Johnson & Johnson taps into portal proficiency

An increasingly hostile environment in the health and life sciences manufacturing industry, marked by smaller margins and tighter regulatory control, compelled Johnson & Johnson to overhaul its legacy system jungle into a standardised e-business portal platform.

Speaking at CIO Magazine's Fifth Annual Conference in Sydney this week, Johnson & Johnson Australia's information director Michael Abramow said the company had tapped a key way to reduce business processes and operational costs, increase sales, and improve relationships at the frontline by deploying an integrated eCRM system.

In order to foster more productive relationships with customers, partners and employees, the pharmaceutical and consumer goods maker has moved from a static, organisation-centric environment of 200 different information sources to a collaborative portal framework.

Based on CRM software from US-based eCRM and portal solutions vendor Art Technology Group, Johnson & Johnson's e-business framework opens new self-service and support channels for customers and partners through e-mail and wireless access and also by personalising Web content. The company also used a WebMethods enterprise application integration tool to integrate its legacy enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and human resource systems from companies including SAP, and JD Edwards with Web applications like Java, PHP and Pearl.

Abramow said the company's disparate customer, supplier and employee management systems crossed all areas of the business from finance and accounting to sales and marketing and customer service. By wrapping those individual systems into an eCRM framework, he said the company eliminated inefficiencies caused by inconsistent formats and technologies in its old systems, the inability to personalise and search across different sites, overlapping information which also lacked historical analysis, and inaccurate, latent data.

The new portal platform puts customers and employees in the "driver's seat", he said.

"The global marketplace is defined by mobility of capital and resources, so customer relationships are a crucial ingredient to our success," he said, adding: "Our customers are seeing significant productivity benefits as they have access to personalised, timely and accurate information which is also customised to the user's community whether they be from the medical, retail or farming sector."

The CRM portal framework also includes commerce solutions for B2B and B2C online commerce, and with integrated search and analytics features in the software. The company's sales and marketing unit can leverage this component of the portal to achieve more personalised, targeted sales and decision-making through online marketing, sales, service and support, Abramow said.

"Johnson & Johnson has created better online and offline interaction with customers and now has an understanding of the customer at the micro-segment level," he said.

By using an integrated e-business framework, Johnson & Johnson has made a huge reduction to total cost of ownership across the global organisation. Through a shared Web infrastructure, the company has eliminated information duplication, reduced development time through the reuse of components, and lowered hardware and software maintenance costs.

By transferring customer management online to its eCRM relationship portal, the company has saved $200,000 in annual external agency and Web site development costs, as well as reduced annual portal build costs among partners by $500,000.

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