As one of the largest automotive dealer groups in South Wales and the West of England, the Mon Motors Group is comprised of Audi, Ford, Seat, Skoda, and Volkswagen dealerships, service centers, and more. For 40 years, the Group has steadily grown through acquisitions and the opening of new dealerships. In order to deliver exceptional customer experiences and high quality workmanship, this family-run company relies upon technology for day-to-day business operations.
Original Networking Challenges
With just two members on the IT team and distributed sites with varying IT needs and equipment, Stuart Holcombe, Group IT Manager, was looking for a solution to provide performance, unity, and simplified management.
Existing technology at the locations performed satisfactorily, but lacked reliability. The wireless dropped out intermittently, and required travel on-site for updates and troubleshooting.
Why Cisco Meraki
The team needed a solution that could be easily rolled out with minimal disruption to live sites, and be online and ready to use immediately.
After suffering through slow or a complete lack of Internet, it was imperative that the new network solution demonstrated reliability and good connection speed.
While researching possible solutions to tackle the issues of reliability and high-density usage, Holcombe came across the Cisco Meraki solution and requested a free trial of an 802.11ac access point.
Replacing network devices can be a significant investment, but Stuart was able to use the free trial to demonstrate vast improvements in the network with Meraki. The results after one week of testing made company decision makers eager to deploy the solution.
Not only can the Meraki wireless handle challenging environments, but the 2-man IT team also found they can now easily view, manage, and control distributed sites from a remote web-based dashboard.
The Meraki solution is excellent, a massive improvement on what we had before. It’s useful to see what people are doing and to share the information with the directors. It’s not something we had before. It’s very helpful.Stuart Holcombe, Group IT Manager
APs were simply added by plugging them in via PoE and using existing ports at some sites. At locations that did not have the requisite infrastructure in place, once the cable was run, it was just a matter of mounting the devices.
The longest deployment took just a couple of hours, and once the initial site was configured and deployed, each subsequent site was much easier.
Stuart has up to 15 SSIDs per network that he can completely customise, providing access for guests, employees, service centers, etc.
Mon Motors is providing guests with simple Internet access through a branded splash page and can add information on their terms and conditions, as well as traffic-shaping rules, to ensure appropriate use.
Stuart has also rolled out Systems Manager, the Meraki Enterprise Mobility Management platform, to track company-owned devices and provide employees with the resources they need while they’re with customers or in the service centers.
Stuart is using every aspect of the dashboard to manage and monitor the network remotely. “We have analytics now and we’re getting great responses from users on site. It was a big problem before, and now it’s not!”
Due to the ease of management and the wealth of information that can be gathered from the Meraki Dashboard, the Mon Motors team is looking at ways they can partner the Meraki solution with other bolt-ons to extend their capabilities into other areas of the business.
Mon Motors has about 180 mobile devices with Systems Manager. The IT team can utilise the dashboard to add and configure devices using Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, as well as push batches of licensed apps out with the Volume Purchase Program.
Mobile devices are distributed throughout the dealerships and service centers and are used by sales or on shop floors. With DEP and VPP integration, if Stuart needs an iPad for a site, he can order it with DEP, it shows up in dashboard where he can configure it and push apps, and then if an employee leaves or he needs to repurpose the device, he can remotely wipe it.
The Meraki networking devices and Systems Manager “have revolutionised the way we work,” said Stuart.
Built-in alerts keep the IT team notified in the event of a change or problem in the network, while automatic firmware updates and new feature releases keep Mon Motors at the leading edge of innovation.