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South Korean Internet Giant Selects IBM For Business Transformation and Worldwide Expansion

Creating the virtual worlds of tomorrow, IBM will transform and manage the technology infrastructure and customer support services of South Korea’s NHN

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA & ARMONK, NY - 22 Jun 2004: NHN, operator of Korea's leading internet search portal and online game community, has selected IBM to transform and manage its technology infrastructure and customer support services, enabling NHN's planned expansion in Japan, China, and North America.

The 10 year agreement will deliver significant operational efficiencies that will allow Korea's largest Internet company to focus on its core businesses and explore additional value-added services such as search, games, communities, news and online shopping.

South Korea-based NHN operates the leading online game portal 'Hangame', (http://www.hangame.com), which has 17 million members and averages 210,000 simultaneous players and 2.5 million users each day. The company also operates South Korea's number one Internet search portal 'Naver' (http://www.naver.com), which handles about 12 million visits and 350 million page views each day.

The IBM infrastructure and customer support services will be designed to quickly meet the substantial shifts in customer demand that are the hallmark of online services. IBM's automation technology, Universal Management Infrastructure (UMI), will help ensure that computing resources exactly match demand, while customer support services will be transformed so that they scale to address demand peaks and troughs.

"Our mission is to develop an online environment where users will be able to enjoy their Internet entertainment and search experience with incredible speed, stability, and satisfaction," said Beom Su Kim, chief executive officer of NHN. "This can be achieved through the new technological foundation IBM has developed. The enhancement will extend to customer support services, which IBM will transform for our users, offering them an improved experience no matter where they are located."

To help reach this goal, IBM's UMI will automatically allocate and load balance computing resources, such as servers, storage and bandwidth (the size of the data pipe), for NHN's services. During peak hours of Internet usage, for example, UMI might expand the NHN infrastructure by adding additional processors and disk storage and expanding the data pipe to accommodate the increase in traffic. UMI will also monitor security and correct errors on the fly.

The ability of UMI to sense and respond to changes on demand will help ensure the experience remains optimal at all times. IBM's technology will support NHN's strategy to provide more diversified and advanced internet services.

IBM's business consultants will work with NHN to transform and deliver customer support services to portal advertisers and online gamers. The transformation of NHN's customer support services will involve operational and technological improvements through the introduction of governance models, consolidation of customer databases and the implementation of PABX, IVR, call routing and CTI technologies.

Over the ten-year period, IBM will manage NHN's customer queries and complaints, gaming support and inbound calls from portal advertisers. These services were previously supported via traditional telephony and email, but will migrate to take full advantage of multichannel customer interface media including web-based IVR, email and telephony.

The enhancements delivered throughout the transformation process will allow NHN to better segment its customers and deliver more cost effective, targeted customer support services through multiple channels including as self-serve web channels for fast, low cost resolution or phone-based support for more complex queries or high value customers such as portal advertisers.

In addition, the advanced NHN infrastructure will be globally standardized and integrated, reducing operational costs and allowing new technologies to be quickly and easily integrated.

Customer support costs will be transformed from fixed to variable based allowing NHN to closely calibrate IT expenditures with growth in users of NHN services.

"Sophisticated online games and search services present both technological and business challenges, requiring an infrastructure that operates with resiliency, speed and the ability to cope with sudden changes in demand," said Tim Shaughnessy, General Manager IBM Global Services, Asia Pacific. "This agreement shows that mid-market companies see the value in managed services and NHN recognizes that IBM can help it achieve business innovation and leadership by transforming and managing its technology and customer support services."

Contact(s) information

JinSoo Lee
IBM Media Relations
+82 2 3781 5499
jinslee@kr.ibm.com

Natalie Harms
IBM Media Relations
+61 417 689 677
nharms@au1.ibm.com

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