Nissan Europe faces up to data transfer challenge

How a major car business faces the challenge of restructuring the way it sends crucial files through the enterprise.

Automobile company Nissan Europe had a challenge. It needed to reliably transfer files throughout the enterprise and internet to places such as external companies.

This included transferring files related to the motoring business such as supplying spare parts for building new cars, logistical information and warranty claims.

Nissan Europe also needed to transfer financial documents safely, IT planning section manager Ian Porter told IT PRO. "There's an amount of financial information we exchange with banks. We have multi-financial systems, some of which are on SAP that are mainframe based," he said.

"We've got HR systems where we move data between platforms loads of different areas that have anything to do with cars or the surrounding infrastructure for any large organisation," he added.

Nissan had a plethora of products, tools and techniques for transferring files, or "mayhem", as Porter described.

"People would decide what they wanted to do, with no enforcement or consistency. The mess was just growing by the day," he said.

The company decided to put in a solution from a company called Stonebranch that allowed it to replace hundreds of file transfer solutions with just the one. It could also centrally control and govern the standards and processes around transferring data.

However, actually doing this wasn't so easy, Porter revealed. Nissan Europe couldn't completely switch all of its systems to the new file transfer product as there were lots of legacy systems that were still in place, which were too expensive to completely change.

All Nissan Europe could do was call time on all the other ways of transferring files and use Stonebranch's file transfer solution for anything new - in a step-by-step piecemeal basis. Porter said the company didn't have the time and resources to "aggressively pursue" a complete change.

Nissan Europe has been a customer with Stonebranch for 20 months, but had actually been in dialogue for four years.

"That's no fault of Stonebranch," said Porter. "That's the fault of the financial and political situation [at Nissan Europe] where we knew what wanted to do, but were stood at that final hurdle for nearly two years trying to get over it."

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