Reducing 53 different Notes applications to a common denominator

 

ABOUT SIKA INFORMATIONSSYSTEME AG

Sika is a global company operating in the field of speciality chemicals and supplies the construction and manufacturing industry (car, bus, lorry and train, solar and wind power systems, façades). Sika is a leader in the area of process materials for the sealing, bonding, damping, strengthening and protecting of supporting structures. With engineers, technical advisers and application instructors, Sika advises customers on projects, from the preliminary study through to implementation. The company operates worldwide with over 15,000 employees, of which 11,500 users work with IBM Notes.

THE CHALLENGE

Complaints between Sika companies were processed by recording them in a Notes application in order to resolve problems as quickly as possible. For the purpose of administering local complaints, the national companies developed their own solutions, many of which were also based on Lotus Notes technology. After a few years, however, the growing need for complaint management tools led to over 50 individual solutions, which caused a sharp rise in the amount of IT support around the world. There was also a complete absence of any global overview of all complaints across the Sika Group. Valuable information was lost and not recorded in the application, which led to considerable additional effort being expended on the processing of errors.

THE SOLUTION

During the development of the new e-ReClaim solution, a strategic decision resulted in the desire for a web-based application with a contemporary look. Another strategic goal is application consolidation, which aims at migrating all individual claim solutions to a global entity, thereby harmonising the processes. On the one hand this makes it possible to reduce the cost of operating the application and on the other forms the basis for the global reporting.

Within the scope of the global Sika project Global Enterprise COllaboration (GECO), which aims at consolidating and standardising applications, the e-ReClaim solution was declared a “GroupProduct” and should thus become available worldwide as a global solution for the handling of complaints at all Sika companies.

At the same time, there was a requirement for the application to demonstrate the same high level of performance at all locations around the world - from New Zealand to China and Colombia.

WebGate modernised the existing Notes application using its proven AUTOP method by making the application suitable for the web and allowing improvements to flow into the development phase. This created a stable workflow for the Sika complaints handling procedure and an expandable framework capable of adapting to future requirements.

The 53 versions were consolidated and are now a thing of the past. There is now a single user-friendly interface with defined form templates and a uniform workflow. Responsibility for the problem-solving process rests with the regions, which promotes rapid troubleshooting. Another benefit, of course, is that the application is conveniently available online at all times.

Peter Luder - Project manager at WebGate Consulting AG

As users still think strongly in terms of their inbox, the basic function of the mail connection was adopted. The entire complaints procedure used to function via email correspondence, which also resulted in a huge amount of data. This has been improved by the web application, although Sika didn’t want to do away entirely with the documentation of email content. Today, users can initiate their correspondence as usual from their mailbox: this is then attached automatically to the complaint. All information, both internal and external, needed to process a complaint can be attached directly in the application and also be found again later in a single location.

In addition, Sika uses the collaboration software IBM Connections so that users can converse with one another in forums or communities. Instructions and tips on the E-ReClaim tool are also saved in a separate Wiki and thus made accessible to everyone.

COLLABORATION WITH WEBGATE

The original version of the application had already been co-developed by WebGate Consulting AG. As WebGate understands the internal processes at Sika, scrutinises processes as necessary and highlights possibilities for optimisation, it was clear to Gabi Gässler that she also wanted to collaborate with WebGate on this project:

We are very satisfied. Above all, the holistic thinking of WebGate, the suggested improvements and the new solutions they proposed to us confirm that we have the right partner at our side.

Gabi Gässler - Team Head e-Collaboration at Sika Informationssysteme AG

We asked Ms Gässler how highly she estimates the improvement potential of the new application:

It is difficult to cite specific figures here. However, we are seeing an increase in the recording of new claims, which means that the employees are working more and more with the WebApp. The harmonisation of the tool with an identical user interface for all employees at home and abroad is simplifying internal procedures and helping to process the logged complaints better. The information technology naturally saves time and effort, which can then be used on other projects. The standardised design has a high recognition value for users. The data can be entered more quickly and easily thanks to the clear layout of the form. Less training and support is required. From a business perspective, it is the internal improvements and shorter time spent handling complaints that will save a lot of money in the long term.

Gabi Gässler - Team Head e-Collaboration at Sika Informationssysteme AG

E-ReClaim is intensively used around the world.