“We find Vocus are responsive and quick to react when we do have anything go wrong. For example, a while ago we had a bushfire burn through a fibre cable, and everything went down at one of our locations. They had it up and running again within eight hours...”
Group General Affairs Manager, DVG Group
Driving growth with good communication
With 30 dealerships and over 600 staff spread across Western Australia, DVG Automotive Group depends on a fast, reliable communications network for its daily operations.
DVG was started by the Divirgilio family from a single used car dealership, over 30 years ago. Today it offers 16 new car brands, and has also grown to provide related motor trade services such as finance, insurance, servicing and parts.
As a fast-growing business, within in a highly competitive marketplace, DVG recognised agility in their operations was essential, but they didn’t want the overhead and understood that they could better utilise available capital elsewhere.
Rick Morcom, group general affairs manager for DVG, says the business realised it was outgrowing its existing fibre network and telephony systems some years ago.
“We had our own hardware infrastructure, and we had a major telco providing the fibre. Our phones were through them too, but they had become a mish mash of legacy systems,” says Morcom.
“We had five different phone systems, and our telco just couldn't get the job done to move us into one system. They tried, but they couldn’t manage it. And their service level agreement delivery was so bad that it could take up to three or four days to fix a phone issue, and we'd have dealerships down, which was unacceptable to us.
“On top of that, our hardware was getting very old and was going to cost a lot of money to replace.”
Ringing the changes
The relationship between DVG and Vocus commenced in 2013, with a basic requirement.
“The initial brief I gave to Vocus was to come up with one phone system,” says Morcom.
Once the expectations of this initial goal were exceeded, Vocus was then tasked to come up with a better approach to the network across their myriad of sites.
“We also asked them to look at how we could go about improving our infrastructure speed, it was very slow and it had become painful to operate our Dealer Management System. We also wanted to know how we could get away from managing our own hardware by incorporating that into a cloud platform.”
Throughout the journey, Vocus has worked with DVG’s small IT Team on their digital transformation journey and prepare their infrastructure for a move to all-cloud-based services including backup, compute and telephony.
Critical to the DVG strategy was focusing the business on its core strengths and leaning on its technology provider to deliver the goods to support that.
Time that was spent just ‘running’ the business can now be refocused on making the business more efficient and ensuring that their front-line customer teams are delivering the best outcomes for the people that matter… their customers.
And such is the success of the relationship that Vocus is partnering well beyond 2020 to support the business’ aggressive growth plans.
Up to speed
Morcom says the new fibre network provided to DVG by Vocus has resulted in major improvements in capacity and speed over their previous provider, despite coming at a substantially reduced cost.
“We now have one phone system. And people can move their phones, if they get transferred from one location to another they can retain the same number if they require,” says Morcom.
“We have incorporated instant messaging into our phone system. It works like an electronic phone book, where you just push one button to dial a person. The efficiency is it bypasses the switchboard, so the operators don't need to answer internal calls.”
“Changing our provider and upgrading our network capacity has helped us to no end. It has increased the speed of our DMS dramatically so the operators are no longer waiting for keystrokes to load. It is so much quicker to use and operate.”
Group General Affairs Manager, DVG Group
To the clouds… and beyond
Morcom says Vocus also oversaw the transfer of DVG’s IT systems, including email and the company’s critical dealer management system onto the cloud, which has had multiple benefits.
“Our dealer management system consists of vehicle stock control, accounting, lead management, service customers, our parts business...all in one system, with 600-odd people using it. It needs to operate to its maximum.
“We've got 12 different service departments that form a strong part of our operations from a cashflow and profitability point of view, and we have a 10-person call centre that handles that side of the business. Having them offline is not an option.
“Changing our provider and upgrading our network capacity has helped us to no end. It has increased the speed of our DMS dramatically so the operators are no longer waiting for keystrokes to load. It is so much quicker to use and operate.
“And we don't have to worry about managing our own hardware, which was getting old. We always had people or sites down. We also reduced a couple of staff when we went onto cloud collaboration with Vocus.”
Morcom says DVG has been impressed by its dealings with Vocus, and is currently in advanced discussions with them over the provision of disaster recovery and backup services.
“We find Vocus are responsive and quick to react when we do have anything go wrong. For example, a while ago we had a bushfire burn through a fibre cable, and everything went down at one of our locations. They had it up and running again within eight hours, which I considered a terrific effort as they basically had to replace the whole cable.”
All seven of the Divirgilio brothers were involved in the growth stages of DVG’s development. In 2015, two thirds of the business was sold to Japanese public company Gulliver, although eldest brother Lou Divirgilio remains MD of the company, and several of the other brothers hold director and dealer principal positions at DVG locations.
Once they have fully aligned their systems with those of their Japanese partners, DVG plan to expand onto the east coast of Australia, making use of Vocus’ national fibre network to keep all parts of the business seamlessly connected.