Indianapolis

Indiana’s Corporate Paradigm Shift: Using Communication Technologies

Indiana might not seem like a bustling tech hub, but it’s getting there. The economy has been growing over the past decade, with the number of computer and IT jobs having increased 17% since 2009.

2013 is when Central Indiana’s tech sector really started to arrive. Salesforce purchased ExactTarget, an Indy-based email marketing firm, for $2.5 billion. That acquisition was ranked fifth among U.S. tech buys that year — ahead of deals by IBM and Cisco!

In fact, there have been about 20 acquisitions around Indianapolis within the last decade that have yielded about $5 billion in market value. Many of these acquisitions include mobile app, email and software start-ups.

But, we’re not really here to discuss new Indiana business related to technology and communications.

On the contrary, we wanted to highlight a few legacy organizations in Indiana that have taken strides over the past few years to embrace technology as a means of process improvement, and further unify their communications. They say you “can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but we think these few industry leaders demonstrate you can:

Accuride

Headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, Accuride Corporation is a leading supplier to the North American and European commercial vehicle industries. Incorporated in 1986, the company’s products include commercial vehicle wheels and wheel-end components.

In June 2017, Accuride announced their new organizational structure to strengthen the geographic coverage of their Regional Sales team, to better direct customer relationships and business growth in the OEM, Trailer, Aftermarket and Military business segments. Their decision to realign their Sales and Marketing team will allow them to broaden their coverage, increasing customer contact and service worldwide.

While this doesn’t immediately scream changes within their technology, intelligent assumption tells us otherwise. In December 2016, Accuride published an eBook on how Lean management tools have improved their products and processes over the past few years. Lean has helped them reduce average lead time by 50%, increase productivity by 50%, and reduce cost per unit by 20%.

Lean management is an approach to running an organization that supports the concept of continuous improvement. It seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes to improve efficiency and quality over time. The core idea is to create more value for customers with fewer resources.

With such a recent announcement of their departmental restructuring, it’s difficult to tell right off the bat how their technologies will change. But, with what we know about how critical telecommunications are to a global salesforce, we hope they will be adopting a better cloud VoIP system to fully integrate with their CRM and minimize international calling costs. At least, that’s what many international Lean manufacturing organizations  (including Toyota) have done over the past 10 years. Goodbye, ISDN!

Anthem

Headquartered in Indianapolis’ Wholesale District, Anthem Inc. is one of the nation’s largest health benefits providers. Over 74 million people are served by its affiliated companies (Blue Cross Blue Shield). Blue Cross of California created WellPoint Health Networks to operate its managed care business in 1992.

In July 2017, Anthem released its second quarter financials and met to review its report on the same day. While this doesn’t seem like a notable activity, it is — because they held a nationwide conference call and webcast!

Anthem employs approximately 53,000 associates throughout the United States. Connecting their entire staff through conference calling and webcast requires IP video conferencing tools. If they didn’t have a VoIP and video conferencing system in place, we can only imagine the quarterly travel cost a company like Anthem would incur.

Anthem is one of the leading healthcare organizations when it comes to technology and innovation. Tom Miller, their SVP & CIO, has said Anthem’s goal “is to leverage new technologies to create better consumer interactions that transform the health care experience. Advancements in mobile technology, the internet of things (IoT), cloud services, social platforms and cognitive computing are offering new opportunities to redefine health care interactions.”

Anthem is progressing to better allow Americans to pay health insurance premiums online, manage their health and wellness from our smart phones, and schedule doctor appointments through apps. They are also working to improve the ways patients receive prescriptions, and using “prescriptive” apps to help patients manage their symptoms through the use of smart devices.

Cummins

Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, Cummins Inc. designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines, electrical generator sets, and related components and technology. Founded in 1919, Cummins has grown to operate across a network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities, and more than 7,400 dealer locations in more than 190 countries and territories.

In recent years, Cummins has made a number of significant technological advancements. The two advancements we like most are their supercomputers and mobile apps.

Their Clessie 2.0 supercomputer is a critical asset for improving producing and reducing time and costs. It has approximately 1.4 petabytes of storage, 8,584 cores, 355 teraflops, and is built to double in capacity. We don’t really consider ourselves computer or IT guys, but from a storage and performance standpoint, we’re pretty impressed with this configuration!

Cummins is using the power of connectivity and big data to enable service providers to wirelessly connect to an engine through their smartphones and tablets. Just one feature of this app is that it can pull fault codes indicating the most likely cause for a check engine light and estimate repair time, based on data from thousands of similar repairs. Talk about a “break/fix” solution!

In June, Cummins also launched a new company (ZED Connect) to help fleets and operators log their hours electronically. This type of cloud-based solution speaks directly towards advancement in the realm of remote working, as companies need to find ways of tracking employees and holding them accountable while in various locations.