IBM Survey Highlights Tech Habits of Corporate Overachievers

IBM has released results of a survey of senior executives that sheds new light on what organizations need to do to increase their ability to compete in the global marketplace.

LAS VEGAS -- IBM has released results of a survey of senior executives that sheds new light on what organizations need to do to increase their ability to compete in the global marketplace.

IBM officials discussed the results of this survey at the IBM Impact 2010 conference here. The event runs May 2-7.

According to a new study from the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), entitled "A New Way of Working: Insights from Global Leaders," which surveyed 275 global executives, those companies that are significantly outperforming in their industries have focused on driving business agility, through work practices and business processes that help their organizations become more dynamic, collaborative, and connected.

In an interview with eWEEK, Nancy Pearson, vice president of marketing for IBM's middleware business, said, "We wanted to explore the -outperformers'; they are more dynamic, more collaborative and more connected. The traditional work styles are inadequate."

Moreover, "The outperformers are three times more likely to embed collaborative technology in their work environment, use real-time information for decision makers, and integrate different sources of data," Pearson said.

The outperforming companies in general had a much wider adoption of technologies, Pearson said. They were: two times more likely to have process automation and modeling tools; four times more likely to use business activity monitoring (BAM), nine times more likely to be using service oriented architecture (SOA): and 3.7 times more likely to have collaborative workspaces in their environment, she said. "The combination of service orientation and collaborative tools in the context of a business process is showing big gains for many enterprises."

Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, Middleware Software, for IBM Software Group, said the study also showed that the outperforming companies focused on delivering new offerings, and also were keenly aware of regulatory changes that impacted their business.

These findings demonstrate that business processes are essential to enable the smooth and timely completion of everything from hospital admissions to product design and distribution, bill payment and claims processing.

David Yoo, vice president of eBusiness for healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente, said Kaiser is using IBM's technology t help with its efforts to extend its electronic health record technology. Yoo said Kaiser, as early as the early 1970's, had an electronic medical record in place, but the Nixon administration cut off funding for the project fueling that effort. "Imagine where we'd be if we had been able to continue that effort started in the 1970's," he said. "We've got to be more dynamic, collaborative and connected."

Yet, Yoo said Kaiser now has the largest deployment of electronic medical records. "But now we need to leverage our technology to provide more predictive analytics... All of this is done through the use and leverage of technology such as SOA and BPM [Business Process Management]."

Using SOA and BPM has been a key enabler to bring systems together at Kaiser Permanente, said David Yoo, vice president of eBusiness. The company has connected care teams and members to increase access and affordability. Results include 6.9 million prescription refills at lower cost. By working smarter, "we have fundamentally changed the landscape of healthcare-providing the right care and saving money in the process," he said.

Meanwhile, Paul Nussbaum, executive vice president of the Information Technology Office for Ford Motor Credit Company, said Ford recognized the need to use their global resources to standardize, simplify and globalize. They also set out to build a lean, agile and globally integrated "One IT." Nussbaum said that BPM and SOA helped Ford achieve these IT goals. Ford improved collaboration and connectivity with partners and customers using web services and DataPower. "The result was an environment that enables innovation," Nussbaum noted. For example, Ford devised MyKey, which allows parents to program controls such as speed limits and stereo volume into the car key.

"SOA and BPM are enablers," Nussbaum said. "They have led to better collaboration and participation with our customers," he said.

Meanwhile, for his part, LeBlanc said IBM has commissioned another study that includes responses from more than 1,500 CEOs in 30 different countries about what it takes to get people and enterprises to work smarter. The results of this study will be available later in May.