Neotechnik finds new ways to boost users’ productivity

Extending IBM Lotus Notes with acocon People Finder and other widgets

Published on 20-Dec-2010

Validated on 28 Oct 2013

"With acocon’s help, we have really started to use Lotus Notes and Domino to its full potential. Features like Live Text, resource planning for our meeting rooms, Lotus Notes Traveler for iPhone™ and iPad™ integration, and group calendars are making a real contribution to our productivity." - Stephan Kuhlke, CIO, Neotechnik

Customer:
Neotechnik

Industry:
Automotive

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Business Integration, BA - Business Intelligence, Enabling Business Flexibility, Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT

IBM Business Partner:
acocon

Overview

Neotechnik is a provider of sales, distribution, spare parts and servicing for the German automotive industry. Since 1962, the company has worked as a distributor for Linde Material Handling, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forklift trucks and warehousing equipment. The Neotechnik subsidiary that handles the Linde business now employs more than 190 people at its headquarters in Bielefeld and at 80 service centres across the region.

Business need:
Neotechnik wanted to enhance customer service by implementing a new IP telephony solution that would integrate with its existing systems to provide instant access to customer information. With this plan in mind, the company decided to upgrade its IBM Lotus Notes and Domino platform – providing an opportunity to take advantage of new features that would boost users’ productivity.

Solution:
Neotechnik worked with acocon, an IBM Business Partner, to integrate a number of widgets into the Lotus Notes interface. One of these widgets – acocon People Finder – draws data from the company’s CRM system and other sources to allow users to find all contact information for colleagues or customers at the touch of a button, and even find their location using Google Maps. Another widget – acocon Snippets – allows users to save time by dragging and dropping standard blocks of text into their emails, or attaching files directly from the company’s document management system.

Benefits:
Uses low-cost, easy-to-implement widgets to simplify everyday working processes. Eliminates repetitive tasks, increasing users’ productivity by approximately three percent. Helps users to communicate in a more standardised way and maintain Neotechnik’s corporate identity.

Case Study

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

Neotechnik is a provider of sales, distribution, spare parts and servicing for the German automotive industry. Since 1962, the company has worked as a distributor for Linde Material Handling, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forklift trucks and warehousing equipment. The Neotechnik subsidiary that handles the Linde business now employs more than 190 people at its headquarters in Bielefeld and at 80 service centres across the region.

“In many ways the Linde business has a similar operational model to a car dealership and service centre,” explains Stephan Kuhlke, CIO of Neotechnik. “The difference is that when one of our customers reports a breakdown or their forklifts require maintenance, we travel to their factory to perform the servicing. As a result, a lot of our daily work involves communicating with our customers to arrange visits and generally ensure that they are receiving a good level of service.”

Preparing for IP telephony
To help improve customer service levels, Neotechnik decided to upgrade its communications infrastructure by introducing an IP telephony solution, and integrating it with its customer relationship management (CRM) system. Once this solution is in place, when a customer calls Neotechnik, the customer service team will be able to access information about the customer instantly from the CRM system.

“The IP telephony project itself is scheduled for next year – but in the meantime, we needed to decide on the best way to prepare our existing IT landscape to the introduction of this new system,” explains Kuhlke. “One important requirement was that the solution should be able to communicate with our IBM Lotus Notes and Domino e-mail and calendaring system using the Common ISDN Application Programming Interface (CAPI). Our existing version of the Lotus software did not support this, so we decided to upgrade to version 8.5.

“Once we had decided to upgrade, we consulted acocon, which has been one of our main technology partners for more than six years. The acocon team demonstrated some of the new features of Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5, such as Live Text and the widget panel. They helped us realise that the upgrade would do more than just enable CAPI integration – it would also provide an opportunity to add functionalities that could increase productivity for our users.”

Time-saving widgets
acocon is one of the first IBM Business Partners in Germany to have developed a range of time-saving widgets for the Lotus Notes client. Neotechnik is using several of these widgets, including acocon People Finder and acocon Snippets.

People Finder provides an easy way for Neotechnik employees to find information about colleagues, customers and other contacts, by searching all the relevant company directories – including the company-wide and personal address books within Lotus Notes as well as the company’s CRM system.

“Instead of looking through numerous directories and logging in to separate systems, acocon People Finder provides a single interface that helps us find customers quickly,” says Kuhlke. “Even better, it lets us check their location on Google Maps and contact them at the push of a button – whether by email, SMS or fax. This is a big help when we are arranging a customer visit.”

Maintaining corporate identity
Snippets gives users a selection of materials – from simple blocks of corporate-approved text to full product brochures from the company’s document management system – that can be dragged-and-dropped into emails.

“Our users often need to send similar emails to many different customers – so acocon Snippets can be a useful time-saver,” explains Kuhlke. “Instead of typing out a whole email manually, or searching through the document management system to find the right PDF, they can now just drag-and-drop a standard block of text or document from the widgets panel. This also helps to create a stronger corporate identity, as the Snippets can be designed and approved centrally and then made available to all users. This means that everyone can use the same ‘corporate voice’ when communicating with customers.”

Improving productivity
The company is also using a number of other new Lotus Notes and Domino features – such as Live Text, which automatically recognises important data in documents and emails, and allows users to click through to other systems. For example, Live Text is able to search text in emails and identify Neotechnik’s invoice numbers. When it finds an invoice number, it turns the text into a hyperlink that allows the user to view the invoice itself in the company’s document management system.

“With acocon’s help, we have really started to use Lotus Notes and Domino to its full potential,” comments Kuhlke. “Features like Live Text, resource planning for our meeting rooms, Lotus Notes Traveler for iPhone™ and iPad™ integration, and group calendars are making a real contribution to our productivity. The best thing about all these features, and about the acocon widgets, is that they are all quite quick and easy to implement, so there are no big costs involved. Therefore, even if individually they only create a small increase in productivity, it is still worthwhile to use them.

“If we were to calculate the productivity gained from all these new features, it might add up to something like 15 minutes per user per day. This may not sound like much – but 15 minutes is just over three percent of an eight-hour working day. And achieving a three percent gain in productivity for a very minimal investment of time and budget is a significant achievement.”

Once Neotechnik installs its new IP telephony system, the value of the Lotus Notes and Domino upgrade will be fully realised – but even in the meantime, the solution is already delivering value.

“We would really like to stress the importance of acocon’s contribution to our success,” concludes Kuhlke. “Mr Roland Joeriskes and the other acocon consultants helped us understand the opportunities provided by the Lotus Notes and Domino upgrade, and how to really maximise the benefit of the project. As a result, we not only have the right IT landscape in place to support the upcoming IP telephony project – we have also been able to enhance our administrative processes and boost productivity in the workplace.”

Products and services used

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

Software:
IBM Notes, IBM Domino

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2010 IBM United Kingdom Limited PO Box 41 North Harbour Portsmouth Hampshire PO6 3AU Produced in the United Kingdom December 2010 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Domino, Lotus and Lotus Notes 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: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. acocon People Finder and acocon Snippets are products of acocon. IBM and acocon are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor acocon makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. 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.