Volume 21, Number 2 -- January 16, 2012

IBM Gets Down to Social Business

Published: January 16, 2012

by Jenny Thomas

I'm just as sick of hearing the words "social business" as anyone else. But I have come to accept there's no escaping it so I better figure out how to adapt or risk becoming a social outcast. IBM must also have decided it had better get on this bus, as Big Blue recently announced it is expanding its initiatives to help organizations get on board with the hottest computing trend.

If all the talk is right, there is a lot of business to be had in the social market. Forrester Research recently reported that the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016, reaching $6.4 billion, compared with $600 million in 2011. That prediction seems on trend with the reporting IT Jungle has been doing on social business and media trends inside and outside of the IBM i platform. People chat endlessly about the possibilities for the future of social business. The real trick in the here and now is understanding how to utilize social business to most benefit your organization.

According to IBM, a successful social business must combine "the use of social technologies with a business culture that promotes transparency, trust, and information sharing among the workforce." That sounds good. But it gets complicated quickly when you start thinking about developing social policies and how to connect all those social technologies to business processes.

"The opportunity to transform into a social business can be stunted without a focus on engagement, culture change, and policy," said Alistair Rennie, general manager of social business at IBM. "Social technologies, when combined with the right skills and culture, can truly unlock the potential of people within the organization to collaborate, innovate, make smarter business decisions, and ultimately drive their bottom line."

IBM's plan is to offer support to its clients and business partners interested in adopting social networking capabilities to transform their business operations. This includes:

  • Strategic consulting from Global Business Services to help organizations better understand their current adoption of social business tools for both internal and external purposes.
  • Global educational and mentorship programs on how to become effective community managers, the fastest growing job in social, while increasing employee engagement on the social software platform.
  • Technical certification programs that include assessment exams and training resources as training to plan for and perform the installation, configuration, and day-to-day tasks associated with social software solutions.
  • Social business agenda workshops on its PartnerWorld Website featuring discussions forums focused on the benefits of becoming a social business, and offering case study examples of successful social businesses.

IBM also announced a partnerships with The Dachis Group, a company that specializes in the design, development, management, and measurement of social business performance, and Group Business System, a business partner, to help IBM clients convert Lotus Notes applications into applications accessible on the Web or via mobile devices.

The real trailblazers in the social medium are not necessarily the techies, and IBM is savvy enough to realize it's the kids who tend to adapt fastest to new technology. So, in conjunction with San Jose State University, IBM has created a new academic program to help students turn their social networking know-how into business ready skills to prepare for the jobs of the future.

Students will have the opportunity to assess the social networking capabilities of an IBM business partner organization as a way of learning about the characteristics of a social business. Students will be mentored by IBM experts and learn about internal and external use of social business solutions.

You can get more information about IBM's social business initiative here, or follow #IBMSocialBiz on Twitter.


Status Update: Sick and Tired of Social Media

iWay Detects Business Events in Social Network Feeds

Social Butterfl-i? Enterprise Social Software Spending to Grow in 2011

Software Vendors Adapt to the Social Media

Social Networking and Business: A Rocky Relationship

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Victor Rozek,
Jenny Thomas, Hesh Wiener, Alex Woodie
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
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Go to our contacts page and send us a message.

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