Major Automobile Shopping Site Chooses Oracle WebCenter Sites to Drive Customer Portal


Major Automobile Shopping Site
Chooses Oracle WebCenter Sites
to Drive Customer Portal

By: Karl Cepull, Engagement Director

With more than 30 million visits each month, on average, this online car shopping site is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible and easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car.

This industry-leading online car shopping site provides a variety of advertising packages to automobile dealers that let them advertise their dealership and vehicle inventory to potential car buyers. To allow the dealers to enter inventory, respond to customer reviews, and access reports about the services and products they have purchased, the customer had been using a portal running on an outdated version of IBM Websphere. The portal was in need of modernization. A new platform was needed that provided built-in tools and support for managing content, including delivering that content to the right consumer at the right time. After an extensive evaluation, Oracle WebCenter Sites (OWCS) was chosen as the foundation of the new solution, and TekStream Solutions was selected as their implementation partner.

This multi-phase project will eventually include the consolidation of as many as five legacy sites into one comprehensive location for dealers, sales personnel, and internal employees to go to to obtain and manage information about the various products, purchasing options, inventory management, and reporting.

For the first phase of the project, reporting was selected as the main focus. The goal was to provide improved reporting to dealers, with ease-of-use, accuracy of information, and value of the information being the critical success factors. Tableau was selected as the underlying reporting engine, as it has the ability to deliver rich, interactive reports. Some of the updated or new reporting options include:

  • Visits by Zip Code
  • Vehicle Impressions (# of times your vehicles have been viewed)
  • Review Ratings
  • Lead Generation
  • Inventory Completeness (percentage of listings with full information, such as images and pricing)
  • Search statistics

Since only reporting was being replaced with OWCS in the first phase, all other functionality was to remain in the current IBM Websphere-driven site. Users would need to pass seamlessly between existing pages in IBM Websphere, and the new pages in OWCS. This dictated that the user interface of the new site and its pages match the legacy site, and that single sign-on be used to authenticate users between OWCS and IBM Websphere.

Starting in August of 2014, TekStream’s proven QuickStream methodology was executed over a period of 5 weeks to quickly gather detailed requirements, craft a high-level technical design, and develop a detailed project plan and budget for the remainder of the project. As part of the QuickStream, a quick proof of concept was done to test whether CAS (Central Authentication Service) would work as the single sign-on solution. (It was.) The TekStream Sites team then continued to flesh out a detailed design, followed by development and implementation of the chosen solution.

The original launch target was mid-December of 2014. However, during load testing performance bottlenecks in the underlying Tableau reporting engine were identified that would have caused a less-than-ideal user experience. The teams at both companies quickly brainstormed on alternative solutions, and the decision was made to re-architect the entire report navigation approach. This required tight coordination between the TekStream WebCenter Sites team, and the reporting and UI design teams at the client, and was accomplished in only a few short weeks.

After additional testing, the new site was successfully launched on February 24, 2015, and has been well-received. As one dealer stated:

“I am very impressed with the new reporting,  it not only matches my data but is presented in a format that allows us to analyze key areas with ease!  Whoever put this together knows their stuff and how to provide relevant information to your clients. Thanks Again!”

Below are screen shots of the newly-launched site, showing the new home page, and a sample report.