Blue Water Shipping removes the barriers to effective collaboration

Embarking on a journey towards improved information sharing with IBM Connections and IBM Lotus Notes

Published on 04-Feb-2013

"We feel that IBM Connections could introduce a brand new way of thinking for Blue Water Shipping – it is our first step towards removing the barriers to collaboration." - Kim D. la Cour, IT Manager, Blue Water Shipping

Customer:
Blue Water Shipping

Industry:
Travel & Transportation

Deployment country:
Denmark

Solution:
Social Business, Social Business for Finding Expertise, Social Business for Knowledge Sharing and Innovation, Transforming Business

IBM Business Partner:
IntraVision ApS

Overview

Established in Esbjerg, Denmark in 1972, Blue Water Shipping offers freight solutions by road, rail, sea and air through a network of offices, agents and partners across the world. The company also provides a wide range of value-added services including customised IT solutions. Employing approximately 1,000 people, Blue Water Shipping currently has offices in 29 countries.

Business need:
Blue Water Shipping, an international transportation company, wanted to find an alternative to email for sharing information between employees, to help encourage new, more effective ways of working.

Solution:
The company selected IBM® Connections software, a social networking platform that enables boundary-free collaboration, integrated with the company’s existing IBM Lotus Notes® and Domino® environment.

Benefits:
Helps boost employee productivity and encourages innovation. Reduces email backlog, saving time and contributing to better version control. Capitalises on the growing importance of social networking.

Case Study

Established in Esbjerg, Denmark in 1972, Blue Water Shipping offers freight solutions by road, rail, sea and air through a network of offices, agents and partners across the world. The company also provides a wide range of value-added services including customised IT solutions. Employing approximately 1,000 people, Blue Water Shipping currently has offices in 29 countries.

Challenges of sharing information
The geographical scope covered by Blue Water Shipping means that many of its projects involve numerous team members and stakeholders in various countries. Until recently, employees relied on email to share vital documents, leading to confusion over version control and a lack of transparency about which users had viewed which files.

Kim D. la Cour, IT Manager at Blue Water Shipping, explains: “The nature of our business means that our employees often need to share information across large distances, rather than discussing things face-to-face. For example, a typical project might be to move an oil rig from the coast of Singapore to the Caspian Sea. Usually, this would involve hundreds of emails circulating files between the people involved, and complex spreadsheets to keep track of data. There was always the risk of multiple versions emerging and confusion over who had seen a document. We wanted to be proactive about finding a better way to collaborate.”

Considering the options
The Blue Water Shipping IT team recognised that it could capitalise on the growing popularity and importance of social networking to embed new ways of working into its communication processes. The company looked at surveys of the various collaboration solutions on the market, and concluded that IBM Connections was the best option for enterprise-grade social networking software, due to its exceptional range of functionality and its compatibility with the company’s existing IBM environment.

“It is important to us to keep up with current trends,” comments Kim la Cour. “A new generation is entering the company, so it made sense for us to look at what would appeal to them. After looking at the options, we decided that IBM Connections was the best fit for our needs, and would also integrate seamlessly with our IBM Lotus Notes and Domino environment.”

Blue Water Shipping engaged IBM Premier Business Partner IntraVision ApS to help deploy IBM Connections, an open social platform designed to help people engage with networks of expertise within the company. As a first stage, the solution is being tested by the IT team, which uses the solution for its helpdesk, creating wikis to share important information.

“We have worked with IntraVision before and have a good relationship with them, so they were the natural choice to help us with this project,” says Kim la Cour. “We are still in the early stages, but ultimately, we want all our employees to be able to set up their own communities to share information. In testing, we have already seen most of our IT team using IBM Connections instead of sending group emails, which was a key aim for us.”

Encouraging company-wide adoption
Blue Water Shipping is confident that the strong links with social networking will mean that many younger employees pick up the IBM Connections solution with enthusiasm. At the same time, the company recognises that a challenge may lie in getting the older generation to adopt the new solution.

“As with all big changes to the way people work, we are expecting to encounter some challenges during the transition period,” comments Kim la Cour. “Luckily, IBM and IntraVision are helping us put together a strategy to effectively support all our employees in getting the best out of the software. With them behind us, we believe that in the long term, the benefits will be worth it!”

Seeing the difference
Once the implementation of IBM Connections is complete, Blue Water Shipping expects to see a significant difference in the way employees share information across the company. The largest immediate effect will be to dramatically reduce the volume of emails employees need to manage every day. The solution should also help with version control of documents.

“Using IBM Connections, our employees will be able to share a file with their colleagues instantly, without resorting to group emails that can cross in cyber space and result in multiple versions of the same document,” says Kim la Cour. “This will save huge amounts of time and boost productivity. It will also help us formalise our approval processes by making it easier to ensure that everyone who needs to see a document has done so before it moves to the next stage.”

By making it easier for employees to collaborate, Blue Water Shipping hopes that IBM Connections will foster innovation and lay the groundwork for future developments. La Cour concludes: “We feel that IBM Connections could introduce a brand new way of thinking for Blue Water Shipping – it is our first step towards removing the barriers to collaboration.

“In the future, for example, we intend to enable employees to access files via their iPhone or iPad devices, which should be more secure and effective than storing them on portable hard drives. Even though we anticipate some growing pains, IBM Connections has the potential to transform our business.”

Products and services used

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

Software:
IBM Connections, IBM Notes, IBM Domino

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM Danmark ApS, Nymøllevej 91, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Danmark. Produced in Denmark. January 2013. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Domino, Lotus, Lotus Domino, Lotus Notes, Notes and Sametime are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. IBM and IntraVision ApS are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor IntraVision ApS makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.