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Inchcape picks Rise with SAP on Google Cloud to motor on digital

Auto sector company Inchcape has chosen SAP’s Rise service on Google Cloud to drive forward its digital transformation programme

Inchcape, a London-based automotive sector company whose roots go back to British imperial India, has chosen SAP’s Rise service on Google Cloud for the next phase of its business growth.

Rise with SAP is a subscription service that packages managed cloud infrastructure and managed services in one contract. At its core is SAP’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system S/4 Hana, based on its in-memory, columnar database Hana.

Founded in 1847 in Calcutta, Inchcape today works with automotive manufacturers, in more than 35 countries, in vehicle distribution and retail.

It is one of the first UK customers to opt for Rise on Google Cloud infrastructure, according to a Google Cloud spokesperson.  

In its most recent financial results statement, SAP stated it had “closed deals with more than 250 customers…Large customers such as AMD, Coop Switzerland, Etihad Airways, and Siemens Energy selected Rise with SAP”. Dixons Carphone was among the new Rise customers.

An SAP statement about the Inchcape deal cited a customer demand shift towards omnichannel ways of buying as the main factor behind its customer’s technology choice of the Rise service. Inchcape has an existing customer relationship with SAP. The statement also cited the pandemic as a factor speeding up the shift to omnichannel – shopping online as well as, or instead of, in person.

Mark Dearnley, chief digital officer at Inchcape, said: “The way people buy cars has fundamentally changed over the past 18 months, so it’s key that we’re evolving in line with consumer expectations.

“Globally car manufacturers rely on us to understand what cars people are buying and how they buy them, and at the heart of responding to that is data. Being able to harness Rise with SAP to capture these insights, build our cloud capability, improve employee experience, and deliver a service that is in line with what buyers want is absolutely crucial.”

Google Cloud’s statement put an emphasis on a new ability that Inchcape will have to join diverse ranges of datasets into a “centralised, secure, and scalable platform for the first time”. It will also be able to take advantage, said the supplier, of “Google Cloud’s AI [artificial intelligence], ML [machine learning] and analytics capabilities, to manage and analyse SAP data and create a foundation to better serve both consumers and automotive manufacturer partners”.

Inchcape’s Dearnley added: “Google Cloud’s close relationship with SAP and its strong technical expertise in this space were a big pull for us. Ultimately, we wanted a headache-free Rise with SAP implementation and to unlock value for auto makers and consumers in all our regions, while continuing to have the choice and flexibility to modernise our 150-year old business in a way that works for us.”

Inchcape is also expanding its use of SAP services to SuccessFactors, the software supplier’s HR software-as-a-service system.

SAP claimed that “using the data insights gathered from [SAP SuccessFactors], Inchcape will be able to make more informed decisions to attract and inspire people of all ages, create a culture of well-being and sustainability, and address priorities like diversity, inclusion, health, economic growth and gender equality”.

Michiel Verhoeven, managing director of SAP UK & Ireland, added: “The automotive market is at an important crossroads as it is primed to take advantage of the digitalisation that is happening across industries.

“Inchcape is setting off on an exciting cloud journey, one where it can expect to significantly reduce tech infrastructure maintenance and operating costs and improve financial efficiency and employee experience.”

Meanwhile, Dominik Wee, managing director of global automotive, manufacturing and energy at Google Cloud, said: “To remain a leader in the automotive market, Inchcape is accelerating the migration of SAP workloads to the cloud to gain greater agility, elasticity, uptime, and benefits from greater data insight and analytics capabilities.

“Technical services from Rise, as well as migration services from Google Cloud and our partners, will help to eliminate technical barriers to cloud migration providing Inchcape with a foundation to digitally transform services.”

Read more about digital transformation in the automotive sector

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