To transform the client support experience, IBM standardized on a single support platform—a project that required it to move data from hundreds of legacy systems onto the cloud.
Leveraging IBM App Connect and the Salesforce Bulk API, IBM is migrating to the new IBM Cognitive Support Platform at a record-breaking pace.
38 millionrecords migrated to date with no impact on client support services
Simplifiesand automates key data transformation processes, reducing manual work
Enablesrobust data governance, helping to maintain high quality levels of imported data
Business challenge story
Client expectations are changing
IBM’s comprehensive portfolio of software, hardware and services empower clients to solve practically any business challenge. For decades, organizations around the world have equally relied on IBM’s support organization to maximize the value of their investments in IBM solutions.
In recent years, client expectations of enterprise support have begun to change. Increasingly, users expect support services to offer the same kind of responsive, omni-channel journeys that are now commonplace in the consumer world, where slick web and mobile apps enable a seamless client experience.
As an established business that has grown both organically and by acquisition, IBM had built up more than 100 different legacy systems for client support, including call and problem management systems, product entitlement systems and service planning applications. In addition to driving up the operational cost and complexity of the support ecosystem, this environment made it difficult for support teams working in different parts of IBM to work together efficiently. As a result, it was a challenge to deliver a consistent experience to support clients.
To help its teams offer frictionless support for every client, IBM embarked on a far-reaching transformation initiative. The aim was to harmonize and consolidate the support experience by moving to a single platform that could deliver a consistent, high-quality journey across every channel.
To rapidly transform the IT infrastructure for its client support services, IBM chose Salesforce Service Cloud as its core case management application. The new IBM Cognitive Support Platform allows the IBM team to weave Watson into every aspect of the support process. In turn, this enables agents to focus their time in the areas that help clients the most. And for clients, the IBM Cognitive Support Platform offers self-service digital communities to explore product information, interact with AI features such as chatbots, and discuss best practices with IBM experts and industry peers.
IBM knew that migrating millions of records from more than 100 legacy tools would be no simple task. Downtime was not an option, and the business had set an aggressive timeline for the launch of the IBM Cognitive Support Platform. The project team needed an effective way to orchestrate the data integration process at speed and scale.
Centralizing support in the cloud
To accelerate the data migration to the new platform, IBM used IBM App Connect—a solution that makes it easy to integrate business data across almost any IT system, from the simplest applications to the most complex enterprise systems.
As a first step, IBM engaged with expert Salesforce consultants from Bluewolf, an IBM company, to create a blueprint for its migration effort. The IBM and Bluewolf teams recognized that the project represented a major opportunity to rearchitect support processes that had not been touched for a long time. To deliver a single source of truth for its support data, the teams devised a future-ready data model for the IBM Cognitive Support Platform.
Next, IBM harnessed IBM App Connect to build integration flows and begin the migration to the IBM Cognitive Support Platform. Using IBM Db2® databases as a data-staging platform and the Salesforce connectivity provided by IBM App Connect, the company started migrating over 700,000 client accounts, 1.8 million client contacts and 15 million case records to the new platform.
“One of the main advantages of IBM App Connect is how easily we can design integration flows,” comments Scott Allred, Senior Integration Architect at IBM. “Once we’d mapped data from fields in the legacy systems to the new fields in the IBM Cognitive Support Platform, it was extremely easy to test and execute the migration. This capability was a significant time-saver when it came to transforming data such as date formats, which vary greatly across our legacy tools.”
By annotating its integration flows in plain English in IBM App Connect, it was easy for one migration team to build integration flows using App Connect for another team to subsequently deploy and manage. And because a single project team controls the only entry and exit point for data moving between the legacy and new platforms, IBM has been able to enforce a robust data governance policy—ensuring the consistency and quality of the data in the IBM Cognitive Support Platform.
Delivering a record-breaking migration project
Today, around 13,000 IBM agents use the IBM Cognitive Support Platform to deliver fast, effective support to IBM clients around the world. Within months, IBM expects the total number of internal users to rise to 20,000 people. Many IBM clients are now embracing the digital support community, and over 100,000 people have contributed to digital discussions since the platform went live.
Thanks to IBM App Connect, IBM has succeeded in migrating a massive amount of data to the new platform within a strict deadline. To date, the company has brought across more than 38 million records, with many of the migration projects completed within tight timeframes.
“Using IBM App Connect has helped us to cut the time required to complete some of our larger migrations from days to hours—and the solution has been a key factor in meeting our deadlines for the IBM Cognitive Support Platform project,” comments Scott Allred. “We cannot afford a single hour of downtime, so we’ve been running our legacy systems in parallel with the IBM Cognitive Support Platform before we decommission them. IBM App Connect has been instrumental in helping us keep the IBM Cognitive Support Platform in sync while a migration is going on—ensuring that we don’t lose any information when we shut off a legacy system.”
IBM continues to add new capabilities to the IBM Cognitive Support Platform. Using AI capabilities from IBM Watson, the platform can automatically pre-populate support request forms and even suggest edits to clarify client questions.
“Over the last year, we’ve migrated to the IBM Cognitive Support Platform and the underlying Salesforce Service Cloud faster than Salesforce has ever seen for a project of this size—and IBM App Connect has played a key role in that success,” concludes Geoff Marinski, IT Leader, Cognitive Support Platform. “With a central, Watson-powered support platform, IBM is in a stronger position than ever to deliver an outstanding experience to our clients.”
About IBM Cognitive Support Platform
IBM is a leading cloud platform and cognitive solutions company. Restlessly reinventing since 1911, IBM is the largest technology and consulting employer in the world, with more than 380,000 employees serving clients in 170 countries. To help enterprises around the globe maximize the value of their investments in IBM solutions, IBM delivers 24/7 support services tailored to individual business needs.
Take the Next Step
To learn more about IBM App Connect, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit ibm.com/marketplace/cloud-integration
Bluewolf, an IBM Company is a leading Salesforce consulting agency that empowers companies of all sizes and industries to connect customer experience to value. To learn more about services from Bluewolf, please visit: bluewolf.com