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New Lotus Sametime Case Studies: GE and Celina Insurance

Two new case studies on Lotus Sametime customers have just been posted, featuring GE and Celina Insurance.  The timing is coincidental, but I think it's really interesting to read the two case studies back to back - one from one of the largest companies in the world, and another from a company with only 175 employees.  I've tried to pull some of the highlights out below, but frankly found myself wanting to "blockquote" the entire case study.  If you're wondering what Sametime can do for you (or need to convince someone else in the company to get on board), I'd highly recommend passing these along.

The GE case study highlights GE's early adoption of Sametime (and by early I mean a proof of concept deployed off of a hand-labeled Sametime 1.0 CD) and how it quickly grew to be a mission-critical application used across the company.  It's also interesting to read about the improvements in scalability that have enabled GE to go from the 72 servers initially deployed back in those days down to 36 to 25 and now to just 12 servers that can meet the needs of the entire global infrastructure (with Six Sigma availability, no less).  Some other highlights:

The presence of Lotus Sametime has profoundly altered the way people work at GE. "Instant messaging is as ubiquitous as the dial tone," says [Doug] Amsler. "People now communicate more frequently through Lotus Sametime than through e-mail."

"The place I see Lotus Sametime instant messaging doing the most good is in day-to-day project management," says Tony Ross, GE's global collaboration leader and Amsler's manager. "Where you once had to wait on e-mail, now you can get online and get your answer right away. This real-time communication facilitates faster decision-making and helps build relationships faster. When I look at my team, I see that it's a way of making the whole team more productive."

What began as a proof of concept with a copy of Lotus Sametime 1.0 on a hand-labeled CD quickly escalated to wide-scale demand as word spread throughout the organization. The global communications team decided Lotus Sametime could act as a backup for the phone system if the Y2K bug caused it to go down. "Higher management loved it, bought a multiyear contract and said we needed to implement it immediately," adds Amsler. "That early recognition of how Lotus Sametime stood to benefit GE quickly led to 72 Lotus Sametime servers installed in 70 days at 36 locations globally."

Again - read the entire case study.

Ever since I first discovered how Celina Insurance is using Lotus Sametime as a competitive differentiator, I've loved to talk about it.  As a relatively small company, Celina is doing things like integrating Sametime into their external portal, so the independent insurance agents Celina relies on to sell their policies can have immediate access to Celina staff to answer questions or resolve issues.
The integration of Lotus Sametime into Web-based applications enables real-time, contextual collaboration that simplifies agent interactions with Celina staff. Looking at a policy on the extranet, an agent can see the underwriter's name for the policy, then click on the name and initiate a chat session. When the chat session starts, the underwriter receives the policy number and a link to the policy enabling them to immediately view it -- so both parties are looking at the same document online simultaneously.

I hadn't heard this quote from the case study before, but it doesn't suprirse me:
"The agents appreciate that they can instantly connect with their Celina underwriter - or anyone else in the company - at the click of a button. We have even had a competitor call us to find out how we do that." -- Rob Shoenfelt, Chief Information Officer, Celina Insurance Group

Of course, Celina is also seeing the advantages of Sametime on their internal communication, too:
As an alternative to drawn out e-mail chains and phone tag, it has proven to be a huge time saver, actually raising productivity while reducing phone calls (and associated costs) by 50 percent.

Again, read the full case study to see how they're not only using Sametime, but Lotus Notes and Domino along with custom third party applications to really apply technology for competitive advantage.