Established in 1969, Lowe Lintas, one of India’s top advertising agencies, believes the greatest service it can render is the power of a high value idea. A community of award winning talent across the world’s established and fast growing economies, Lowe Lintas provides advertising and branding solutions to a host of corporate houses across various industry verticals.
Headquartered in Mumbai, India, it inculcates advertising, media buying house, direct marketing, public relations, design consultancy, market research, events, rural communications and interactive communications. It is a successful agency which is inclined towards quality creative advertising and works for the benefit of its clients.
Lowe Lintas prides itself on using the latest technologies to improve operations and customer satisfaction. The company has built a reputation for quality and innovative services, and it relies on a robust information technology environment to help deliver what its customers need. Unfortunately, employees were finding it difficult to efficiently meet the needs of the many business units and divisions. It was difficult to share creative work across all offices in India in order to generate more region wise ideas, brand building, feedback, and launch national level campaign. While most of the work done by creative individuals was brilliant and a huge asset for the organization, there was no central repository of the same for future reference or any other business usage. This limitation implied constraints to collaborate and manage the knowledge effectively.
The company needed a solution that would make it easy for Top executives to communicate directly to employees-other than the routine common e-mail route, a place to promote employee and team achievements, and a location that would allow for multiple groups to manage and store information needed by employees on a daily basis.
“We soon realized that we needed to develop an efficient portal environment that would enable us to share information and collaborate easily within and across business units,” says Charles Cadell, CEO, Lowe Lintas. “We wanted an intranet that all employees could handle easily and update themselves, and that would accommodate live news feeds and other dynamic content. Including our interesting creative work” Solution
||To us, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 represented a powerful, flexible means to increase collaboration and to provide our users with a highly efficient and cutting-edge technological tool to assist in day-to-day business activities
Chief Technology Officer
Lowe Lintas decided to implement a solution that could satisfy a range of business needs. It needed to serve as a knowledge management system that provided the ability to easily publish documents on the intranet, effectively search for information, and collaborate and share information among all business units.
It knew exactly what it needed to accomplish its goals - Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. Designed to facilitate collaboration and content management, to streamline business processes, and to enable easy access to information from a wide variety of sources, Office SharePoint Server was a natural fit.
“We chose to go with Office SharePoint Server 2007 because it satisfied all our criteria and we felt confident in the Microsoft platform,” says Nikunj Patel, Director Business Applications, Lowe Lintas. “With Office SharePoint Server 2007, we not only receive a great deal of value for our investment, but we were also able to put effective, usable technology into the hands of our business users.”
To implement the solution, developers worked with consultants from Microsoft India and strategic partner Prosares Solutions Private Ltd. to create Lowe Connect, a metadata-based content storage and retrieval tool that exposes a wealth of information, applications, and efficiency-enhancing tools and puts them at employees’ fingertips. It delivers frequently updated information, including corporate and industry news, and its ease of customization enables users to own and manage their content from end to end.Physical Architecture
The following physical infrastructure is used for the application:
MOSS Server (Server Farm): Along with the MOSS Server farm, IIS server will act as the Web and Application server.
Database Server (Primary Transaction Server): SQL Server 2005 will be used for database operations as there is a requirement for clustering for failover mechanism.
Secondary Server (Backup): In a cluster environment a set of nodes are tied together, such that the end users and applications perceive the nodes as a single server resource. Every node has a subsystem designed to incorporate redundancy. These redundant subsystems take charge when the primary system fails. The Resource Group Manager controls the clustered environment, and also the application running in it.
In addition to the above, the application hosted in both the MOSS servers will interact with an e-mail server. These servers may be physically resident on the Data Transaction server or the Primary Application server. Solution Overview
The various services provided are channelized into following dimensions:
Communication: It includes top management communication, internal news & communication, industry news of interest & client specific and creative library with updates on new creative work.
Interaction: It includes discussion forums, blogs, office communicator chat, polls, surveys, and brain food.
Transactions: It includes leave records, and links to various key applications.
From within Lowe Connect, employees can access departmental sites, which are individually managed by each of the company’s business units. These portal sites give the company the ability to disseminate department-specific information. Benefits
“To us, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 represented a powerful, flexible means to increase collaboration and to provide our users with a highly efficient and cutting-edge technological tool to assist in day-to-day business activities,” says Pravin Savant, Chief Technology Officer, Lowe Lintas. “We wanted to leverage the features of the platform to create a unified information base which can be leveraged for business benefits. In the immediate phase we will leverage the platform to capture new business leads and key customer contacts. We will also use this as a primary means to disseminate useful information with the customers. The decision to adopt a solution based on Office SharePoint Server 2007 has improved operational efficiency, streamlined processes, and reduced costs thereby strengthening our industry position and encouraging ongoing success.” Decreased Costs with Fast ROI
The implementation of Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides better service and comprehensive functionality to the company’s work force. The intranet portal helps utilize many ready to use features saving time and cost. For example, an organization wide survey or poll would have demanded higher cost and time apart from logistics challenges. However, with the new solution, the company is able to implement it with complete ease.
“Overall we anticipate significant reductions in operational costs by introducing various workflows for transactions and also utilizing ready to use features like Poll/Survey etc,” says Nikunj Patel.Enhanced Collaborative Environment
Given the line of its business, creativity and collaboration is mission critical for the company. Lowe Connect is a key platform to help facilitate the same. It is primarily designed to give users a single unified platform to collaborate. Being on a Microsoft platform for mailing as well as office communications, it means it’s a seamless connect from the intranet to start interaction over e-mail or chat.
The discussions forums help collaborate while keeping a complete thread which can be retrieved for any future reference. In addition, the regional office teams find it much easier to keep in pace with what’s happening around the organization.
The Brain Food section helps retain and share useful information, which can be eventually developed as knowledge management.
Pravin Savant explains, “As a company, we’ve always felt that collaboration contributes a great deal to our success. We’re empowering our users through the intranet because we’ve given them an extremely effective tool that they are using to share their knowledge. The response has been quite positive with 100 percent unique access rate and close to 70 percent regular access. The ease and efficiency with which employees can gather information has made us more effective and productive as a company.”Increased Employee Productivity
With corporate communications, documents, and employee information consolidated and made easily searchable on Lowe Connect, employees spend much less time finding information and more time putting it to use. “Valuable time is being used to gather and pursue leads,” says Nikunj Patel. “With employees spending less time searching for information, we estimate that their productivity is up.” Streamlined Content Management
Their key deliverable is the high value idea which is in TV commercial and news print format. With the Office SharePoint Server 2007–based content management system in place, there is a structured repository of this content with metadata details, which implies easy access to the same and ease of connecting with the quality product. This happens to be the most frequently visited area at the portal.
Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a key part of Lowe Lintas technical infrastructure. With the new workflows, content owners in different business areas can take more control over managing their content.Improved Communication
Lowe Connect is employees’ primary source for information. The company relies on it for centralized storage of documents and data, and as a communications vehicle for delivering news and alerts to nearly 600 people in real time.
The intranet provides the ability to have multi dimensional communication across various offices. At one level it helps deliver policies and other announcements while at the other level it provides feedback with the help of polls and surveys. The CEO’s section is regularly and personally updated by CEO - Charles Cadell himself and it helps reach out to users on important developments.
The unified platform and in-built alerts mechanism in Office SharePoint Server 2007 helps the company in communication flow. Given the single sign on with Microsoft Exchange mailing platform and the Office Communicator for instant messaging, the overall process is very smooth for the end user.