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Posted: June 20, 2013
Toyota Redesigns Web Portal Using Scalable Cloud and Content Management Solutions
Toyota Motor Corporation has 16 websites that deliver more than 100 million page views per month. The company’s GAZOO.com site offers car owners—as well as Toyota employees and dealers—vehicle information, social networking, news, and entertainment. To enhance site content, increase scalability, and reduce the cost of ownership, Toyota is rebuilding the site using the Windows Azure cloud development environment and Microsoft SharePoint 2013.
Toyota Motor Corporation, based in Toyota City, Japan, sold 9.75 million vehicles worldwide in 2012 and had revenue of US$181.3 billion. Toyota is the top-selling automaker in its home country. As part of its efforts to reach younger consumers, car enthusiasts, and even people who don’t own a car, Toyota offers the GAZOO.com web portal. The portal provides news, blogs, shopping, vehicle information, and even a three-dimensional virtual city, GAZOO Metapolis, where users can drive virtual cars and chat with fellow passengers. The number of registered users on GAZOO.com has more than tripled from 2008 to 2013 and is now 1.7 million.
The GAZOO.com site is based on a site Toyota created in 1994 to help Toyota dealers research used vehicles. In 1998, the site was renamed GAZOO.com, and the company added consumer features, along with functionality used by Toyota employees for publishing and analyzing corporate content and sales campaigns. GAZOO.com was originally built on an ASP-based web architecture, and over the years there were many expansions and modifications that significantly increased the IT management burden and total cost of running the site.
In January 2012, Toyota began working on a redesigned architecture for GAZOO.com to help the company reduce site maintenance and costs, make information on the site more dynamic, and enhance social networking, community building, and mobile access opportunities. “We felt that a cloud-based solution made the most sense, because it would dramatically reduce hardware and management costs and increase scalability,” says Hidehiko Sasaki, General Manager for the Internet Planning Department in the e-TOYOTA division at Toyota. “And it was important that the new site have a content management system that can quickly and accurately deliver customized information to meet users’ specific needs.”