Meet the buyer: Inchcape Australia

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This article appeared in the September 2016 issue of CRN magazine.

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Meet the buyer: Inchcape Australia
Alan Perkins, Inchcape

Inchcape Australia’s more than 1,400 employees provide the automotive sector with distribution, retail and logistics services. IT director Alan Perkins is leading the rollout of major new systems that will provide the foundation for Inchcape’s ambition to become the world’s most trusted automotive distributor and retailer.

What would be an example of a project where you are using channel providers?

There is a very big project at the moment – the combined rollout of two SAP and two Salesforce implementations simultaneously – and we are doing the Salesforce Marketing Cloud alongside those as well. In the case of the Salesforce projects, we have been working with Salesforce developers:  Extend IT for a distribution project and Tquila and Morphate for a retail project. And likewise, with SAP we  have been working with TCS as third‑party developers.

How did you select these service providers?

Part of the initial arrangement we entered into was that we wanted to come out of it empowered. This project is a first from an Inchcape global perspective, on the Salesforce side at least where we are rolling these out around the world. But Australia is the initial site and the Inchcape world is looking at what we do.

In what circumstances will you tend to engage partners?

Historically, I have preferred to build things myself. But when I am looking for partners, it is for partners I can trust in a competence and ethics sense, and partners who can empower me. If their agenda is to tactically deliver what they are required to deliver, without thought of a bigger universe, you can end up with data and systems islands that will talk to each other, but which are not designed to leverage each other. I  look ing for someone who can be a partner, not necessarily just a project deliverer.

What annoys you most about partners?

Do they actually understand the products they are delivering? We’ve had situations where vendors have promised they know a particular vertical application, where really what they have done is heard about it. And that is really hard to challenge. It is this understanding of what they truly have at their disposal that makes the difference between someone who is just going to tactically develop something and someone who is going to facilitate a program of empowerment.

Will you use more partners in the future?

Yes, I probably will use more third parties. Having worked in high-tech companies I have a natural proclivity for building systems myself, but when the business focus is not primarily based on technology then I will [use a partner]. 

But I will only do it in a way that enables me to leverage existing systems and not build islands.  


RESUMÉ

  • Feb 2015 – present  IT Director, Inchcape Australia
  • Aug 2014 – Feb 2015  Chief innovation officer of Asia Pacific Japan cloud business unit, Hewlett-Packard
  • Jan 2013 – July 2014  CTO Asia Pacific, Rackspace
  • Mar 2008 – Aug 2012  CIO, Altium Ltd
  • Mar 2007 – Feb 2008  Contractor, Strathdon Consulting
  • Jan 2004 – Aug 2008  CIO, Altium Ltd
  • Jan 2001 – Jan 2004  Director, business systems and director Sydney  Technology Center, Altium Ltd
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