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Solutions PLC Case Study)
2 Organizational Problem Toyota needed to redesign the company’s United Kingdom web site in order to meet new corporate guidelines. The web site had to manage content for internal corporate users, as well as for consumers. Toyota wanted to make the best use of Internet technology to enhance the consumer experience and build a closer relationship with consumers by personalizing the web site functions and keeping the web site fresh and inviting (IS Solutions, 2003). The efficient and effective delivery of content to consumers was the major goal for the web site. They also needed the site to be easy for the Toyota business users to manage. Since the web site already existed, they needed to do a major upgrade without causing the site to be down for very long. They wanted consumers to continue using the web site while the upgrades were being installed and tested, so they had to be able to do system diagnosis without disruption of the service. Relevant Approaches to the Problem IS Solutions approached the problem with an eye to the future, developing and building in the means to make changes after the foundations of the web site were established. They illustrated the possibilities for what the web site could do for consumers. They used consultant services in the areas of business analysis, technical analysis and information architecture. Information architecture is important because it blends business requirements with the design and navigation of the web site that makes it efficient and effective for delivering information to the user (IS Solutions, 2003).
3 The approach of taking down the web site and replacing it with an entirely new web site was rejected. Instead, they developed major upgrades and additions to the existing web site to improve the functionality and userfriendliness for both consumers and Toyota business users. Site Management The site was designed with publishing categories that match the site navigation, so the business managers can easily publish content to be displayed on the page where they want consumers to see it. When they generate content in the Oracle database, they can view the page where it will be displayed, to see how it looks. The site is divided into zones, so managers can see which zones are more popular, as well as track the visitors on the site as they move from zone to zone. Zones provide a hierarchical structure, so high priority messages reach the web site visitor. In addition, the buttons on the side of the page allow visitors to find each zone easily. Thus, the dealers can see which zones the consumers visit most often, and they can place their high-priority content in those zones. This helps them to target advertisements to consumers and ensure that the consumers see those advertisements. The web site was easy to manage, and it was easy for both consumers and Toyota business users to find the content that they needed. Site Content The content was designed to help change web site visitors into Toyota buyers. A “persistent guest” technology enabled them to personalize the content
4 based on the online behavior of the guests and the business rules of the web site. Thus, they could show visitors the content that interests them, and encourage them to become prospects for the sales of Toyota cars. The site also offered data on used cars for consumers (IS Solutions, 2003). In addition, the site contained content for Toyota business users, including databases that they could access and use for their marketing activities. The Oracle databases can be retrieved easily, and the site has a management tool for debugging, so they can view the page and fix any problems before it becomes available for viewing by consumers who visit the web site (IS Solutions, 2003). User Registration The site offered several advantages to registered users, to encourage registration. The visitors can see the site without registration, but having a personalized profile helps Toyota to target their market better. Registered users could receive up-to-date information about new car launches, road show events and other promotions and news from local Toyota dealers. The vicinity mapping on the site could show them where local dealers were located (IS Solutions, 2003). Thus, the consumers and Toyota benefited if the users were registered. Mobility Services Up-to-the-minute travel information is just one of the added value features of the web site. Getmethere.co.uk provides travel data across Europe, including weather reports, traffic, route planning, points of interest and fuel stops (IS Solutions, 2003).
5 Key Activities For Toyota’s business and technical users, the web site provides customized training to help them publish and manage business rules on the site, without having to contact technical support to make those changes. The site also has project management capabilities, so Toyota business users can employ a methodology that conforms to industry standards (IS Solutions, 2003). Changes/Improvements Generated IS Solutions used past experience with web site development, as well as focused workshops to learn the requirements of the organization and find ways to meet those requirements. They developed business and technical specifications, then reviewed and evaluated them to form the basis of development work. The key technologies employed included BroadVision One-to-One Enterprise platform Oracle database Sun Solaris operating system iPlanet (Sun ONE) web server
The web site also employed Java and XML. BroadVision's One-to-One technology formed the foundation of the web site. It was originally designed with version 3.0 of BroadVision's One-to-One, and then it was upgraded to version 7.0 Java and XML software technologies facilitated the compiling of temporary and permanent databases and the extraction of those databases for display (IS Solutions, 2003).
6 Toyota’s business and technical users were enabled to publish content and manage business rules on the site. Employee training was also provided on the web site. Consumers were allowed to view the web site without registering, but registration would allow each consumer to enter information that would build a personal profile to customize the content of the web site for each individual. In order to provide a flexible, personalized web site, IS Solutions utilized dynamic menus that allowed the subnavigation to change as new content was brought online. In addition, the consumer would see only the content that was relevant to their personal profile. The site made extensive use of existing Toyota content, and it used zones to allow the placement of advertisements and important notices on pages where they were most likely to be seen by the consumers (IS Solutions, 2003). The upgraded web site provided more functions for consumers, and it was easier for them to use. In addition, Toyota business users were enabled to personalize their messages to consumers and encourage web site visitors to become Toyota customers. Difficulties Arising During Implementation of the Changes/Improvements The web site needed to be easy and comfortable for consumers to use. In addition, Toyota needed to use the web site for corporate use in training and support. This made it necessary to limit access to Toyota’s internal data to corporate users and to block consumers from access to that sensitive information.
7 There was a great need for security, to stop attacks from worms, viruses and hackers. Toyota implemented the TippingPoint Intrusion Prevention Systems to secure their web site against cyber threats: Toyota Europe researched security solutions from TippingPoint, Cisco, Symantec, McAfee and ISS. They eliminated the Cisco system because they found it costly and cumbersome to manage. After doing head-to-head concept testing between the TippingPoint™ IPS and ISS’s Proventia system, Toyota Europe concluded that the TippingPoint IPS was "the best security appliance on the planet." Toyota Europe found their conclusions confirmed by SC Magazine, which ranked the TippingPoint solution "the Best Security Solution 2005." (3Com Corporation, 2005). There was also a great need to minimize the downtime when it became necessary to expand and upgrade the web site to handle growing levels of user activity into the future. The BroadVision configuration allowed the web site to operate the upgraded system on a load-sharing configuration, so the site could continue to function during expansions and upgrades (IS Solutions, 2003). Thus, they could test the site for functionality and user-friendliness, before it went on line for the consumers. This enabled viability system diagnosis and testing of the web site and everything that it does. Toyota needed to manage its regular bulletin, “Toyota Dealer Daily”, for display on the web site. The company outsourced this task to LeadingWay Services, utilizing the LeadingWay KnowledgeOne Content Manager as a knowledge system (LeadingWay, 2001).
8 Strengths/Weaknesses of the Approach for Contemporary Strategic Design within the Organization The use of a web site can reach a large audience at a relatively low price, but not all consumers utilize the Internet. Therefore, it is important to employ other forms of marketing to reach consumers. For example, Toyota has partnered with Xerox Corporation to produce high-quality brochures with color photographs for mail shots, door drops and point-of-sale distribution. Xerox developed technology that allows dealer sin the United Kingdom to create brochures that contain uniform branding with customized information about location, store hours and other variables, while enjoying cost savings and avoiding the dilution of brand image that might occur if each dealership created and printed their own brochures. This allows for a uniform marketing strategy across the entire UK network of 200 Toyota Centers (“Steering TOYOTA’S marketing”). Discussion When designing a web site, it is important to remember that “the main focus of the web site design should still be alignment with corporate business goals” (Web Transitions, 2004). The web site should motivate consumers to buy Toyota products, and an automobile is a major purchase. A vehicle purchase is a major undertaking and customers typically take several months to make their choice. In addition, the average car buyer changes their vehicle every three or so years. These factors operate in an industry sector of huge competition where companies and brands are contesting aggressively for a share of customer attention. (IS Solutions, 2003).
9 Toyota has a very functional web site. It looks attractive and is easy for consumers to use. In addition, it provides good functionality for dealers to place advertisements and for employee training, as well as database storage and retrieval.
10 Sources Case Study: Toyota Dealer Daily. 2001. LeadingWay Knowledge Systems. Irvine, California. www.leadingway.com. Case Study: Toyota Motors Europe S.A./N.V. (EMEA). 2005. 3Com Corporation. www.3com.com/solutions/en_US/casestudy.jsp?caseid=229112. “Corporate web site development.” 2004. Web Transitions, Inc. www.webtransitions.com/articles/Corporate-web-site-development.asp “Steering TOYOTA’S marketing into the fast lane.” No date. Xerox Magazine. www.podi.org/best-practices and www.xerox.com Toyota Case Study 2003. 2003. IS Solutions PLC. Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex. www.toyota.co.uk, www.issolutions.co.uk.