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Domino dynamos: Achievers excel with Lotus technology

Every Domino shop knows a thing or two about maximizing the technology, but three companies at Lotusphere took Lotus tools to new heights and went home with's 2002 Achiever Awards.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- On the surface, the U.S. Army, a facility services contractor and a casket manufacturer have little in common. But look closely at their technology infrastructures and you'll find a bond: the innovative use of Lotus products.

After reviewing documentation submitted by each organization, awarded its 2002 Achiever Awards to the U.S. Army's Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications Tactical (PEO C3T); ABM Industries Inc.; and Aurora Casket Company Inc. The awards were presented at this year's Lotusphere.

PEO C3T embarked on an ambitious project, which went live early last year, to convert its Web site into a fully functioning portal that relies heavily on Lotus technology, like Domino R5 for messaging, QuickPlace for team collaboration, Sametime for embedded instant messaging and Domino.Doc for management of more than 15,000 documents. Programmers also created custom applications using LotusScript.

Bryan Walbridge, a National Guardsman and Lotusphere exhibitor, first noticed a change in the site in April 2002. That's when he began using the portal to collaborate with other troops in his battalion by sharing documents, sending instant messages and reviewing training schedules.

"It's ideal," Walbridge said. "We're part-time soldiers, so we don't have the luxury of being there 24/7."

The PEO C3T's Knowledge Center has assembled more than 600 different Lotus applications and databases into a single source of information. Its traffic has skyrocketed from 16,500 hits in October 1998 to its current monthly total of roughly 2 million hits. A recent ROI study found that the $2.5 million investment resulted in a $23.5 million cost savings, the Army said.

Based on that success, PEO C3T earned the Achiever Award for accomplishment in knowledge management.

Facility services contractor ABM Industries Inc. in San Francisco turned to Lotus to fulfill a customer request. A large customer had asked ABM to offer central management of all its individual contracts. ABM knew the project would be ambitious but that, if successful, it could pay huge dividends.

ABM's first step was to choose a common e-mail system to serve its 2,500 users in 200 offices across the country. After selecting Notes, ABM decided to base the infrastructure for its new National Service Center on Domino. ABM had roughly one dozen IT staffers working on the project.

Basically a collection of integrated databases, the National Service Center evolved into a full-service, homegrown customer relationship management system. It has allowed ABM's service providers to put down the pen and paper they were using to inspect buildings and enter data into PDAs that tie into a system with a Domino-based back end. ABM tacked on a Web-based reporting engine that takes all the information consolidated in Notes and offers a single view of all the information regarding the work it's performing for individual customers.

In one instance, ABM spent $200,000 creating a transactions database where service request calls are entered -- but the company estimates revenue from one customer to be in excess of $100 million.

"[Management] chews you out for spending a few hundred thousand on the project, but then they realize huge returns and the value of the service center," said Sean Finley, who accepted the Achiever Award that ABM won for scalability. Finley is ABM's assistant vice president and deputy director.

Aurora Casket Company Inc. in Aurora, Ind., proved that Lotus technologies can serve as the underpinning for a successful e-commerce operation. Having already used Domino to build a custom sales force automation system, Aurora tapped Lotus tools to create an extranet where its funeral home customers could purchase products.

The extranet, called Family Connections, tapped integrated development capabilities in Domino R5 to create sales and marketing support systems; it also utilized integrated messaging capabilities. Aurora also relies on Domino Directory to authenticate security profiles for its 43,000 users.

In 2001, Aurora realized $42 million in online sales, and today 32% of the company's orders are coming in through Family Connections. In the previous year, e-orders accounted for only 1% of sales. Overall, sales jumped 14.4% in 2001. Aurora now plans to offer online statements and electronic fund transfers for bill paying.

Rick Flagg, manager of Internet application development, appreciated the technology for its "simplicity and ability to get to market quickly. We're No. 2 in our industry, but we have gotten [online] five years before No. 1." Aurora won its Achiever Award for Web development.

All of the winners received free admission to Lotusphere.


More coverage from Lotusphere

Other Domino case studies

Dig Deeper on Domino Resources - Part 4

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