Cloud // Software as a Service
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InformationWeek 500: 20 Great Ideas To Steal

InformationWeek 500 innovators reveal some of their top projects. Could something similar work at your company? Let the brainstorming begin.

PNC Targets Gen Y

PNC's Virtual Wallet is designed to appeal to younger customers. Using rich interactive architecture technology, the bank created customized ways to view accounts. A slider bar shows customers how much of their money is obligated to pay bills, is available for them to spend, and is set aside in reserve, and it lets them move money among accounts. A calendar provides an overview of bills and paydays, with "Danger Day" alerts when it appears that upcoming bill payments are likely to overdraft an account.

Virtual Wallet also offers mobile banking using text messages and downloadable apps.

Entergy Customers Less In The Dark

Entergy's My Account Online capability offers customers more than 20 automated or self-service features, from account management to real-time outage information. More than 590,000 accounts have been registered. One feature, View Outage, uses Microsoft's Bing mapping technology to let people check outages by neighborhoods and streets, showing which are without service and estimating the restoration time. When hurricanes Gustav and Ike hit the U.S. Gulf Coast last September, CNN used Entergy's View Outage to track progress of power restoration in affected areas. Customers visited the page over 300,000 times during and after those storms. Entergy is now testing power-outage reporting and information access using cell phone texting.

Mobile Strategy Done Right

Many Coca-Cola Enterprises employees are on the road engaging with customers every day, so the company developed an enterprise strategy for mobilizing business apps, instead of doing them as one-off projects. The strategy's first tenet is device independence, developing an app once that'll run on different devices, such as Windows Mobile and BlackBerry. Second, the goal is to be real time, using connectivity to monitor and react to events in the field. Lastly, the strategy is source system independent, leveraging SOA to tap multiple systems for a transaction and letting Coca-Cola Enterprises turn legacy systems into mobilized platforms.

T-Mobile's 3-D Customer Service

T-Mobile took a hard look at in-store technical support and found frustrated customers dealing with retail representatives with limited technical training. So, the company has implemented Tech Chat stations where customers get a two-way audio and video link to highly trained technical support staff who can get a 3-D view of the customer's device.

Available in 29 stores to date, the service has had a significant impact: Tech Chat handles nearly all tech support from those stores and has cut returns by 11%. T-Mobile gets fewer callbacks from dissatisfied customers in those locations, and 99% of customers who used Tech Chat said they were extremely or very satisfied with it.

T-Mobile's taking other steps to keep customers happy. It reduced the more than half an hour it took for a retail employee to activate a new phone to five minutes by cutting out redundant data entry--105 clicks--and combining disparate systems that connected to the point-of-sale terminals. T-Mobile rolled the system out to 5,000 locations in six months at $500 per platform. The project has saved $1.65 million and freed up 16,000 minutes to spend with customers.

Go to the 2009 InformationWeek 500 homepage

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