Secrets of success from a challenging year

How leading companies created success for 2020 and beyond

By | 8 minute read | December 17, 2020

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, some of the world’s most prestigious companies and their partners worked on some of the most complex challenges – such as climate change, natural disasters, pandemics and world hunger. In this review of client stories we look at how leading organizations help bring financial ease to millions, deliver life-saving medicines and feed a growing planet. From improving major supply chains to facilitating home ownership, advanced technology and methodologies are being applied to meet critical goals.

Take a look at the seven real-life scenarios and solutions summarized below. These are from IBM Services, the global consulting and IT infrastructure unit of IBM. Discover how these clients are tackling some of world’s toughest problems. But don’t be fooled by the seeming-ease of the outcomes. Not just any technology partner can supply such a clear blueprint for the future and global scale as a matter of course.

Chemonics + IBM – Life-saving medicines delivered, around the world

Challenge: According to the World Health Organization, 770,000 people died from HIV-related causes in 2018, with the largest percentage of victims in Africa. While HIV patients can live long lives today, only 62% of HIV-affected adults receive anti-retroviral drugs, which help to fight infection and lower chances of disease transmission. But IBM intelligent workflows are helping transform global health supply chains.

Solution: In concert with a consortium of partners, Chemonics and IBM co-created a first-of-its-kind platform called Automatic Requisition Tracking Management Information System (ARTMIS). The ARTMIS platform helps track shipments at every step of the supply chain.

Results: USD 88 million in savings. The ARTMIS solution has led to pervasive data visibility throughout the supply chain. And because it is based on the IBM Cloud, these capabilities are available worldwide. To date, the project has delivered enough anti-retroviral treatment to provide 3.9 million years of treatment for HIV/AIDS and enough anti-malarial drugs to treat 122.6 million infections. In addition, the ARTMIS platform has led to an on-time delivery rate of 90%. See the case study here.

The Climate Service + IBM Garage – Embedding climate data into financial decision-making

Challenge: In a recent S&P study (PDF 2.6MB), CFOs and CEOs reported that 6% of annual earnings were affected by extreme weather and climate events. Businesses must factor climate change into their decision-making — but how do they go about doing that? Enter The Climate Service (TCS).

Solution: TCS chose to embark on an IBM Garage experience and adopt the IBM open-source cloud platform to fast-track the scaling of the Climanomics platform. Climate risk analytics requires a vast amount of data — petabytes of data and thousands of equations — which necessitates an efficient cloud architecture to be able to manage and quickly access information. To scale its platform, TCS adopted the IBM open-source cloud platform, moving mission-critical workloads to hybrid architecture across IBM Cloud and Red Hat OpenShift.

Results: improved usability for clients, more sophisticated integrations, and streamlined workflows. See the case study here.

Frito Lay North America + IBM – With innovation built into its fabric, Frito-Lay is committed to constantly evolving its business to delight consumers.

Challenge: Long before hungry consumers rip into a bag of chips, an intricate process unfolds. In part, the process is complex because of the sheer volume of business that Frito-Lay operates. Annually, Frito-Lay uses enough potatoes, if stacked end to end, to reach the moon and back. Getting the right product to the right place at the right time is a formidable job. Moreover, consumers are demanding an increasingly alluring mix of their old favorites intermingled with new, unique flavors.

Solution: Frito-Lay and IBM co-created two solutions built on the Salesforce platform. Snacks to You is an advanced e-commerce solution, and Sales Hub streamlines frontline-employee delivery routes and provides drivers and managers with an efficient mobile app to improve performance and visibility.

Results: Snacks to You has 30,000 active customers and growing. Retailers experience fewer out-of-stock scenarios and expensive rush shipments. Sales Hub provides Frito-Lay with real-time visibility into key operational and stocking metrics to drive field productivity and scheduling efficiencies. Sales Hub has been such a success that Frito-Lay is working with IBM to transfer its electronic handheld device functions — ordering, invoicing, warehouse management — into the app. See the full case study here.

Pay Pal Giving Fund + IBM + SAP – Cloud technology enables more money for charities

Challenge: In early 2019, PPGF was still using a custom-built, on-premise platform that was almost a decade old — and built for a much smaller organization. When its on-premises system could no longer keep up with growth, PayPal Giving Fund (PPGF) migrated its ERP platform to SAP S/4HANA® Cloud.

Solution: Using a one-team, best practices approach, IBM and SAP delivered a system that can handle over 500,000 donations a day while raising hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of charitable causes, including Australian wildfire and COVID-19 relief. At the beginning of the project, PPGF used the IBM® HANA Impact Assessment solution to help define the migration, deployment and transformation roadmap and standardize processes. These steps helped ensure a smooth transition to SAP S/4HANA solutions.

Results: PPGF processed millions of dollars’ worth of donations for COVID-19 relief during the first four months of 2020. While wildfires raged in Australia, PPGF received as many as 535,000 donations on a peak day and averaged over 100,000 transactions per day during the month of February. The peak donation volume represented a 2,500% increase in capacity required to handle the number of donations per day. See the case study here.

Royal Bank of Scotland (now NatWest Group) + IBM – Simplifying the home buying process with digital mortgage support

Challenge: For many, owning a home is a dream come true. A bank-issued mortgage is oftentimes an essential ingredient in realizing that dream. But as regulations, products and processes evolve, issuing and obtaining a mortgage can be complicated. Banks are tasked with being able to access and apply accurate policy information to each customer’s unique needs in real time, throughout the home buying process. Together with IBM, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is solving that problem with a plan for digital mortgage support.

Solution: IBM and RBS have co-created an AI-powered, cloud-based platform that empowers mortgage call center employees with real-time digital mortgage support for home buyers. The platform, built with Watson Assistant on the IBM Cloud, is a single-point of access tool called “Marge” – and is a valuable new asset to RBS’ digital transformation. Marge was built directly on the cloud, embedded in RBS’ existing data structures, with access to new data added every minute via content updates and customer interactions.

Results: Since implementing the digital mortgage support tool, RBS has seen a 20% improvement in customer NPS, and a 10% decrease in call duration. See the case study here.

State Bank of India + IBM – The rise of a financial tiger: An intelligent platform puts State Bank of India customers first

Challenge: For more than 200 years, State Bank of India (SBI) has been the country’s largest public sector bank, and its financial foundation. The bank has 491 million customers. As many of the bank’s customers grew their wealth in recent years, the bank saw that people had new financial freedom and sought new opportunities.

Solution: SBI formed a vision of something more than a digital bank — it envisioned a comprehensive online platform. So, SBI created a customer experience called YONO — “You Only Need One.” YONO would give the bank an enormous market advantage, combining services, products and features into one mobile app with a platform that could integrate data across third-party products and streamline the customer experience.

To truly create a mobile financial marketplace serving millions of customers, the bank needed a proven partner with exceptional capabilities. As the bank developed customer journeys with IBM Garage, IBM also worked with SBI to design intelligent workflows and build a robust system of security and stability to support the solution. Intelligent workflows now apply technologies such as AI, automation, blockchain, 5G, advanced analytics and cloud to change the trajectory and very nature of SBI work, adding greater visibility, real-time insights and the power to remediate problems across multiple business functions.

Results: More than 64 million YONO mobile app downloads, including 5.23 million downloads in the first five months and more than nine million YONO logins per day. See the case study here.

Yara + IBM – This fertilizer company is using a digital farming platform to feed a growing planet

Challenge: Norway-based Yara, one of the world’s largest fertilizer producers, is on a mission to create a sustainable world without hunger. To do this, Yara is partnering with IBM to build the world’s leading digital farming platform.

Solution: In building the platform, Yara and IBM focused on creating and realizing a cloud-agnostic strategy that enabled consistent data governance and data security. It also focused on DataOps—automating data functions that allow its data scientists to focus on data models and innovation.

The platform provides holistic digital services and instant agronomic advice to farmers across the globe, ultimately avoiding deforestation by increasing food production on existing farmland. Together, the Yara digital platform aims to cover 7% of all arable land worldwide.

Results: The cloud-agnostic platform follows a pay-as-you-go commercial model and provides Yara with two data services: weather data and crop yield as a service. These accelerators are the first of many; an open innovation layer will enable Yara to create new ground-breaking algorithms providing farmers knowledge and decision-making insights. See the case study here.

What these cases all have in common

The stories recapped above are about chemicals and agriculture solutions, financial services, snack food, private development and philanthropy. While you could hardly have a wider variety of categories, there are unifying principles. Across industries, organizations are increasingly digitizing operations and effectively using AI and hybrid multicloud to address situations that only recently seemed intractable. This foundation bodes well for the challenges of 2021 and beyond.

IBM Services helps organizations modernize and transform into digital enterprises. Along the way we focus on improving customer experience, business resiliency and disaster recovery – and smoothing the journey to cloud.