IBM - Business Development Achievement of the Year



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Company: IBM, Armonk, NY
Company Description: IBM is a values-based enterprise of individuals who create & apply technology to make the world work better. Today, more than 377,000 IBM employees around the world invent and integrate hardware, software and services to help forward-thinking enterprises, institutions and people succeed on a smarter planet.
Nomination Category: Business Development Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Business Development Achievement of the Year - Services Industries

Nomination Title: IBM Japan / Okinawa Business Development achievements: Silver AI

Tell the story about this organization's business development achievements since the beginning of July 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Japan Post had an idea to utilize its network of existing 24 million post offices to start delivery of new type of life support services for Japan’s 33 million senior population using information and communication technology (ICT). The idea is based on providing seniors with a device (an Apple iPad) with pre-installed application that will enable seniors to have real-time access for life support related issues.

As a first step in this initiative, Japan Post has partnered with IBM and Apple on a Pilot to develop, test and deploy the device with an App along with providing support to the Post office employees.

Over the course of 10 or so months, the IBM Sales Support team in Okinawa delivered a variety of services in support of this Pilot.

During the inception phase that started in October of 2015, the Okinawa team supported activities related to 3 areas:

• Contracting b/w the three companies,
• The management approach around the procurement and resale of Apple devices, and
• The logistics associated with confirmation of delivery and kitting of the devices.

One of the key challenges that the Team was facing with was an undetermined contract start date and associated location that were the key inputs to get the work going.

To overcome this challenge, the Team collaborated very closely with the client, and the partner members head offices to identify the key missing links and build a “united string” of information necessary to create the contract, and clearly define the associated deliverables. The contract also included development and maintenance for both: the devices and the services, and the Okinawa team took responsibility for managing some of those activities by themselves, making the coordination of the entire project more effective.

During the second, the Negotiation phase of the project that started in February 2016, the Okinawa team provided timely and flexible coordination for several iterations and scenarios for types and quantities of target devices, their procurement and distribution, and maintaining all the exchange between the partners. While the price negotiations continued well into March, the Okinawa Team focused its activities on the actual device ordering and delivery, and following its own analysis, recommended to divide device ordering in several batches to minimize any potential exposure to delivery delays due to a large quantity on the order.

Okinawa Team carried out its responsibilities of coordinating the project during the final phase of the Pilot, which lasted from March to the end of April 2016. During this time the final touches were made on the contract, the client presentation, order processing, and the delivery of the products to the end-users. The Team also carried out follow-ups with the end-users confirming the deployment progress and addressing logistics issues.

Over the course of the Pilot, several thousand devices were delivered to their end-users, and in-spite of the difficult negotiations, the entire process was seamless and smooth for the users. While the Okinawa team delivered their support and coordination for this initiative remotely, their activities for this Pilot were structured around the understanding of their clients’ needs, which was the key to the success of this initiative and opening a door for a large new business opportunity with Japan Post. According to the analyst projections, the proportion of 65 years and older population is going to increase from 11.7% in 2013 to 21% in 2050. This initiative has been attracting attention as a precedent of using information and communication technology (ICT) for supporting the elderly. While a few thousand devices used in this pilot is not a large figure, the impact of this initiative is significant for the near future. And the Okinawa team is already building new process to expand its support for a large-scale deployment of millions of devices.