APC's CRM program identifies customers' touch points with the company, captures information on failed interactions, and figures out what's needed to make the fix.

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, Senior Writer, InformationWeek

September 8, 2006

3 Min Read

To prevent failed customer interactions--which APC defines as something that's supposed to happen in a given time period but doesn't--the company deployed automated alerts to employees who respond to customer requests. For example, APC provides a four-hour window from receipt of an order for a replacement part to shipment. As time passes, if no employee takes action, an alert tells a stockroom manager how much time remains to complete the order in time. Currently, the alerts are in e-mail, but they may evolve into pop-up windows, Belliveau says.

"The whole idea is that we want to capture these failed customer interactions so that we can look at the trends and constantly improve where these failures happen," he says. The company may do that by making new technology deployments, adding staff, opening new distribution centers, or making other improvements.

American Power Conversion Corp.

Business: Electronics

HQ: Kingston, RI

InformationWeek 500 (2006) ranking: 3

Fortune 500 (2006) Ranking: 815

BusinessWeek's Global 1200 (2005) Ranking: 980

Revenue in millions: $1,980

IT Leader: Douglas J. Rademacher, VP & CIO

Vertical Industry: Electronics

Tweaking processes has altered how APC employees work, but they haven't complained, Belliveau says. The big motivator? "All employee bonuses are tied back to customer satisfaction," he says. "If customers aren't happy and the satisfaction numbers are going down, everybody gets a piece of that. And if the numbers are doing better, we get a piece of that, too."

Employees rely on business intelligence software tools, including Oracle Enterprise Analytics, Informatica's data integration applications, and Cognos' BI to do deeper analysis of the data they're collecting.

APC also deployed WAN acceleration technology from Riverbed to improve network performance by cutting WAN traffic and file backup time. New office setups are easier than before. Response and file-transfer times have improved among applications running over large areas such as APC's facilities in Singapore and Rhode Island.

The technology allows data to be compressed and shipped at smaller bandwidths. "It's like a sophisticated Zip file," Belliveau says. For instance, presentation downloads have been reduced by 95%--it now takes an average of two seconds to download a 5-Mbyte file. Veritas backups have been shortened by 18 hours, with 30-Gbyte files from Singapore to Rhode Island backed up in three hours.

All that technology hasn't come cheap. APC spent about 4% of its $1.98 billion in revenue on IT last year. But Belliveau and his staff of 300 earn it by proving it helps keep APC's customers happy. "Aligning technology with business goals is what keeps me up at night," Belliveau says.

Meanwhile, APC customers get a good night's sleep.

Return to the 2006 InformationWeek 500 homepage

About the Author(s)

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Senior Writer, InformationWeek

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights