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Seven user stories

This article appears in the issue October 2000 [Volume 9, Issue 8]

Snack leader rules with KM

With brands like Doritos, Tostitos, Cracker Jack, Sun Chips, Ruffles and namesakes Lay’s and Fritos, there’s no doubt that Frito-Lay rules the salty snacks industry.

To gain 56% worldwide market share, the $11.6 billion company pursues aggressive and early adoption of technologies and best practices, and uses information as a source of competitive advantage.

In January 1999, Frito-Lay reorganized its sales organization to improve customer service. However, when regional sales teams were redeployed as national retail customer account teams, existing knowledge capital became fragmented. Several factors cropped up alerting the company of an imminent “knowledge gap” that could result in lost opportunity and efficiency, and in added costs. Those indicators included the following:

* Sales support was buried in demands for updated information.

* Finding people with specific expertise became difficult.

* Best practices were continually being reinvented.

* Orientation costs for newly hired sales employees began to soar.

* Mountains of data interfered with the ability to generate and leverage knowledge.

To solve its knowledge management-related problems, Frito-Lay chose Navigator Systems’ Community Portal Services to assess its capabilities, audit its knowledge and technology, and analyze its knowledge gap.

As a result, the company decided to implement a knowledge management portal to a single national account sales team, motivated by common goals and challenges. The solution included integration of business intelligence tools to turn data into insights, and collaboration between team members to turn those collected insights into improved business action.

The new system has reaped the following benefits:

* The time to distribute market research to the sales team was reduced from 30 days to three minutes.

* The time to identify subject matter experts was reduced from 90 days to three minutes.

* The time to access customer analytics was reduced from two weeks to three minutes.

The fabric of knowledge

How many miles of chino does it take to clothe the slew of J.Crew retail, catalog and Internet customers?

That's one of the questions the popular retailer wanted to answer when it implemented a new knowledge management system to help with its strategic analysis.

The data integration software, called PowerMart, from Informatica will consolidate a wealth of data generated by J. Crew's retail, catalog and online sales channels. By integrating historical point of sale, inventory, cost and financial data for analysis, the retailer wants to more accurately gauge its fabric needs for manufacturing, more efficiently allocate financial and human resources across the company and help top executives develop high-level business growth strategies.

"With three major sales channels at J. Crew, it was imperative to choose a data integration solution with strength to bring together large volumes of data from disparate systems across the enterprise," said Mirek Zlotkowski, VP of business integration at J. Crew. Other systems the company evaluated only partially met its needs, he said, adding that scalability was a major factor.

PowerMart is an integrated suite of software products that help automate the process of building and managing line-of-business data marts, data warehoused and analytic applications.

With 8,400 employees, J. Crew generated $716 million in 1999 revenue.

Insurer helps ensure success with CRM solution

Royal & SunAlliance, one of Ireland's largest general insurers, will use Web content management and e-process technology to improve its business processes.

The $3 million solution from FileNet and Phoenix Technology Group will be deployed to 300 users over the next eight months.

According to Barry Timlin, IT manager of RSA, the solution will enable the insurance company to provide improved service to its customers. "It can handle multiple communications channels, which means our customers can now communicate with us by standard mail, phone, fax, e-mail or through the Web," says Timlin. "We expect the solution will provide a platform for future e-commerce development."

Royal & SunAliance expects to realize the following benefits through the new system:

• improved customer service, by speeding response times to claims and customer queries, and freeing staff from the pressures of workload balancing;

• increased productivity, by eliminating barriers to effective performance, such as the removal of paper from the process and the automation of task allocation and report compilation;

• substantial competitive advantage, by implementing the latest technology to support current business operations and taking advantage of newer channels and methods of communication, such as the Internet, e-mail and electronic data interchange (EDI).

The solution incorporates Phoenix's Insurance DeskTop (IDT) application, which is built on FileNet's Panagon Web content and e-process management technology. IDT offers a set of preconfigured applications that allow business managers to set up and manage their business processes, customer service levels and workloads.

Lloyds retail bank invests in its customers

Lloyds TSB Group, a large financial services organization headquartered in the United Kingdom, is investing $24 million in electronic customer relationship management infrastructure technology.

The eCRM system from Chordiant will be used to unify and manage customer communications and business processes throughout Lloyd's retail banking operation, which includes its worldwide branches, call centers, wireless banking, Internet-only Evolvebank.com, as well as its product offerings.

The workflow solution will help to:

• ensure that customer interaction is consistent and follows precise business rules regardless of how the customer interacts with the bank,

• enable customer information to flow from the initial point of communication to every other point of communication in real time,

• knit all of the bank's diverse business units together while allowing each unit to implement the desktop applications it wants to use, and

• accommodate future expansion.

"A large retail bank like ours has extreme requirements when it comes to CRM," says Igor Andronov, IT director for Lloyds TSB Group. "We must streamline customer relations activity so that we deliver speedy, efficient and personalized services to our 16 million customers via multiple channels and using a complex array of business processes.

"In addition to acting as the underlying eCRM infrastructure that will integrate all our CRM activities, the infrastructure technology provides a single solution to a variety of specific issues raised by individual business managers.

"It means that technical staff only have to learn one set of tools and applications, so new business initiatives, such as the addition of a new channel or the integration of a new call center, are implemented rapidly."

When fully deployed, the eCRM infrastructure will serve as the underlying integration framework, enabling current and historical customer information to be shared among the bank's branches; call centers; and Internet, wireless application protocol (WAP) and interactive TV banking services.

The first phase of the implementation will be completed in the first quarter of 2001.

Knowing all UK(an) about the United Kingdom

More information about the United Kingdom will be available to researchers through libraries and other sources because of new technology implemented by Chadwyck-Healey, an electronic publisher of humanities and reference resources in Europe.

Chadwyck-Healey has selected an intelligent search solution from Excalibur Technologies for KnowUK, one of its flagship online publications. More than 700 public libraries in the United Kingdom subscribe to KnowUK, making the service available free of charge to a population of more than 10 million. Universities, schools, corporate libraries, cultural centers and other organizations also subscribe to KnowUK, which contains a database of more than 620,000 reference documents.

Explains John Taylor, VP of technology and development at Chadwyck-Healey, "The average person on the street will be able to sit at the library's desktop PC and ask natural language-based questions like, 'List all of the doctors in London who specialize in hereditary heart disease.' People looking for this kind of information want it quickly, they want to know that it is comprehensive and, most importantly, that they don't have to compile specially constructed terminology to get an answer to their question."

In choosing the new system, Chadwyck-Healey wanted to provide easy and free public access to the resources of its Web-based reference service. Other criteria were natural language processing, scalability and multiple language support.

Excalibur also is providing search technology for the recently launched KnowEurope, an information service about the institutions, people, policies and processes of Europe.

Chadwyck-Healey assembles large amounts of information from disparate sources and molds them into coherent publications and services that are easier to use and offer more value to users. The company became part of Bell & Howell Information and Learning in 1999.

E-filing eases legalese in Colorado Court

A new era of filing civil court documents electronically is underway in Colorado.

In August, e-filing was implemented in Arapahoe County District Court as the first step toward enabling all of Colorado's civil courts to accept electronic filings in civil, probate, water and domestic relations cases. Other case types, including criminal, will be addressed by the state next year.

Court officials say that delivering documents electronically through a secure Web site is more efficient than the traditional method of filing and serving paper documents to parties in a case. Electronically stored documents are also instantly accessible to all parties, as well as to judges and clerks. And judges are able to send orders and render decisions directly from their computers.

"Colorado is setting the standard by bringing much needed changes to an antiquated, manual system," says Bob Roper, the Colorado Judicial Branch's director of Integrated Information Services. "We've been very diligent in our approach to implementing electronic filing in Colorado and have a solid plan for methodically rolling out each court until the entire state has e-file capabilities within the next six months. We have created a solution that benefits everyone, including the court, the Bar and the public with no additional cost to the taxpayer."

The e-file service implemented by the state is JusticeLink from CourtLink, an online platform for accessing court record information and filing legal documents.

"The implementation of e-filing is a significant milestone in the state's continuing efforts to bring technological advancements that benefit its citizens," says Colorado Supreme Court Justice Alex Martinez. "This launch is a major step toward achieving a statewide system for filing electronically in all Colorado Courts, and it signals our increasing commitment to better serve the needs of Colorado citizens and their attorneys."

Russel Murray, who was the first attorney to use the new e-filing system, says, "To say we were excited is an understatement ... It was like making the first-ever telephone call."

More information about the statewide rollout schedule can be found at Colorado Courts Online.

Satisfying wireless customers

The world is abuzz with cell phones. Just look around you at the airport, on the beach, at the theater (silence, please, except during intermission).

And in the wireless telecommunications industry, customer service is replacing cost when it comes to retaining and gaining customers. That is why GTE Wireless, a $25 billion provider of wireless voice and data telecommunications, has developed a data warehouse whose primary function is to improve service to its 6.9 million customers in 18 states. The new system has streamlined knowledge management and sharing, and boosted customer satisfaction, according to the company.

"We partnered with Hewlett-Packard to create a system to collect, process and report data so that it can be efficiently stored and accessed from the data warehouse," explains David Yamashita, Enterprise Data Warehouse director for GTE Wireless. The database is from Oracle.

The solution enhances customer service by collecting data from polling switches across the country and making a full call-detail record available to centers that handle customer complaints. If a customer has a problem with static or a lost call, he or she calls a GTE Wireless operator.

"Within six minutes, data about the call is routed to the warehouse and is ready for viewing," says Yamashita. "We've been able to improve customer service so that an operator can quickly view the details of a call and immediately issue the customer with credits for the lost call time."

The data warehouse also enables the company to achieve higher levels of customer retention and satisfaction by providing detailed forecasting and planning--essential to network performance and rapid correction of service problems.

In the next phase of development, GTE Wireless will be able to analyze data for mutual compensation payment, which the company expects will increase revenues substantially. (Mutual compensation is the wholesale billing to other telecommunications companies.)

Explains Yamashita, "Our data warehouse will give us accurate, verifiable data that will avoid an accidental overpayment to long-distance carriers. We estimate that the return on investment will take less than three years. Additionally, our improved forecasting/planning ability and customer retention may shorten that payback by providing increased earnings."


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