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FROM THE DESK OF THE MD
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Ascent helps migrate Compatible Automotive to Azure
Microsoft Azure Data Platform Services not only boosts the company’s DR facilities, it also helps them deliver value-added services and innovative strategic solutions to its customers.
In a digitising world, it comes as no surprise to learn that Compatible Automotive decided that, in order to continue delivering the services and innovation its customers demand, it needed to modernise its existing data platform. Choosing to migrate to the public cloud, the company picked its partner carefully, as it also needed its internal IT resources to be upskilled and required a third party to cast a critical eye over its systems in order to gain a neutral perspective of exactly where it stood. As the company’s existing Data Platform Services providers, Ascent Technology was the obvious choice.
Founded in 1990, Compatible Automotive is a leading supplier of information technology across the African continent, coupling extensive software knowledge with a passion for the automotive industry. The business currently employs over 40 specialists who are dedicated to supporting a network of around 550 customers across 19 African markets. Today the company is committed to providing the most innovative software solutions and profitable partnerships, supplying these vehicle dealerships with a range of dealer management systems, digital marketing solutions and dealer CRM systems.
Compatible Automotive Director, Henry Howard, explains that the business aims to be nothing less than the go-to organisation for the most innovative and market-leading software, in order to drive increased profitability within the many and varied dealerships it services.
“We have a reputation for not only delivering the best solutions to our industry, but also for being flexible in meeting customer needs. We offer a very client-focused service, by essentially taking corporate-level products that have been proven in multiple markets worldwide, and adding an African flavour to these, delivering them in an individual and bespoke fashion,” he says.
“Ascent was originally recommended to me by people in the industry whom I knew. The initial partnership could be described as a classic Data Platform Outsourcing Agreement, where Ascent was able to provide us with a service that was both better and more cost effective. When the decision was made to migrate our data platform to the public cloud, we knew they were the perfect partner to help us achieve this.”
Howard adds that the decision to implement a Data Platform Modernisation Project was nothing more than standard sustained operational innovation, where the organisation takes its existing operations and improves upon these.
“The public cloud was the obvious choice for us, and based on Ascent’s recommendation as our trusted advisor, we undertook to move our data platform to Microsoft Azure. The project involved migrating all our existing assets from a hosting platform that offered limited scale and capability, over to Azure, a platform that delivers hyper scale capabilities. What this meant was that we were able to scale according to our requirements.”
“Furthermore, the resiliency that is baked into Microsoft’s Azure Platform is many orders of magnitude greater than standard hosting systems, as is the superior security. In fact, knowing that Microsoft spends billions of dollars each year on its security gives us, and by extension our clients, a far greater level of comfort than ever before,” he states.
A key aspect of the move was to gain access to a level of disaster recovery (DR) that also affords the company high availability – thanks to being in a distributed and hyper scale environment. In addition, the nature of the public cloud means that Compatible Automotive can provide complete geographic coverage across the many countries it services.
“Adopting Azure as our data platform means we can scale up as required, while it also offers us the elasticity to scale down, as and when this may be required. Moreover, by migrating our data platform to Azure, we were able to consolidate multiple servers spread across our 19 regions into a single server.”
“This not only helped us to reduce IT infrastructure costs, it also offers us greater reliability and makes the management thereof easier, it also eliminates the risk of infrastructure being spread across multiple pieces of hardware in multiple places. In short, it has helped us create the most resilient and capable DR service we have ever experienced,” continues Howard.
He points out that the move to Azure has delivered one other exceptional piece of value to the business.
“Where before, we were spending money on what amounted to basic operational expenditure, we can now reallocate these resources to delivering further value-added services and strategic solutions that are innovative and unique, thereby adding even more value to our own customer base. And it also means our dealers have access to support that is both faster and more effective. In the end, the combination of higher quality services and a more innovative approach will deliver far greater value to our end-customers.”
Johan Lamberts, MD at Ascent Technology, points out that the company has built a strong and fulfilling relationship with Compatible Automotive and is pleased to be considered a trusted partner by them.
“We look forward to continuing to deliver a professional and high quality service to the business and helping it to obtain additional benefits from Azure, as it innovates into the future. We look forward to providing them with whatever skills and advice they may need on this journey and anticipate a long and fruitful relationship,” he says.
Talking about the future, Howard adds that Compatible Automotive is excited to have the kind of relationship with Ascent where the trust is genuine.
“We now have a modernised technology platform that enables scalability, growth and rapid development, and the relationship has also led to upskilling within our IT staff, thanks to working so closely with Ascent. This means that by bringing Ascent on board, I have added value to them, and they, in turn, have added more value to our business,” concludes Howard.
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