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9/11/2008
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20 Great Ideas For You To Steal

Go ahead and follow the lead of these innovative companies, which came up with ideas involving green technology, voice over IP, security, and more.

Productivity


Accenture Defies Borders
A virtual company with more than 180,000 employees in 150 cities across 49 countries, Accenture has no physical headquarters. The executive leadership team is spread across the globe. Using a single secure, scalable, and resilient MPLS network, Accenture integrated voice and data and leveraged IP telephony to create a foundation for its Borderless Workplace. It added communication and collaboration tools such as Accenture People, a professional social networking site, and Telepresence, an interactive, high-definition videoconferencing system. The Borderless Workplace has significantly reduced Accenture's travel budget, while letting employees be more flexible and productive in meeting clients' needs.

Agile Software Development


UniGroup Moves Fast To Meet Customer Needs
UniGroup used agile software development and service-oriented architecture to get its Store and Move container services subsidiary started, and to help it grow. These technologies let UniGroup, the parent company of United Van Lines, Mayflower, and other moving company subsidiaries, build systems that would let Store and Move quickly respond to the needs of customers. Using agile development and SOA, Store and Move could shift from its initial monthly rental and per-service pricing to include more competitive zone-based pricing and promotions. It became the first container service to provide one-way container move price quotes and order initiation, which it did via the www.getasam.com Web site. Last year, Internet transactions made up 20% of Store and Move's order volume.

E-Mail Management


Morrison & Foerster Makes The Most Out Of E-Mail
Law firm Morrison & Foerster takes e-mail seriously. A core part of its business operations is to ensure that all client-related messages are accurately recorded. To that end, Morrison integrated a records management system, called MailMaster, into its Outlook e-mail system. With MailMaster, messages put into an Outlook folder are automatically copied into the firm's records management system. MailMaster solved a risk management problem and also put Morrison in compliance with records management policies and expectations. MailMaster has automatically filed more than 5 million messages, bringing a notable reduction in requests for manual assistance in correspondence gathering and retrieval.

Business Intelligence


Wheels Provides Data--And The Tools To Analyze It
Twelve new business intelligence applications give customers of Wheels, which offers fleet management services, access to a warehouse of data where they can glean information about fleet costs, environmental impact, and other factors affecting vehicle-fleet management. Access to these tools is quick, and the information produced is simple and accurate. Such information lets customers make better decisions about their fleet management tactics, leading to a fleet that meets company goals for financial, environmental, and productivity standards. Rather than simply providing access to data, Wheels' BI tools provide analysis to tackle fleet management issues.

Wireless


Swinerton Teams Up To Get Job Sites Connected
One of the biggest IT challenges a construction company faces is getting a job site up and running with secure data connections--quickly. Swinerton found itself waiting 30 days or longer to get wired connections with sufficient bandwidth installed, but wireless solutions didn't offer the bandwidth, reliability, or security it requires. So Swinerton, along with several other construction companies, worked with startup JobSight to develop a wireless telecommunications system--including voice, fax, data, and Internet--for temporary, remote, or mobile office situations.

The system works with multiple wireless networks, including cellular, to connect phones, fax machines, and computers, and it's VPN-compatible.

The system is still experimental, but the company has high hopes it will become a regular part of doing business.

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