Subaru deploys app to streamline inventory, enable BYOD

While many companies continue to wring their hands over BYOD, others are diving right in.

Subaru Canada is among the latest companies to do so.  Over the course of about a year, the company, in partnership with Toronto-based app developer iMason Inc., has built an app that simplifies and streamlines the inventory process and has deployed it on some 300 Windows Surface Pro 3 tablets at some 90 dealerships across Canada.

Called Subaru Connect, the app allows or its showroom salespeople to access inventory on the go in real time to give to customers.  It’s a move that the company says has unified various dealerships, which have had to go through various means, including laptops, PCs, and paper to access the available data.

Subaru Connect Hub
Subaru Connect Hub centralizes product information by storing it all on the internal SharePoint portal.

“With this we have a single pane of glass,” said George Hamin, director of eBusiness and information systems at Subaru Canada. “From an organizational perspective, this is the first app we’re supporting.”

He added that the app, which is based on Microsoft SharePoint, is constantly updated in the background, so there is no wait time.  In addition to numbers, the app also has visual assets, namely images and videos to support sales staff, but most importantly, the company is making preliminary forays into usage tracking to see what consumers liked to look at or compare.

But deployment did not stop at the 300 mark.  While Subaru worked away the past six months preparing its back-end Microsoft Dynamix AX CRM infrastructure for the apps, iMason has developed three versions of the app, for Windows, iOS and Android.

Using a Microsoft service called Intune, anyone with a tablet could essentially log into the Subaru company app store and download the app, according to Jeff Dunmall, president of iMason.

This was so dealers could use “any existing devices that they had purchased on their own,” Hamin said, adding that at the moment, the app works on tablets but not smartphones.

“We seated the dealer network with Surface Pro 3 devices basically to be kind of a desktop refreshment for them … and to involve all their legacy apps, he says.  “For some of the ERP software that dealerships run, the Surface Pro 3 was the only device that accomplished that.”

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Dave Yin
Dave Yin
Digital Staff Writer at Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel.

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