Dairy farmers worldwide are keen to introduce the Norwegian Red cow into their herds. To become the leading provider of the red breed genetic material, how could Geno better support its sales teams?
With help from Item Consulting, Geno deployed a mobile collaboration platform—connecting its representatives around the world with timely support from product experts at its head office.
Equipsemployees with up-to-date product information on a modern intranet solution
BoostsGeno’s competitiveness in a tough marketplace with timely digital collaboration
Increasesoperational consistency with one platform for sharing and accessing information
Business challenge story
Building an international brand
The Norwegian Red is one of the world’s most popular dairy cattle breeds—and there is intense competition between companies that develop the breed. For Geno, a farming co-operative that produces and sells Norwegian Red genetic material to biotechnology re-sellers, the aim is to drive growth outside its domestic market in Norway.
Tore Søgård IT Manager at Geno elaborates: “In recent years, we’ve seen a major reduction of dairy farms in Norway. As a result, international markets are vital to achieve our growth goals—and we aim to do everything we can to help our global sales teams close deals.”
Geno has a dedicated international sales team staffed by seven people and additional representatives across Russia, Europe, the Middle East, China and Latin America.
Søgård continues: “In the past, our international sales teams primarily coordinated their work via e-mail and recorded information about their accounts in disparate systems. As a result, important information was often buried in their inboxes, and our sellers needed to spend a significant amount of time combing through their messages to find what they needed.
“Because we operate in the biotechnology space, our clients often require in-depth information before agreeing to purchase genetic material—and if a prospect had a question, it was difficult for our sales teams to quickly find the appropriate expert in our Norway business to provide a timely answer.
“We knew that helping our global sales teams collaborate more effectively with experts at our headquarters in Norway would empower them to drive sales and accelerate our international growth. To realize our goals, we looked for a new way of working.”
Selecting a best-of-breed solution
To supercharge its sales function, Geno selected a versatile suite of collaboration solutions based on IBM® Connections™—including wikis, forums, digital communities and file-sharing capabilities. In addition, Geno also uses instant messaging and video capabilities across its global workforce for more immediate collaboration.
“Of all the solutions we looked at, we felt that nothing matched the flexibility and rich functionality of IBM Connections,” says Søgård. “As well as being extremely intuitive and user-friendly, we were impressed by how tightly the platform’s file-sharing capabilities integrate with other parts of the solution.
“Instead of emailing multiple copies of the same file between different parts of the business, our people can share a link to a single version of the file via a post in a digital community, a status update on their personal page or in a wiki. Better still, the collaborative document editing capability means that sales representatives in different geographical locations can work on the same presentation at the same time.”
To accelerate its IBM Connections deployment, Geno engaged IBM Silver Business Partner Item Consulting.
“We have partnered with Item Consulting on previous social business technology deployments, and engaging them for this project was a natural choice,” adds Søgård. “Both IBM and Item were extremely responsive throughout the project, and whenever we had a question we knew that the answers we needed were only a phone call or an email away.
“From an early stage, we decided that we wanted to limit our customization of the platform, as we knew that it would make it easier to manage, maintain and upgrade in the long term. However, we also wanted to pull in some information from our accounting and customer-relationship management systems—and Item helped us design the necessary integrations to bring the information into Connections seamlessly. We were so impressed with the Item team that they will definitely be our first choice for future work with IBM Connections.”
Driving global growth
With IBM Connections, instant messaging and video at the heart of its sales function, Geno can equip its international teams with the information they need to work effectively anywhere in the world—helping them drive sales.
“Because IBM Connections makes collaboration so much easier, our sales teams can avoid wasting valuable time searching for the latest versions of presentations and technical specifications in their inboxes,” explains Søgård.
“By publishing links to important information on sales team’s Connections homepage and across digital communities for each of our geographies and departments, we can help ensure that our personnel are up-to-date on our products. Moreover, using communities means that employees working in different parts of the business can share their knowledge with peers they might not otherwise interact with on a day-to-day basis.”
He adds: “If a sales team needs a fast answer to a question from a potential client, they can reach out with an instant message or start a video chat—strengthening communication and speeding up the flow of ideas across our business.”
IBM Connections has also enabled Geno to improve the consistency of its global operations, helping the company to run more efficiently.
“We have turned IBM Connections into a central hub for all of our business process documentation—enabling us to bring together our best practices in one place,” continues Søgård. “Many of our employees have been quick to embrace the IBM Connections platform, and as we continue to provide training for our domestic and global teams we are confident that the collaboration solutions will soon become an indispensable part of the way we work.”
Søgård concludes: “By making it simpler for our employees to find, create and share information on our products and business matters, we are helping them build valuable relationships and knowledge, helping us grow our presence in the international dairy market and serve the domestic market with even better quality.”
Owned by 8,300 Norwegian cattle farmers, Geno SA is a co-operative dedicated to developing the Norwegian Red breed and building its popularity with artificial insemination providers and dairy cattle breeders around the world. The cooperative also provides a range of cattle insemination and veterinary educational services for cattle farmers across Norway.
- ICS: Connections
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Connections solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/us-en/marketplace/ibm-connections
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Item Consulting AS is a leading IT consultancy specializing in solutions for effective collaboration. An IBM Silver Business Partner, Item Consulting offers public and private customers advice on how they can optimize their operations using the latest generation of enterprise collaboration technologies. To learn more about solutions and services from Item Consulting, please visit: item.no