Mizkan Group transforms email from individual asset to company resource

IBM social collaboration software is the foundation for information sharing companywide

Published on 19-Apr-2013

"Our previous group portal used a push model to present business information to all the employees. It is now driven by XPages, a new feature of Lotus Notes, to make more intuitive navigation possible." - Hiroshi Masuda, information planning department manager, Management Department, Information Systems Division, Mizkan Group Corporation

Mizkan Group


Deployment country:

IBM Business Partner:
Ricoh Company, Ltd.


Headquartered in Japan, Mizkan Group Corporation is responsible for planning, developing and selling flavorings, processed foods and natto for home and business use. The company employs more than 2,100 employees worldwide and reported fiscal 2011 consolidated gross sales of JPY160.1 billion.

Business need:
Mizkan Group Corporation saw the planned IBM software upgrade and extension as a vital component in its business strategy to “continuously challenge the status quo.”

The company rebuilt its communication environment centered on the IBM messaging and social collaboration platform, standardizing application development, renewing the group portal and enhancing the email system.

Employees easily share information by moving it from closed, individual mailboxes to organizational “e-cabinets,” and there are fewer applications to manage.

Case Study

Headquartered in Japan, Mizkan Group Corporation is responsible for planning, developing and selling flavorings, processed foods and natto for home and business use. The company employs more than

2,100 employees worldwide and reported fiscal 2011 consolidated gross sales of JPY160.1 billion.

The Mizkan Group was an early adopter of IBM® Lotus Notes® and Domino® software in 1996 as an information-sharing foundation. With its upgrade to Lotus Notes and Domino (now IBM Notes and Domino) V8.5.3 software in March 2012, the company was focused on further strengthening its communication system and making a revolutionary change in work style. “We didn’t want to do the upgrade just to deal with aging software. The goal was to rebuild the communication environment centered on Lotus Notes … standardizing application development and operation and strengthening security and cooperation with the enterprise systems,” says Koji Masuda, information planning department manager in the Management Department, Information Systems Division of Mizkan Group Corporation.

Working with IBM Business Partner Ricoh Company, Ltd., the project team set up a database development standard and application lifecycle management approach to map the most appropriate plan to the business strategy for the entire company. Reorganizing applications was a primary objective, but others included renewing the group portal, enhancing the email system environment and building a foundation for storing new documents.

Mizkan Group now uses the XPages web application development framework, delivered with the upgrade, to help enable more intuitive portal navigation. Using the XPages framework, developers can make information
available through a Web 2.0-style browser. They can flexibly and dynami-
cally arrange multiple items of information on the screen and implement
partial screen updates to distinguish between items that have been read and those that haven’t. Also, it is significantly less labor-intensive to optimize applications for mobile devices, as well as set up and control access.

To enhance information exchange, the project team created an environment that allows employees to drag and drop email from their closed, individual boxes to shared organizational “e-cabinets” located in a side bar. Developed by Ricoh Company using an Eclipse plug-in function that runs on a Notes client, this functionality helps Mizkan Group change what could easily remain individual information into a company resource. For example, manuals, methods of solving problems or instructions from management can be saved in departmental e-cabinets where they are always easy to find. Whenever there is
a question, it is possible to click on a document in the e-cabinet to access related documents. “To provide flexibility, we provide organizational categories that are matched to the departments’ businesses, as well as individual categories. And, when the person in charge of a document transfers to a different location, the new person inherits the document with a single press of a button,” says Masuda.

• Reduced the number of applications by 52 percent through standardized development and application lifecycle management
• Enhanced information sharing by allowing employees to drag and drop emails and documents into departmental e-cabinets
• Streamlined system upgrade by compressing 10 steps into one step and automating portal and mailbox switching

For more information
To learn more about IBM messaging and collaboration software, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner,
or visit the following website:

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

IBM Domino, IBM Notes

Legal Information

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