2010 Innovative Solution Award Winners

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The winning submissions demonstrated a unique combination of circumstances, ideas and technology or a creative solution that successfully addressed a business pain point.

A judging panel of the Information Management editorial team led by Editorial Director Jim Ericson chose these submissions for their demonstrated creativity, their creation of competitive advantage or their positive impact on the bottom line.

"This year we saw a mix of projects with a narrow focus on specific areas of cost (such as procurement) or revenue (such as sales support) that were closely monitored with performance metrics. Just about all of the companies on our list are keen to sustain ongoing value from their programs in large part by setting high standards for data quality and governance,” says Jim Ericson.

Thanks to our participants. Please consider nominating a solution next year. View the slide show here.

The winners are listed in alphabetical order by category.


VSP Vision Care with Verint Witness Actionable Solutions

VSP Vision Care is the largest nonprofit vision benefits and services company in the U.S., with more than 55 million members and over 26,000 doctors. VSP wanted to help its customer service representatives continually enhance performance. The company found that significant cost and efficiency opportunities could be achieved through the implementation of a workforce optimization strategy and solution.

VSP is tracking its return on investment in a host of ways, including first-call resolution, staffing costs, cost per call, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.

Since implementing Impact 360, VSP Vision Care has improved its contact center handle times, CSR availability and shift scheduling, resulting in a savings of approximately $3 million in the first year alone. Additionally, since the “Be the Best” initiative began, VSP has realized impressive results, including improvement of overall first-call resolution from 83 percent to 85 percent, equating to call avoidance savings of just short of $900,000.

VSP has found Impact 360’s advanced scorecard capabilities particularly beneficial. With Impact 360 Scorecards, CSRs can monitor their own performance in a trended, real-time environment. This capability completely changes the conversations between the CSR and supervisor, making them a team in developing performance plans that are agreed to and managed together. VSP has found this to be transformative — and it’s helping VSP think about the business in new ways.

Business Intelligence/Performance Management

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company with Teradata

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s procurement department lacked timely visibility to enterprise indirect spend data, consistent spend classifications, a global definition of spend and vendor hierarchy, and a standard retention process for historical data. As a result, procurement was unable to negotiate effectively, achieve volume leverage, identify areas of sourcing opportunities and identify related vendors.

To address procurement issues, Goodyear launched two critical initiatives: Global Aggregation Strategy Process and Master Data Management - Vendor. The project took 15 months (January 2008 - March 2009) to implement and the software products used include: Teradata Database 12.0, SAP MDM 5.5 (to establish a central repository and interface with ERP systems), Informatica Power Center v8 (for data loading) and Cognos C8 toolset (as the reporting environment).

Payback is anticipated in three years (approximately March 2012) and is estimated to have savings of $3.5 million to $5.5 million. One additional initiative to analyze and adjust global payment terms for direct material purchases has already realized a cash flow benefit of nearly $4 million with potential additional cash flow improvements of $5 million by the end of the year.

The EDW is the centralized data repository and reporting environment for enterprise-wide purchasing and accounting data, and includes indirect and direct spend data. The primary benefit is the ability to support strategic sourcing at the global level, something few companies can do.

Goodyear now has timely visibility to enterprise spend data, consistent spend classifications, a global definition of spend and vendor hierarchy, and a standard retention process for historical data.

Business Process Management

Clipper WindPower with Datastay

Clipper WindPower, a manufacturer of wind turbines, was originally in search of a solution that could adequately manage the development process of their products.

Clipper needed a solution that would give them control over the product development process and include a central repository where all product-related data could be stored. Clipper wanted to implement a product development and engineering change order solution that would ensure enhanced engineering productivity and help prevent product errors.

With Datastay, Clipper built a tailored solution for their organization. Using a number of different components to build their solution, they were able to address the core business drivers identified. Datastay was implemented at Clipper within five weeks of the final decision to use Datastay as the vendor of choice. As a software as a service offering, there was no need for any changes to infrastructure. It was easily integrated into existing ERP system.

Datastay’s platform technology provides a no-programming approach that allowed Clipper to create the solutions needed – product lifecycle and quality management - to control business process.

Clipper achieved the ability to be more responsive to customer and market dynamics and demands, improving the ability to gather information and execute more frequent planning cycles, avoiding traditional annual cycles. They identify problems earlier on in the process and determine the necessary actions to correct it.

The most significant of the benefits Clipper was able to achieve was enhanced collaboration, improving internal communications while including partners, customers and suppliers in the process.

Content Management

Den-Mat with Salesforce.com

Den-Mat, a leader in the global aesthetic dental industry, needed a new business platform to help its team become faster, more efficient, and more innovative to increase sales and improve customer service to dentists.

They were able to streamline the process by consolidating customer information in Salesforce’s Sales Cloud 2 and enabling customized dashboards to show key business metrics in real time.

By deploying Salesforce’s Service Cloud 2 agents and other functional teams can capture all relevant information from their customers to ensure solutions were being given for their problems in a timely matter, as the service cloud captures information in real-time through channels like Twitter and Facebook.

Employees have mobile access to the information from BlackBerry devices, iPhones and iPads.

By adding an enterprise collaboration solution, Salesforce Chatter, Den-Mat was able to fix the problem they had of people working in silos. Information sharing and collaboration between Den-Mat’s Work at Home, internal sales, accounting and marketing groups have dramatically increased.

By implementing salesforce.com, Den-Mat needs 50 percent less IT staff than they needed with their previous system. They reduced their process improvement schedule from six months to two months. They saw an increase in customer satisfaction and sales within the first 30 days.

Most importantly, customer service issues can be resolved more quickly through improved communication and information sharing across the organization, enabling Den-Mat to meet their internal goal of solving customer’s problems within 24 hours.

Data Management

Smith & Nephew with Informatica

Smith & Nephew launched an enterprise data governance initiative with the goals of maximizing supply chain efficiency, improving relationships with health care professionals and trading partners and driving accurate enterprise-wide reporting through improving and ensuring the quality of its data.

Informatica has helped Smith & Nephew revolutionize the way the company thinks about data and how to apply it for competitive advantage. From concept to ROI, the implementation took less than 12 months.
Smith & Nephew has been able to:

  • Create a business rules dictionary and reusable rules repository, capturing the knowledge of subject matter experts across the business.
  • Launch data quality scorecards in the form of Web dashboards to more than 100 users so that each GBU can easily track and analyze how well they are adhering to data quality KPIs.
  • Standardize more than 500,000 records, which are then cleansed and integrated back into the SAP applications.
  • Close in on its goal of achieving greater than 95 percent data accuracy.

IT enabled the business to take responsibility for ongoing data quality by placing powerful technology tools in the hands of data owners to monitor and govern their data quality.
Lean principles applied to data integration, data quality and master data governance today seems new, even radical. A few years from now, however, it will be the accepted norm.

Among the initiative’s immediate successes was a data cleanup that flagged inactive and duplicate customers. The company now saves $100,000 for every customer mailing campaign, and $1 million in missed opportunity over the customer lifetime.


U.S. Xpress with Informatica

U.S. Xpress needed to better manage vehicle idle time across a fleet of trucks, leading to improved customer service and millions of dollars in savings.

U.S. Xpress found some data that had not been touched for seven years. The solution, based on the Informatica platform allows U.S. Xpress to profile the data, determine whether it is still relevant and then drop it into the company’s master data management system. Implementation only took four and a half months.

Now armed with visibility into how much time drivers were idling, U.S. Xpress cut the percentage of time its trucks stand idle from the high eighties to just over 50 percent. As a result, U.S. Xpress has been able to dramatically reduce vehicle idle time, ultimately saving the company millions of dollars annually including savings on fuel — equivalent to a return on investment in only three months.

The reduction in fuel consumption not only made an immediate and immensely positive impact on operating margins, but it has also had a positive environmental impact through reduced emissions.

The data governance solution improves the stability of U.S. Xpress’ vehicle maintenance system through data profiling, optimizing staff time and saving more than one million dollars each year.

Other Innovative Solutions

Segmetrix with Kognitio

UK-based B2B intelligence consultancy Segmetrix wanted to do something different in the world of data matching and cleansing. Although its services include integration tasks to help customers ensure they have accurate, consistent data, Segmetrix wanted to put the job of matching, cleansing and de-duplication into the hands of the users instead.

Segmetrix developed Match2Lists.com, and by delivering it through Kognitio’s Data Warehousing as a Service offering, Segmetrix rapidly established itself as a leader in its segment, delivering a service that no other firm is matching.

Through the use of Kognitio’s WX2, which is at the core of the DaaS implementation, Match2Lists.com’s customers are able to blaze through millions of records, taking minutes to do what previously would take weeks. This allows his customers’ analysts to spend far more time functioning as analysts, and not data clerks.

Segmetrix is achieving full ROI six months after its Match2Lists.com service went live. The service is paying dividends, literally, by the minute, because Segmetrix has priced its service very aggressively, and changed the paradigm in the process.

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