Starting the ignition for cloud-powered car dealers | #splunkconf16

Asked what physical devices they think of first in terms of dependency upon cloud-stored data, many people would likely answer with phones or other small, portable devices. But as the cloud industry continues to mature, it’s finding interest from those who handle much larger machines.

At the Splunk.conf 2016 convention, Steve Hatch, manager at Cox Automotive Inc., met with John Walls (@JohnWalls21) and John Furrier (@furrier), cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, to discuss his company’s use of data management and Splunk platforms to enable connections throughout the lifetime of an automobile.

Cox’s work

Hatch began by laying out the essence of Cox’s business model. “Cox Automotive represents the ecosystem of a car, from the dealer’s side or consumer’s side, from when the manufacturer produces the car, and all the different services that a dealer would leverage, up until that car is sold,” he said.

He continued: “And then all the functions that a consumer will use, whether it’s insurance and ownership of a car, parts and services, and once they decide to sell or trade that car back to a dealer, it goes right back through that life-cycle again. Eventually, salvage and recycle.”

Splunk’s role

Hatch proceeded to examine how the data garnered from all of these sources and interactions could be used to power their sales and outgrowth. “By way of Splunk log analytics, business analytics, you can take that data by way of marketing that would then influence specific traffic on your websites,” he said. “Those websites turn into transactions, which then produce something that can be either purchased or sold, that will deplete someone’s inventory, and then that provider can then fulfill it automatically, because they’re already aware.”

Hatch continued: “Initially, it was a matter of putting all of this data into one centralized location. And the way that we’ve leveraged Splunk is by way of Splunk Cloud. Splunk Cloud allows us to not have to worry about so many of the on-premise challenges of firewalls, different data centers and different security policies, where everyone has an Internet pipe, send all that data to a common place, and from there, now we can search an index against that data.”

Finding the value

Hatch also shared some of the indispensable needs that had to be met to best acquire and use this data. “You have to get out there and sell it, you have to establish partnerships, then you have to ingest all that data,” he said.

“Ingesting the data, on-boarding your users, is just one aspect of it,” he noted. “Where we’re going now is getting the value out of it, because over time, the CTO who signed this deal [asks]: ‘Where’s that value? Great, you have terabytes and terabytes of data, where’s my ROI?’”

Moving forward

Asked where he sees the future room for expansion as being, Hatch covered a number of areas, beginning with security, and followed by “the business analytics that can go directly into business, specifically marketing the sales. Allow them to leverage this tool, which is not only geared towards the technical … so they can build out their own dashboards and templates to actually get value out of Splunk without ever having any kind of technical discipline.”

Hatch continued: “And also, it’s a matter of making sure that Splunk can be possibly that platform that allows our architects to now go back and get everyone standard on key performance indicators, to allow all business units to now have indicators that are aligned. The more we are aligned as a company, as an enterprise, we can get that much more value out of Splunk.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of Splunk.conf 2016.

Photo by SiliconANGLE

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