Lotus Connections Update from Lowe's Companies — "Valuable"

Lowe’s, a major home improvement chain in the United States, implemented Lotus Connections in 2010 to support an enterprise collaboration strategy. Andy Carusone is the internal director in-charge of the strategy, and while he has briefed me off-the-record on the initiative, I haven’t seen anything public. Susan recently changed that, by posting about some of the value gained from Connections at Lowe’s:

During beta tests, an enterprising Paint Department employee decided to try something new to demonstrate the ease of cleaning a Teflon paint tray. She poured latex paint into it, let it dry, and then peeled the paint out whole. She left both the paint “mold” and the paint tray on the paint counter. Customers were amazed and delighted. Suddenly, she was sold out of the paint trays and shoppers were clamoring for more.

The employee turned to all of her traditional channels to get additional inventory. She accessed the company’s enterprise inventory system, however, like most major retailers, the business process tightly controls the amount of additional inventory employees can request. After exhausting other traditional sources, the employee then turned to the Connections platform and asked “out loud”* if anyone knew how she could get more inventory. Funny thing happened. Although everyone felt her pain on the inventory shortage, they started replicating her paint mold/tray demo in their stores. And guess what? Suddenly other stores were selling out of the paint trays too. As interest in the thread and the display idea grew in popularity, sales skyrocketed.

When applied on an enterprise level, the unique display idea represented more than a million dollars in additional revenue of the SHUR-LINE Teflon 9″ Metal Tray.

My Comments
1. I know Andy was hoping this kind of effect was going to happen as a consequence of providing a way for people to share these kinds of ideas and questions. It’s great to see confirmation that it actually did – it’s a powerful testimony to creating the means for people with similar job roles to share what they’re doing / struggling with even when those people don’t work together in the same place. And without Connections, they wouldn’t even know who their counterparts were.

2. Andy has been a big advocate of the need to do user adoption right – for example, see his comment on Susan’s blog post. He was also one of the first to buy User Adoption Strategies for the iPad (you can see his feedback on the book webpage).

3. Thanks to Susan for publishing this – much appreciated.

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