Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘collaboration

Turbo Slidecast: Organizing For Social Business

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I mentioned in a post recently that I was to speak at the annual WOMMA Summit (WOMMA standing for “Word Of Mouth Marketing Association”) about IBM’s efforts to better organize itself to take advantage of the social business opportunity.

After lumbering through the SlideShare “slidecast” capability and learning my way around (and no, it really wasn’t that difficult — I’m just a slow learner), I was able to create a slidecast of the presentation I gave in Las Vegas for those of you who may be interested.

As I noted in that blog post leading up to my talk, the general theme of my session there centered on the challenges and opportunities larger organizations face as they go about building their social strategies, and sharing particular insights and experiences we’ve had inside IBM 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.).

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.

So, please, take some time out of your busy day if you’re interested in learning more about IBM’s social business efforts, and hopefully you’ll walk away with some of the actionable insights we’ve garnered that can help you and your organization in your own social business journey.

Just click on the arrow to play, kick back, and relax!

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.

New IBM Study: Enabling A Flexible Workplace

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What is work?

Click to enlarge. IBM’s recent workplace study revealed that 74 percent of CIOs prioritize flexible workplace investments over all other IT spend, with many forward thinkers seeing a 20 percent jump in productivity and 20 percent reduction in costs.

Is work a place? Is it something you do? Is it a combination of the two, or is it something else?

Those questions beg a larger one, particularly in our always-on, increasingly globalized business environment: What is the workplace?

Or, more specifically, what constitutes a flexible workplace?

IBM’s Center For Applied Insights recently conducted a study to try and better answer this question through a survey of 675 CIOs and IT managers of large enterprises in Australia, China, India, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S.

The study was intended to gain perspective on the flexible workplace and to develop insight into what the most successful implementers of this workplace are doing that sets them apart.

Survey respondents suggested that such a flexible workplace is a new reality, with 74 percent of CIos and IT managers placing greater priority on the flexible workplace compared to other investments over the next 12 months.

The vast majority, in fact, expect to make significant investments across all the key attributes of the flexible workplace in the next one to two years.

More importantly, they expect these investments to yield productivity gains and enhanced security, and nearly half believe it will reduce costs and potentially increase revenues.

What Is A Flexible Workplace?

Today’s workplace is a virtualized and physical environment characterized by connections, collaboration, and user choice that enables the worker to be more agile and perform activities anywhere and anytime.

This redefinition of the workplace is the result of industry, demographic, and behavioral trends in technology and work habits. For example, with the introduction of smartphones, workers expect such tools that have enhanced their personal lives to play an increasingly important role in their business lives, a trend that poses important challenges and opportunities for the organization supporting the workplace.

The workplace study revealed that the most successful companies implementing the flexible workplace are reporting 20+ percent improvement in productivity and cost savings.

Facing The Challenges Of The Flexible Workplace

The study also revealed there are some important challenges that need to be met to accomodate the flexible workplace, most notably security and cost.

Security is seen as the most significant issue, but it’s also seen as a key benefit.

Improving colalboration is also key, with those organizations that leverage social business technology to strenghten two-way communication and sharing — amongst employees, partners, customers and vendors — becoming a competitive advantage.

In the attached infographic, you can see what the survey respondents highlighted as being key characteristics to becoming a more flexible workplace.

To learn more, register to download the full study results here.

Or, take this self-assessment to learn how your organization can increase its workforce productivity and reduce costs through enhanced and more flexible workplace development.

IBM Expands Collaborative Software Development Solutions to Cloud, Mobile Technologies

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At IBM Innovate in Orlando earlier today, the company announced a range of new software solutions that will help clients create software applications faster and with higher quality across multiple development environments including cloud, mobile, and complex systems.

The software world’s push toward continuously evolving systems necessitates consistency and collaboration across the entire software lifecycle and supply chain. Often software development teams are struggling to meet business expectations due to a lack of hard facts.

There is a need for shared data and a consistent context across organizational boundaries, exposed through clear and honest metrics.

To address these challenges, IBM is introducing a new version of its integrated software Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) solution with extended design management capabilities.

CLM is built on IBM’s open development platform, Jazz, and brings together IBM Rational Requirements Composer, IBM Rational Team Concert, and IBM Rational Quality Manager in one easy-to-install and easy-to-use solution. The new CLM software ensures that software design is integrated with the rest of the software application development lifecycle.

Development teams are now able to seamlessly collaborate on the design and development of software with key stakeholders from across the business.

According to preliminary findings of an IBM Institute for Business Value Global Study on software delivery, more than three-fourths of the participating organizations said they are underprepared for major technology trends that will impact their competitiveness.

These trends include the proliferation of mobile devices, the ability to leverage cloud-based resources for flexibility and savings, and the growing percentage of smart products with embedded software. While 50 percent of organizations believe successful software delivery is crucial to their competitive advantage, only 25 percent currently leverage it.

“Today’s business dilemma is how to address both the need for rapid delivery and sufficient control in the software development process,” said Dr. Kristof Kloeckner, general manager, IBM Rational. “We must balance the need for speed and agility with better governance to manage cost and quality, achieve regulatory compliance, ensure security, and have some level of financial predictability.”

Top Bank in China Transforms Core Processes

China Merchants Bank (CMB), headquartered in Shenzhen, China, has over 800 branches, more than 50,000 employees and is cited as one of the world’s top 100 banks. China Merchants Bank environment spans IBM System z and IBM Power platforms.

With geographically dispersed developers responsible for modernizing core banking and credit card processing applications, collaboration became essential. CMB uses IBM Rational CLM software capabilities to create a multiplatform application lifecycle management (ALM) environment to help automate their development processes and breakdown skills silos for effective cross-teaming.

“IBM Rational Developer and ALM tools were brought into our credit card migration and core banking system project,” said Zhanwen Chen, manager of configuration management, China Merchants Bank. “Replacing older tools and coordinating the efforts of our 1,000+ developers improved our quality and performance.”

DevOps in the Cloud

In a typical organization, it may take weeks or months to deliver a development change, due to infrastructure and configuration, testing and manual deployment, and lack of collaboration between development and operations teams.

Continuous software delivery in the cloud allows customers to continuously and automatically deliver changes across the enterprise software delivery lifecycle, spanning development, application testing and operations. With a “DevOps” approach in the cloud, customers can reduce time to market and automate changes in development, test and production.

IBM is supporting cloud delivery, development and operations with new solutions, including:

  • IBM Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management on IBM SmartCloud Enterprise provides an agile cloud computing infrastructure as a service (IaaS) well suited for development and test that is designed to provide rapid access to secure, enterprise-class virtual server environments.
  • The IBM SmartCloud Application Services pilot provides a pay-as-you-go service that coordinates activities across business and system requirements, design, development, build, test and delivery.
  • IBM SmartCloud for Government Development and Test Platform as a service delivers industry-leading Rational tools for government agencies in a highly scalable, elastic computing environment for agencies that want the cost savings of a shared cloud environment combined with Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) security.
  • IBM SmartCloud Continuous Delivery managed beta via a hosted sandbox in the cloud, provides a hands-on-experience of DevOps capabilities enabling accelerated code-to-deploy through automation, standardization of repeatable processes and improved coordination and visibility among development, test and operations teams.
  • IBM SmartCloud Application Performance Management software provides comprehensive monitoring and management capabilities that enable development and operations professionals to reduce costly troubleshooting. It also provides free resources to focus on developing new innovations and services for customers. With this tighter integration, application issues can be found and resolved faster, but also proactively prevented to avoid future service disruption.

Enterprise Mobile Development

IBM Rational CLM has also been extended to the IBM Mobile Foundation platform for centralized code sharing and distributed mobile application development.

Currently, fragmentation of mobile devices, tools, and platforms complicates delivery of mobile applications that typically have faster time-to-market and more frequent releases.

The IBM Enterprise Mobile Development solution helps teams apply an end-to-end lifecycle management process to design, develop, test and deploy mobile applications while enabling seamless integration with enterprise back-end systems and cloud services through mobile-optimized middleware. The Enterprise Mobile Development solution brings together several offerings that optimize the recent Worklight acquisition as well as IBM enterprise development environments, including:

Green Hat Technology in New IBM Test Automation Solutions

Today’s applications and manufactured products put additional pressures on development teams to find innovative ways to attain agility and increase the rate that software updates are delivered for testing.

IBM has integrated the recently acquired Green Hat technology with IBM Rational CLM to help address the challenges of testing highly integrated and complex systems and simplify the creation of virtual test environments.

New IBM test automation solutions use virtualized test environments and can reduce costs associated with the setup, maintenance and tear down of infrastructure associated with traditional testing or cloud based implementations.

Over a Decade of IBM Software Development Leadership

For the eleventh consecutive year, IBM has been named the number one shareholder in the worldwide application development software market according to Gartner with 25 percent of the market.

Gartner reported that IBM continues to lead in key and growing segments includingDistributed Software Change & Configuration Management, Requirements Elicitation and Management, Design and Java Platform AD Tools, and realized 25 percent growth in the Security Testing (DAST & SAST) market.

Additionally, according to Evans Data Corporation’s Users’ Choice: 2012 Software Development Platforms, for the overall platform rankings, IBM’s Rational continues its reign as the most highly rated overall offering, an honor they have obtained 6 in the last 7 years in this Evans Data survey of 1,200 developers globally.

New IBM CEO Study — Command & Control Meets Collaboration

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Just because I’m here in Madrid covering the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit doesn’t mean that there isn’t other important news emerging from back at the mother ship.

This year’s IBM CEO study reveals three new essential imperatives for changing the nature of business: Empowering employees through values, engaging customers as individuals, and amplifying innovation with partnerships.

In fact, there’s some major news that I always get excited to report on, and that’s the results from our annual CEO study.

The ink on the report is hardly dry and straight off the presses, but this year’s study of more than 1,700 CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries has a headline that CEOs (and their C-level ilk) everywhere may be interested to hear: CEOs are changing the nature of work by adding a powerful dose of openness, transparency, and employee empowerment to the command-and-control ethos that has characterized the modern corporation for more than a century.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a headline!

The study reveals that the advantages of this fast-moving trend are clear: Companies that outperform their peers are 30 percent more likely to identify openness — often characterized by a greater use of social media as a key enabler of collaboration and innovation — as a key influence on their organization.

Those “outperformers” are also embracing new models of working that tap into the collective intelligence of an organization and its networks to devise new ideas and solutions for increased profitability and growth.

For those of us who have been working in the social realm for some time now, we’re probably not exactly surprised to hear this news.  But to have it come from the lips and pencils of the CEOs themselves…well, change it is a comin’ and for many, has already arrived.

In order to forge those closer connections with customers, partners, and a new generation of employees in the future, CEOs plan to shift their focus from using e-mail and the phone as primary communication vehicles to using social networks as a new path for direct engagement.

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.

And while social media is the least utilized of all customer interaction methods today, it stands to become the number two organizational engagement method within the next five years, a close second to face-to-face interactions.

Top Down To Bottom Up

With this news coming after decades of top-down control, this shift has substantial ramifications — not just for CEOs — but for their organizations, their managers and employees, and also for universities and business schools, not to mention we technology suppliers.

More than half of CEOs (53 percent) are planning to use technology to facilitate greater partnering and collaboration with outside organizations, while 52 percent are shifting their attention to promoting great internal collaboration.

Of course, greater openness doesn’t come without some risks.  Openness increases vulnerability. The Internet — especially through social networks — can provide a worldwide stage to any employee interaction, positive or negative. For organizations to operate effectively in this environment, employees must internalize and embody the organizations’ values and mission.

This also means organizations must equip employees with a set of guiding principles that they can use to empower everyday decision making. And championing collaborative innovation is not something CEOs are delegating to their HR leaders. According to the study’s findings, business executives are interested in leading by example.

That is, from the front.

Big Data Means Big Changes

Given the data explosion being witnessed by many organizations, CEOs also recognize the need for more sophisticated business analytics to mine the data being tracked online, on mobile phones and social media sites.

The traditional approach to understanding customers better has been to consolidate and analyze transactions and activities from across the entire organization. However, to remain relevant, CEOs must piece together a more holistic view of the customer based on how he or she engages the rest of the world, not just their organization.

The ability to drive value from data is strongly correlated with performance. Outperforming organizations are twice as good as underperformers at accessing and drawing insights from data. Outperformers are also 84 percent better at translating those insights into real action.

From Theory to Action

This latest study is the fifth edition of IBM’s biennial Global CEO Study series.  To better understand the challenges and goals of today’s CEOs, IBM consultants met face-to-face with the largest-known sample of these executives between September 2011 and January 2012.

1,709 CEOs, general managers, and senior public sector leaders were interviewed around the world to better understand their future plans and challenges in an increasingly connected economy.

For access to the full study findings and case studies, please visit the IBM CEO Study website.

In the meantime, check out the video from Shell CEO Peter Voser to hear what he has to say about partnering to drive innovation.

Celebrating Social Media Week: Our Big Blue Social Business

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Remember the logo, that curvy red “e” that mimicked the “@” symbol, which came to represent what IBM meant by the idea of “e-business” back in the late 1990s?

Starting in 1997, the IBM e-business logo signaled IBM's focus on helping organizations transform themselves using Internet technologies. It's now helping them pursue similar transformations with "social business" adoption.

Well, imagine replacing it with a curvy “s” instead and calling it “social business” instead, and you’d have a pretty good symbol for describing IBM’s social transformation inside the company, as well as the market it’s helping to make for other companies and organizations around the globe to follow suit.

IBM: The Social Case Study

As we celebrate “Social Media Week,” I wanted to write a post to let people know some details and facts behind IBM’s social transformation. As the largest consumer of social technologies, IBM is a case study for this transformation into a social business.

This goes beyond IBM’s business in social software and services (IBM’s collaboration software, consulting services, analytics/social media research, conducting Jams for clients).  IBM is leading social business on all fronts – technology, policy and practice.

IBM takes social networking seriously —  to develop products and services, to enable sellers to find and stay connected with clients, to train the next generation of leaders, and to build awareness of Smarter Planet among clients, influencers and other communities.

What’s Past Is Social Prologue

IBM’s social media activity dates back to the 1970’s when its mainframe programmers started online discussion forums on the System 370 consoles. For 15 years, IBM employees have used social software to foster collaboration among our dispersed 400,000 person team — long before Generation Y became fixated with social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

I remember, because when I joined the company in 1991, I used to collaborate with fellow employees in other locations via IBM’s internal mainframe.

Then, in 1997, IBM recommended that its employees get out onto the Internet, at a time when many companies were seeking to restrict their employees’ Internet access (I’d gotten on the commercial Internet starting in 1993 myself).

In 2005, the company made a strategic decision to embrace the blogosphere and to encourage IBMers to participate (I started this blog in June 2005).

In 2007, IBM launched its own social networking software for the enterprise: IBM  Connections. My team now uses Connections to collaborate and coordinate work literally around the globe. I’m not quite sure how we got along without it (but we used to say the same thing about email!)

This is a screenshot from an IBM Connections Community that I use to manage a workgroup of people who attend a weekly call I've been holding for nearly six years now. The Connections community streamlines the time I have to take to manage basic details for the call, ranging from communicating where files are located to highlighting the call-in number. In short, I'd be lost without it, and be much less productive in my day-to-day work!

In early 2008, IBM introduced social computing guidelines to encompass virtual worlds and sharing of rich media. (Remember Second Life?? Yeah, me neither…well, kind of.)

And later that year, IBM opened its IBM Center for Social Software to help IBM’s global network of researchers collaborate with corporate residents, university students and faculty, creating the industry’s premier incubator for the research, development and testing of social software that is “fit for business”.

Social Business Means Business Change

Here’s a profound stat: According to Gartner, in 2010, only five percent of organizations took advantage of social/collaborative customer action to improve service processes.

IBM sees social media morphing into what we view as a key requirement for “social business” — as tools for organizational productivity and culture change, for engaging with diverse constituencies of clients and experts, and for spurring revenue growth and innovation for our global workforce.

Today, IBM views itself as one of the most prolific users of social networking in the industry with one of the largest corporate-wide communities on social media sites.

Some examples of IBM’s internal social media footprint today include the following:

  • 17,000 individual blogs
  • 1 million daily page views of internal wikis, internal information storing websites
  • 400,000 employee profiles on IBM Connections, IBM’s initial social networking initiative that allows employees to share status updates, collaborate on wikis, blogs and activity, share files
  • 15,000,000 downloads of employee-generated videos/podcasts
  • 20 million minutes of LotusLive meetings every month with people both inside and outside the organization
  • More than 400k Sametime instant messaging users, resulting in 40-50 million instant messages per day

The screen above has become one quite familiar to IBMers around the world. "LotusLive" emeetings have become commonplace, helping employees across multiple geographical locations come together in real-time and virtual space to meet and get work done!

If you were to glance outside IBM on the social media external to the company, you’d find a continued and expansive footprint of IBM participants:

  • Over 25,000 IBMers actively tweeting on Twitter and counting
  • Approximately 300,00 IBMers on Linkedin. This number is growing at 24%/year, which gives IBM the largest employee presence of any firm on the platform.
  • Approximately 198,000 IBMers on Facebook

Putting Social Into Action

Our social business initiatives have had a profound impact on IBM’s business processes and transformation. By way of example, well before the phrases “Web 2.0″ or “social media” came into being, IBM was using online jams to drive business initiatives and values development across the company.

As our own CEO Sam Palmisano explained, “Jams have helped change our culture and the fundamental way we collaborate across our business.”  We’ve conducted jams both for IBM and our clients, including the Innovation Jam in 2006 which led directly to the development of the business opportunities that preceded our Smarter Planet agenda.

So, from that perspective, it becomes evident a massive internal social exercise that allowed the employees of IBM identify a major strategic shift for the company!

When’s the last time you let your employee base determine a massive strategic direction that your company was about to take??

Human Resources Are Inherently Social

IBM’s HR hasn’t been untouched by the social business evolution. Our HR professionals use social media for tech-enabled recruiting (think LinkedIn), employee education, sales training and leadership development.

By way of example, IBM relies on social media for leadership development from the first day on the job.  IBM’s Succeeding@IBM makes new hires become part of a social group for the first 6-12 months, so that they can get better acculturated into IBM with other new hires.

In 2006, hundreds of thousands of IBMers came together in a 72-hour virtual jam to help identify the emerging business opportunities that came to represent IBM's "Smarter Planet" initiative. This was "crowdsourcing" of a massive scale, and led to over $100M in internal investments in these important new business opportunities.

In point of fact, IBM’s recent study of 700 Global Chief Human Resource Officers found that  financial outperformers (as measured by EBIDTA) are 57 percent more likely than underperformers to use collaborative and social networking tools to enable global teams to work more effectively together and 21 percent of companies have recently increased the amount they invest in the collaboration tools and analytics despite the economic downturn.

Most recently, we’ve launched an internal initiative entitled “Social Business @ IBM” on our intranet which serves as a resource for IBMers to better educate themselves about social media and various social initiatives taking place internally, while also helping enable them to participate in the broader social media.

We also host modules that provide the IBMer with an introduction to the social web, where they learn how to use social computing tools to foster collaboration, develop networks, and forge closer relationships…with people who are often halfway around the globe!

Social = Transformational

When people tell me they still have to go into an office my response is, “How primitive.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love to press the flesh, but I’ve found that in this flatter earth, increasingly globalized realm, where my colleagues and I have to work all different hours, the question that always comes to me is “Who has time to waste sitting in a car?!!!”

But more importantly, the social business evolution I’ve witnessed at IBM is truly transformational.  When I started work at IBM in the summer of 1991 as a greenhorn intern, we DID go to an office every day and we DID have meetings face to face all the time and I DID wear a white shirt and blue tie.

These days, I can’t remember the last time I went into the IBM office, and yet I feel more connected and more productive than ever.  Why?  Well, I won’t lie, even if I sound like a commercial — the IBM technologies, from our IBM Lotus Sametime Instant Messaging to Lotus Notes and IBM Connections largely remove time and geography from the productivity equation.

But I would suggest there’s an even more transformational thought at work: IBM now trusts its employees in ways it never did before, and the democratization that social tools brought forth has also brought us a democratization in decision-making.

I now make front line decisions that, 20 years ago, would have been driven through a host of hierarchies and managers at a pace that likely would have been acceptable in terms of those times.

Today, such delays would be completely unacceptable and even uncompetitive, as decisions often need to be made instantly. But based on both the technological and cultural transformation within IBM, that’s okay, I’m expected and trusted to make those decisions.

And finally, social business, like social media, is also just plain more fun.

It’s as if these tools enable you to have the whole world at your fingertips.  And that makes for a smarter planet and  a smarter, more competitive IBM.

The IBM Customer Experience Suite: Building A Better And More Profitable Web

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I mentioned in a blog post from Tuesday that IBM would shortly be making an announcement that would help reshape the Web experience.

Drum roll, please, maestro.

Today, at four events held around the globe and also live on the Web via LiveStream (the NYC event can be watched live starting at 12:30 E.S.T. today, September 16, 2010),  IBM is unveiling new software designed to help organizations reinvent the way they interact with consumers over the Web and through mobile devices.

This software features analytics, social software and commerce capabilities that helps organizations create dynamic and interactive Web experiences to better target consumers and increase brand loyalty.

Before I get to the nitty gritty details, let me first provide some more background on what has led to and informed this announcement.

We Webizens know that online transactions continue to grow at a rapid pace.  Today, eight out of 10 consumers shop online at least twice a week, and ABI Research estimates there will be 20 times more data and 40 times more mobile transactions by 2015.

The report adds that mobile online shopping is expected to triple annually and rise to $119 billion in the same timeframe!

Web Metrics That Mean Business

But it’s important not to get caught up only in the upside opportunity in terms of new traffic and ways of accessing businesses and conducting transactions via the Web.  We’re way beyond just counting Web clicks and visits.

There are more business-oriented metrics that IBM is seeing companies realize through more effective uses of the Web after they’ve adopted IBM technology.

By way of example, in today’s Web-centric world, on-line banking has become “the norm,” pushing financial institutions to look for new tools to create personalized experiences for its customers in order to remain competitive.

Through the use of blogs, chat forums, videos, social networking, rich media and mobile capabilities, a financial institution can deliver a more personalized Web experience resolving customer issues more quickly while fostering customer loyalty and improving satisfaction.

According to Forrester, in today’s online and mobile consumer era, organizations that deploy sites with superior user experience can achieve as much as a 400 percent increase in conversion of Web visitors to sales leads.

The IBM Customer Suite being introduced today is targeted to address the need for well integrated Web tools.  Using IBM’s current portfolio of portal and Web content management software, IBM has seen clients achieve:

  • 23 percent increase in on-line prescription refills at a cost of $.25/refill compared to $3/telephone refill.
  • 33 percent of patients are less likely to cancel appointments when using online service.
  • 30 percent of all customers rated self service higher than help desk.
  • 75 percent reduction in the time to roll out new customer oriented applications.
  • 30 percent reduction in call center field support calls.

“Our data shows an increased number of visitors to Cars.com from a mobile device,” says Brent Laufenberg, Director of Enterprise Architecture, Cars.com, a business unit of Classic Ventures. “To make the experience easier for our consumers, we are increasing our social networking Web activity and personalization, as well as incorporating more rich media into the site.”

There’s No Better Way to Fly…or Surf…The Web

Lufthansa is another IBM customer that has gained favorable business advantage and improved customer satisfaction using IBM Customer Experience technology.

Lufthansa currently has a Web site supporting multiple brands, including Lufthansa.com, WeFlyHome.com and Miles-and-More.com. Its Web site supports important service functions such as online ticket sales and check-in.

Lufthansa.com: More than two billion page impressions, 16,000 check-in transactions and an average ticket booking every ten seconds!

The underlying IT solution supports more than two billion page impressions, 16.000 check-in transactions and in average a ticket booking every ten seconds. Now Lufthansa is working with IBM to improve its Web presence to reach more airline passengers over the next several years.

“Working with IBM on improving our site Lufthansa.com has made us more competitive and has led to significant operating cost reductions. As a result, we have renewed our contract with IBM and will continue to improve our Web presence together for the next several years,” said Gunter Friedrich, vice president, Information Management and Sales Processes, Lufthansa Passenger Airline.

New IBM Software Suite Can Help Accelerate On-line Sales Leads

Alistair Rennie is the general manager, IBM Collaboration Software.

At the New York City launch event, Alister will speak to the broad spectrum of impact that new capabilities like social and mobile computing are having on expectations customers have, and how those expectations have helped shape the IBM Customer Experience Suite.

“Collaboration and social software have the power to transform an organization’s Web presence reinventing how they relate to their customers on the Web,” said Mr. Rennie in a press release prepared in advance of the event.

IBM consulting services will also be available to support the assessment, development and use of new and enhanced Web experiences. And IBMi (IBM Interactive) consultants will collaborate with clients to deliver the Customer Experience Suite to enable increased differentiation, revenues, productivity, efficiency and reduced costs through an optimized user experience.

“We are aligning the breadth of IBM capabilities — services, support, and software including commerce, social software, business intelligence, predictive analytics, portal, Web content management and web analytics — to help our customers embrace the web as their primary channel for customer engagement,” added Rennie.

IBM is also teaming up with dozens of its business partners including Ascendant, Gemini, Infosys, Ixion, and Perficient on this initiative.

The new IBM Software suite is another piece of IBM’s expanding portfolio of solutions designed to help organizations improve their marketing presence on the Web.

IBM’s recent acquisitions of Sterling Commerce and Coremetrics, and the intended acquisition of Unica, will enhance the company’s ability to support clients’ needs in this growing market.  This new IBM Software suite is an extension of IBM’s $100 million Research investment in advancing mobile services and capabilities for businesses and consumers worldwide.

Visit here to learn more about the IBM Customer Experience Suite core offerings and add-on modules, and for details about new WebSphere Portal 7 and Lotus Web Content Management 7, available now.

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