Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: IBM’s Social Business Strategy

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At the Lotusphere 2012 session this afternoon entitled “IBM Social Business Strategy,” I had the opportunity to hear directly from two of IBM’s senior social business strategists, Douglas Heintzman and Andrew Warzecha.

IBM's Douglas Heintzman and Andrew Warzecha provide a detailed overview of IBM's social business strategy at Lotusphere 2012 earlier today.

The first headline on their first slide made a bold statement: A profound change is coming to business.

They spent the next hour explaining why, and to extent, how this change was already starting to occur, and its potential impact on the global business community.

Underneath that statement was a list of some of the chief characteristics that social businesses everywhere would start to take on:

  • Talent as a cloud
  • Digital reputation and individual brands.
  • Leadership by connections
  • Real-time teams.
  • Collective intelligence.
  • Engaged relationships.
  • IT access anywhere.

Now, just think about those for a moment.  Talent as a cloud, for example.

Heintzman explained that talent used to be found in organizations through other single-point based individuals who had an existing power base in the organization. They were the filter: Of knowledge, skills, etc.

Their role as the key node in the network is being increasingly supplanted by the reputation of key individuals in the organizations who have the skill to help make the firm a success.

Or collective intelligence, where our current inability to measure and monitor the sentiment of not only our customers, but also internally (think a negotiation with a union, a new medical benefits plan, etc.) is a missed opportunity to better understand real-time sentiment, a very powerful capability.

Talent as a cloud.  Talent used to have to be found through power brokers, but now is more based on reputation.

Our inability to measure and monitor the sentiment of not only our customers, but also internally (a new negotiation with a union, a medical benefits plan, etc.), understanding the real-time sentiment of that becomes a very powerful capability.

As he continued to observe, history is filled with examples of people coming together with new insight/capabilities, and that social business simply represents another of those massive transformational opportunities.

Perhaps some of his sound bytes better tell the story:

  • Social technology is changing the way we live.  More than 7 billion pieces of content are shared each week on Facebook, and social networking accounts for 22% of online time.
  • Smartphone shipments will outpace PCs by end of this year.
  • Workers increasingly shift seamlessly between work/personal roles 24X7 using smartphones and tablets.
  • There are 155 million Tweets each day (and yet 75% of folks still don’t believe advertising.)

This distinction between social media and social business is also an important one.

Social media is more commonly viewed as a new marketing channel, whereas social business, can help accelerate the velocity of business, provide for collective creative potential, and improve decision making in the organization.

Social media is more commonly viewed as a new marketing channel, whereas social business can help accelerate the velocity of business, provide for collective creative potential, and improve decision making in the organization.

Social business, in other words, encompasses organization and business operations, while social media provides a new communications and marketing platform.

If social business, then, is changing the way we work, the next logical question would be, “But how?”

In many ways.  As an example, social media monitoring is now done by 11 out of the top 50 brands using social media as a sustainable tool for marketing (I will have to come back to this one, as I’ve been a part of the team embarking upon IBM Software’s own social listening efforts, and there are LOTS of lessons to learn there).

In terms of product and service innovation (our Rational line of software is very helpful in this arena), 44% of the Fortune 200 executives report using crowd-sourcing to improve corporate responsibility, and already 95% feel it has positive benefits.

89% of organizations are now recruiting from social networks, and 55% are planning to invest more in social networking and recruiting.

And finally, much to the contrary of conventional wisdom, 51% of companies permit employees to use social media for business purposes, up from 19% in in 2009.

It’s just not hyperbole that’s driving this shift, however.  There’s a very real opportunity to drive business value from IT as it shifts from process automation towards people-centric processes: Everything from the the advances of “systems of engagement” (vs. “Systems of record”), to the demand for productivity and new markets that’s driving demand for social business transformation.

Renowned business thought leader Geoffrey Moore even suggested that such systems of engagement will drive 23% CAGR over the next several years.

So what’s the road map start to look like?  What’s the great Google Map in the sky that will point the way?

Well, with social business as a market opportunity expected to reach $99 billion by 2015, I have no doubt we’ll see a variety of road maps emerge, but if you’d like to better understand IBM’s strategy, I’d encourage you to check out the IBM Social Business overview.

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One Response

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  1. Love your blog! Look forward to more reports from Orlando.Thank goodness you add a little humor also, yet very informative.

    Bob Graczyk

    January 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm


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