DRIVING GROWTH FOR ENDRAS AUTOMOTIVE GROUP WITH CISCO
Endras Automotive Group was founded by father and son, Chris and Mark Endras, just over a decade ago. Starting with a single location in Ajax, Ont., the pair had ambitions to grow Endras Automotive into more than a single dealership – they had a vision for a luxury auto gallery that placed exceptional customer service at the very heart of their business.
Just as important as their overarching business plan, Mark and Chris made technology a core part of the organization’s growth strategy. The critical value of IT was underscored when, in early 2014, the company’s phone system went down. With a key piece of technology out of commission, Endras Automotive looked to Cisco Gold partner, Synnapex, for guidance. Not only did Endras Automotive get its phone systems back online, but by working closely with its IT partner the company was set up for growth and success as it planned to scale its organization in the years to come.
Enter Synnapex, an IT service partner that places its solution-focused engineers at the forefront. Not only did Synnapex assist with deploying on-premise Cisco Unified phone systems at Endras Automotive’s BMW location, they kick-started the process of growth-proofing the network.
“Partners like Synnapex are vital to the growth and success of our customers in Canada,” says Lissa Ricci, Cisco Canada’s vice president of small business sales. “Yoon and his team have become trusted advisors for Endras, helping them understand the value of Cisco technologies and what solutions will help them achieve their business goals. This isn’t a relationship that is cultivated overnight. It’s based on years of experience and Synnapex’s commitment to their customers.”
Working closely with Nolan, Synnapex created two main IT hubs at the BMW and Lexus dealerships. This set up enabled Endras Automotive to scale quickly. Having a unified communications platform already in place allowed them to expand the phone systems without having to go through another store’s infrastructure, and new locations were connected to a high-speed fibre optic network as they were built.
Seventeen Cisco Catalyst® 3750 and 2960 switches and four Cisco ASA 5500-X Series firewalls were also installed throughout the network at Endras dealerships, connecting multiple PCs, printers, phones, servers and more, allowing users to access these shared resources in a smooth, efficient and highly secure manner.
“The Cisco deployment has been bullet-proof,” says Nolan. “Cisco’s systems have been very intuitive, user friendly and, most importantly, extremely reliable.”
And what does the rest of the Endras Automotive team have to say about the network infrastructure? Well, not much. Thanks to a flexible and reliable network, they’ve never had to experience a disruption in service.
Nolan is also making Cisco’s technology work harder for the company with Cisco Meraki Wireless access points. With support from Synnapex Endras installed more than 50 across its dealerships, from the Cisco Meraki MR18 to the ruggedized MR74. Through the Cisco Meraki dashboard, Nolan’s nimble IT team gained visibility into the network’s users and their devices, arming them with rich analytics so they can optimize both the end-user experience and network security in real time.
By engaging Synnapex from the very start, Endras Automotive was able to map-out how to scale their business quickly and smoothly.
“The Cisco deployment has been bullet-proof. Cisco’s systems have been very intuitive, user friendly and, most importantly, extremely reliable.”
- Brett Nolan
- General Manager, Endras Automotive
When Endras Automotive purchased its first BMW dealership, it came equipped with legacy network infrastructure, including an outdated analog phone system. When the phones eventually went down, the dealership was left scrambling and unable to provide the exceptional customer service they had just begun to build their reputation on.
“Our customers want the white glove treatment because they have an expectation for the best – they’re paying a premium and their experience should match that,” says Brett Nolan, a general manager who has been with Endras Automotive since day one and closely involved in building out its IT capabilities. “If the internet is slow or the phones go down, it looks very unprofessional from a customer service standpoint.”
The phones were just one piece of a larger challenge that came with the inherited infrastructure: Endras Automotive was looking to add several dealerships to its portfolio over the next few years, and the company would need a robust IT backbone to reliably support more users and devices across multiple locations.
- Every small business wants to become big, so make sure IT doesn’t get in your way by thinking about it – and planning – upfront.
- By getting IT involved at the construction phase, all the right IT infrastructure – such as power and cooling – was accounted for and included at a lower cost.
- After an initial investment, IT was able to scale much more easily as the business grew, including the unified communications platform, which enabled Endras Automotive to add new locations with minimal fuss.
Today, Endras Automotive has grown to support roughly 350 users across 13 locations in Ajax and the Durham region. It can be easy to perceive IT as an expense or cost-centre, but for Nolan, it was an upfront investment that enabled them to scale quickly and seamlessly.
“IT was always top of mind and top of the list. We always wanted to have the best of the best, including redundancies. So, when we were building all of the stores, we had IT at all of the construction meetings and working with the architects as well.”
Although Endras is now taking care of the majority of IT in-house, Synnapex still plays a vital day-to-day role, supporting with managed services and helping Endras with the final piece of the puzzle: endpoint security.
“We’re not done growing yet. We expect to house more than 15 premium retail brands over the next few years, employing over 600 people,” says Nolan. “With more users and devices connecting our network than ever before, it’s imperative we have security on the PC and endpoint level.”
For more information Learn more about Cisco solutions at cisco.com/ca Visit the Synnapex and Cisco website.