Working with IBM and IBM Premiere Business Partner Perficient, Inc., Cars.com has launched the Cars.com Architecture Makeover project to overhaul its information management infrastructure to deliver information as a service in support of the company’s aggressive business strategy. Cars.com already announced record traffic in 2008 and also reported a surge in dealer leads, setting records for lead delivery to its customers every month this year.
In order to keep pace with this growth, the company chose IBM software and IBM System p Servers for a new IT foundation to better enable Cars.com to accommodate new consumer site enhancements and increased marketing investments that are driving more value to the company’s 16,000 dealer advertisers. The resulting SOA approach also provides more agility for growth to help Cars.com execute more quickly, delivering new products and services while freeing information from individual applications and reusing it throughout the enterprise.
“Cars.com has recently invested heavily in information technology to fuel our business growth,” said Manny Montejano, CTO, Cars.com. “Our SOA strategy has been fundamental to supporting our most important business projects like advertising in the Super Bowl which drove a significant spike in traffic to Cars.com, the launch of a major partnership with Yahoo! Autos, and quickly rolling out a number of customized advertising programs to support sales of major automotive advertisers’ certified vehicle inventory. Each one of these projects was huge and very strategic to our business. Bringing together IBM hardware, software and services has enabled us to take on these and other large projects to deliver new value to our site visitors and advertisers in a way that would not have otherwise been possible.”
Cars.com is using a combination of IBM software products, including IBM WebSphere Portal, IBM WebSphere Process Server, IBM Information Server, Rational software delivery tools and Tivoli Monitoring. IBM WebSphere Process Server helps integrate all provisioning services at Cars.com and readily exposes data integration tasks from IBM Information Server so they can be quickly tapped to support a variety of business processes.
IBM Information Server combines data from both end users and dealer partners so it can be integrated with the company’s current applications and database and allows them to quickly transform and cleanse incoming and outgoing data feeds, ensuring information is accurate and in a standardized format. With more than 2.7 million vehicles in the Cars.com inventory, an added benefit of improved data quality through the use of IBM Information Server enables customers to get up-to-the-minute information on the latest automobile inventory and helps them more precisely locate what they are looking for. Cars.com is using IBM Rational software to visually construct and rapidly design, develop and test high quality applications and services. IBM System p Servers have significantly reduced Cars.com data center costs due to reduced power, cooling and space requirements. IBM’s virtualization capabilities have also allowed the company to rapidly support new and unplanned business initiatives.
“Two years ago, we would have been adding hardware, software and rack space to our data center to meet our business demands,” Montejano said. “We’ve gone from an environment that used to take weeks to support growth, to one that simply takes a few hours.” “In order to achieve the full flexibility and reuse potential of SOA, organizations need to provide accurate, consistent information as a service to their processes,” said Jim Welch, vice president, IBM Information Platform and Solutions. “Our work with Cars.com is indicative of how organizations using our information integration capabilities within their SOA can more easily deliver accurate and complete information to all their systems and business processes.”
With one of the largest enterprise information architecture practices in the country, Perficient worked closely with Cars.com throughout the selection and implementation process helping enable Cars.com and their staff on all aspects of this project. “The Cars.com project is a perfect example of a forward-thinking enterprise using Perficient’s expertise to drive quantifiable business value with the world’s leading SOA technologies,” said Jeffrey Davis, president and chief operating officer of Perficient.