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

Archive for March 20th, 2012

Impressions From SXSW Interactive 2012: Q&A With IBM Social Leaders George Faulkner & Susan Emerick

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One of the best parts of attending SXSW Interactive 2012 these days is to meet other IBMers.

That wasn’t always the case — for many years, it was a lonely IBM vista in March at SXSW Interactive.

But this year, all that changed, and two of my good friends and colleagues in particular, George Faulkner and Susan Emerick, spent some time with Scott and I on the IBM “Future of Social” couch discussing how IBM approaches the social media.

George has been a stalwart in IBM social media — I worked with him way back in the Jurassic Age of the social Web, in 2006, on the IBM ShortCuts podcast series.

And Susan has been a digital leader in and of her own right, most recently helping IBMers who haven’t been as active in the social media to get up on their feet and establish their social media eminence.

This thought-provoking interview opens the kimono a bit on the challenges and opportunities a large organization like IBM faces in opening itself up to the social media, and explains how, in fact, IBM gets 400,000 IBMers on the same page so they can successfully change the corporate social media light bulb.

Big Data, Bigger Business Opportunity

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IBM today is making some significant announcements in the business analytics realm that builds on the already $16+ billion the company has already invested in smarter intelligence over the last half decade.

Smarter business analytics and intelligence is an idea whose time has come. Even as the global economy strengthens organizations are faced with difficult choices: Many are still being asked to do more work with less — less people, less investment, less of everything — and so we find ourselves at a crossroads.

Do we continue to do business the way we’ve done so for the past half century, one that was generally based upon a presumption of generous abundance?

Or, do we begin to acknowledge instead an abundance of scarcity — in natural resources, in human talent, in financial capital —  and instead start to work “smarter,” to use technology to help us better understand and make — or as may often be the case, “remake” — the world around us?

Big data is the digital convergence of structured data found inside databases, and unstructured data flowing from new sources like social networks, mobile devices, sensors, RFID, smart meters and financial systems. Today in NYC and London, IBM announced new consulting services and software that takes the power of predictive analytics to new levels of impact against C-suite decision makers' highest priority issues.

The Coming Information Gusher

As IBM CEO Ginny Rometty outlined in our recent annual report, “the world is uniquely positioned to deliver the benefits of a vast new natural resource — a gusher of data from both man-made and natural systems that can now be tapped to help businesses and institutions succeed in an increasingly complex and dynamic global economy.”

This “gusher” is one of the most exciting and game-changing phenomena to arrive on the scene since the advent of the microprocessor. But it’s arrival will be both opportunity and disruptor, and how organizations choose to take advantage of this new natural resource may well be the determining factor in shaping their destiny.

What problem in the world, you may be asking, are we trying to solve?  The much better question may be, what problem in the world are we not trying to solve?

Why Are We Spending So Much To Get So Little?

The healthcare industry spends $250-300 billion on healthcare fraud, per year, some $650 million per day in the U.S. alone? Is that a gap that we can really afford to ignore in such a resource-constrained world?

Or how about the retail business, where, according to the IHL Group, we see $165 billion in missed sales each year due to company supplies being mismatched with the needs of customer demand. Is that money the retailing industry can really afford to leave on the storeroom table?

In a world where natural resources become increasingly scarce, even as the often unstructured data generated about the use and consumption of those resources is delivered in abundance, the ability to act and act quickly upon those insights will itself become a scarcity.

Those organizations  are able to act on such information quickly and efficiently will find themselves in increasingly circumscribed company, and will soon be putting distance between themselves and their competition.

This is why today, in New York City at the IBM Smarter Analytics Leadership Summit, IBM is convening 100 business leaders to talk about the next big bets and emerging categories being driven into front office operations of global organizations.

As part of the forum, IBM is announcing new consulting services and software that marry the latest advances in predictive analytics with the power of big data.  Specifically, we’re working to help address the highest-priority issues of C-suite decision makers — managing financial operations, decreasing fraud and improving customer relationships.

These new solutions will be delivered by IBM consultants, supported by applications management services  as well as cloud offerings.

Our customers are the biggest proponents of this new direction.  Check out the video below to hear how the University of California has reduced its cost of risk and saved nearly half a billion dollars over six years using IBM Smarter Analytics.

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