Swiss Automotive Group saves 70% on operating costs with browser-based working

Swiss Automotive Group (SAG) AG, one of the largest suppliers of automotive spare parts in Europe, has modernized the way it works at its 40 contact centers in Switzerland. To do this, the company replaced Citrix, which was used as a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) software to access applications such as Microsoft 365. With the help of StackWorks, SAG equipped a total of 450 employees with chromeOS devices. They now use the browser-based technology in sales and customer service, while significantly reducing IT management costs and time.

ASUS Chromeboxes
Percent lower operating costs

Initial situation

Driven by the vision to become aftermarket champion in selected European markets and characterized by entrepreneurial spirit as well as a digital mindset, SAG had started to move work applications to the cloud. However, the practice of using VDI software to access applications such as Microsoft 365 proved cost-prohibitive. "Therefore, working directly in the browser, combined with a reduction in licensing costs for Microsoft 365, was our key concern," explained Marc Fischer, Head of IT Services at SAG AG.

When the call center application they were using was the last remaining on-premise software to appear as a web version, the company went in search of a new IT solution for the contact centers. In addition to cost savings, the security of business and customer data was an important requirement. In addition, the administration of the solution had to be as simple as possible, so that the IT department could handle it itself. As part of this, the plan was to replace the old computers with devices that were well suited for the cloud and did not require additional maintenance and troubleshooting by IT. SAG came across chromeOS, which, as a native cloud-based operating system, together with the right hardware, covers all the requirements.

Quote: "We were able to reduce operating costs by about 70 percent compared to the Citrix-based solution."

Marc Fischer, Head of IT Services, Swiss Automotive Group

Thoughtful solution

Together with StackWorks as the IT partner, a proof of concept initially took place at the Jona site, in which the feasibility of replacing the VDI software with chromeOS was demonstrated "on a small scale" in three months with four ASUS devices. After the positive feedback, the project was expanded to a pilot project. The selected sales staff received ASUS Chromeboxes. The VDI software was left on the devices in case there were problems finding the information they needed via the browser. The idea was to give employees time to learn the new, exclusively browser-based way of working. The result: the learning process was quick and showed that employees could work just as efficiently as with the old devices. In addition, SAG found that maintaining, managing and troubleshooting the Chrome Enterprise solution took little time. The roll-out was able to take place.

StackWorks prepared the Chromeboxes and gradually sent them to the stores along with new monitors. There, the hardware was installed together with SAG. "In a small training session, we taught the most important features and functions so that the employees could start working right away," explained Kevin Heeb, Cloud Consultant at StackWorks. After the roll-out, StackWorks took over regular support for the further development of the IT environment.

Working with StackWorks as a cloud service provider is pleasant and advantageous for SAG. "We benefit from a direct personal line and fast communication channels," says Marc Fischer and adds: "We simply discuss our issues with StackWorks, who then solve the specific problems that arise together with Google."

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Excellent result

The result: sales and customer service staff work exclusively in the browser. They systematically overcame the hurdles in the transition to the changed way of working, so that they can help customers find exactly the parts they need in a modern and efficient way. As a result, license costs have been noticeably reduced.

The Admin Console is easy to use for the IT team at SAG AG. For example, it takes only a few seconds to prepare a new device for handover to an employee or to add a new app to the Chrome browser home page. Since chromeOS updates automatically, administrators only need a few clicks to ensure that all ASUS Chromeboxes always have all the necessary updates.

The success can also be quantified: "We were able to reduce operating costs by around 70 percent compared to the Citrix-based solution," reveals Marc Fischer. And not only that! The cost savings and ease of administration are being positively perceived beyond the Swiss SAG branches. Partner companies in the Czech Republic, Austria, Romania and other countries are curious about the savings and the reduction in time spent on IT management and troubleshooting.

Learn more about the project in our free Webinar "Successful in the Cloud.

About the Swiss Automotive Group

With annual sales of CHF 1.5 billion, SAG AG, headquartered in Cham, is one of the largest suppliers in the independent automotive spare parts industry in Europe. With a range of over 900,000 catalog-led items, SAG is the market leader for car and commercial vehicle spare parts in Switzerland, Romania and Serbia. SAG serves customers in ten European countries with more than 250 branches and over 1,500 delivery vehicles for same-day delivery. In doing so, it employs more than 5,000 people.

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