User stories from the knowledge front
To maintain its self-proclaimed status as #1 in the car rental industry, Hertz knows its business processes must flow smoothly. Effective, streamlined operations keep the company on its toes competitively and better able to serve its customers.
With current and future clientele in mind, Hertz has implemented a number of technologies from IBM Lotus, specifically geared to enhance communications and collaboration worldwide. The various solutions help Hertz route forms to people in distant offices; distribute changes in policies and regulations to its dispersed work force; and enable employees to collaborate on reports, projects and Web content—no matter the time zone.
Claude Burgess, senior VP of technology and e-business at Hertz, says about the technology, "It takes so many of the mundane procedures we have as a global organization and lets us automate them to cut costs, eliminate travel, speed processes and add security. The processes won't go away, and so making them more efficient is extremely important."
Hertz uses Notes and Domino, as well as Instant Messaging, Web Conferencing, Team Workplace and Domino Document Manager—all from IBM Lotus.
One Domino application that affects most of Hertz's 15,000 Notes users is its homegrown eForms system, which enables employees to fill out and process 500 different forms electronically.
"We try to use eForms wherever a paper document was once required," says Burgess, "not only to cut printing and paper costs, but to speed the associated process.
"With eForms, I can submit the forms in seconds. Our Domino-based workflow application routes it to the appropriate people automatically, and any questions or annotations stay with the form, creating a history for the next person who gets it, and eliminating questions that slow things down."
Because of the success of eForms, Hertz is digitizing other processes as well. The company is using Team Workplace to create Web-based workrooms where project teams can manage documents and track progress.
Hertz is using Document Manager to publish its employees policy and procedure manual, as well as other internal documents. "For example, the IT department uses it to create and revise technical documentation, finance uses it to draft business rules or definitions for our chart of accounts," Burgess says.
While still in the pilot phase, Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing are helping Hertz speed communications and enable collaboration worldwide.
As an example, Burgess says, "Right now we use Lotus Web Conferencing to hold a regular meeting with our marketing team in Europe, our analysts in New Jersey, and our Web development team in Oklahoma. Being able to collaborate on the same screen from three or four geographic locations enables us to manage the team process in real time without the logistical problems of mail, fax and e-mail. For instance, we can all be looking at a graphical display of information while making changes to it on the shared screen as the team interaction dictates."
Hertz is also planning to use an IBM Websphere Portal to roll out an enterprise portal. "We'll start with an internal-facing portal that offers employees customized, one-stop access to applications," Burgess says. "Over time we'll extend it to the B2B and B2C constituencies."