BMW has upgraded its online presence, seamlessly integrating user data with business processes running in the background.

Screen-Shot-2013-05-08-at-1.04.16-PM-300x198.

Ulrich Lenz (left) and Hartmut Wagner pay particular attention to the user experience on BMW Web sites (Photo: Claus Dick)

Ulrich Lenz, head of the premium car maker's interactive marketing, and Hartmut Wagner, IT manager process IT, sat down with automotiveIT to discuss the benefits of the integrated approach, how they defined the requirements of the new site and what their next steps are likely to be.

In preparing for the relaunch of BMW's Web site, the two executives found that customers today limit their visits to the showroom and conduct most research online.

"Often they also already make a decision in principle then," said Lenz.

Those findings played a key role in building the new Web site, said Wagner. "Especially with the central car configurator application we attached a great deal of importance to making the pictures as realistic as possible," he said.

In the interview, the two executives also explain how the new Web site is a key part of BMW's "Future Retail" strategy, how they manage customer relations and how a BMW portal is the likely solution for the future.

Read the full interview in the April issue of the automotiveIT Executive Report. To subscribe, please go to: www.automotiveIT.com/executive-report.