Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘social networks’ Category

Talking Through The Cosmos

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What day is it again?

Oh, yes, Wednesday.  Hump day.

I’ve been so busy this week on back-to-back phone calls that I’ve hardly had an opportunity to lift my head and see what’s going on in the world.

I finally took a few moments this morning to do so, and discovered a couple of tidbits on the mobile front. One, the new Samsung Galaxy IV is now available, and two, the QWERTY keyboard version of the new BlackBerry, the Q10, is also available.

On the former, it’s a mixed bag according to the Verge, though a mostly positive bag but one that suggests Samsung Galaxy has plenty of “good enough” competition not to warrant the steeper price of entry for the IV.

And on the latter, TechCrunch writes the Q10 is “a QWERTY keyboard smartphone comeback worth waiting for,” which I’ll consider at least a semi-positive endorsement.

Me, I’m sticking with my LG Cosmos 2 feature phone.

Being a social and digital media guru of sorts, people look at me like I’m from another planet when carrying this phone.  That alone is a good reason to do so, as it’s a great conversation starter: “What the hell are you doing with that phone??!”

The other is, I like having a phone that works as a phone.  I have an HTC Android device, a Kindle, an iPod Touch 5th gen, an iPod Touch 2nd gen, and an iPad 1st gen for all my tablet needs. But for all the time I spend on the phone, good battery life and strong signal reception are key, and the Cosmos 2 continues to deliver day after day without fail.

“Can you hear me now?” are words rarely spoken through the Cosmos.

Speaking of the cosmos, in the social media realm IBM just announced that for the fourth consecutive year that IDC ranked them number one in worldwide market share for enterprise social software.

Yay team.

Fact is, social networking adoption continues to soar as businesses look to transform their organization into a smarter enterprise that is capable of empowering a global workforce and transforming client experiences.

According to IDC, the worldwide enterprise social market segment reached 1.0 billion in 2012, representing growth of 25 percent over 2011.

As this demand grows, organizations are looking to introduce social capabilities into all key areas, from marketing and research innovation to sales and human resources. The challenge is that many lack the ability to capture and share the unique insights from each employee and use it to help drive real value to the business.

IBM’s social business software and services pair powerful social networking capabilities with analytics that help companies engage all key stakeholders whether an employee, customer or partners in order to accelerate innovation and deliver results.

Today, more than 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have licensed IBM’s solutions for social business, including eight of the top 10 retailers and banks.

IBM’s social networking platform, IBM Connections, allows for instant collaboration with one simple click and the ability to build social communities both inside and outside the organization. We live by it inside IBM these days, and it’s available both on premise and in the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business. IBM currently has three IBM SmartCloud for Social Business facilities based in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

You can learn more about the latest version of IBM Connections in the video below.

Every Kiss Begins With Kay

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Kay Jewelers

IBM and Signet Jewelers Ltd., the largest specialty retail jeweler in the U.S. and U.K., have worked together on a major e-commerce strategy and digital marketing redesign for Signet’s national U.S. store chains, Kay Jewelers and Jared, the Galleria of Jewelry.

This week the retail gurus of the world have been hobnobbing at the Jacob Javitts center in New York City as part of the National Retail Federation’s annual gathering.

So I thought it an appropriate opportunity to highlight a retail partnership between IBM and Signet Jewelers Ltd., the largest specialty retail jeweler in the U.S. and U.K..

IBM and Signet have worked together on a major e-commerce strategy and digital marketing redesign for Signet’s national U.S. store chains, Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry.

Building A Multichannel Strategy 

The initiative has transformed the multichannel experience for Kay and Jared customers and resulted in consistent sales growth, including a year-over-year increase of 49 percent in online sales as reported in the company’s recently announced holiday sales for fiscal 2013.

To advance its existing multichannel retail strategy and supplement its e-commerce and information technology expertise, Signet Jewelers U.S. Division engaged consultants from IBM Global Business Services and its digital consulting and design practice, IBM Interactive.

IBM and Signet U.S. collaborated to develop a unified strategy for delivering a more consistent, branded and personalized customer experience to Kay and Jared customers everywhere they shop — whether in a physical store, online or via mobile.

Key components of the multi-phased strategy include the launch of new transactional mobile sites, which enable customers to shop and purchase Kay and Jared products from their mobile phones, and a redesign of the Kay.com and Jared.com websites, which went live before the busy holiday shopping season.

The new sites combine best practices in optimized navigation and functionality, making it easier for shoppers to find, compare and purchase products online, along with new custom features that deliver a more guided, personalized shopping experience for which the company is known.

For instance, shoppers can now chat live with a customer service representative, compare product details side-by-side to help determine their selection, track recently viewed items and much more.

Mi amigo Paul Papas, IBM’s Smarter Commerce Global Leader for Global Business Services, had this to say about the partnership:

“Much of Signet Jeweler’s success in building Kay and Jared into two of the most trusted retail brands can be attributed to the expertise and superior customer service they deliver to create a world-class shopping experience. In an industry known for being married to tradition, Signet Jewelers is a shining example of how bricks and mortar retailers are redefining the customer experience and embracing digital channels, like mobile and social, as part of their overall strategy to deliver personalized interactions to their customers at every touch point.”

Behind the Redesign 

Initially starting with tactical enhancements to the Kay.com and Jared.com websites in late 2011, Signet U.S. launched complete redesigns of both sites in October 2012.

Signet introduced new mobile sites for each brand with transactional capabilities in mid-November.

The company has also launched a mobile app available on iTunes and the Android Market and introduced catalogs on the Google Catalogs app to tap into the growing population of mobile shoppers.

To elevate Signet’s social media presence, the company worked with IBM to define an engagement strategy, which Signet U.S. has begun implementing by launching a social media presence for Kay and Jared.

Each brand platform is focused on engaging consumers in the spaces that are most relevant to them, like Facebook and Twitter, to develop and sustain relationships, build loyalty and foster brand advocates who shop both in-store and online.

To help define Signet’s e-commerce strategy and roadmap, IBM executed research that included a customer segmentation analysis, voice of the customer surveys and in-store observations.

With deeper insights into customer needs and distinct shopping scenarios, as well as the capabilities required to support them online, Signet U.S. was able to deploy an integrated solution that extends the Kay and Jared in-store shopping experience to the web and mobile platforms.

About Signet Jewelers Ltd

Signet Jewelers is the largest specialty retail jeweler in the US and UK.  Signet’s US division operates more than 1,325 stores in all 50 states primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry.  Signet’s UK division operates more than 500 stores primarily under the name brands of H.Samuel and Ernest Jones.

Go here for more information about IBM Smarter Commerce and here for more information in specific about IBM’s Retail expertise.

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.

Santa’s Virtual Elves

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I’ll be jetting off to Singapore early in the A.M. for the IBM InterConnect event, where I’ll be both blogging and broadcasting (via LiveStream and YouTube), interviewing a variety of IBM execs, partners, and clients.

Tune your TweetDeck now to hashtag #ibminterconnect to keep track of the festivities.  The event officially kicks off next Tuesday, October 9th.

As I was scanning my newsfeeds to catch up on what I’ve been missing all day while preparing for all those interviews, I saw that Facebook reached 1 billion users, although some of their recent moves, including the alteration of their algorithm to minimize brand page posts being seen by those who have opted in to “liking” that page, may start sending those numbers due south.

I also discovered that Microsoft is slated to launch its new Surface tablet at midnight on October 26th.

Midnight?  Really??  You guys couldn’t come up with something more original than that? 12:15, maybe? Or 12:30, even?

Sorry, dudes, I’m all tabletted out, although I will be keeping an eye on the horizon to see what gives with the iPad Mini.

Speaking of holiday shopping, the National Retail Federation released some important holiday shopping forecasts earlier this week that bear sharing.

The NRF’s 2012 holiday forecast expects sales will increase this season by 4.1 percent ($586.1 billion), well above the 10-year holiday average, but behind the 2011 season of 5.6 percent.

To which I say, “Bah, Humbug.” I do most ALL my holiday shopping online, so I’ll be doing my personal best to get those numbers up.  And I expect to pick up a few IBM “Smarter Commerce” tricks of the trade at the sessions next week in Singapore, which I’ll share.

Although I am inclined to show up on Black Friday to run at Wal-Mart with the mortar shopping “bulls!” Nothing like a little full contact holiday shopping, taking down a few eager shoppers to grab that last “Tickle Me Elmo!”

Kidding!

All these holiday tidings come just ahead of today’s news by Thomson Reuters, which reported that back-to-school sales growth slowed in September after “a strong August,” according to The New York Times “Economy” section.

Little Johnny don’t need no more pencils, Mom.  Get in line and buy that kid a Nexus 7!

But the story doesn’t end there.

AlixPartners’ Joel Bines is also quoted in the story as saying this doesn’t necessarily bode badly for the holiday shopping season, as no “conclusive” ten-year correlation between back-to-school and holiday sales seems evident.

As for me, as I fly Eastward, I’m going to have to start giving some serious consideration to my own Christmas holiday shopping list for Santa.

Of course, I’ve been extremely bad this year, which is par for the course, but hey, it never hurts to ask!

Next stop, Singapore, where I hope NOT to participate in any caning demonstrations.

But keep an eye out on YouTube just in case.

In Search Of The Mobile Enterprise

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The new mobile business model — with anytime, anywhere transactions and a blurring of lines between corporate and individual — can make your IT organization feel like it has lost control. For all the good that comes with mobilizing your workforce, there are challenges: maintaining security and compliance, managing multiple device platforms and addressing complex mobile requirements.

You can’t throw a rock these days without hitting a new smartphone or tablet device.

Last week, it was the iPhone 5 and the new Kindle Fire HD. Tomorrow, HTC’s expected to introduce some new mobile products.

And Apple still has yet to introduce the Apple “mini” iPad, currently expected in October.

The move to mobile computing raises some intriguing questions about the nature of work. What is it? Where does it take place?

As someone who’s worked their entire career at IBM, I can certainly attest to the idea that here, increasingly, work is not a place you go but what you do.

I’ve spent nearly nine full years working from my home, and several of those years, spent at least a week a month living (and working) in airplanes.

As the IBM “Services for the Mobile Enterprise” team recently observed, the new workplace is now undeniably a mobile enterprise.

CIOs On Mobile: 66% Plan To Increase Mobile Investments in 2012

Which makes it no big surprise that 66 percent of CIOs plan to increase investments in mobile services in the next year.

And of course, there’s the “BYOD” movement to contend with (“Bring Your Own Device”), with employees expecting whatever device they have to fit into their corporate environment.

This new mobile business model, with anytime, anywhere transactions and a blurring of lines between corporations and individuals, can send IT folks into a conniption fit.

Despite all the goodness — for employees, management, and most importantly, the bottom line — there are challenges that accompany this mobilization of the workforce.

Issues such as maintaining security and compliance.  Managing multiple device platforms.  Addressing complex mobile requirements.

IBM recently released this interactive infographic that has some interesting statistics I thought worthwhile sharing here.

To start, 35 percent of the world’s total workforce is expected to be mobile by 2013.

Here in the U.S., up to 72.2 percent of workers are already plugged in remotely.

This year, some 43 billion mobile applications are expected to be downloaded.

And yet on average, mobile workers spend only a total of 28 minutes a day on technology distractions…there’s too much work to do, otherwise!

The Mobile Upside: 240 Extra Hours Worked Per Worker Per Year

And here’s the upside bonus for you managers: Such mobile workers work an average of 240 extra hours per year.

But as the infographic observes, with those benefits come expectations.

This new mobile generation of workers demands flexibility. Today’s employees expect to use their own devices and applications at work to access information and social networks at will. They even value this flexibility more than a higher-paying salary (Can you say “Mobile enables work/life balance?”).

Cisco’s Connected World Technology Report in 2011 found that 66 percent of workers said they would take a job with less pay and more flexibility in device usage, access to social media, and mobility than a higher-paying job without such flexibility.

Mobile Presents New Challenges

So, as businesses work to embrace these new productive mobile work habits, they must also face the requisite challenges asscoated with the growing number of devices, networks, and applications. Enterprises need a solution that intertwines cross-platform compatibility, security, cost management, compliance, and the inevitable complexity.

By way of example, 21 percent of mobile workers say they have experienced a security issue related to their smartphone (lost, stolen, hacked, virus) in the last year alone.

Fifty-four percent of enterprises rate security and authentication as one of the two top concerns for their mobile environments.

Seventeen percent say they need to meet compliance/regulatory requirements in mobile environments.

And yet 45 percent of IT departments say they aren’t prepared policy- and technology-wise to handle this more borderless, mobile workforce.

Bridging Your Mobile Gap

To overcome those challenges, enterprises need an experienced partner with a strategy capable of spanning the distance between mobile advances and existing infrastructures.

Those early adopters are leaping ahead: They’re already experiencing 20 percent cost savings and productivity improvements.

And 75 percent of CIOs say mobility solutions are a top priority of theirs for 2012.

On the mobile front, IBM workers are walking their own mobile talk, connecting to 10 different networks located around the world, and with 100K+ of them connecting using their own handheld devices (using at least five supported device platforms).

IBM’s own app store, Whirlwind, offers over 500 applications and was recognized by CIO Magazine with the “CIO 100 Top Innovation Award.”

All of that experience IBM has had with its own mobile enablement has informed and shaped the company’s customer-facing mobile initiatives, both through product development and through the introduction of its mobile services offerings.

IBM can help your staff develop the right strategy and governance and deliver a wide range of mobile enterprise services to create a more productive, connected workplace.

You can read about some of those offerings here.

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Orlando: Outdoor Products Maker Husqvarna On “The Partnership Of Equals” Between Marketing And IT

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One of the highlights of attending any of IBM’s events like the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Orlando, Florida, last week is the opportunity to meet with and speak with IBM customers.

John Marchiodona, VP of marketing, and Simon Howard, head of IT for the Americas, at Husqvarna, are two prime examples.

John and Simon are the poster children for marketing and IT coming together to create new capabilities and opportunities for their customers, in their case for a 300+ year-old commercial concern that now focuses on outdoor products, including chainsaws, lawnmowers, and the like.

John and Simon explained in the interview Scott and I conducted with them how new digital opportunities, particularly in the social space, have required them to come together earlier and more often to map out new requirements and capabilities for better serving their clients.

As they explained, “Technology is becoming more and more a requirement for everybody,” and a good example of the fruits of their labor was a new social media section of the Husqvarna site that contained videos demonstrating the safe and productive use of their products.

As they explained in our discussion, theirs’ (marketing and IT) is a “partnership of equals,” and that to fulfill on the new digital demands of their consumers, “they have to have the necessary platforms in place to do what they want to do.”

IBM’s Combination Of Social & Analytics = Social ROI

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The embedded experience of the news feed in IBM Connections, also known as an activity stream, allows employees from any department inside an organization to explore structured and unstructured data such as Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, weather data, videos, log files, SAP applications, electronically sign documents, and quickly act on the data as part of their everyday work experience.

Big news today from IBM re: social analytics, and for some key customer wins on the social business front.

First, to the news about social analytics. Today, IBM unveiled new software and services that bring the power of big data analytics into the hands of a social savvy workforce anytime, anywhere.

With this new capability, organizations will be able to apply analytics to their social business efforts, allowing them to gain actionable insight on information generated in social networks and put it to work in real-time.

IBM’s Lead In Social Business

Today, more than 60 percent of the Fortune 100 have licensed IBM social software to activate their workforce to improve productivity, and gain insight on data to anticipate individual customers needs.

IBM’s leadership role in analytics has been established through a thoughtful strategy that required the expansion of R&D, acquisition and business initiatives across its hardware software and services portfolio.

As part of today’s news, IBM announced the availability of its industry-leading social software platform, IBM Connections.

IBM Connections incorporates sophisticated analytics capabilities, real-time data monitoring, and faster collaborative networks both inside and outside the organization, whether on premise, in the IBM SmartCloud or using a broad range of mobile devices.

You can check out a demo here.

IBM Customers Becoming More Social

IBM also announced today that leading companies around the globe, including Bayer MaterialScience, Colgate-Palmolive Company, LeasePlan, Primerica and Teach for America, are using its social software to achieve real returns on their social business investments.

The rise of social media is prompting business leaders, from the CMO to the chief HR officer to the CIO, to evaluate how to create opportunities that drive business transformation through the use of social technology, creating real business value.

At the same time, business leaders lack the tools to gain insight into the enormous stream of information and use it in a meaningful way. According to IBM’s CEO Study, today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years.

Do you want to know what becoming a social business can do for your company? This video will help you understand how you can create exceptional customer experiences and a smarter workforce to empower your business. Find out how you can compete with — and win against — the world’s best by giving customers what they want. You can view the video here: http://bit.ly/SASGdi

A recent IBM study of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers reveals 82 percent plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years.

“To truly realize the full potential of a social business, leaders need to empower a company’s most vital asset — the information being generated from its people,” said Alistair Rennie, general manager, social business, IBM. “Now is the time for business leaders to embed social into their key business processes to shift their business from the era of ‘liking’ to ‘leading’.”

Social ROI

Today, more than 60 percent of the Fortune 100 have licensed IBM social software. There is strong demand for IBM’s social business platform in regulated industries, with 41 percent of Connections 4 beta participants in banking, finance and healthcare institutions.

Primerica, a leading distributor of financial products in North America, will utilize Connections and WebSphere Portal, to transform how its agents engage with its 2.3 million policy holders on the fly, to provide increased value for its customers.

The company plans to use social business software to improve the overall client experience, drive competitive edge and stay on the forefront of innovation in the financial services industry.  You can read more details on Primerica’s adoption of IBM social software here.

And in the video at the bottom of this post, you can check out my interview with Digital Influence Group’s Glenn Engler about the challenges and opportunities for social media in heavily regulated industries.

Expanding IBM Social Capabilities In Key Growth Markets

To support the burgeoning demand for social business solutions in growth markets, in the fourth quarter of 2012 IBM will open two social business customer support centers to serve IBM’s Asia-Pacific and Latin American clients.

Located in Manilla, the Philippines, and Sao Paolo, Brazil, these centers will support the rapid adoption of social business tools in these growth markets. The Philippines and Brazil centers join a roster of IBM social business centers in North America, Dublin, Japan, China and India.

IBM’s growing business partner network of more than 39,000 business partners are also bringing new, cutting-edge capabilities to IBM’s social platform every day in areas including gamification, video, compliance, project management and mobility.

For example, Actiance provides leading compliance capabilities to thousands of organizations globally, SugarCRM helps sellers use social networking and analytics for effective selling, and Bunchball provides gamification capabilities to IBM Connections.

Making New Connections With IBM Connections Social Software

IBM Connections, a cornerstone of IBM’s social platform, is available on premise, in the cloud, and on a broad range of mobile devices.

IBM Connections integrates activity streams, calendaring, wikis, blogs, a new email capability, and more, and flags relevant data for action. It allows for instant collaboration with one simple click and the ability to build social, secure communities both inside and outside the organization to increase customer loyalty and speed business results.

The new Connections mail capability provides simplified access to email within the context of the social networking environment.

Empowering Your Employees

The new capabilities empower employees from every line of business, such as marketing, human resources and development to gain actionable insight into the information being generated in their social networks.

For example, the Connections landing page features a single location that allows users to view and interact with content from any third party solution through a social interface, right alongside their company’s content, including email and calendar.

The embedded experience of the news feed, also known as an activity stream, allows employees from any department inside an organization to explore structured and unstructured data such as Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, weather data, videos, log files, SAP applications, electronically sign documents, and quickly act on the data as part of their everyday work experience.

To learn more about IBM’s social business initiative, participate in a simulcast on September 13, 2012 at 1 PM ET at bit.ly/Pn9sqd or sign-up to attend IBM’s Connect conference in January 2013.

For more information, please visit www.ibm.com/press/socialbusiness.

IBM blogger and tech evangelist Todd “Turbo” Watson interviews Digital Influence Group CEO Glenn Engler at SXSW Interactive 2012 about the opportunities and challenges of social media for heavily regulated industries.

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