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Automotive Giant Continental Chooses IBM Lotus Software for Unified Messaging and Collaboration


STUTTGART, GERMANY .- When automotive manufacturer Continental AG acquired Siemens VDO, the new combined organization selected IBM (NYSE: IBM) Lotus Notes and Domino software as their common messaging platform.

Over a four-month period, 40,000 Microsoft Outlook and Exchange software users were moved to the IBM platform. Continental also decided to deploy IBM Lotus Quickr and Sametime software as their collaboration and unified communications platform. The reasons for choosing IBM over Microsoft included lower licensing and operating costs as well as greater platform independence.

Continental’s acquisition of Siemens VDO brought with it a big question. In addition to its 37,000 IBM Lotus Domino and Notes software users, the company now had 40,000 new Microsoft Exchange and Outlook users from the company it acquired. The evaluation considered several migration scenarios: immediately switching the entire group to the Lotus platform; gradually switching to the Exchange platform; or migrating to third party open source products or hosted services.

“Our strategy is focused on minimizing software interdependencies and, likewise, taking control over license related costs,” says Dr. Bernhard Thomas, head of IT Infrastructure Strategy at Continental AG. “We didn’t see major differences between Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook with regard to client functionality, but the IBM software was more open and flexible and it also had lower infrastructure costs. That’s why we chose it.”

Continental is also now planning to expand its use of Lotus Quickr and Lotus Sametime unified communications and collaboration software. Lotus Quickr will become the company’s new default platform for all uses in team and project collaboration. Lotus Quickr was chosen primarily because it provided a simpler, more direct integration with Lotus Notes, access to directories and calendars, integration with Lotus Sametime, which Continental uses for conferencing and instant messaging, plus lower infrastructure and licensing costs. Continental intends to use Lotus Quickr and Lotus Sametime to further expand on-line and real time collaboration within the company, as well as to employ new Enterprise 2.0 functions such as tagging and alerting.

Paul Schwefer, Chief Information Officer at Continental added, “IBM Lotus software fits in well within Continental’s strategy of permanently optimizing the flexibility, productivity and cost of our IT.” Continental is one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers, with revenue of more than EUR 24 billion in 2008. As a supplier of brake systems, power train and chassis systems and components, instrumentation, “infotainment” solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and engineering elastomers, the company contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also a partner in networked automobile communication. The company currently employs nearly 140,000 people at around 190 locations in 35 countries.


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