Innovative IT is what gets companies ranked on the InformationWeek 500 list. As part of the IW 500 application process, companies tell us about the most innovative business technology initiatives they completed in the last year. It's a treasure trove of great examples of IT solving problems, providing value to the business and even generating revenue.
Among this year's bright ideas is Allstate's use of contests in which employees from all over the company spend 48 hours conceiving, designing, and coding mobile apps. Other winning ideas include Dunkin' Donuts combining point-of-sale transaction data with its security cameras to cut down on employee theft.
Biotech firm Amgen went completely paperless in its lab. Mercer put complicated pension calculations in a private cloud. Convergys, which provides outsourced customer service, has its managers using Web-based tools to more effectively coach its call-center agents. Valmont Industries is using virtual desktops to recycle old PCs into kiosks that outperform thin clients.
This has been a banner year for healthcare innovators. Check out Lehigh Valley Health Network's use of virtual reality to relieve burn patients' pain, and Christiana Care Health System's use of large touch-screen monitors to better manage its emergency department's trauma rooms. Kaiser Permanente is taking telemedicine to the next level, providing same-day specialist consultations. And Texas Health Resources has integrated an automated risk-assessment tool with its electronic records system to cut down on blood clots, which are a leading cause of hospital deaths.
Not every one of these ideas will work for your company, but they're sure to spark your team's creative problem solving.