Mazda Canada shifts Web management in-house

Mazda Canada Inc. says its latest IT project lets it take control of its Web content and puts it on the road to savings.

With the help of Non-linear Creations Inc.

(NLC), the Scarborough, Ont.-based car company recently launched a content management system that will allow it to update much of its Web content in-house. Based on RedDot Solutions Corp.‘s Content Management Server architecture, the solution helps keep Mazda’s site current without the slowdowns inherent in updating content through subcontractors or external departments.

The autonomy given Mazda by the new systems integration will also result in a significant cost savings for the automaker. Kathy Alexander, an IT and business consultant for Mazda Canada and one of the site’s RedDot administrators, estimates the solution will save it approximately $30,000 per month.

Allison Simpkins, who managed the project for NLC, says that pinpointing Mazda’s need for an advanced CMS system was easy.

“”We saw the pains of getting content onto their Web site. It’s one thing to build a corporate Web site, but it’s another thing to keep the content fresh and keep the client coming back.””

The RedDot back-end enabled Mazda to take control of its Web content. In-house administrators (of which there are currently two) will oversee the approval and posting of new content supplied to them by in-house editors, who will submit all changes. RedDot will handle the process of administrator update notification, revisions, approvals and Web publishing.

NLC offers its clients “”a system where you take an existing Web site, or one we’ve built in-house, and then we would RedDot it and create the workflow process as needed.””

The New York-base software vendor was selected over other, in some cases higher-end, off-the-shelf solutions because of its particular suitability to Mazda’s needs. “”RedDot fit them appropriately, because they only wanted one or two administrators and they didn’t have more than 10 content editors,”” says Simpkins. Should Mazda need to expand their package, they can simply purchase additional licenses from RedDot.

Time-wise, the integration of RedDot will mark a significant decrease for Mazda in the time it takes to publish new content.

“”It doesn’t save us time in terms of our Mazda Canada personal time, but it does save us time in terms of launching any changes,”” says Alexander.

Simpkins says that the implementation of RedDot for NLC’s clients “”alleviates the bottleneck of having content go through to the IT department, whether that’s in-house or a separate contractor. There can be a delay of weeks in that case, and by that time the content is old.””

Whereas previously Mazda had had to go through a lengthy submissions and approval process with their Web development contractors, it is now able to update the content on the fly without going to a third party. “”Instead of having to make the request to our developer, we can make simple changes in a minute that would previously have taken about a day,”” says Alexander.

User training needs are minimal for the new systems integration. In Mazda’s case, the administrative duo was sent to RedDot’s training centre in New York for a three-day course. Upon returning, the pair was able to easily train the Web content editors in RedDot. While the editors will be able to submit text-based changes, such as product information for Mazda’s new 2003 line of vehicles, more complex materials such as images will be handled by the administrators.

NLC, which has offices in Ottawa and Toronto, has implemented RedDot CMS for other Canadian companies such as the Canadian Dental Association and Mobile Knowledge.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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