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IBM Expands Social Business Capabilities With New Cloud, Mobile Advances

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IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

Some new news from IBM on the social business front today.

IBM announced new social business software to help clients collaborate securely in the cloud using a broad range of mobile devices.

The new IBM SmartCloud services include new social networking feaures and the release of IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based productivity suite that lets users simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

I saw this capability demoed at Lotusphere earlier this year and exclaimed that I wanted it and fast. Being as virtual as we are at IBM, I find all kinds of use cases to be able to do this real-time productivity app collaboration.

Nothing like writing a presentation by committee!

The Market Is Growing

Forrester Research estimates cloud computing is going to grow from a $41 billion business in 2010, to $241 billion in 2020. And social enterprise apps market is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016, reaching $6.4 billion. So clearly, there’s ample and broad market demand for this type of computing capability.

While many firms have adopted cloud, mobile and social networking, IBM is helping clients, including the University of Texas at El Paso, capitalize on the convergence, making it safe for the enterprise.

To help organizations address this growing opportunity, IBM is announcing IBM SmartCloud Docs and new services in its IBM SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio allowing clients to collaborate both inside the organization and externally with partners, clients or suppliers.

For example, when working on a document in the cloud, the presence awareness and instant messaging capabilities allow users to see if a document co-editor is online and available to chat in real time. The new features join IBM’s SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio which includes business-grade file sharing, access to communities, online meetings, instant messaging, email and calendar in the cloud.

Clients Getting Social in the Cloud

IBM is also announcing clients who are at the forefront of this transformation embracing social in the cloud, including the University of Texas at El Paso, Colleagues In Care (CIC), Centrax TCL, NEC Corp., the Victoria Implementation Center and Netkom iBPM LLC.

At the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), faculty and researchers are using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to track the status of research projects and help facilitate knowledge sharing across campus.

The IBM SmartCloud provides a cost-effective, easy-to-use cloud solution that allows faculty and researchers to share resources and track progress of research projects without clogging up their email in-boxes while aiding in the ever challenging “version control” process for collaborative documents.

UTEP has recently expanded its use of the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to collaborate with universities across North America who are involved in CASHI, the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

CASHI aims to increase the number of Hispanic students who pursue and complete baccalaureate and advanced degrees in the computer and information sciences and engineering. UTEP uses the IBM SmartCloud to collaborate with faculty at other universities, invite users from the other universities at no cost as guests to work on projects together. They can share files, manage projects, assign work, and comment directly on posted documents.

“Going to one place to find materials and being able to track the progress and status of projects has been a major benefit,” said Dr. Ann Gates, Chair of the Computer Science Department at UTEP. “Before IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, email was the default way of communicating. Now I don’t have to manage a lot of emails, I can go back and look at the status of projects and what people are working on quickly and easily. We’re using the portfolio to boost brainstorming sessions across campus, sharing information immediately, saving time and resources for the university.”

New Services Make the Cloud Enterprise Ready

The following provides a breakdown of these new social enterprise capabilities in more detail:

  • Access documents anytime, anywhere — the new IBM SmartCloud Docs cloud-based office productivity suite allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents in the cloud to improve productivity. IBM Docs authors can store documents in IBM SmartCloud, co-edit documents in real time easing the management of multiple revisions from multiple authors in team-based documents.
  • Sharing insight and data in real time — the new IBM Connections capabilities in the cloud allow users to embrace business-grade social networking between employees, partners and suppliers to find and share the right insight when needed. New community based blogs, wikis, idea-generation blogs and file viewers will spur creativity and drive innovation across teams.
  • Meet and chat on the fly — the new e-meeting service allows teams to meet on the fly, using instant messaging chats, screen sharing to share information and presentations, and includes a new chat room feature to communicate with colleagues, partners and clients in real time.
  • Unlimited access — chat with guests regardless of their instant messaging platform, share files and invite guests to participate in e-meetings at no additional charge.
  • Improved mobile device management — new software to help business partners organize and secure cloud-based IBM email on mobile devices allowing organizations to extend their current business capabilities to mobile devices, while capitalizing on the new opportunities that mobile devices uniquely provide.

Pricing and Availability

IBM SmartCloud Docs is available now for no additional charge in IBM SmartCloud Engage Advanced service. IBM SmartCloud Docs is also available for purchase as a service add on for IBM Connections and IBM SmartCloud Engage Standard for $3 per user, per month.

To participate in a live webcast on December 13, 2012, on how to enhance the workforce with socially enabled office productivity applications in the Cloud, register here. To hear first hand from clients using social applications in the cloud, register for IBM’s premier social business conference in January 2013 at www.ibm.com/connect.

For more information, visit ibmcloud.com/social.

Learn more about the IBM SmartCloud Doc capabilities in the video below.

New IBM Study: The Business of Social Business

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IBM’s recent study on “The Business of Social Business” revealed three major areas where organizations can most effectively apply their social business investments. The study surveyed more than 1,100 businesses worldwide, and included extensive interviews with more than two dozen widely recognized leaders in social business. You can find a link to a downloadable version of the study later in this blog post.

If you’ve been looking for a study that will help you better understand how organizations around the globe are viewing the opportunity social business presents as a fundamental way by which to rethink and overhaul how they conduct their business operations in the social age, IBM has something for you.

Earlier today, we released the new IBM Institute for Business Value study entitled “The Business of Social Business.”

This was a survey conducted of more than 1,110 businesses around the world, and with extensive interviews with more than two dozen recognized global leaders in social business. Many of those executives explained to IBM that, in fact, social business is gaining traction in their organizations.

Top line, 46 percent of the companies surveyed increased their investments in social business in 2012, and 62 percent indicated they were going to increase their expenditures in the next three years.

As the executive summary of the report stated, “The question surrounding social media today is not whether you are doing but, but whether you are doing enough.

Getting your 100,000th “Like” on Facebook, or having your latest pearl of wisdom retweeted 200 times an hour is all well and good, but are these activities driving revenue, attracting talent, and bridging the collaboration gaps in your organization?”

Is your use of social media allowing your organization to engage with the right customers, improve their online experience, and tap into their latest insights and ideas?

And does your social approach provide your customer-facing representatives with the ability to search the globe for expertise or apply learnings?

For far too many organizations, the answer are, “not yet.”

What IS Social Business?

IBM defines social business as embedding tools, media, and practices into the ongoing activities of an organization. It enables individuals to connect and share information and insights more effectively with others, both inside and outside the organization.

Social business tools facilitate engagement in extensive discussions with employees, customers, business partners, and other stakeholders and allow sharing of resources, skills and knowledge to drive business outcomes.

And what’s the upside? Top-line growth for social business users can improve between 3 and 11 percent, according to a recent study from the McKinsey Global Institute, and productivity can be enhanced by between 2 and 12 percent.

I’ll hand you off to a link of the full study later, but to net out the findings, IBM’s survey and interviews revealed three major areas where organizations apply social business investments (see graphic above):

  • Create valued customer experiences
  • Drive workforce productivity and effectiveness
  • Acclerate innovation

Shifting Towards Sales And Service

For those who have been involved in the social media realm to date, it’s important to note that social business is about moving beyond basic promotional activities to encompass the entire customer lifecycle, including lead generation, sales, and post-sales service.

The IBM study had a sub-sample of clients with some social business experience which revealed that while the percentage of companies expecting to use social business for promotional activities will rise slightly, from 71 percent today to 83 percent in the next two years, the number of companies expecting to use social approaches to generate sales leads and revenue will increase dramatically.

How companies are using social business capabilities is evolving rapidly. As you can see in the graphic, it is moving beyond basic promotional activities to encompass the entire customer lifecycle, including lead generation, sales, and even post-sales service.

Today, 51 percent use social approaches for leads and revenue, while 74 percent plan to get on board in the next two years.  Post-sales support is also expected to increase, from 46 today to 69 percent over the next two years (see graphic entitled “Users of Social Business”).

Getting Started With Social Business

Regardless of where your organization is in its own social business journey, the use of social business practices is a transformation that leads toward new ways of working.

IBM’s research revealed three essential actions to be taken across the enterprise, from the CEO’s office to the farthest corner of the organization.

  1. Develop social methods and tools to create consistent and valued customer experiences.
  2. Embed social capabilities to drive workforce productivity and effectiveness.
  3. Use social approaches to accelerate innovation.

If you’re interested in reading the full study, you can register to download it here.

As IBM’s vice president for social business, Sandy Carter, explained in the video interview below during our recent interview at the IBM Interconnect in Singapore, “culture eats strategy for lunch.” Sandy offered up some great advice on world-class social business practices, as well as how companies and individuals can better establish their brands in an increasingly crowded social marketplace.

Turbo To Speak @ WOMMA Summit: Organizing For Social Business

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Happy Monday.

I mentioned in a recent post that I’d be attending the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Summit next week in Las Vegas.

It’s going to be my first time attending a WOMMA event, and for that I’m most excited.  I’ll also be speaking at the event, and recently participated in an interview with WOMMA’s Jacob Hurwith to chat about some of the topics that would inevitably come up in my presentation, “Organizing For Social Business.” (Monday, Nov. 12, 4:30-5:15 PST)

The WOMMA Summit being held next week in Las Vegas will feature social media experts and word of mouth marketing practitioners from some of the leading brands and organizations around the world. I’ll also be speaking on the topic of “Organizing For Social Business,” and IBM’s Carolyn Baird will be sharing detailed results from IBM’s recent Chief Marketing Officer study.

The general theme of my session will center around the challenges and opportunities larger organizations face as they go about building their social strategies, sharing particular insights and experiences we’ve had inside IBM over the past number of years on this front.

At IBM, our social business strategy has very much centered around one of our best market-facing emissaries, the IBMer! If you’ve kept pace with any of our marketing initiatives in recent times, you know that the IBMer is front and center in those communications, most notably in our TV advertising, but also extensively in the digital and social media as well.

But their participation doesn’t end there.

We’ve featured subject matter experts extensively across a wide range of topics and across a range of venues in the digital and social media space, as well as in other public and sometimes private venues (think conferences, events, customer meetings, etc.).

As I’ll note in my talk, this direction is very much in keeping with IBM’s high-touch sales heritage, but builds on that legacy by making our people more accessible via social venues as well.

That said, don’t think encouraging very busy professionals to participate in social venues doesn’t come without some challenges — organizational, economical, cultural — all of which are an integral part of the story that I also look forward to sharing with my fellow attendees in Las Vegas.

Speaking of which, another fellow IBMer, Carolyn Baird, is also going to be presenting at WOMMA.  Carolyn will be sharing insights from IBM’s global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) study, one of the largest ever conducted of CMOs worldwide.

The study revealed that CMOs are under enormous pressure to manage a much broader range of responsibilities than ever before, and that underpinning this evolution is a growing dependency on technology that is reshaping CMOs’ strategies and priorities.

Carolyn’s session will share how CMOs are managing these shifts and the impact all of this is having on the CMO-CIO relationship (Carolyn’s session takes place Tuesday, Nov. 13th, from 11:45AM-12:30 PM).

Though I’m certainly excited to sharing IBM’s social story at such a distinguished convocation, I’m even more excited about hearing from my fellow social media enthusiasts. I took the names of all the organizations expected to be presenting at WOMMA, and you can see the vast breadth and diversity of companies and organizations represented in the Wordle cloud above.

If you’re going to be attending WOMMA, please look me up and introduce yourself. It’s the rare opportunity we social media practitioners have to get together in “meatspace” face to face, so I’m looking forward to meeting some new faces, and saying hello to some familiar ones, during my visit to Vegas (My fourth trip there this year!)

To follow the tidings on Twitter from the Summit, use the hashtag #WOMMASummit.

For my session, I’ll ask that folks use the hashtag #WOMMAturbo.

Live @ IBM InterConnect 2012: Marie Wieck On Business In Motion

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Marie Wieck is general manager of IBM’s Application & Integration Middleware (AIM) business unit, where she leads an organization of more than 7,500 software development, marketing, services, and sales professionals. She is responsible for IBM’s WebSphere software portfolio and other strategic middleware products, including Web application servers, transaction and messaging systems, integration, and business process management solutions.

Marie Wieck is the general manager of IBM’s Application and Integration Middleware organization (home of IBM’s distinguished market-leading WebSphere brand), and has held a variety of technical and executive roles across our software, services, and finance groups.

In her current role, Marie leads an organization of more than 7,500 software development, marketing, sales, and services professionals. There, she is responsible for IBM’s WebSphere software portfolio and other strategic middleware products, including Web application servers, transaction and messaging systems, integration, and business process management solutions.

During our sitdown at IBM InterConnect, Marie shared some of the proceedings from her two “Hot Topic” sessions in Singapore, one on the Mobile Enterprise, and the other on Business Process management.

Marie also expanded on IBM’s emerging “mobile enterprise” strategy, explaining that rather than see mobile as another blip on the technology evolutionary radar screen, that rather it’s an opportunity to be transformative across the enterprise.

From fomenting front-line employee’s opportunity to be more collaborative in the field, to enabling back-office overlords to use their smartphones to watch over and manage business process management processes, IBM is working to bridge systems of record and of data together with employees and external constituents in a much more transformative story than has been communicated to date.

It’s an exciting narrative, and as Marie conveyed in the interview, mobile is touching the entire IBM portfolio.

Live @ IBM InterConnect 2012: A Q&A With Sandy Carter About Social Business

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Sandy Carter is Vice President, Social Business and Collaboration Solutions Sales and Evangelism at IBM, where she is responsible for setting the direction for IBM’s Social Business initiative, working with companies who are becoming Social Businesses, and being the evangelist for the concept and best practices around Social Business.

Yesterday afternoon here in Singapore, we started our Livestreaming endeavours at IBM InterConnect and one of the first folks I interviewed has been a beacon of leadership when it comes to social business, inside and outside IBM, and that is Sandy Carter.

Sandy currently serves as vice president for IBM’s Social Business and Collaboration Solutions Sales and Evangelism, where she is responsible for setting the direction for IBM’s Social Business initiatives, working with companies who are becoming social businesses, and being the evangelist for the concept and best practices around social business.

Prior to her current position, Sandy was VP, Software Business Partners and Midmarket where she was responsible for IBM’s worldwide software ecosystem initiatives, and prior to that also VP, SOA, BPM and WebSphere Strategy, Channels and Marketing where she drove IBM’s Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) marketing efforts to achieve 70% market share for SOA, and where IBM WebSphere became a market leader, receiving more than 34 industry awards.

Fast Company named Sandy one of the most influential women in technology, and Everything Channels CRN magazine named her one of the most powerful 100 women in channels in 2010 and 2009.

Sandy is the best selling author of two books: “The New Language of Business: SOA & Web 2.0”, which won the Platinum MarCom Award in 2008, and “The New Language of Marketing 2.0: Social Media”, which won the Silver MarketingSherpa award in 2009.

Sandy and I chatted about a variety of social business relevant topics, in which she also offered some advice to both companies and individuals looking to better establish their brands in an increasingly crowded social marketplace.

I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did!

Singapore Redux

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I mentioned in an earlier post I would share a little information about Singapore.  Much of this, I crowdsourced liberally from the Wikipedia entry on Singapore, along with some of my own observations thrown in for good measure.

First, the city-state is formally referred to as the “Republic of Singapore.” If you’ve ever flown here from the U.S., you know that it’s one of the longer plane rides one can take.

I left Austin around 8 am last Friday morning, catching connecting flights in Atlanta and then Tokyo’s Narita, with both flights lasting around close to 24 hours flight time, and arriving here early Sunday morning (around 1:30 AM).

Singapore is an island country consisting of 63 islands, and separated from Malaysia by the Straigts of Johor to the north and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south.

The British founded modern Singapore when it obtained sovereignty over the island in 1824, and was later occupied by the Japanese in World War II. It later declared independence, uniting with other British territories to form Malaysia in 1963, then separated from Malaysia two years later.

It is known as one of the “Four Asian Tigers,” and is the world’s fourth leading financial center, with its ports being among one of the five busiest in the world.

Its economy depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, and has the third highest per capita income in the world with slightly over 5 million citizens.

Its population is very diverse, and has four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil, and is one of the five founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations.

It’s manufacturing base includes electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, mechanical engineering, and biomedical sciences. It also produces about 10% of the world’s foundry wafer output, making it an integral part of the globe’s semiconductor industry supply chain.

It also has majored heavily in tourism (including so-called “medical tourism”), and to attract more tourists it legalized gambling in 2005 (The IBM InterConnect conference is being held at Royal Sentosa Resorts, which has one of those casinos).

This is my second visit to Singapore (my first being in early 2010), and my impressions on both visits have been quite favorable. For a Westerner who doesn’t know Chinese, Malay or Tamil, it’s quite easy for an English speaker to find their way around.

The city-state itself reminds me of Dallas or Houston, what with its shiny, chrome and beige skyscrapers and ports surrounding parts of the island.

But it’s also very futuristic and forward-thinking, having invested early on in commercialization of the Internet and hosting a robust mobile computing infrastructure. Singapore is one of the most ubiquitous Internet penetrated of nations in the world, with over 77 percent of its citizens having online access.

And the “Intelligent Nation 15″ ten-year blueprint I mentioned earlier has refined that digital capability, and in fact, the country has emerged as a vital foundry for Internet-based companies.

By way of example, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin relocated here in 2009, announcing plans to invest in “companies with strong interests in the Asian markets.”

Singapore’s National Research Foundation selected eight new incubators for its Technology Incubation Scheme earlier this year, and through that program, the NRF will co-fund up to 85 percent of total investment in each company (up to U.S. $400K).

And talk about a mobile-friendly country. I only needed walk through either Singapore’s Chinatown or “Little India” yesterday afternoon to find mobile phones from around the globe available to me (and settled on an old-school Nokia 1280 to serve as my new GSM “world phone”).

I paid $20 to a local mobile retailer catering to the Indian market, and within minutes (along with the purchase of an $18 SIM card) was up and running.

For the casual visitor, though the city itself can seem expensive compared to other industrialized countries, deals abound, including for food (the cuisine here runs the gamut, from Chinese to Malay to Japanese to India to American, etc.), and that most national of Singaporean pasttimes, shopping.

If you’re a night owl, you’ll certainly find plenty to do here, what between the casinos, the food, and yes, even the nightlife.

As for me, the rest of this week I’ll mostly be stuck in front of the camera or my laptop covering IBM InterConnect here on Sentosa Island, but I hope and expect to sneak in a few noodles or pieces of dim sum along the way.

IBM InterConnect begins first thing tomorrow, so don’t forget to tune in to our Livestream channel and to Twitter hashtag #ibminterconnect so you can keep up with all the emerging announcements and news from IBM in this important and digitally vital part of the world!

IBM Survey: Social Media Impacting Threats From Reputational Risk

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More than 400 respondents in 23 industries across the globe agree: managing reputational risk is crucial to their business, and managing IT risk is a major part of their efforts. And, social media is cited as a major factor for those shifting more focus to their reputational risk management efforts. Learn what these respondents are doing — and what they’re overlooking — in the 2012 IBM Global Reputational Risk and IT study report.

So here’s a question for you?  What is your organization doing to more effectively manage its risk profile?

IBM recently released its 2012 Global Reputational Risk and IT Study, and the findings suggest that companies are viewing their IT investments through a new lens.

First, some background, and then a summary of the findings.

This study is an investigation of how organizations around the world are managing their reputations in today’s digital era, where IT is an integral part of their operations and where IT failures can result in reputational damage.

The report was written by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which both executed an online survey and conducted client executive interviews.

That included 427 senior executive responses from around the world, 42 percent of those being C-level, with 33 percent of respondents coming from North America, 29 percent from Europe, and 26 percent from Asia-Pacific.

The survey included industries that ran the gamut, including banking, IT, energy and utilities, and insurance.

Impact of Social Media On Risk

Corporate reputations are especially difficult to manage in an era when anyone with a smartphone and Internet connection can file their complaint with a single touch.

With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter boasting over 1.4 million people combined, there is now a highly visible and immediate alterative to a company’s own communications regarding its reputation.

Because of that, more organizations have introduced reputational risk as a distinct category within their enterprise risk management frameworks.

The study suggests that companies have begun to pay closer attention to the links between IT failures and reputational damage, and also examines how executives are attempting to protect their brands from what could arguably be called “a preventable glitch.”

So, drum roll, please.  Here’s a summary of some of the key findings:

  • IT risk management and investment directly supports a company’s reputation.  Reputational risk has evolved into an asset that is fundamentally supported by IT planning and investment.  78 percent say they included reputational risk in their own IT risk planning, and 75 percent say their budget will grow due to concerns for such. Eighteen percent indicate that spend will increase by more than 20 percent in the next 12 months.
  • The CEO owns it but shares it. When asked to name the top 3 C-level execs who owned reputational risk, close to two-thirds say it was shared across the C-suite. 80 percent of CEOs indicated it was theirs to win, followed by 31 percent of CFOs, 27 percent of CIOs, 23 percent of CROs (Chief Risk Officers), and 22 percent of CMOs.
  • Five characteristics of highly effective companies — they get reputational risk and invest in it. Of those who do, 83 percent indicated they have integrated IT into their reputational risk management regimes. They also perceive stronger links between IT threats and key elements of reputation (especially customer sat and brand reputation), and they also say they have strong or very strong IT risk management capacity (84 percent). Seventy-seven percent indicated they have well-resourced IT risk management functions, and are more likely to require vendors and supply chain partners to meet the same levels of control as they require internally.

Improving Reputational Risk Management: Best Practices

So what’s a concerned C-level exec to do? The study revealed several core strategies:

  • Be proactive rather than reactive. That is, be prepared to invest in developing comprehensive reputational risk management strategies that include robust controls on IT risks, particularly those related to security, business continuity and tech support.
  • Create an organization where IT managers collaborate with other risk management specialists. Together, they should be tasked with presenting a comprehensive profile of organization-wide reputational risks to senior management.
  • Engage in scenario analysis, especially with new and emerging technology. Don’t wait for the worst to happen — there are plenty of case studies to be used as a basis for “what-if” planning.
  • Assess risks across the entire supply chain. A failure by a downstream supplier can be just as devastating as an internal problem, and risk controls can be harmonized among key players.

A More Integrated, Holistic Approach

This more integrated, enterprise-wide approach to risk management — led by the C-suite on down — can help your organization increase the attention being paid to the direct reputational impact of IT risks, and help you mitigate those risks (including those stemming from the use of new technologies).

To learn more and to gain access to the full study, go here.

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