productive and more efficient because we don't have to wait for them to come back to the office to act on certain key decisions. Our systems are now following them where ever they go.

"For example, previously people needed to wait until the end of the day to update the system but now when they're at the dealership they can update the system and we can see it at the head office, or they can access almost all the information in our system seamlessly."

The other benefit that came out from the installation of Nutanix's virtual computing platform was the reduction in real estate and overall costs, said Kawa Farid, Hyundai Motor Company Australia ICT infrastructure manager.

"We have overal 200 virtual servers, and to put that into physical racks would just be costly. Now we're able to disregard the costs involved with cooling and power, so there's plenty of cost savings," he said.

"As far as deployment of applications, it would usually take around two to five days to provision a server, but now we're able to do it within a day."

Although the implementation of the virtual computing platform would not have been so seamless if the company did not make the decision to adopt a company-wide virtualisation approach to its IT strategy back in early 2010, when a VMWare virtual desktop interface environment was established, explained Farid.

"When we started to virtualise our server environment we took a 'virtual first' approach. When we looked at any application we made sure it fitted the virtualisation environment. But that doesn't mean we don't have a physical space, it's just we prefer it if we can virtualise a solution," he said, noting it's a trending expectation of many IT departments, regardless of the industry.

Kothandaraman further explained that the initial adoption of a virtual environment was to keep up with the pace of the company's growth, which has since given the IT department "tremendous advantage" to reacting to company demands.

"The company was growing quite fast, and there was heavy demand for IT come to the party very quickly and to develop applications to keep up the pace with the company's growth," he said.

"With this technology, it has given us a lot of flexibility, and has allowed us to react very quickly."

Nutanix Australia and New Zealand managing director Wayne Neich said many companies are now moving to a virtualised desktop as they look to accommodate more mobile workers.

"[Mobile workers] are usually people working under a time pressure, and time is a commodity they don't have. So the deployment benefits of a virtual desktop has flow on effects, and gives people great confidence they can take their applications into environments without actually impacting their overall outcome," he said.

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