Hendrick Automotive Group connects 100 dealerships
Enabling collaboration across a national enterprise
KEY USE CASES
Digital asset library
Asset creation and distribution
PRODUCTS & INTEGRATIONS
dealerships on Box
faster to close out accounting business
- Nationwide growth resulted in content silos and collaboration challenges across 100 dealerships
- Safeguarding IP and PII, along with staying compliant, are important for an enterprise handling personal information
- Even the best technology is useless if people won’t use it, so Hendrick Automotive Group needed to make sure adoption would be easy and smooth for teams nationwide
- With all content now centralized on Box, everyone has access to what they need to do their best work
- Content held in Box meets the right standards for security and compliance, with the ability to automate some of the governance
- Hendrick Automotive Group worked with Box Consulting to implement the Content Cloud in a thoughtful, intuitive way that employees use and love
From car dealership to tech-enabled car sales
Hendrick Automotive Group began as a single car dealership in 1976 and is now a $12B organization with 100 dealerships across the US. From humble beginnings to an organization with more than 10,000 employees, this trajectory was built on sharp business acumen and conscientious technology choices.
Robert Taylor, Vice President and CIO, has been at Hendrick Automotive Group for 21 years and has seen the evolution of technology at the company — moving from content fractured across teams and locations to a centralized source: the Content Cloud. He says, “We choose partners like Box that align with our vision, can integrate with all of the rest of our tools, and understand the role they can play in making us the best possible version of a technology company that we can possibly be. That, to me, is an advantage that we have over some of our contemporaries.”
That vision — to be the premier supplier of retail automotive cars in the US — demands that the company use the right tools for communication, collaboration, document storage, project management, the approval process, and more. That’s the leverage and scope Hendrick Automotive Group gets with Box.
From floppy disks to a state-of-the-art cloud platform
A complex dealership enterprise like Hendrick Automotive Group has dozens of dispersed teams — not just sales and maintenance but real estate, construction, and media production teams that help the business grow and promote itself. Like most traditional organizations, people at Hendrick Automotive Group once passed content around on floppy disks, but that was a long, long time ago.
The company entered the Content Cloud and licensed Box organization-wide about a decade ago. Taylor says, “The decision was pretty easy, because we knew Box was the type of company we wanted to work with. Box solves a number of our problems because it allows us to keep data in a single location while sharing it with all of our business partners, regardless of the operation or service they’re in.”
With the ability to store content securely in one seamless place, giving stakeholders across the company easier access to files, Hendrick can get more value from all kinds of content in a lot of different ways.
For the video team, Box enables quick work on big files
David Thompson is Media and Video Production Manager for the company. His department uses Box to manage and share video files, graphics, and all the pre-production documents that go along with marketing, promotional, and e-learning materials. Within Box, the team can handle revisions and versioning all the way through to deliverables.
Box is key for collaboration, particularly because teammates are spread out across different dealerships and offices. Sometimes stakeholders are in an office; other times they’re out in the field. “With Box,” Thompson says, “we’re independent of location. We can have access to all those files in one place, know that they’re safe and secure — and that we can download or upload large files very fast.”
The Content Cloud now holds a library containing a half petabyte of media files produced over the years. The unlimited storage is a very popular feature of Box for the media team. With physical servers, they were constantly having to negotiate for more storage. Now, scaling content volume happens seamlessly. In addition to the unlimited storage, Thompson says, “In today’s production environment, speed is everything, and Box helps us make deadlines that would be nearly impossible without having the file access that it provides. ￼I can’t imagine not having Box as a file storage solution. It’s become part of our culture, and we know that we can always count on it.”
For accounting, communication flows on Box
Denise Marenna is Vice President of Dealership Accounting at Hendrick Automotive Group. Her team uses Box for project management and communication, approval processes, and compliant document storage. For the accounting department, the ability to migrate all important documents to one centralized place in the cloud has eliminated what Marenna calls the “iron mountain costs” of physical servers. Doing so also made it easier to communicate and collaborate across the country with various teams and dealerships.
This ease of access goes both ways. The accounting department can communicate with dealerships faster. And dealerships can also access content easier — for instance, getting ahold of a copy of their DMV license when an inspector shows up for a surprise inspection on a Saturday afternoon. The ability to store all files and content centrally and surface it easily makes a lot of processes much quicker and more efficient. As a result, Marenna says, “￼With Box we can close out businesses in three business days, when previously it would take anywhere from 10 to 14.”
“Complexity is simplified,” she adds, “because we can communicate properly within the Box environment. For the accounting team, Box has revolutionized how we operate.”
For IT, it’s seamless collaboration and user empowerment
For the IT team itself, the move to Box has proven priceless. As Amy Frost (Director of Information Technology) describes it, before Box: “We had files scattered out on people’s computers; sharing was hard; a lot of collaboration took place over email attachment. It just wasn’t the most organized way to get things done.”
This made for a lot of extra work for IT, ultimately the group responsible for finding content and giving people permission to access files on an ad-hoc, manual basis. Backups were also a hassle. Frost says, “When we adopted Box, it became the solution for a lot of these problems with sharing and giving people access to things. From there, it became a really convenient way to collaborate.”
Ultimately, people at Hendrick Automotive Group don’t want to have to think about the technology processes behind how they sell a car. As Frost describes, “They’re thinking about the business of how to sell a car better, not, ‘How am I going to get this spreadsheet shared so that I can get that information to the people I'm collaborating with?’”
People-led use of content
Collaboration via Box was an easy transition for the nationwide workforce because Box still allows people to work with their favorite file types. Along the same lines, any content stored in Box is available to people even if they don’t use a particular kind of software. For instance, transactions produced in NetSuite can be viewed by people who do not use that software — as long as they have the right permissions to view particular files.
Dom Gowens, Systems Engineer, says, “Box has allowed us to work a lot more efficiently because we’re able to share files as needed in order to get work done directly with each other. As I like to say, our users know better than we do about their use cases on the day-to-day software.”
Tim Williams, Director of Business Systems Development and Utilization at the company, agrees. He says, “We're able to allow our end users to easily and efficiently share documents in real time, which allows them to communicate faster. Our people just kind of get their work done faster and more efficiently.”
Gowens sums it up: “Having Box as our primary content management system has helped us realize the benefits of having everything in one place — one secure place — in the cloud. Everyone can use it, no matter the dealership or department, to easily collaborate with one another. That’s the primary benefit that we’ve seen with Box.”
A seamless migration with Box Consulting
Box is used by the company’s accounting department, media and video department, tax department, IT department, accounting group, and over 100 sites, each with sales, parts, and finance departments. It’s a lot of content. Some of the files go back decades to the launch of the company.
Moving all of these organizations’ content to Box was a massive migration project. Gowens describes the pre-Box situation as “files kind of everywhere, sprawled across different folders.” He says, “With the migration, we had to rethink things and put content more in line with business use. The benefit of migrating 100 dealerships to Box is the unity that Box provides for us.”
Even post-migration, of course, finding the right files in such a vast library of content requires robust search capability, which Box has, along with precise classification and tagging capabilities. Taking advantage of these features allows Hendrick Automotive Group to get assets into the right workflows. The team uses Box Governance to tie classification policies to content security and more accurately. Various files and folders are automatically restricted to people from certain dealerships or on particular teams.
The right amount of security for every file
The Box integration with Okta makes it easy to manage user permissions. For HR, the entire process of onboarding people to Box is automated. When someone new is hired, their login is pushed into Okta, and when someone leaves the company, they are removed from their particular Okta group so they no longer have access to company content held on Box.
“For our onboarding process, the deep integration that Box has with our single sign-on solution,” says Williams, “allows us to make sure that we’re not experiencing data leaks from employees with more access than they need.”
Because permissions are so transparent on Box, IT can easily see who has access to which content and how things are being shared. It’s easy to assign a category to a piece of content and specify whether it can be shared globally, externally, or only with a limited group of users. Frost says, “Using all those features has helped give people the peace of mind that this is a secure solution and that files are safe — safer than they likely were on the internal file server.”
Gowens backs this up: “Security is very important to our organization because we have a lot of sensitive documents dealing with PII and compliance, and Box really helps us to make sure that we keep those documents 100% safe.”
Hendrick Automotive Group’s roadmap to the future with Box
Of the partnership between Box and Hendrick Automotive Group. Frost says, “The thing we’ve loved about having Box as a partner is that when we have a little spark of an idea for our business, they get excited — sometimes they even get more excited than us. And whether it’s the sales team or the consultants that are sent in to help us, they take the time to learn about our business and what could be better.”
And, she continues: “Our roadmap for the future is continuing to enlist the same flexible collaboration tools that disappear for people and make it easy for them to do their jobs.”
Taylor embellishes this sentiment about Box: “It’s become part of our culture, and we know that we can always count on it. The speed at which we can retrieve files, the classification, the file requests — all the features — the list goes on and on.”
Box allows us to connect our team across the organization, whether we’re in the dealership environment, in a corporate office, or even out in the field, working with some of our partners.”
— David Thompson, Media and Video Production Manager, Hendrick Automotive
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