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How Toyota is financing the next generation of mobility services with MongoDB

Toyota Financial Services drives new automotive trends with MongoDB Atlas

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Evolving mobility services

Toyota Financial Services (TFS) operates in over 40 countries as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation. It provides auto loans, leases, and insurance to prospective Toyota owners, and helps dealers finance expansion. Its annual income is over $5 billion USD with over $250 billion USD in managed assets globally.

In recent years, TFS USA has started to provide private label financing for a range of other assets, including affiliate auto brands and boats.

The business is now expanding to bring its financing expertise to the next generation of mobility services. It anticipates a world which could include new models of car ownership, where consumers pay-per-use and cities provide new forms of public transport.

Ken Schuelke, Division Information Officer for Enterprise API Services at Toyota Financial Services shares how Toyota Financial Services and MongoDB are pioneering mobility services together.

Enabling digital transformation

The transportation sector is changing. Concerns around congestion, consumption, and carbon emissions are forcing consumers to rethink their transport choices. We’re looking to a future that is likely to involve accessible public transport, ridesharing, more shared ownership, and greater charges for larger emissions. Consequently, finance processes within the industry will need to be faster, more mobile, and more personal.

Toyota Financial Services (TFS) wants to be at the forefront of this emerging reality. It recognizes that digital transformation is central to its continued success.

“We’re a big, successful company with the means to invest in digital transformation in a way the smaller manufacturers can’t,” explains Ken Schuelke, Division Information Officer, for Enterprise API Services at Toyota Financial Services.

As part of this transformation, TFS is transforming itself from a company that buys software off-the-shelf to one that develops its own. This has required the hiring of in-house developer talent, and the provisioning of the tools for those developers to work effectively. One of the immediate outcomes is the creation of the TFS mFin multi-tenant platform. This is the cornerstone of TFS’s toolkit to handle the company’s digital complexity, managing sensitive data from multiple partners and ensuring data is kept separate.

Additionally, Schuelke notes the company’s commitment to community: “Toyota really wants to make the world a better place; it’s very customer focused. Where we want to go now is to expand mobility for all, so we’re developing mobility services and expanding our company from just a finance lending platform to a full mobility stack.”

As the business grows and new private-label projects require stronger segmentation, Schuelke says the challenge is to maintain developer agility with a goal to create a dynamic developer culture.

“Previously, we had a database team, an integration team, a front-end development team and an infrastructure team focused on these monolithic deployments,” he explains. “Now, with the speed at which the market is moving, we want smaller teams with all the platform tools they need to do the whole job. We want them to be innovative, to solve problems on their own and to write great code. So, the developer experience that MongoDB is shooting for is the same thing we’re shooting for.”

“We want [developers] to be innovative, to solve problems on their own and to write great code. So, the developer experience that MongoDB is shooting for is the same thing we’re shooting for.”

Ken Schuelke, Division Information Officer, Toyota Financial Services


Creating a richer experience with a migration to Atlas

In 2017, TFS created a data lake built on MongoDB. Today, MongoDB is seen as an essential component of agile developer culture at TFS.

“We recognized the value of MongoDB’s two million-strong developer community and its comprehensive online support,” says Schuelke.

It is an engagement that continues to evolve. TFS found its database team was spending 40% of its time managing infrastructure, patching, and supporting the platform. The natural next step was to migrate to Atlas, MongoDB’s developer data platform, Schuelke adds: “I thought it was going to be difficult to migrate the data, but it turns out that the toolkit Atlas provides made it incredibly simple.” Schuelke’s team is also exploring the benefits of Atlas Search and Atlas Charts: “One of the big selling points for Atlas is that it has Atlas Search, meaning I can get rid of our search databases. It also has additional features such as graph capabilities.”

Atlas now provides the backbone for the company’s data fulfillment service. It consolidates data from mainframe applications for lending and leasing into a real-time platform that is accessible on the web. Atlas also powers the event log system, known as Elvis, enabling TFS to react to the millions of events that are logged every week.

“The power of an event is that we can react to detect fraud or, if you acquire a new customer, you can send them a marketing email,” continues Schuelke. “In that context, the value of the information for the event diminishes over time so you have to have real-time information. Atlas is a key part of our event and reaction strategy.”


A data platform for the future

TFS now works from a robust, flexible, and reliable database platform that protects customers’ sensitive data and enables quick reactions to fast-moving events. This is helping the company diversify from a traditional finance lending company to a provider of financial services in the dynamic mobility sector.

“Previously, a transaction would occur, we put it in the database, it flows through an events log, we pick it up and put it in an elastic cache so it can be accessed quickly. Another component would then read it and stick it on an object data storage so the data warehouse can consume it. Each of those steps is a potential failure point,” comments Schuelke. “Now, with Atlas, we can simply put it in the database and use the inbuilt tools to handle everything automatically. It really helps reduce the complexity.”

As the automotive industry continues to evolve and new mobility solutions increase in popularity, Atlas will ensure that TFS remains at the forefront of developments, leading the way. Atlas offers unparalleled scalability to handle the expected growth and TFS is confident that it will continue to play a central role. In fact, TFS recently built a data fulfillment service to satisfy consumer privacy regulations: “MongoDB is a great company with a powerful, reliable platform. We are an international company. We need to respect the local data privacy rules in, say, Frankfurt or the United States, and the Atlas platform makes that job easy,” concludes Schuelke. “MongoDB helps us make better decisions and build better products.”

“MongoDB helps us make better decisions and build better products.”

Ken Schuelke, Division Information Officer, Toyota Financial Services

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