IBM Global Services will throw its considerable resources behind software and services that improve companies' connections to their employees. The service provider Thursday is launching a Dynamic Workplaces division that will specialize in implementing Web-based, self-service applications and integrating those applications behind a common portal interface.
Dynamic Workplaces, which consists of 2,000 IBM Global Services employees and about 300 IBM researchers, will use WebSphere Portal, Lotus Domino Extended Search, Lotus Sametime, Quickplace, Tivoli SecureWay, DB2 Universal Database, and WebSphere Application Server as the foundation for Web-based communication between employers and employees. The division will integrate these portal, messaging, management, and database applications with PeopleSoft human-resources software to create self-service applications that let employees sign up for health-care benefits, manage their 401(k) portfolios, and take E-learning classes.
IBM began implementing a version of this E-workplace technology internally in 1997 and has deployed it to about 320,000 employees worldwide, says Scott Smith, Dynamic Workplaces global executive. IBM employees use the integrated portal to access a "blue pages" directory of colleagues and co-workers, manage HR functions, and conduct online meetings with co-workers. Dynamic Workplaces' pilot customers include Campbell Soup, personnel relocation service provider Cendant Mobility Services, and furniture maker Herman Miller.
Dynamic Workplaces isn't breaking new ground with its integrated portal software and services, but it does offer the resources of the world's largest service provider, says Paul Hamerman, Giga Information Group research director. "These services are in line with what a lot of companies are doing to consolidate employee-facing applications," he says. Although IBM Global Services competitors PwC Consulting, KPMG Consulting, and HP Services also offer business-to-employee software integration services, IBM has more resources to devote to its Dynamic Workplaces group.