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IT Innovation

From Zero to Zoom


CIO of the Year | Japan
2014 Oracle Excellence Awards

Mazda invests in IT for the sake of its customers.

By David A. Kelly

March/April 2015

As one of the smaller automobile manufacturers in Japan, Mazda must consistently compete with bigger rivals for customers. In addition, the 2008 economic recession and the resulting sale by Ford of its controlling interest in Mazda introduced new challenges for the carmaker. But Mazda has taken the unexpected changes as an opportunity to regroup and invest in a new approach to building long-lasting customer experiences.


MA15-CIO-Japan-Mazda

In early 2012 Mazda announced a Structural Reform Plan designed to enable the company to thrive and grow in a dramatically changing automotive business. As a result, Mazda has successfully expanded its global business by launching new factories in Mexico and Thailand, and opening new distribution arms in a number of emerging countries. In addition, the implementation of the Structural Reform Plan has helped result in the achievement, in 2014, of Mazda’s highest-ever yearly profit in the company’s 94-year history.

Mazda is now leveraging a new, Oracle-based global IT infrastructure to reshape how the company interacts with its customers and how its customers interact with their cars and dealers. In parallel with its Structural Reform Plan, Mazda realized it needed to shift from using conventional separate IT systems and applications for different business functions to an IT infrastructure that centralizes common functions and provides flexibility for business growth.

“Oracle is a common enabler for Mazda,” says Yoshifumi Ozawa, general manager of the IT Solution Division at Mazda Motor Corporation and winner of the Oracle Excellence Award for CIO of the Year—Japan. “It’s making a very big difference for us.”

To meet the company’s new business objectives, Mazda management realized it needed a new, globally integrated IT infrastructure. In addition to implementing a common IT platform to support its Structural Reform Plan, Mazda had a second objective: to create a set of stable IT services as a business foundation.

“To support the kind of rapid and big changes we needed for our business, we realized we needed to deploy a common, integrated IT system,” says Ozawa. After a detailed evaluation, Mazda selected the Oracle stack in 2012 for its common IT infrastructure, including Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle’s PeopleSoft and Siebel Customer Relationship Management applications, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, Oracle Hyperion and Oracle WebLogic solutions, Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle Database, Oracle SOA Suite, and Oracle Application Development Framework.

Oracle is a common enabler for Mazda. It’s making a very big difference for us.”–Yoshifumi Ozawa,
General Manager, IT Solution Division, Mazda Motor Corporation

“With Oracle, we now have the capability to deploy the same services and products all over the world,” says Ozawa. “Oracle has proved very, very stable. Oracle was the best fit for Mazda’s needs.”

Oracle’s ability to integrate with other products has allowed Mazda to deploy the new Oracle infrastructure in a structured way while tying in legacy systems as needed. Mazda is using Oracle Fusion Middleware solutions to initially connect existing systems with new solutions and then later replace the legacy systems one by one.

“Oracle is a key enabler for our new global business strategy because it’s a very integrated set of products,” says Ozawa.

A major goal of Mazda’s new Oracle solutions–based IT infrastructure is to bridge the gap between the company and its customers by consolidating customer contacts and information into a single, integrated view of the customer that can be shared across departments and functions. As a result, IT has become an integral partner for sales and marketing by providing new systems that allow Mazda to follow a customer’s complete auto-buying lifecycle, from initial consideration of Mazda through the sales and ownership process to future upgrades or additional purchases.

“We’re supporting the marketing and sales areas of Mazda very deeply, because our customers have many possible touchpoints, such as contacts via our call centers, dealer showrooms, or social media,” says Ozawa. “Bridging the distance between our customers and Mazda using information technology is the key to our future.”


Driving into the Future with Oracle Onboard

For Yoshifumi Ozawa, general manager of the IT Solution Division at Mazda Motor Corporation, the success Mazda has achieved with its new Oracle solutions–based infrastructure comes not only from investing in technology, but also from investing in communications and committing the time needed to understand new solutions. He considers the following to be key lessons learned:

  • Ongoing communication. “We learned that close communication with Oracle was a critical part of our success, so we have developed close technical and personal relationships with Oracle product, marketing, and sales teams. We’ve also looked for opportunities to increase communication between Oracle and Mazda executives.”
  • Prioritizing the business needs. “We need to proactively support Mazda’s business goals, but our resources are limited, so our IT teams work very closely with our business leaders to prioritize solutions for different business areas and introduce them one by one.”
  • Communicating with the business executives. “My biggest accomplishment at Mazda has been to communicate to our business executives the value to Mazda of creating a globally integrated IT environment. It’s a very, very new world.”
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Photography byRicardo Gomez Angel,Unsplash