Prior to working with IBM, Russell's management team was struggling with project management and keeping track of day-to-day business issues. As a result, many tasks fell through the cracks. Russell's Convenience chose IBM's LotusLive Cloud to transform how its employees collaborate with each other, their licensees, vendors and partners and respond more quickly to customer demands.
According to AMI Partners, small- and medium-sized businesses in the United States will spend more than $49 billion on Cloud services in 2015, nearly double the size of the market today. Further, according to the 2011 IBM Midmarket CIO Study, CIOs are now 50 percent more likely to pursue investments in Cloud over the next three to five years to take advantage of the flexibility and cost effectiveness of using hardware and software resources offered through the Cloud.
With the help of IBM Business Partner Alacrinet Consulting Services, Russell's licensee stores can now access and share information regardless of their location. They have instant access to cloud-based social networking and collaboration tools, including file storing and sharing, e-mail, instant messaging and activity management. Instead of searching through emails or making multiple phone calls, employees can now collaborate on the fly.
They can meet on-line to resolve issues, share sales goals, network with co-workers, and track projects to completion. For example, the Los Angeles, California store is currently going through a remodel, and seamless communication between the architect in Denver and the operations centre in Los Angeles is critical. Russell's management set up a guest account for the architect to communicate with them and submit space plans for approval. Using LotusLive, the convenience store chain has saved weeks of back and forth travel.
"IBM is helping our licensee's to operate as one business - one that is connected, informed, and cohesive", stated Raymond Huff, President, HJB Convenience Corporation, Russell's Convenience. "We hold weekly executive staff meetings in Denver, and our licensees are now able to attend the meeting via LotusLive, versus getting a written synopsis of the high points of the staff meetings. This helps disseminate information faster and more effectively, resulting in more profits to our licensees."
IBM is also announcing new security features to help organisations collaborate more confidently in the Cloud.
Many organisations, like Russell's Convenience, are using Cloud-based services to facilitate collaboration while reducing IT costs and increasing productivity. New Cloud-based services from IBM give LotusLive users more control over information that is shared both inside and outside a company.
According to IDC, there is still some lingering apprehension over issues like integration, availability, security, and costs, and how IT vendors address these concerns will continue to guide the adoption of Cloud computing over the next several years.
New LotusLive features can alleviate these concerns, including increased protection for on-line meetings and real-time broadcasting for getting urgent messages out to the entire organisation.
LotusLive delivers even more Cloud-based options for collaborating, with integrated applications from business partners that help to improve and simplify everyday business activities. IBM is also announcing LotusLive integration with TeamPoint from FreshTL, a business partner that helps companies publish policies and procedures more easily, and deal with issues concerning governance, risk management and compliance. TeamPoint for LotusLive helps users easily track and manage important documents to remain compliant with employment law, health and safety regulations and standards such as ISO 9001, from within LotusLive.
"The ability to collaborate both internally and externally in a security-rich environment is one of the clear differentiators that the IBM collaboration Cloud provides", stated Bethann Cregg, vice president, IBM Collaboration Solutions. "Likewise, IBM business partner integrations such as TeamPoint can help solve specific business pain points and help clients embrace seamless collaboration across the organisation."