Imtech ICT helps people connect with each other

Easier collaboration with the C3 social software solution

Published on 13-Apr-2011

Validated on 28 Oct 2013

"Successful collaboration no longer depends on building up a professional network over many years – C3 can provide a much more dynamic model that doesn’t rely on traditional hierarchies." - Jan-Willem Sigtermans, Director of Human Resources at Imtech

Customer:
Imtech ICT

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Mobile, Smart Work, Social Business, Social Business for Finding Expertise, Collaborative Innovation, Optimizing IT, Leveraging Information

IBM Business Partner:
FRITZ & MACZIOL GmbH

Overview

Imtech ICT is one of Europe’s leading information and communications technology providers, with approximately 3,000 employees working at subsidiaries in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK. The company offers a wide range of solutions and services for clients of all sizes.

Business need:
Imtech ICT found that traditional hierarchical business structures were preventing knowledge-sharing and collaboration between its different business units – and realised that other companies probably faced the same problems.

Solution:
Imtech ICT decided to develop C3, a new social software platform that would make it easier for users to find and communicate with colleagues across the business. The solution was initially implemented internally within Imtech ICT, and subsequently offered to the company’s clients as a packaged solution.

Benefits:
Enables users to quickly find colleagues who have the skills required for specific projects, helping to win new business from clients. Provides collaboration tools such as blogs, wikis and forums to help users discuss issues and share knowledge. Minimises training requirements by integrating seamlessly with groupware solutions such as Microsoft Outlook and IBM Lotus Notes. Maximises flexibility – the solution can be easily extended with widgets and web services, runs on a variety of platforms, and can also be delivered via a software-as-a-service model.

Case Study

To read a German version of this case study, please click here.

Imtech ICT is one of Europe’s leading information and communications technology providers, with approximately 3,000 employees working at subsidiaries in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK. The company offers a wide range of solutions and services for clients of all sizes.

Imtech ICT’s subsidiaries operate as independent business units, but the company wanted to ensure that each subsidiary could benefit from the others’ skills and knowledge.

“For example, if a client in Belgium has an unusual requirement and an Imtech consultant in Austria is the only person with the expertise to fulfil that requirement, the Imtech Belgium team needs to know about it,” explains Jan-Willem Sigtermans, Director of Human Resources at Imtech. “We had a situation where most subsidiaries had their own systems and methods for finding people, but there wasn’t a standardised solution at group level. As the world of ICT becomes more and more globalised, we realised that we needed to be able to respond more effectively to international needs.”

Identifying business opportunities
Jan-Willem Sigtermans adds: “We also realised that many other organisations must be in a similar situation, which presented an exciting opportunity. If we could develop a solution for our own business, we might be able to turn it into a product and sell it to our clients too. With this outcome in mind, we decided to design the solution to be as flexible as possible – so that it would not only meet our own specific needs, but also be adaptable to other situations.”

Building on IBM software
The Imtech ICT team evaluated several software products as a foundation for the new solution, and chose IBM Lotus Connections.

“We are an IBM Premier Business Partner, so we have a good relationship with IBM – but we also work closely with several other large software vendors, and we looked at their solutions too,” comments Jan-Willem Sigtermans. “We selected Lotus Connections because it has a very open architecture and is easy to integrate with other systems.

“The solution is compatible with a wide range of operating systems, so it can easily fit in with our clients’ existing infrastructure. In fact, if clients want, we can even deliver it via a software-as-a-service model, so they don’t need to worry about the infrastructure at all!”

Supporting knowledge-sharing and collaboration
Imtech ICT’s solution, known as C3, provides a number of important features that are designed to support knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

“The most important thing is to connect people with each other,” explains Jan-Willem Sigtermans. “If knowledge only exists in the head of a single employee, it is practically useless from a business perspective – particularly if nobody else knows that the person has that knowledge. The C3 solution gives each employee a unique profile where they can list their qualifications, areas of expertise and employment history. Other employees can then search for this information and locate colleagues who have the skills they need. They can then communicate via phone, email, instant message or online collaboration tools such as blogs, wikis and discussion forums – it’s just a matter of a few mouse-clicks.”

Going viral
Within Imtech ICT, the solution has been adopted very rapidly, especially amongst the technical employees – over 90 percent of them populated their profiles within a few weeks of the go-live.

“We ran some internal marketing campaigns to promote C3, but the interesting thing was that the solution quickly went viral,” says Jan-Willem Sigtermans. “Employees who signed up saw immediate benefits from the new communities that were created – it gave them an easy way to interact both professionally and socially with colleagues in different countries. As a result, they began sending invitations to their other colleagues to persuade them to sign up as well.”

Supporting sales
As well as providing tools to help the technical experts collaborate, the solution is also popular with Imtech ICT’s sales teams. If they are sending a proposal to a potential client, they need to know where the relevant technical resources are located and find out whether they will be available to work on the project. By integrating C3 with Google Maps, Imtech ICT has enabled them to check these locations easily and ensure that the right people are in place to support the client effectively.

“On one occasion, a client needed help with a specific problem that was not part of our standard solution portfolio,” comments Jan-Willem Sigtermans. “But by searching C3, we found that one of our employees had relevant experience from a previous job, and they were able to help the client. As a result, we won a deal that normally we wouldn’t even have bid for.”

Meeting the needs of a new generation
Finally, the solution fits in with the social networking trends that are becoming an ever more important aspect of daily life.

“Today’s graduates and young professionals have grown up with MySpace and Facebook, and they want to use the same methods of interaction in the workplace,” explains Jan-Willem Sigtermans. “It makes us more attractive as an employer, and it also helps new employees fit into the organisation and find their way around more quickly. Successful collaboration no longer depends on building up a professional network over many years – C3 can provide a much more dynamic model that doesn’t rely on traditional hierarchies.”

Available now!
Following the success of C3 within Imtech ICT, the company has now added the solution to its product portfolio, and has already implemented it for several of its clients.

“Many of our clients want to run C3 on their own servers, but we also offer a very attractive pricing model for the solution via a software-as-a-service model,” concludes Jan-Willem Sigtermans. “In this case, the solution runs in the cloud, and companies subscribe to a monthly or annual fee per user. Thanks to the extreme flexibility of the platform, we can deliver it in almost any form our clients require.”

Products and services used

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

Software:
IBM Connections

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011. IBM Deutschland GmbH, 71137 Ehningen, Germany. ibm.com/de. IBM Österreich, Obere Donaustrasse, 951020 Wien, Austria. ibm.com/at. IBM Schweiz, Vulkanstrasse, 1068010 Zürich, Switzerland. ibm.com/ch. Produced in Germany, March 2011. All Rights Reserved. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and Lotus are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at http://www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. C3 is a product of Imtech ICT. IBM and Imtech ICT are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Imtech ICT makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.