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Toyota takes dealer application to the cloud

Toyota will deploy a dealer management application to Fujitsu’s cloud, and says the move will make planned scalability easier.

James Scott is a bit jealous of some software his employer Toyota Australia – who he serves as Divisional Manager, Information Systems Division – offers its network of dealers to help them manage their affairs.

We ask if it’s a sensible to imagine the application, called TUNE, as ERP for car dealers and Scott says it’s even better. “A car dealer can run everything with this software,” he says. “It does financials, service, sales,” and more ... without the need for recourse to other applications.

Today, TUNE is operating at 25 dealers. Some operate their own servers and others consume it from a data centre Toyota Australia rents. Toyota hopes to get TUNE singing in as many dealers as want to use the software, and needed a scalability strategy to get it there.

A three-year contract for cloud computing was the answer.

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“We do buy hosting services from Fujitsu for things like our ERP,” Scott says. “There’s significant infrastructure investment involved in that. But in the cloud, we don’t have to make that investment. We pay per-user on a monthly fee and we can turn up or turn off as much as we want: they manage the compute capacity and we take what we want. I think the ease and speed of scaling up was a great ability.”

SearchCIO ANZ put it to Scott that the elasticity he describes is available from other cloud vendors, and that perhaps the three-year commitment might not have been necessary.

Scott replied that he feels the arrangements Toyota Australia has struck – through a tender – bring it the best of the cloud while also retaining a style of relationship the organisation is comfortable with.

“We have a very long history with Fujitsu, well over 30 years,” he says. “We are talking about a business-critical application so we wanted to make sure we had a corporate, robust solution You need the relationship to get that, and we have a very good relationship with Fujitsu through our parent company.”

“That gives us a voice and the ability to talk to the right people should you need to do so.”