BCS awards finalists put stress on service

The use of IT to support personal customer service features heavily in the finalist projects in the Business Achievement section...

The use of IT to support personal customer service features heavily in the finalist projects in the Business Achievement section of the 2004 BCS IT Professional Awards, run in association with Computer Weekly.

Twelve finalists, which will all win medals, have emerged across the four categories of the Business Achievement section.

Commercial and industrial

Anaqua's web-based Anaqua system manages organisations' intellectual assets and covers licensing, litigation and conflict resolution. It has more than 5,000 users in law firms and companies including Ford and British American Tobacco.

The AA has replaced its private radio communication system with mobile technology, cutting costs and improving response times for roadside repairs. The project has included equipping patrols with laptops to improve problem diagnosis.

Nestor Healthcare Group has "transformed operations" through a network which supports best practice in its provision of health and social care staff through 170 UK branches.

Financial and related services

Britannia Building Society's Really Big Programme has replaced all its front-office and back-office systems over three years in a move from processes based around accounts to an approach based on a full picture of all customers and their business with the society.

Clarity Blue and Lloyds TSB have introduced Clarity Blue's customer information system in Lloyds TSB Cards to enable it to target prospective and existing customers with relevant marketing materials. The project has already saved time and money and "dramatically increased" campaign success rates.

Prudential's Customer Service Transformation project has integrated several customer services applications and 10 technologies into a single system over two years. The system gives agents a consolidated view of a customer and enables them to quickly conclude "significantly larger" numbers of transactions and provide better service at less cost.

Public sector and not for profit organisations

Newcastle City Council has introduced a system to support its customer service strategy. The system has been installed in three centres, giving officers easy access to information, knowledge and processes and enabling them to provide a wide range of services without needing to consult service experts.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn has installed an information management system enabling the various clinical groups involved with patients in critical care to work more closely together through a database which provides better data collection and presentation as well as extensive local customisation.

Scottish Water is aiming to resolve most enquiries from its five million customers on the first call and introduce new and more efficient ways of working after installing customer relationship management software and overhauling its contact centres and field operations.

Small businesses

Economy Power risked going out of business when in 2001 the government introduced new procedures for electricity supply companies to buy the energy they supply to customers. Suppliers had to forecast total consumption by the half hour and pay big penalties for differences between projected and actual consumption. "We could not afford a forecasting package so the challenge was met by the IT department," the company said.

Generis Technology developed its B-Smart software package following deregulation in energy meters. It covers everything from meter reading management to meter asset management and contract management.

Response Maintenance and Building Services' Response Database is an operations management system covering customer enquiries, jobs, appointments, workforce scheduling, labour hours, stock control and health and safety advice. It can provide up-to-date information to portable devices via the internet.

The finalists will present to a judging panel on 15 September and the winners will be announced on 19 October at the Park Lane Hilton in London.

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