LITTLE ROCK, Ark. and ARMONK, N.Y., - 01 Sep 2010: IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced that it is helping construction firm VCC enable its mobile sales force with instant and portable access to all the critical information and insights needed to successfully bid on new building projects and support clients in the field. Using analytics and mobile technologies, field-based project managers can harness the wealth of company proposals, project data bases, industry trends data, best practices and sales contacts via their smart phones to quickly respond to new opportunities and help expand their business.
Headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, VCC is a U.S.-based construction company with 250 employees. Most well known for its large scale retail work, renovations and expansion projects, it has recently branched out into schools, government buildings and medical centers.
For the past year, VCC has seen its business grow in several new industries with help from new customer relationship and wireless management applications from IBM business partner iEnterprises that help VCC internally collaborate on bids for new construction projects.
Just as the phone industry underwent a massive shift from operator-connected calls to direct calling in the mid-20th Century, business again is on the cusp of another major shift, this time driven by the massive growth of mobile computing. Transformation is happening now -- with automation and greater intelligence -- to meet the growing demands of the mobile lifestyle and workforce. Analysts predict 20 times more mobile data by 2015 and nearly 1 trillion Internet-connected devices by next year.
Today, midsize companies are increasing their use of mobile solutions to work smarter – bringing all of their key work information and "intelligence" on the road so that they can make informed decisions while at a construction site, en route to a client's office, or gathering job supplies.
VCC's Challenge: Getting the right information at the right time
As a growing midsize business that continues to expand into new markets, VCC wanted to empower its project managers with real-time access to the critical information needed to service accounts, build relationships, retain profitable customers, collaborate with colleagues and quickly retrieve client information.
However, VCC found that sales leads, contacts, proposal databases and other vital information stored in its customer relationship management (CRM) systems was inaccessible to project managers traveling or working at customer locations. In addition, the CRM system's search capabilities were very limited and it was difficult to share information and thoroughly complete proposals since information was not systematically categorized or formatted.
The company turned to IBM and Business Partner iEnterprises and its iExtension CRM system to synchronize the company's existing Lotus Domino platform with its sales, marketing, executive and customer service teams – all without spending time and resources on a redesign. iExtensions CRM for IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8 takes advantage of IBM middleware* to deliver greater analytics capabilities and improve productivity.
iEnterprises Mobile CRM application called Mobile Edge connects VCC's customer relationship management system to its mobile platform. This allows project managers to improve decision making, shorten sales cycles and significantly increased new business by making client interactions and client contact information accessible to all project managers through their smartphones.
Besides an increase in new clients by 40 percent, up from the year prior, VCC has also seen an average savings of 400 employee hours per month thanks to the ability to more quickly retrieve and utilize client information.
"Using wireless technologies, we can capture and tap all our information wherever we happen to be, improving the way we work and the speed and effectiveness in which we service customers, collaborate, communicate, and close new business," said Wayne Alley, vice president, VCC. "We're analyzing information on the go to make intelligent, real-time decisions -- it's changing the way we work."
Real-time "trends" snapshots delivered via smart phone helps sales reps more effectively tailor bids to potential clients
Today, VCC no longer has to print out multiple reports to "eyeball" or manually tally trends or run ad hoc analysis for lead generation. The new CRM system automatically alerts VCC with trends and proactively funnels information to the sales representatives without prompting. VCC has also gained the visibility needed to identify new leads and quickly pull information to support requests for proposals and quotes.
Project managers equipped with smartphones can now look up, capture and act upon client information stored in the new CRM system at a moment's notice as well as immediately store updates wherever they happen to be. VCC employees can now get real-time snapshots capturing trends over time on their smartphones.
For example, when VCC has secured a new business opportunity within the construction industry and enters it real-time from the BlackBerry, iExtensions CRM uses analytics to automatically predict and tag similar opportunities within the database as high priorities. This enables sales representatives to instantly pursue and land new opportunities based on recent best practices.
"To meet their business goals, mid-size companies such as VCC need to have access to data quickly and easily. This is why mobile CRM is emerging as a crucial feature to improve collaboration and communication with customers, clients, suppliers and employees," said Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president, Messaging and Collaboration, IBM.
"Today, midsize companies can take advantage of new technology that is simple to use, easy to maintain, and priced for their budgets that can help clients secure new business, stay competitive, and be more productive whether in the office or on the road," Cavanaugh added.
For more information about VCC Construction visit http://www.vccusa.com.
For information about iEnterprises, visit http://www.ienterprises.com/.
For information about Lotus collaboration software and services visit www.ibm.com/software/lotus.
For information about IBM PartnerWorld, a comprehensive program that offers marketing and sales resources, training, certification and technical support to help create new revenue and market opportunities for IBM Business Partners, visit http://www.ibm.com/partnerworld.
*IBM Lotus Notes and Domino collaboration software, version 8.5.1, as well as IBM's Service Oriented Architecture middleware, Web services, WebSphere Application Server Express and DB2 software for greater analytics capabilities and improved productivity.
Sales opportunities trend analysis is made available real-time on the BlackBerry via IBM Web services and iEnterprises' Mobile Edge application.
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