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Q&A: Hyundai Australia head of IT talks CMS upgrade

Bala Kothandaraman discusses Hyundai's CRM project and future IT activities

Bala Kothandaraman discusses how Hyundai's CMS has grown and developed with the company.

Bala Kothandaraman discusses how Hyundai's CMS has grown and developed with the company.

Hyundai Australia’s Bala Kothandaraman, spoke exculsively to CIO about the company's content management system (CMS) upgrade the challenges of implementation. Kothandaraman heads up the IT operations for the company in Australia, and played a vital role working with CMS provider, Elcom, to roll out a new dealer portal that allows every Hyundai staff member in Australia to access product information, images, marketing material, spare parts information, sales training, business updates, contact details and company annoucements.

Each department in the company has its own section of the portal where dedicated information can be stored and easily updated by any staff member. Kothandaraman spoke about some of the changes and extensions of the project and how it has developed and progressed since work began.

Hyundai began working with Elcom in 2005. What is Hyundai doing now with regards to the content management system?

Hyundai has come a long way with regards to the content management system. We initially used Elcom to establish our intranet portal and followed it up with a dealer portal or a bulletin board concept. Our confidence in the product and its ease of use convinced us to move the corporate website onto Elcom. In the last two months we installed the latest version. In the next six months we will progressively migrate the entire web site onto the new upgraded version with a totally new look and feel.

How does Hyundai integrate social networks and Web 2.0 within the CMS?

We do not integrate CMS with social sites. However, Hyundai use YouTube as a promotion and communication platform to the public. Our channel can be accessed here.

How did the organisation manage expectations of all its stakeholders? Was it difficult to juggle the needs of workers in a variety of locations?

We have an e-commerce section within the ICT department. They co-ordinate very closely with all the users and staff of the company. The CMS is very user-friendly and certain select power users in each department have been trained and given access to certain areas of the pages. The users can post their own articles and text on the dealer portal and the intranet. As for the images and other digital assets, they are supplied by advertising agencies.

What were some of the challenges of the project and how were they overcome?

The main challenge was to make sure all the content that needed to be posted on the CMS was standardised. However, marketing agencies do not always deliver content in the desired mode. So there are lots of elements in our corporate website that cannot be published in the CMS straight away. Elcom were very accommodative in providing us with web service facilities to render the content on the Web page.

This, however, created a new challenge for us: We could not use the regular workflow and publish or check out facility of the CMS because we could not view the content until it was rendered. In the case of the corporate website, it was not acceptable; we would only see the content once it was published and by then it was too late. Elcom installed one more installation of the CMS and called it the publish environment. Once the content was rendered, and the user was happy, we duplicated the database with the production or live environment, calling the process 'push to live'. While in explanation it looks complicated, Elcom made it very easy for the ICT department and the users to handle the challenge.

What is next on the IT agenda for Hyundai?

We are experiencing an exponential growth in our sales and there are lots of demands on our ICT department to develop applications. We are implementing our CRM project. As such there are lots of activities planned around customer touch points which include the corporate web site and other areas of interaction. We have an action-packed second half year 2010.

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