We're excited to announce the first set of winners of the 2012 Forrester Groundswell Awards, honoring the best employee mobile, collaboration, and innovation stories. These awards are being announced today at Forrester's Digital Disruption Forum in Orlando. (The B2B and B2C awards will be announced next week). Once again we received many outstanding entries, but we gave extra points to the most innovative solutions with a measurable impact. Several themes emerged out of this year's entries:

  • Giving iPads to sales people is a hot mobile use case. We had multiple entries from organizations that give sales people or channel partners access to sales tools and resources on tablets. Replacing paper-based processes with always-current material is  convenient, cheaper than printing, and also creates an opportunity to wow customers during the sales process.
  • Companies are empowering employees with social tools to solve customer problems. In a world where technology has given customers incredible amounts of power, companies with turgid processes and departmental boundaries cannot be nimble enough to serve them. Only your employees can help — and they can only help you if you unleash them to use the same technologies that empower your customers. Both the winner and the runner-up in this year's Collaboration Program category integrated public social networks with internal business applications and used gamification to incent desired behaviors. 


Winner: Eaton Corporation

Mobility Transforms Manufacturing Process with Eaton's PowerSource(TM) App

This iPad app built for Eaton's sales team and distributors replaces multiple 500-page catalogs containing detailed information on more than 200,000 hydraulic products. More than just a paper catalog replacement, however, the app also includes 3D parts modeling and training videos that enhance the sales engagement. Other key features that made Eaton our winner are the ability to access info offline, auto-updates of product info when connected, competitor specs, as well as the ability to order from the app and locate nearby service centers.


Eaton has achieved three major benefits with its tablet strategy: 1) Sales growth due to a shortened sales cycle; 2) A reduction in customer service calls and; 3) A reduction in print material (and increased convenience for sales reps).


Eaton partnered with AT&T, Antenna Software and Hanson to develop the app.



Runner up: Sunbelt Rentals


Sunbelt Rentals' Accelerate (using Box's file sharing solution) is an electronic product catalog to help Sunbelt's Outside Sales Representatives identify the right equipment on the right schedule and get a confirmed price to a customer faster than the competition.  The app has achieved an 181% ROI based on a dramatic increase in customer contacts and qualified leads, and an increase in leads converted to rentals.


Runner up: Banner Engineering

Banner Engineering & Fishbowl Solutions Develop Mobile Library Application to Provide Anytime, Anywhere Access to High-Value Sales Collateral

Banner's tablet app gives the sales force access to sales to collateral in Oracle WebCenter Content. Distributors are extremely pleased with the reduced cost of buying and shipping — and the elimination of delays in waiting for — printed material. Other helpful features include the ability to view videos and to email links to content (which is useful when in front of customers). One distributor estimates using the application saves it one day a week.



Winner: Cisco

Technical Services: Using Social Knowledge to Reinvent Customer Support

Cisco's Technical Assistance Center (TAC) uses Lithium's social and gamification software with intelligent routing to help solve customer challenges quickly. The initiative transformed TAC's traditional escalation model with impressive results. Estimated cost savings for the first year are $7 million with an anticipated return of $32 million over the next 3 years. Time-to-Resolution was driven down by 32%. Case escalations were down by 42% and case transfers were down by 11%.



Runner up: Bluewolf

Bluewolf #GoingSocial

IT services company Bluewolf took a novel approach to getting professionals to adopt social as part of their work. It fielded an employee survey to learn what employees already do. It then put employees' social profiles (integrated with Salesforce) on its website and used gamification to incent activity. The result? A dramatic uptake in social tool usage and internal collaboration.



Winner: ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal, S.A

ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal, S.A.: ANA Intelligent Network (ANA IN)

ANA, an airport facilities management company in Portugal, uses WeListen's InnovationCast to tap the collective intelligence of its workforce. Nearly half of employees are participating by submitting, voting, or commenting on ideas to address ANA's business challenges. The most promising ideas voted on by the community are evaluated by a multidepartment team to determine their opportunity to generate value before being submitted to the board for approval. Some of the ideas being evaluated today include an initiative to improve energy efficiency, a new commercial, and providing dedicated space for aircrafts spotters and other visitors.