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PetrolPlaza Special: Discussing Implico's cloud-based system

Cloud-based solutions are changing the way gas stations operate. We take a look at Implico's iGOS system and how it helped DCC carry out the acquisition of 400 Exxon Mobil fuel stations. Michael Martens, responsible for iGOS at Implico, discusses the characteristics and benefits of such a system.

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Want to cut infrastructure and operational costs? Improve your gas station´s performance? Or gain flexibility and scalability? According to many experts, cloud-based solutions tick all those boxes. Retailers are now moving forecourt operations and managing systems from an in-house solution to the cloud – a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet used for storage, managing, and data processing.

According to Implico, an international software company specialized in the oil and gas industry, the benefits of using a cloud-based system are pretty clear from the start, as the initial investment in software and hardware of a conventional model are drastically reduced. The German-based company has developed their own comprehensive cloud-based solution: Implico Global Operation Services (iGOS). Implico believes it is the only vendor in the industry that offers a complete integration system that covers the entire operations of a gas station.

“The iGOS system offers an A-Z, complete IT integration for a downstream company: controlling, finance, logistics, savings, banking, customer service, retail management, etc. The entire downstream operation,” says Michael Martens, responsible for Implico´s OpenTAS and iGOS sales.

Compared to a conventional model, the economic benefits of a system such as the iGOS are quite clear. Instead of setting up its own infrastructure and hiring its own back office workforce, a fuel retailer can install a cloud-based system, outsourcing all of the business related IT and back office operations for the network to the cloud.

For Martens, the ideal customer for these kind of operations are fuel retailing companies which are about to acquire a network of gas stations from another operator. At the end of 2014, DCC Energy acquired around 400 fuel stations from Exxon Mobil in France. Instead of setting up its own in-house system, DCC simply decided to partner with Implico and deploy specialized downstream cloud services.

“These buying companies need systems such as the iGOS to backup everything that they don´t have. The transaction price per litre of fuel sold in the market is much lower,” explains Martens.

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While costs and operational investment is a key issue, the timing aspect of the operation is fundamental for a successful acquisition. “Everyone buying networks on the market is looking to speed up the process because post-merger processes have a strict calendar. Using a cloud service for this type of expansion really is the best way,” he adds.

Due to the tight schedule that Exxon Mobil and DCC had agreed for the takeover, the new systems had to be put in place and operational in a very short period of time. Implico managed to support DCC´s change of ownership with Exxon in eight months.

“The difficulty in changing the ownership of an existing network depends on the size. The biggest risk when making a takeover in the oil industry is the vertical integration from refineries, distribution, truck loading, retailing...” comments Martens. “You have to integrate a lot of different systems. In our case, most of the interfaces are already running.”

Implico now targets to have 10,000 gas stations running on their system over the next three years. When asked about the potential of cloud-based systems for the forecourt, Martens doesn´t hesitate: “This is the model of the future.”

Written by Oscar Smith Diamante

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