ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- LOTUSPHERE -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled a new initiative to help clients increase the speed of business and improve results through collaboration technology and industry expertise. IBM's Collaboration Agenda brings together IBM's vertical industry expertise, software lab specialists and consulting services experts to help clients realize measurable returns from improving the way people interact.
Today organizations are struggling to find ways to help employees become more efficient and improve the way employees, suppliers and clients interact. According to IBM's Global CEO Survey, 98 percent of CEOs feel their company's ability to adapt to change is key to having a more dynamic business. While industries have unique challenges, there are common inhibitors many companies share. For example, two-thirds of people can't find the expertise they know is out there, according to a Harris Interactive poll.+
Recognizing these business challenges, IBM is delivering a series of consultative workshops that provide tested tools, best practices and industry experts to help clients define a collaboration roadmap and strategy. The objective of these workshops is to help organizations realize tangible business value by connecting people, experts and information in the right context, minimizing the daily churn to get work done. Among the benefits of this transformation:
- Individuals can work together using the right social and collaboration tools in the context of how they really work based on their specific role in the organization, including ad-hoc teaming.
- People can connect easily and quickly with experts, partners, suppliers and customers beyond their company firewalls.
- Businesses can develop into expertise-based entities raising the collective intelligence of the organization by allowing all members to easily tap into it.
Studies from IT research firms, such as IDC and Forrester Research, show that senior business executives and line-of-business or departmental leaders who are becoming increasingly influential in IT decisions, prefer industry-specific solutions to generic tools.* These business leaders are inclined to make investments only when they see tangible business improvements within their industry context, rather than the newest technology.
"Leading research firms report that IBM's deep industry expertise is unmatched by any competitor," said Alistair Rennie, general manager, IBM Lotus Software. "Each industry has unique roles and work patterns that are encumbered by established norms and the inability to find the right expert, information, or tool to get the job done quickly. Companies are asking how they can make the greatest impact by freeing people from the hard-wired organizational barriers that hinder their business results."
IBM's new initiative is designed to support multiple industries including healthcare, banking, insurance and government through a matrix of IBM industry and services teams from IBM's Software Laboratories, Global Business Services and Global Technology Services. The Collaboration Agenda will be immediately available in North America, the United Kingdom and Germany with global expansion to follow.
Collaboration Agendas Generate Measurable Business Results
Celina Insurance Group, an Ohio-based insurance company, has embraced IBM's Collaboration Agenda allowing it to write more premiums with fewer staff. Improving collaboration between its employees and agents has proven to be a strategic advantage for Celina as it focused on increasing ease of doing business. Through instant messaging and an online portal, agents reduced turnaround time on new policies from weeks to days. Customers can now manage their policies directly and connect to experts when they have questions. Advanced collaboration technology allowed them to hire top talent in other cities in the US who were unable to relocate to Celina, OH but who could collaborate in real-time with other employees, agents and their customers.
"We've been able to greatly improve efficiency, resulting in a 25 percent increase in premiums with 40 percent fewer staff," said Rob Shoenfelt, CIO, Celina Insurance Group.
In another example, the Missouri Office of Homeland Security (OHS) worked with IBM to implement a collaboration agenda to overcome limited situational awareness, siloed departments and out-dated technology. The Missouri OHS coordinates the work of state agencies to provide emergency response, disaster preparedness and public safety awareness to the citizens of the state.
Prior to its collaboration planning with IBM, the Missouri OHS had limited communications, hampering the ability for people in different departments and agencies to work together. For example, state and local operations centers were required to dial into scheduled conference calls for updates. This system resulted in delays in receiving information during emergencies and limited their ability to proactively respond with solutions or aid during crises. This also impaired decision-makers' ability to assess unfolding situations.
Once an agenda-planning process was undertaken, roles of individuals and their interaction patterns were evaluated, leading to a wide range of benefits. The Missouri OHS transformed into a dynamic, expertise-based organization capable of faster, better decisions and actions.
"We're getting fantastic (emergency) response times -- about four times faster than we were getting on Microsoft SQL implementations," said David Finch, special assistant, Missouri OHS.
The new Missouri OHS now acts as a communications hub for over 1,200 officials across the state using portal technology for video-conferencing, sharing of images and instant messaging. Employees are able to instantly initiate Web conferences or real-time chat sessions with personnel in any department or branch.
Decision-makers can now be appraised of crisis developments as they happen and as a result be more proactive role in response. Meanwhile, base operations can better coordinate statewide responses and achieve a new level of situational awareness of developments through "eyes in the field." Most critically, responders can now collaborate efficiently with first responders in other agencies and departments, delivering the best possible assistance when and where it's most needed using mobile devices and handheld radios.
Lastly, Hendricks Regional Health needed to improve the way its employees collaborated. Paper-based forms and offline contact methods made it hard to track emergency pages to doctors and caused inefficiencies in how nurses found procedure information or tracked patient medical records. EMTs filled in forms in triplicate, with the third page often becoming illegible. Too much time was being spent trying to manage the information versus focusing on the patient.
Through electronic files that can be shared online among the practitioners and an automated emergency paging system, Hendricks Regional Health was able to improve response time and the quality of care by ensuring shared knowledge across job roles. As a result, medical personnel are able to spend their time with their patients instead of spending time on the process.
+ Harris Interactive Poll, 2009
* 2009 IDC Vertical Group Survey, "US Vertical and Company Size Spending Intentions," July 2009 - Doc # 21946; Forrester Research, "The State of Enterprise Software: 2009", June 2009