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Archive for the ‘customer stories’ Category

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit, Orlando: Day 1 Video Recap

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Our video producer for this IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit, Noah Bello, put together an excellent reel last night that did a great job of recapping some of the highlights from Day 1 of the Summit.

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and a moving picture…well, it tells the tale like nothing else, so I’m just going to hand you off to Noah’s fine work so that those of you who couldn’t be here in person get a taste of the first day’s festivities!

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit — Opening Keynote Debrief: Motivate the Elephant

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Click to enlarge. The IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit kicked off earlier today in Orlando, Florida. Over 200 IBM executives, industry specialists, and other thought leaders will be sharing their insights and expertise there over the next three days, including factoids like those seen in the infographic above.

If you love nothing else about IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, you have to love the fact that it’s driven by results.

Here in Orlando, day one of the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit has already revealed some of those facts, or business outcomes, that demonstrate the power of a more integrated customer experience in action.

By way of example: I mentioned earlier via Twitter that over $27 billion in sales generated by the Internet Retailers Top 500 is powered by IBM Commerce software.

Another example: IBM manages $57 billion in annual procurement spend managed on behalf of our clients.

Yet another: IBM analyzes over $100 billion of commerce transactions each year in the cloud and conveys that insight back to our customers.

But those are results on the so-called “back-end.”

Let’s turn our attention for a moment to the newly empowered consumer: 86 percent of them use multiple channels in their shopping efforts, and they spend four to five times more than the average.

Four in ten smartphone users search for an item while in the store, and yet online sales via mobile devices were up 300 percent over 2010.

Or how about this one: 77 percent of the global population are now mobile subscribers.

That’s an immense opportunity.

Guy Kawasaki On Enchanted Customers

As former Apple evangelist and social media thought leader and author Guy Kawasaki kicked off today’s keynote session here at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit, he explained to the audience that we had over 200 interesting and very valuable sessions of the audience’s peers and outside industry experts sharing their own insights.

He began with the notion of the “chief executive customer,” that is to say, with placing customers at the center of the commerce experience.

Citing his own book, “Enchantment,” Kawasaki revealed there are three pillars for building enchantment with your customers. One, you have to be likable. Two, you must achieve trustworthiness. And three, you have to do something “DICEE” (the acronym which translated to “Deep,” “Intelligent,” “Complete,” “Empowering,” and “Elegant.”)

Kawasaki shared some compelling examples of which he spoke. After running into Virgin mega CEO Richard Branson at a speaking engagement in Moscow, Branson cornered Kawasaki and asked him the ill-fated question: Do you fly on Virgin Airlines?

Kawasaki admitted that, as a loyal United customer, he did not. Branson then used his charm and personality, and even a quick shoe shine, to convince Kawasaki he should reconsider.

Kawasaki now also flies on Virgin.

The Legend Continues…

After some other amusing anecdotes, Kawasaki turned the rostrum over to Craig Hayman, IBM’s general manager, Industry Solutions.

Hayman talked about examples of businesses that have had to completely reinvent themselves (Play-Doh, the children’s product, used to be a cleaning goop used prior to World War II!).

Hayman explained that the rate and pace of change in today’s marketplace is soaring, but that ultimately the customer “owns the transaction.”

“If you disappoint them,” Hayman explained, “they’re going to share their point of view (especially via the social media!) and then move on.”

Hayman handed the reins over to Lenovo senior VP of supply chain, Jerry Smith, who explained that Lenovo is a $30 billion global personal technology company with 27,000+ employees and customers in 160+ countries.

Partnering with IBM, Smith explained, Lenovo rebuilt its company around a global supply chain vision whose goal was simple yet straightforward: To become the undisputed #1 supply chain in personal technology by providing a best-in-class customer experience.

As Smith related to the gathered audience, “We need you (Lenovo’s sales force and partners) to sell product on the water,” meaning those units which were already on ships leaving China heading for parts around the globe.

Lenovo’s supply chain overhaul saw delivery performance go up by 15 percent, and onboarding costs/time down some 85 percent, giving them better negotiating leverage, higher order speeds, and leaner inventory, a must for the PC business.

The Grass Always Grows At Husqvarna

Smith’s handoff was to two executives from Husqvarna, the 300+ year-old company that, these days, specializes in outdoor equipment.

Think chain saws and lawn mowers.

“Grass always grows,” explained John Marchionda, Husqvarna’s VP of marketing, as his counterpart from IT, Simon Howard, nodded his head in agreement.

Husqvarna’s most recent marketing investments include a social video education space on its website that are both sales force and tutorial, explaining the likes of using chain saws safely, and effectively, and helping turn the inventory in the process.

The last IBM customer to “testify” in the morning session was Aditya Bhasin, the senior VP for Consumer Marketing and Digital Banking.

“People trust other people, not institutions,” explained Bhasin. He and his team are using that knowledge to make banking better, combining the best of human interaction with a more robust and effective technology system.

One example: “BankAmeriDeals,” a form of digital couponing that combines buyer behaviors, shopping, and payment systems to bring more value to its customers in direct savings on purchases.

Another: Its new Facebook branch, which is helping match consumers with local ATMs and bank branches, and helping answer customer questions through a medium they’re most comfortable with.

Change Is A Four Letter Word

The co-author of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, Dan Heath, batted clean-up in the morning session by talking about a theme universal to many of IBM Smarter Commerce clients’ initiatives: Change.

“Change is a four-letter word for a lot of people,” Heath explained, before challenging the audience to think about “what happens when you leave Orlando?  Will the change you envision be a change you are willing to fight for?”

Heath explained that change is definitely within the art of the possible: We’re certainly optimistic about change the moment we decide to get married.

With much laughs from the audience, and Heath’s wedding album pictures onscreen as pudding proof, Heath explained that change is made more difficult by the battling two sides of our brains: The Rational, Conscious, and Deliberative side, and the Emotional, Unconscious, and Automatic side.

The emotional side is like a big elephant in our heads, the little devil telling us “We deserve ice cream” or “Call my ex.”

The rational side…well, we like to often ignore that side.

To make his thesis actionable, Heath explained a three-part framework for thinking about change.

One, he explained, we have to “direct the rider.” Point to the way you want to change and “find the bright spots,” those areas of opportunity where you’ve already succeeded.

Second, “motivate the elephant” — give them a compelling reason to change.

And finally, “shape the path,” for change.

That is, “cultivate a culture that’s more conducive to change” and encourages more people to participate.

Singapore Sling

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Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore will play host to a new, first-of-its-kind IT event in Singapore this October 9-11, where smart businesses from around the globe that have been busy implementing new business and IT strategies will come together to network with IBM clients, industry experts, and IBM thought leaders and learn how they’re converting opportunity into outcomes.

It was a big day today in Singapore, where the country celebrated its independence, and where government leaders encouraged Singaporeans to make even more Singaporeans, in order to counter the country’s declining birthrate, which is among the lowest in the world at 7.72 births per 1,000 people.

I’m sure a few Singapore Slings may have been consumed, and I would have been right there with them, as the Raffles Hotel is definitely on my list of places to frequent for when I visit.

And that will be sooner rather than later, as IBM is going to be hosting a new, first-of-its-kind event at the Resorts World Sentosa this October 9th-11th.

This new IBM event will share with attendees the breadth of IBM’s integrated software and systems solutions capabilities, and demonstrate IBM’s strategic perspective on becoming a smarter busienss that excels in turning opportunity into outcomes in this new era of computing.

At the event, IBM will focus discussions on a variety of key “hot topics,” including those focused on speeding innovation with mobile computing, defending against cyber-threats with security intelligence, rethinking IT with cloud computing, and a host of others.

If you’re game, but need some compelling reasons to convince your boss to send you to Singapore, here’s a starter list:

  1. Networking. You’ll have the opportunity in Singapore to network with peers, industry experts, and IBM thought leaders from around the globe, including IBM customers already collaborating to better align business and technology investments.
  2. Learning. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from experts in our Solution Center, as well as through a personalized agenda of keynote session, “Hot Topic” sessions, and Exchange sessions built around your business interests.
  3. Delivering New Value. At IBM Interconnect, you’ll become one of the first to learn how to manage the velocity of change from real world examples of business delivering new value to the people they serve.
  4. Unleashing Innovation. You’ll also have the opportunity to begin to understand the new economics of IT, and how to use technology as the catalyst for unleashing innovation in your organization.
  5. Uncovering New Markets. And finally, in an environment where most every organization is looking for new customers in new markets, you’ll have the opportunity to start to develop a clear plan of how you can reinvent relationships with yoru customers and workforce and, in turn, start to uncover those new markets.

Changing With The Changing Times

Rapid change has become the new normal, as entire industries are now transforming to deliver compelling new value to their customers. In this era of interconnected industries, businesses and consumers, a new kind of leadership is required to turn opportunity into business outcomes.

Smarter businesses are capitalizing on information as an indispensable resource and using technology as the catalyst for unleashing innovation. They are expanding the digital world of the back-office into the front-office and the corresponding business infrastructures that are at the heart of business leadership and operations; the key interconnection points among consumers, business partners and employees.

Take advantage of this opportunity to develop a personalized agenda around your business needs, collaborate with business decision-making peers, and meet face-to-face with technical decision-makers and industry experts.

You can start by first going here to register, then heading on over to the Session Preview Tool to start scanning the sessions to make sure you get the most out of your visit.

If you’ve never visited Singapore, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s like visiting a future that has already arrived, and in the meantime, you’ll have the opportunity to attend an IBM event that’s intended to help you create a future looming just over the horizon.

IBM And Mobily: Spoken Like A True, Modern Mobile Network

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IBM’s mobile computing juggernaut continues with a new deal just announced in Saudia Arabia.

Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and IBM announced today a 5-year agreement worth approximately $280 million to provide comprehensive IT solutions for the Saudi Arabian company.

Saudi Arabia: 870,000 Square Miles

Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama (Source: Wikipedia) IBM and Mobily, the Saudi Arabian telecommunications firm, will collaborate on future innovation with the help of IBM Research, using IBM’s Spoken Web solution. The basic principle of Spoken Web uses speech to create voice sites using the mobile phone network to establish a spoken version of the internet. The opportunity to collaborate with leading IBM researchers has become a key differentiator for IBM.

Saudi Arabia is a big place, encompassing some 870,000 square miles with a population approaching 30 million people.  Mobily, as the fastest growing telecommunications company in Saudia Arabia, has experienced an explosion in demand from the growing number of subscribers using mobile devices, and so in turn needed to boost its IT capacity and innovation in the market.

This new agreement with IBM will provide Mobily with faster, targeted access to new technologies and expertise so it can build a strong infrastructure to keep up with the company’s business growth.

As Mobily gears up for further expansion, it wanted to improve the quality and speed of its operations using IBM best practices.

As part of the agreement, Mobily and IBM will collaborate on future innovation with the help of IBM Research, for example, using IBM’s Spoken Web solution.

The basic principle of Spoken Web uses speech to create voice sites using the mobile phone network to establish a spoken version of the internet. The opportunity to collaborate with leading IBM researchers has become a key differentiator for IBM.

IBM’s Growth Market Strategy

The agreement highlights IBM’s continued geographic expansion initiative to strategically increase its presence in key growth markets like Saudi Arabia in support of its global growth strategy.

IBM is ramping up its investment across the Middle East and Africa, harnessing the company’s Smarter Planet initiative to help both public and private sector clients do more with fewer resources.

The strategic management of IT remains with Mobily, ensuring continuation of its standards of excellence and cutting-edge architecture, and enabling Mobily to meet the explosion in demand it is seeing from the growing number of subscribers using mobile devices.

“Partnering with one of the largest technology companies in the world offers Mobily a broad portfolio of modern IT solutions that will have a positive impact on our customers in terms of the quality of products and innovative services, in addition to solutions that will enrich their lives. We are pleased to sign with IBM, which has a significant presence in this strategic sector,” said Khalid Al Kaf, CEO, Mobily.

“The agreement is part of our efforts and vision of transforming Mobily into an integrated telecommunications operator. It also supports the Saudi government’s initiative of creating a knowledge-based community, adopting state of the art services and solutions” Al Kaf added.

IBM And Saudi Arabia: Remaking The Kingdom’s Future

IBM is involved in a range of key initiatives in Saudi Arabia, including a joint project with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology using innovative membrane technology and solar power to address the shortage of drinking water.

In another project, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and IBM are collaborating using the most complex, high performance computing system in the region.

The agreement with Mobily was signed in August 2012.

Customer Sessions At The IBM Smarter Commerce Summit

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Well, we’re nearly mid-summer here in the great state of Texas, the sun is shining, and IBMers are hard at work planning for the forthcoming Smarter Commerce Summit to be held down in Orlando, Florida, September 5-7.

This event is the third in a series of Smarter Commerce events we’ve held the last year. First, there was San Diego…then there was Madrid in May (You can read some of the coverage of that event here).

And now, Orlando.

But this will be no Mickey Mouse expedition.

The IBM Smarter Commerce Summit in Orlando will provide business execs and practitioners with the insight and resources they need to more effectively connect with their customers.

Orlando’s event will bring together over 150 business and practitioner breakout sessions comprised of everything from new technology to best practices to industry perspectives and yes, even some visionary thinking from the likes of tech guru Guy Kawasaki, who will be keynoting there.

But there’s another aspect of the Smarter Commerce Summit that makes it such a one-of-a-kind event: You get to hear directly from our customers.

Scores of them.

In fact, if you click here you’ll get an up-to-the-minute view of the customer-led sessions for the event thus far.  I built a quick tag-cloud this afternoon to give folks a flavor of some of the types of discussions one is likely to find in those customer sessions:

The larger words are more dominant in terms of their use, so you can judge by the cloud there’s going to be mucho focus on IBM customers, as well as topics focusing on “marketing,” “Mmanagement”, “commerce,” “global,” “integration,” and much more.

You can also find broader access to the Session Preview Tool to get a glimpse of all the currently-scheduled sessions.

You can also start following the #ibmscgs Twitter hashtag to keep up with key announcements and information leading up and throughout the course of the event.

If you’re already sold on the idea and just want to know where to go register, visit this link for all the details and the registration form.

A Deal In Cement

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IBM is partnering with global building materials company, CEMEX, to deliver business process and information technology services over a 10-year period.

CEMEX provides high-quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through its efforts to pursue innovative industry solutions and efficiency advancements and to promote a sustainable future.

This agreement is expected to generate CEMEX savings of close to US$1 billion during the life of the contract. Additionally, it will improve the quality of the services provided to CEMEX; enhance business agility and scalability; maximize internal efficiencies; and allow the company to better serve its customers.

The 10-year services contract awarded to IBM is worth just over US$1 billion, and will include: finance and accounting, and human resource back-office services, as well as IT infrastructure, application development and maintenance services.

IBM currently delivers global scale, talent and technology based on business expertise and a global network of more than 70 Service Delivery Centers and more than 400 Data Centers, in 170 countries covering more than 40 languages.

To learn more about CEMEX, go here, and here to learn more about IBM’s services capabilities.

New IBM Software Transforms the Digital Experience

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The IBM Intranet Experience Suite pulls together company information and data, personalized content and news, and social media and analytics, enabling employees to connect, collaborate and access information at anytime, from anywhere.

IBM today announced new software that helps CMOs and CIOs transform the digital experience for employees, customers and fans across a broad range of mobile devices.

The IBM Intranet Experience Suite pulls together company information and data, personalized content and news, and social media and analytics, enabling employees to connect, collaborate and access information at anytime, from anywhere.

By 2017, the CMO will have greater control of the IT budget than the CIO, according to Gartner. Marketing budgets will grow 7-8 percent over the next 12 months, which is 2-3 times that of IT budgets.

With the growing number of mobile devices, social networks and social media tools on the rise, CMOs struggle to reach their audiences. At the same time, CIOs are struggling to provide access to company data on every type of device for a geographically distributed workforce.

Given the business realignment between marketing and technology, the CMO and CIO can no longer afford to operate on separate stages. To succeed, they’ll have to forge a shared agenda to deliver business results through innovation and efficiency, working together to streamline their technology needs.

The convergence of social and mobile is prompting organizations to revisit decades-old website to create exceptional web experiences to reach and engage with their audiences.

And despite their growing reliance on technology and their soaring budgets, CMOs readily admit they lack the skills that IT requires. According to the IBM CMO Study, while 79 percent of CMOs expect high levels of complexity in their job over the next five years, only 48 percent feel prepared to deal with it.

Building on these increased demands, IBM is delivering a new Customer Experience Suite giving millions of marketing professionals the power to manage and integrate all types of data on their web sites and then analyze it for deeper insight into customer buying patterns and sentiment.

Also delivered today, the new IBM Intranet Experience Suite pulls together company information and data, personalized content and news, and social media and analytics, enabling employees to connect, collaborate and access information at anytime, from anywhere.

The Power of Social, Mobile And Analytics

The new IBM Intranet Experience software brings together the power of social networking, analytics and mobile computing to front office operations and externally to clients, allowing companies to create exceptional Web experiences. As a result, organizations can gain faster insight on customer buying patterns and consumer sentiment allowing them to more quickly reach and engage their audiences.

At European industrial automation technology manufacturer Omron, employees are connecting knowledge and technical know-how through the organization’s Intranet, helping to meet the specific needs of their customers.

Omron delivers an exceptional Web experience through a single communication platform that embeds relevant social data into the daily workflow. Omron has sped knowledge sharing across boundaries and between departments, enabling employees to support customers better and faster.

Working with IBM and its partner Portico, Omron created an award-winning business intranet, called Ozone internally, helping to create a single-source communication and collaboration platform for all 1,700 European employees.

The IBM Intranet Experience Suite integrates with external social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, allowing employees to pick and choose which applications they want in their Intranet view. For example, a sales manager can leverage the Cognos software integration to ensure a clear view into monthly sales reports by region, as well as competitive background on new product updates and forecasts.

“The world is changing and is becoming increasingly connected and social,” said Michel Min, Head of Strategic Communication & eMarketing, Omron Europe B.V. “Because of this, we know our clients are changing as well, which is why it’s increasingly important to ensure our sales teams have the right information at the right time.”

Analytics to Help Marketers Engage Audiences 

From digital marketing and mobile commerce, to websites and social media, marketers are inundated — often paralyzed — by data amassed from consumers via searches, purchase histories, Facebook “likes” and comments on Twitter.

Combine that with data about in-store traffic, conversations with call centers and updates from suppliers, today’s marketers confront a daily deluge of data waiting to be sifted for nuggets of intelligence they can act upon to boost their business.

Because of this, it’s critical for CMOs to not only be aware of and monitor the social conversation, but to truly understand the sentiment and interact one-on-one with that customer. Taking it one step further would be to integrate these conversations directly into the organization’s web site, providing one place to both network and shop.

The new IBM Customer Experience Suite provides CMOs with the power to manage and integrate all types of data on their web sites and then analyze it for deeper insight into customer buying patterns and sentiment.

Web data has evolved today to include social media, videos, and web-based forms, as well as traditional enterprise data such as financial, customer and order data, and transactions. The software suite pulls together IBM’s market-leading enterprise portal, web content management, forms, and enterprise social networking software into a single view.

CIOs Creating Exceptional Intranets To Help Employees Gain Insight from Data Deluge

The new IBM software also helps business leaders extend their corporate intranet to a broad range of mobile devices in an effort to deepen employee collaboration and information sharing.

According to IDC, employees typically see up to a 30 percent increase in productivity using social tools internally to complete their work. With unlimited access to any type of information, consumers expect this same level of information availability in their professional lives, in order to work efficiently and reach business goals quickly.

The new IBM Intranet Experience software brings the power of social and analytics capabilities to CIOs and lines of business employees helping organizations innovate and evolve their internal operations and communications. The solution pulls together company information and data, personalized content and news, and social media and analytics, enabling employees to connect, collaborate and access information at anytime, from anywhere.

You can learn more about the IBM Intranet Experience Suite here.

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