|Business||Paint manufacturer (Australia)
|Number of employees||850
|Collaboration tools||IBM Workplace Services Express
|Business benefits||Open, standards-based collaboration system supporting 850 employees deployed in a phased roll-out; integrates with Microsoft Office, Outlook and other business applications; individual, team-based and company-wide portals can extend to include 136 retail outlets
Wattyl Limited, the leading Australian paint manufacturer, chose IBM Workplace Services Express as the foundation for its business collaboration environment. Why? The company's Information Systems Manager, Rae Hough, sets out one of the key reasons: 'An intranet is not a place where you go to get information; an intranet is a place that presents you with the information you require to do your job more effectively'. The distinction, she maintains, is important.
Wattyl Limited is a leading Australian paint manufacturer with 850 employees and 136 retail outlets.
As a work environment where employees are presented with intuitive tools, an intranet has to serve both the information and the business processes that are appropriate for each employee. In addition, an intranet needs to present collaborative capabilities so that employees can work together on tasks and projects. Hough says that the collaborative functions and team work spaces in IBM Workplace Services Express were 'the most impressive thing we saw in that package'. Those capabilities, according to Hough, 'streamline the Workplace functions'.
Reliable server infrastructure
The smooth delivery of the right information, processes and collaborative tools to employees is a two-pronged project, according to John Croker, Wattyl's Chief Information Officer. First, the company needed a reliable, robust infrastructure.
Reliability is 'mission critical', says Croker, which is why the company purchased a second IBM iSeries server as a backup for key transactional data. Network performance is equally critical in a modern organisation. 'Prior to 2004, our server infrastructure was not very reliable,' admits Croker. So the first step in a long-term information management program was to upgrade the entire server infrastructure.
Open, integrated intranet
Reliable and robust information that's always available leads to the second prong of Wattyl's goal to deliver better productivity for the company: integrated systems with a robust infrastructure. Wattyl was looking for something open and standards-based. Says Hough: 'The fact that Workplace Services Express is Java-based – the most open system available – is one of the reasons we went with IBM'.
To maximise employee productivity, Wattyl's intranet needed to support the integration of systems like the aPRISM ERP system and JD Edwards Financials, as well as a number of business applications such as STRATUM, Hyperion, Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office. 'We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get the information that lets them do their jobs,' says Croker.
With Workplace Services Express, all 850 Wattyl employees get a personalised portal with uniformity across departments and workflow capabilities. At the end of the phased introduction to the new system, users will be able to access documents and team rooms, and conduct chat sessions via the browser.
Workplace Services Express provides employees with a personalised browser-based portal that allows them to access documents and team rooms, and conduct chat sessions.
Changing work practices
Croker expects to see a remarkable change in the way work gets done at Wattyl. 'It's been the classic paper warfare in the office,' he says. 'Find the right form. Get someone to sign it. Chase it round the office.' With Workplace Services Express, Croker predicts that processes will flow more logically, and consequently be considerably less time consuming. 'It will be more effective and efficient,' he says.
Wattyl has offices in every Australian state. To share a document can be time consuming, according to Croker. 'We share documents across many different servers, which clogs up the email system with documents flying all around the states. You don't know if the document you're looking at is the version you should be looking at. I see Workplace as taking away the confusion. Employees will be able to go to Workplace and see the latest version. They can check the document's status to know whether it has been OK'd by management.'
Planning to leverage Workplace
Croker and Hough, and their teams, are introducing Workplace Services Express in five phases. 'We'll roll out functionality and information in small chunks so users can learn as they go. We don't want to bombard employees. The actual portal can evolve with the company, and the company can evolve with the portal. The end result is a portal where people can share information, either corporate-wide or just within their teams,' says Hough.
Eventually the company plans to use Workplace Services Express to reach out to the 136 retail outlets that sells its paints in Australia and New Zealand. 'The portal will offer them functionality and lines of communication they haven't had before,' says Hough.
And it's not just the user community that will benefit; Hough expects her department to see advantages too. 'Workplace offers everything in a nice little package that's easy to administer, and we don't have to go out and look for add-ons. It integrates with Active Directory and supports the solutions we are after.'
|Company||KMT Waterjet Systems
|Business||Aqua-jet cutting technology
|Number of employees||170
|Collaboration tools||IBM Lotus Domino Collaboration Express, IBM Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing
|Business benefits||Collaboration system supporting 170 employees deployed in four months (two months ahead of deadline); per-user licensing saves 15% with no training costs compared to Microsoft Exchange/Outlook; Domino's custom application capability supports the addition of a workflow application
The acquisition of Ingersoll-Rand's Waterjet business unit by Swedish firm KMT in October 2003 resulted in a new business unit called KMT Waterjet Systems. The transition plan called for six months to fully integrate both workforces and their technology infrastructures. During the transition, KMT Waterjet Systems retained the use of Ingersoll-Rand's IT infrastructure. KMT Waterjet Systems had to deploy a messaging system to handle current needs and provide a platform for continued growth. For Stan Sloan, IT Manager for KMT Waterjet Systems, the challenge was formidable. 'It was more than just email; we needed a complete set of collaboration tools,' remembers Sloan. With a complete infrastructure to build, Sloan was working with a tight budget and needed to save money wherever possible. By turning to IBM for a solution based on IBM Lotus Notes and Domino technology, KMT Waterjet Systems met their deadline while realising a substantial savings over competing solutions and meeting the company's budget and productivity targets.
KMT Waterjet Systems is a pioneer in the field of aqua-jet cutting technology.
Specifying a comprehensive solution
The challenge facing Sloan was to provide communications services for 170 employees located in Baxter Springs, Kansas; Bad Nauheim, Germany; and small sales and service offices worldwide. 'Our messaging system needed excellent replication capabilities to support our mobile users who frequently lack a high-speed Internet connection,' Sloan recalls. 'We needed collaboration tools to communicate across the entire organisation without having to wait for phone calls.' Although most users worked at desktops, Sloan also had to support an increasingly mobile sales staff with notebooks and Blackberry handhelds. He went shopping for a solution that would integrate easily into the company's infrastructure and fit its budget -- in short, he needed to replicate the capabilities of the existing environment and add support for remote users, all at an SME-friendly price point.
Sloan's experience with Notes at Ingersoll-Rand had been highly positive, but he was concerned that the application would be too expensive for KMT Waterjet Systems. After evaluating the available solutions, Sloan narrowed the choice down to Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino Express. He liked the integration between Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office, but preferred Lotus Domino Express based on its ease of use, replication features and security.
Digging deeper, Sloan discovered that Lotus Domino Express was designed expressly for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) such as KMT Waterjet Systems. Lotus Domino Express offers three versions to give SMEs the flexibility they need to tailor a solution to their particular needs. He identified Lotus Domino Collaboration Express as the version best suited to KMT Waterjet Systems because it includes not only a full range of messaging and collaboration features but also the powerful Domino application development environment for creating and integrating new applications.
Lotus Domino Collaboration Express includes messaging and collaboration features, plus the full Domino application development environment.
Sloan ran the numbers and received a pleasant surprise. Where Microsoft charges for each server running Exchange, Collaboration Express is licensed per user, which offers substantial cost savings for SMEs. 'The per-user licensing of Collaboration Express sealed the deal. I pay for the number of clients using the system, not the number of servers," says Sloan. 'I had expected the Lotus solution to be more expensive than Microsoft Outlook, but it turned out to be about 15 percent less.'
Sloan's cost analysis showed that savings also extended to training and support. Because his user base was already familiar with Lotus Notes, there were no training costs with Collaboration Express. And the ease of integration with other application servers meant that Sloan could count on a relatively fast and painless system integration process. When he added it all up, the winner was Lotus Domino Collaboration Express.
Sloan worked with IBM Business Partner and Lotus Notes integrator GreyDuck to install, configure and implement their Lotus Domino Collaboration Express system and migrate the user community from Ingersoll-Rand's Domino environment to the new KMT Domino environment with no interruption in service to any end user. To support faster and more personal interactions between their international locations, Sloan opted for real-time collaboration with Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing. KMT Waterjet Systems switched over from the legacy Lotus Notes system in four months, two months before the deadline. The installation took place simultaneously in the company's two main offices in Kansas and Germany with no significant problems.
Supporting a fast-paced, diverse operation
As expected, the training requirements were minimal and the changeover went smoothly. Within the first month of use, KMT Waterjet Systems was operating at maximum efficiency, with few reports of problems from employees. Most of the KMT Waterjet Systems workforce accesses Lotus Collaboration Express from the desktop, but a small community of mobile users connect via notebooks and Blackberry devices.
The capabilities of Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing have paid dividends from the start. According to Sloan, 'The chat feature of Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing is the most-used feature of the system, especially when local users are dealing with the facility in Germany.' Employees in different continents use instant messaging to save time working out operational problems. KMT Waterjet Systems also uses Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing for company-wide training and employee communications, saving on travel costs and increasing operational efficiency.
KMT Waterjet Systems has found other ways to extend the flexible collaborative capacities of its new Lotus Notes infrastructure. It will soon become the basis for a new workflow management application, developed by GreyDuck, for incoming new product requests, replacing an inefficient legacy system based on faxes and manual data entry. New product requisitions from the sales force contain a range of information -- who, what, where, why, how -- that must be transmitted to engineering, operations, finance and other departments within KMT Waterjet Systems. The IT team, supported by GreyDuck, used the custom application power of Domino to integrate this new application into the KMT Waterjet Systems infrastructure. The workflow application is in initial testing, with final deployment scheduled in 60 days. Sloan expects the new workflow application to significantly reduce errors in processing incoming new product requests.
Looking to the future
Business is booming for KMT Waterjet Systems, as shown by double-digit first-year growth in sales and headcount, along with a record number of systems shipped. These upward trends are expected to continue. To meet the inevitable challenges of sustained rapid business expansion, management has mandated a daunting list of enhancements to the IT infrastructure. Planned projects include deploying a complete customer relationship management (CRM) system using Lotus Domino and updating the existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Sloan is unfazed: 'I've used Lotus Domino at Ingersoll-Rand and KMT Waterjet Systems, and have been happy with the results in both places. Lotus Domino is a good fit for KMT Waterjet Systems.'
|Number of users||40
|Collaboration tools||IBM Workplace Services Express
|Business benefits||50 per cent productivity boost and 40 per cent cost reduction after implementing a new ordering and information-sharing system developed on an IBM Workplace Services Express platform
In 1994, a small group of building contractors in north-eastern Italy formed MEC, seeking better prices on building materials and products. The consortium proved successful and continued to grow over the years, eventually tripling its original membership and purchasing additional warehouse space.
Today, MEC comprises 30 building contractor companies from the Italian provinces of Padova, Vicenza, Trento and Treviso. Four dedicated MEC employees manage the group's ordering and warehousing processes.
MEC found that as its membership grew, its outdated ordering procedures and lack of a centralised information system seriously impeded the group's efficiency. To compare prices, check availability or place orders, contractors had to call or fax MEC. Then, after placing an order, contractors had no way of tracking or viewing its status.
The consortium needed to implement a flexible point of purchase for its members, including a centralised workspace for shared communication and collaboration. By putting an integrated system in place for managing business documents and processing orders, MEC hoped to increase productivity while saving time and cutting costs.
IBM Business Partner Santin e Associati implemented IBM Workplace Services Express V2 software to develop a customised document management and ordering system for MEC. The Workplace Services Express software provides a flexible platform for group collaboration, information sharing and document management. Santin e Associati used the software to create a portlet that provides access to all of MEC's warehouse data. Consortium members can use the portlet to check product features, availability and prices, as well as place orders in real time.
The portlet also integrates MEC's warehouse management functions with its accounting solution, allowing MEC to determine the value of the materials in its warehouse at any time. Additionally, Santin e Associati structured a comprehensive document library for MEC, providing a centralised, easily accessible repository for all of the consortium's business materials. MEC can now leverage this resource to launch co-ordinated marketing initiatives. There are 40 users of the consortium's new information-sharing and ordering solution, all running Microsoft Windows operating systems.
MEC estimates that IBM's solution has delivered a 50 percent increase in productivity and cost savings of 40 percent on its purchases. These dramatic results can be attributed to the group's effective, streamlined ordering process and information-sharing environment.
By allowing MEC members to get product and pricing information at any time, as well as place orders online, the solution has significantly decreased the time MEC invests in its ordering process. Since the system also enables the consortium to add new members quickly and easily, MEC has greatly reduced its administrative burden.
The new collaborative environment allows contractors and MEC administrators to communicate effectively, which means that the consortium can gather and review all buying requests before ordering materials. Bulk orders can then be placed at the best possible prices, resulting in significant cost savings.