All posts by bill

Study of Top 20 Social CMOs in the Fortune 100

BusinessNext Social recently released the results of a study showing that only one in five CMOs on the Fortune 100 list are active participants in public social networks. I spoke with Mark Fidelman about the study, as well as his new book, Socialized!  How the World’s Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social.

The members of the list have demonstrated they “understand what it takes to grow and influence their own networks by using new strategies, cutting-edge social media and mobile technologies and compelling content marketing to build highly adaptive, high performance social businesses.”

Here is the list of the top ten:

  1. General Electric Company’s Beth Comstock (@bethcomstock) CMO and Senior Vice President
  2. Google, Inc.’s Nikesh Arora (@nikesharora), Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer
  3. Apple, Inc.’s Philip Schiller (@pschiller), Senior Vice President, Worldwide Product Marketing
  4. IBM’s Jon C. Iwata (@coastw), Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications
  5. SAP’s Jonathan Becker (@jbecher), CMO
  6. Dell’s Karen Quintos (@KarenDellCMO), CMO
  7. Exxon Mobil Corporation’s Ken Cohen (@ken_cohen) Vice President of Public and Government Affairs
  8. Microsoft’s Chris Capossela (@chriscapossela), CMO
  9. Cisco Systems’ Blair Christie (@BlairChristie), Senior Vice President and CMO, Government Affairs,
  10. 10. Raytheon’s Pam Wickham ( @PamWickham1) Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications

The entire list of the top 20 can be found on the BusinessNext Social Blog.  Despite these leaders, the study also found strong CMO resistance to becoming more social.  While the top three have a combined Twitter following of nearly 94,000, 76% of CMOs have no Twitter following.  Only 15 executives have at least 100 subscribers on Facebook, and just 12 have Klout scores greater than 30.

Compared to a 2011 CMO study, the more social CMOs have extended their social reach, while the majority remain on the sidelines. These on the sidelines may be sent back to locker room as Mark notes that Gartner Research predicts the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017.  This investment will contain a large social media component.

I asked Mark about this hesitancy of CMOs to get involved. He said the following.

“The majority of today’s CMOs joined the C-suite long before the ‘Social Age’ by following the traditional marketing playbook.  In this scenario, the CMO assumes the “voice of the customer” within the company, based on privileged access to industry analysts and expensive focus groups.   Most fail to recognize the massive paradigm shift taking place from brands and traditional media to customers and social communities.  They have yet to tap into the  ubiquity of useful information from industry thought leaders, analysts, bloggers, etc. on social networks, which makes it possible for any employee to be as knowledgeable as the smartest marketing executive. “

I then asked, what will be the consequences of this inactivity?

“I believe that ignoring the move to social puts your career at risk.  I’ll even take this assertion a step further and predict that within 5 years, CMOs will become unemployable (as executives) if they don’t have a social presence. There will simply be too many other executive contenders with larger, more influential communities. For those in positions where communication and influence are key ingredients to success, having a large network will be a significant advantage and eventually an executive requirement.”

Next I asked, What can be done about it?

“Roll up your sleeves and get social.  Only by taking the time to participate in internal and external social networks will you learn how to build and influence communities and develop reciprocal relationships with influencers.”



CVCS vs DVCS and the Pros and Cons of DVCS git

This is another in our discussion on DVCS and git (see our git category in the right column for more). Software developers are always looking for ways to make their efforts easier. Making version control more streamlined and accessible is one area where transformative improvements are happening with git. We have been covering git and related technologies (for example, see DVCS git is trending fast in software development futures, and Atlassian Stash Powers Enterprise Application Developers with DVCS Git).  We will continue a Wednesday post on aspects of git and git resources into May.

In this post I want to go over the basic differences between version control (CVCS) and the newer distributed version control (DVCS) and then discuss the pros and cons of DVCS.  Traditional version control (CVCS) helps you backup, track and synchronize files. Distributed version control (DVCS) makes it easy to share changes as every change has a guid or unique id. With DVCS git, you can get the best of both worlds: simple merging and centralized releases.

First let’s look at CVCS as shown in the chart below. The central repository serves as the hub and developers act as separate spokes. All work goes through the central repository. This makes version control easy and sharing difficult.

With DVCS git there is more interaction directly between developers as shown below. Atlassian’s Stash is their offering in the DVCS git space. For more information see this Atlassian Stash overview.

This brings in a number of advantages.

Everyone has their own local sandbox.

  • You can make changes and roll back, all on your local machine.
  • No more giant checkins; your incremental history is in your repo.

DVCS git works offline.

  • You only need to be online to share changes.
  • Otherwise, you can happily stay on your local machine, checking in and undoing, no matter if the “server” is down or you’re on an airplane.

DVCS git is fast.

  • Diffs, commits and reverts are all done locally.
  • There’s no sketchy network or server to ask for old revisions from a year ago 

DVCS handles changes very well.

  • Distributed version control systems were built around sharing changes.
  • Every change has a guid that makes it easy to track.

Branching and merging is easy.

  • Because every developer “has their own branch”, every shared change is like reverse integration.
  • The guids make it easy to automatically combine changes and avoid duplicates.

With DVCS, there is less management.

  • DVCS systems are easy to get running since there is no “always-running” server software to install.

DVCS systems may not require you to “add” new users since you can just pick what URLs to pull from. There are also some disadvantages of the current versions of DVCS that you need to be aware of.

You still need a backup.

  • Some claim your “backup” is the other machines that have your changes, but what if they didn’t accept them all? ** What if they’re offline and you have new changes?

You still want a machine to push changes to “just in case”.

  • In Subversion, you usually dedicate a machine to store the main repo; do the same for a DVCS.

There’s not really a “latest version”.

  • If there’s no central location, you don’t immediately know whether to see others for the latest version.
  • A central location helps clarify what the latest “stable” release is. 

There aren’t really revision numbers.

  • Every repo has its own revision numbers depending on the changes.
  • Instead, people refer to change numbers that are not intuitive. But, you can tag releases with meaningful names.

If you have any questions on DVCS and how best to work with git and Stash contact us at: At AppFusions we have also developed a Source Code Importer for Stash, Atlassian’s git offering. This importer significantly decreases the challenge of migrating SVN to git for use with Stash and is currently available at the Atlassian Marketplace.

McKinsey on Preparing for a New Era of Knowledge Work

McKinsey continues to offer useful reports on the value of the connected enterprise (aka social business, enterprise 2.0). See for example our post – McKinsey Projects Business Value of Social Business at a Trillion Annually. One of their latest reports is: Preparing for a new era of knowledge work. They conclude that “Global competition, emerging skill shortages, and changing demographics will soon force companies to use their most highly paid talent more effectively.”

McKinsey notes that the trend for technology investments went from production floors to offices, where a wide range of transaction-based jobs could be standardized or scripted. Then these jobs could be either automated or shifted to workers in low-wage countries, or both. However, as they noted in 2006, much of the value in organizations lies in these transactions but in the interactions of knowledge workers, the “skilled professionals who together serve as the engine of the knowledge economy.”

This interaction work is the fastest-growing job category in developed countries, where it already accounts for a large proportion of jobs. For example, in the US interaction jobs account from 41%, transaction jobs account for 44% and production jobs account for 15%. In Germany it is: 37% interactions, 38% transactions and 25% production. While in China is: 25% interactions, 31% transactions, and 44% production.

The rapid growth in interaction-based jobs will soon lead to a global shortage of skilled workers for these slots. The US is predicted to be 1.5 million short by 2020 and China over 20 million short. These shortfalls will require companies to use their highly skilled interaction workers more effectively. This necessitates better technology support and increased technology investments, as ell as new management moves.

However, McKinsey notes that technology has tended to complement, not replace, labor in interaction work. So until recently, many of these jobs have been performed in the same way for decades. This cannot continue. To address this need there is an increasing array of tools to support these interactions under the category of social business. However, I would add that for these interactions to be incorporated into workflow and provide real value, there needs to be application integration between the technology that supports the transactions with the new tools that support interactions (for more on this see – The Business Value of Application Connectors and Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions).

McKinsey offers a number of suggestions to deal with this changing market and job requirements. First, they say to break down the job tasks of interaction workers and to find those that can be passed off to lower level people. The rise of nurse practioners to support overworked doctors is a good example that I have seen in action. McKinsey also noted paralegals, a similar move. They believe the trend to disaggregate jobs in all fields will pick up speed as skill shortages take hold and this makes sense.

Next, they suggest to “go viral” and, at the same time, make jobs more flexible. This is where technology can play a stronger role. They note that “thanks to broadband, cloud computing, and a burgeoning market for online collaboration tools, many more jobs that once required in-person interactions can be performed anywhere.”  McKinsey adds as many as 25% of all US jobs could be performed remotely. In their 2011 survey of 2,000 US businesses, one-quarter of them said they had future plans to use more remote workers.

They mention that many younger workers like the flexibility this type of work brings. I would add that this preference is not limited to the young. I have been working remotely for some time now and would not want to go back to an office. To emphasize what I wrote before, this arrangement will not work unless the “connected” enterprise is actually connected. This requires significant application integration.  This is why we at AppFusions are dedicated to making these integrations easier to achieve.

McKinsey concludes with some good advice for senior execs. You need to communicate and over communicate to make sure your wide spread workforce is on the same page. You need increased coordination of the many multiple project efforts that workers engage in. Senior execs also need to become better listeners to better understand the needs of workers, as well as harvest and share their ideas. Technology can help with these last two tasks. Finally, execs need to give up control and let their highly skilled workers use their skills effectively. Two-way trust is essential here. It can also pay off (see for example: Doing Well by Doing Good: Humanizing the Enterprise). 

Highlights from the 2011 IBM Global CMO Study

IBM has released their 2011 IBM CMO Study They interviewed more than 1,700 of the world’s most prominent Chief Marketing Officers – face to face – to find out what they feel is important for their success. These executives control many billions in marketing expenditures. IBM found that these CMOs “painted a picture of a marketing landscape in the midst of major changes.  At the same time that the average CMO is trying to figure out how the tsunami of social media – blogs, Twitter – is impacting the company brand, he or she is being asked by the boss – the CEO – to demonstrate the return on investment of marketing activities.”

IBM reported that while Investments in IT have long been the domain of the CIO, this is changing as CMOs increasingly impact IT investments in our changing social and digital world. For example IBM found that 82 percent of CMOs say they plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years. 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. However, 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.

They conclude that 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. Both sides need each other as never before. This alignment between business and IT has always been essential but it is even more so now.

The study found fours key trends: data explosion, social platforms, channel and device choices, and shifting demographics. The world generates 2.5 quintrillon bytes of data daily. Over 90% of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years. CMOs struggle to get meaningful insights from all this data. Social platforms have put customers in the driver’s seat and require that marketing efforts become two-way communication.  The growing number of devices from smart phones to tablets is leading to the rise of mobile commerce. The revenue from this mobile commerce should rise to $31 billion by 2016. Finally, shifting demographics are occurring around the world, from the expanding middle class in India to the rising proportion of Hispanics in the US. All four of the trends have a significant impact on the CMOs job.

To meet these changing demands, IBM has announced two web experience software suites, the IBM Customer Experience Suite and the IBM Intranet Experience Suite. The two software suites help CMOs and CIOs, respectively, better reach and engage with their audiences.

 The new IBM Customer Experience Suite provides CMOs with the ability 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 enterprise portal, web content management, forms, and enterprise social networking software into a single view.

The new IBM Intranet Experience software brings the power of social and analytics capabilities to CIOs and lines of business employees to help organizations innovate and evolve their internal operations and communications. This 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. This is essential as 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 on the Web, consumers expect this same level of information availability in their professional lives.

I like the IBM approach to social business as it includes both internal employee aspects and external customer aspects, as well as the integration of the two. In the changing digital world this integration is critical for success.

AppFusions exhibited new solutions at IBM Connect 2013 in January. We covered the event on this blog  Here is a link to the summary of our IBM 2013 coverage. 


Twenty Helpful git Resources

This is another in our discussion on DVCS and git (see our git category in the right column for more). We see DVCS and git as a major transformation in how software is created. The first two posts on this topic covered Git Gains Again with Git Related Jobs on the Rise and DVCS git is trending fast in software development futures. In this post I will be more specific and provide a listing of resources on git, the free and open source tool that is the main means to make DVCS happen. In our next git related post, we will cover CVCS vs DVCS and the Pros and Cons of  DVCS git. It will appear next Wednesday and we will continue a Wednesday post on aspects of git and git resources into May.

Official git organization Website – Founding organization of git. It provides advantages of git, documentation, downloads, and includes a community to get involved with git issues.

Wikipedia on git – Opening with, “In software development, Git (/ɡɪt/) is a distributed revision control and source code management (SCM) system with an emphasis on speed,” there is an extensive write up here.

Why git is better than X – Great summary of pros of git, by Scott Chacon of gitHub.

Aha! moments when learning git – Useful insights on why git is great! By

How I learned to stop worrying and love git – Blog post with excellent insights and entertaining too, by Zeh Fernando.

Why I’m starting to like git. – Blog post by yet another evolved convert, to git. By @chinpen, the author compares his journey to git with Clearcase.

Why git – Blog post by

Why git – Blog post by Takis Dilsen-Stokkem

Git basics – Part of a series of git tutorials created by Atlassian

Git Workflows – A set of git resources created by Atlassian

Moving Confluence Source from SVN to git – Case study blog post about Atlassian’s experience of moving to git.

Confluence, git, rename, merge oh my… – Extended post migration blog post with tips about Atlassian’s experience of moving to git.

Why git vs. Mercurial – Good comparison blog post by Charles O’Farrell of Atlassian.

How to think like git – Useful git reference site. By

Awesome git cheatsheet – As advertised, a printable awesome git cheatsheet.

Pass-around git cheatsheet for your team – Another resource for your team to shorten the learning curve!

Interactive online git cheatsheet – Here is an online interactive git command cheatsheet to help you learn git fast!

git cheatsheet collection – A collection of git cheatsheets from around the web.

Stack overflow discussion – Very active forum discussion providing much opinion on all angles of git and other source code management tools.

Books on git, at Amazon – Collection of books on Amazon, about git.

If you have any questions on DVCS and how best to work with git and Stash contact us at: At AppFusions we have also developed a Source Code Importer for Stash, Atlassian’s git offering. This importer significantly decreases the challenge of migrating SVN to git for use with Stash and is currently available at the Atlassian Marketplace.  Of course you can also always contact AppFusions direct if you ever have any questions on anything Atlassian – email us at anytime!

Making Enterprise Collaboration Work

Brad Power recently posted a useful piece on the Harvard Business Review blog, How Collaboration Tools Can Improve Knowledge Work. He began with the statement that “managers are focusing ever more on supporting knowledge workers — which these days is just about everybody.”  The post goes on to offer ways that online collaboration tools can help. They offer faster access to useful content and the ability to generate it in the process of work and share it to the right people, including those who you did know needed it.

As Brad wrote, the tools also open up communication up and down the different levels of the organization. This cross level communication was often consciously blocked by middle managers or just got lost in the chain of command. Now company conversations can be out in the open for anyone to take them in and join. Collaboration tools can turn Taylorism on its head so learning goes up and down the enterprise and the whole structure is flatted (image of Taylor from Wikipedia). I would certainly agree with Brad’s views here. However, precisely because of this transformative change in communication it takes a cultural change to work, as Brad notes.

Brad offers the positive example of Nationwide Insurance where online collaboration became embedded in the workplace, with the resulting increase engagement by workers. In their system, “Anyone can ask online questions, post comments, make announcements, recognize a peer, or search the network to find answers.”

Leaders are now putting communications into the open tool rather than doing massive email distributions. Ironically this gives them more control over their messages as they remain in the open and are not subject to private filtering and positioning through email.

Nationwide is not alone and as we wrote, McKinsey Projects Business Value of Social Business at a Trillion Annually. McKinsey  has already found quantified significant benefits from establishing greater connections within the enterprise. In 2010 they reported, Enterprise 2.0 finds Its Payday. Similar results were found in 2011. In both cases, they found significant quantified benefits from the business use of social media. Now they offer new research, The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity through Social Technologies. They found, “that social technologies, when used within and across enterprises, have the potential to raise the productivity of the high-skill knowledge workers that are critical to performance and growth in the 21st century by 20 to 25 percent.”

So why have many companies not turned to online collaboration tools in the face of these intuitive benefits and positive returns? This is a question that Brad asks. He offers some success factors from Nationwide: senior leadership engagement, clear policies on compliance and governance, and the message that is was okay to be open and try new ideas.

In addition to addressing the people issues (so they are open to connecting and willing to step out of organizational silos), there are some essential technology ones, it is also necessary to get the applications connected so conversation do not occur in technical silos. As I wrote in Putting Social Media to Work, to be effective these systems that support interactions have to be integrated with the systems of record that support transactions. The social tools also need to be integrated with each other or companies are simply creating more silos of disconnection and benefits are not realized.

Application connectors are a major key realizing the business benefits of online collaboration tools and off-the-shelf plug-ins can allow for a major breakthrough in establishing these connections quickly and efficiently. For example, why not have your issue-tracking tool integrated with your collaboration tool?  This is one of the main focuses of AppFusions and we offer integrations between Atlassian’s issue tracking tool, JIRA, and a number of collaboration tools such as IBM Connections.

Complete Listing of IBM Connect 2013 Notes

Here is the complete listing of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. I was very pleased to be back again after the last two years thanks to IBM’s support. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012 and Ellen’s preview post, AppFusions is Fired Up for IBM Connect 2013 – Bring.It.On.AGAIN.

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Opening Session

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Monday Morning Press Q&A

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Four Major Trends Shaping Social Business in 2013

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Creating a Smarter Workforce – Panel

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Tuesday Opening Session

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Reinventing the Inbox – Ed Brill

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Wednesday Opening Session

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Getting Social in the Cloud – Rebecca Bulsan

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Social Business Goes to School

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Innovation Lab

Here also are several recent posts on IBM that have appeared on this blog.

Social Business – What Works and How: Highlights of IBM 2012 Social Technologies Study

IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities


IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Innovation Lab

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. here are my notes from 2011 and 2012. These notes cover the Innovation Lab Tour showing work by IBM Research.  There were a number of interesting applications in varying states of development from proof of concepts to working apps in pilot with active users. I have cover the wrk of IBM Research in Cambridge for some time and was pleased to see what they are up to now (see for example, IBM’s Social Software Initiatives: Part Three – Internal Applications and More IBM Research on Enterprise 2.0 – Activities and Other Tools).  I looked at the following on this tour

Best Fit Expertise – with Dan Gruen

It helps find matches for expertise requirements by refining the request. There is a tree diagram that asks clarifying questions as you enter information. Such questions as availability, recent experience with required task or company are examples. Once the questions are made final, candidates get ranked and other factors are applied. You can also track requests to see where requests are coming from and what types of requests are being made to anticipate growing needs. Dan said that the model within it is being used as a framework for the related applications in the expertise area on display in the lab including the Social Media-based Expertise Locator and the Expediting Expertise discussed below.

It was great to see Dan again. I wrote about his work in 2005 and said the following. Dan Gruen presented Unified Activity Management. It looks at work from an activity perspective and lets you chart business process (e.g. responding to an RFP) and associated best practices. You drag in documented sub-steps from other processes to improve your process. You can find work process related documents and people. I wish we had this application in 1993 when we created the insurance underwriting KM system that was very process-centric. A key concept in Unified Activity Management is that you do not have document processes as a separate activity. The application records the process in the context of supporting it. Then you can access this recorded process and mix and match past processes to create new ones. This was the illusive goal of some of our early KM efforts. Just do it and the system will document the useful stuff without you having to do the extra work that often interfered with documentation. Kudos to Dan.”

Social Media-based Expertise Locator – Uri Avarham

You can use the Social Media-based Expertise Locator to find experts on any topic base don social media data such as: tags, communities, wikis, blogs, forums, bookmarks, etc. Then you can view evidence to learn what makes them an expert in the field. Next you can find out how to connect with the expert. You can also find people similar to the given expert. It was developed by the IBM Research Group in Haifa. Here is a screen shot on how it works.

Here is a pop-up on an individual.

Expediting Expertise – Jie Lu

This tool combines analytics and social software to concretely measure the user’s current expertise level for a given topic. Then it can facilitate improvement with learning recommendations. It allows you to rapidly identify and grow expertise within the organization. Here are two screen shots to show you how it looks. First there is your score.

Then there are recommendations for how to improve your score.

Social Knowledge Management – Hiro Takagi

This tool uses information sources to uncover knowledge assets. Then employees can “like,” “mention,” and/or share their discoveries. People can also post requests for documents on certain topics and others can find them. Then the documents get placed into Connections for greater accessibility and further enhancements.  It employs “cardification” by which a report card is created for each document where it can be rated and ranked. It will get elevated in Connections if people find it valuable. To get started the tool uses gamification to help useful documents go viral. Here is an image on how it works.

Work Marketplace – Steve Dill

This tool allows people to post work assignments and have others bid on doing them. This work exchange allows request to be shared within a community or across and organization. Colleagues can select, bid, or compete for work. It is especially useful for people between projects. After a project is completed the person’s participation is evaluated. A digital reputation can be earned based on the work performed. Teams can self-organize to bid on projects.

IBMers Who Tweet – Casey Dugan

This tool first takes input from employees on possible IBMers who are tweeting. They look at anyone how mentions IBM in their twitter profile or in other ways. Then possible matches are found in IBM Connections profiles. Matches are contacted to verify accuracy and asked if they want to be included in the directory that gets analyzed. No one is required to participate. Over 500 IBMers have helped classify 7,000 Twitter accounts. Then the Twitter activity is made visible and analytics are applied including sentiment analysis and topic identification augmented by demographics and interactive data visualization. Below is a sample screen shot.

IBM Social Business Clinic

Kate Ehlich provided a demonstration of a survey that IBM is offering their clients on how effective their current social business is functioning. Below is a sample set of results. You can compare the results you gave your company (red) with the global averages (green) and those for your industry sector (gray).


IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Social Business Goes to School

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012. These notes cover the session: Social Business Goes to School: Leaders in Academia Share Insights with Michael Brito, SVP Social Business Planning, Edelman & Adjunct Professor SJSU; UC Berkeley; Peter Cardon, Associate Professor, Marshall School of Business University of Southern California; and Simon Vaughan, Deputy IT Director, IS, Cardiff University, UK.  Here are their Twitter handles: @SimplyS1mon, @petercardon, and @Britopian.

Michael Brito opened the session. He works for Edelman and teaches at several universities. Peter is a management communication professor at USC. They traditionally cover things like live presentations, writing, etc. Now they also cover social media. Simon is the IT Director at his institution.

Michael asked Peter why social media is not covered in many business schools. Peter said that in the past they taught one-to-many and one-to-one communication. Now they need to cover the many-to-many communication that social media brings. Many business schools only think of Web tools like Facebook and do not see the broader range of social media.

Simon added that schools assume that if they are using Twitter and Facebook they know social media. This is far from the case as there are so many uses of social media. You need to define social media and social business and be aware of all the possibilities.

Michael asked about using social media for learning, not just as a course subject. Peter said he has known for some time that collaborative learning is more effective. He tends to use public social media to support his classes. Peter just published a book, Business Communication: Developing Leaders for a Networked World.

Michael said he decided to get into teaching as he found that many people did not understand social business. He asked Simon to talk about barriers to adoption. Simon said there are both more formal uses connected to teaching and also informal communication across courses. You need to make sure the tools are being used for their proper purposes and enhance the learning experience. You need to get the faculty to consistently use social media in their classes so the students receive the same support across courses.

Simon said that gamification can help reward participation. They are using it at his university and it has helped. Michael said that he also incorporates gamification tools in his classes.  Some tools require coaching such as blogs and wikis, even for digital natives.  Students do not like to have to use multiple platforms. Michael also has a recent book, Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization. Peter said that last summer he tried a home-grown collaboration tool and it was challenging.

Simon said there is a real need to set up communities of practice around such topics as a green project or some other popular topic.  Their new COO is very much into social media. He is setting a good example. People also go into the tools to see what he is saying. Peter and Michael see differences in the way different types of students use the tools. Older students see the benefit of the tools more easily. The younger ones are more likely to use IM and form Facebook groups. Simon talked about the use of massive online courses that are becoming popular as a teaching channel.

Michael said the social business is seen in several places: business, IT, communication and asked what departments it should be in schools. Simon said it should be in all three of them and more. These tools are so important that they will be needed in many ways. Peter agreed and said you should compare it to where you teach writing. It should be everywhere. The slant will differ in each. Simon talked about social mentoring. Alumni can share experiences. Businesses can connect with students.

It was asked by an audience member how can they leverage their established online communication and learning track and introduce social elements?

Simon said if you can inject alerts from established apps into an activity tool you can get conversations started that will allow people to see the benefits of social tools. He added that students in the same course could collaborate better. They could ask students who already took the course, what it was like before they decide to take it or how best to benefit from it.  Simon said another benefit is accessing the social tools from mobile devices that all students carry all the time. It will be very beneficial if you can bring in mobile. I have seen this in a number of schools.

It was asked if professors are collaborating on research through social media.

Peter said that the internal social tools are useful in certain areas by staff. However, among professors they see little use. In most US institutions there is a lot of hierarchy and this slows down use. Simon said that you can lose control of content once it gets into public spaces. People are looking for more secure platforms for collaboration from trusted partners.

It was asked if the use of social tools raises performance.

Peter said yes. Students get to know each other and they more together more easily. He added that the level of higher order thinking has risen. It was ironic that once his school banned Facebook, students started to be late to class because they were doing Facebook before class, instead of while waiting for the professor to begin.

It was asked how students collaborate in online classes vs. in-person classes.

Simon said that the physical meeting is a necessary foundation to establish connection that can be carried over to virtual collaboration.  I would certainly agree.



IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Getting Social in the Cloud – Rebecca Bulsan

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years thanks to IBM’s support. Here is a summary of my notes for 2012 and 2011. These notes cover the Monday Press Session: Getting Social in the Cloud with Rebecca Buisan, Director of Product Management, IBM.

Rebecca began by saying that IBM’s large cloud presence is a well-kept secret. Forrester recently named IBM as number 1 in cloud collaboration, messaging, social, and file sharing. In the past year IBM’s cloud solutions grew by 80%. They have Saas, PaaS, and IaaS offerings. Kenexa is a cloud platform. All of this makes IBM one of the top ten cloud providers in terms of number of solutions (60) and customers. They are continuing to develop a portfolio of products and services.

There are many considerations to the cloud, including cost savings. It is as much a new business model as a technology that enables this business model. The main difference between a private cloud and on-premise apps is the business model of rent vs. own. It is very flexible as you can rent or own the hardware as well as the software.

IBM is developing many apps in a multi-tenant model. IBM Docs was developed a cloud app first. I discussed it in my notes on Ed Brill’s session. Eventually everything will be in some form of the cloud and this is why IBM has invested so heavily in it.

IBM can provide pre-built cloud based environments so deployments can happen almost instantly. It is committed to standards like OpenSocial. I have covered Open Social before on this blog (see OpenSocial Provides Standards to Help Put Social Software to Work). Wikipedia defines the OpenSocial Platform as a “public specification that defines a component hosting environment (container) and a set of common application programming interfaces (APIs) for web-based applications.” This effort is designed to give social tools the ability to work together, a wise move.

I also spoke earlier with IBM’s Suzanne Livingston, Senior Product Manager for Connections. She said that the common underlying theme in the recent moves for Connections is the movement from providing a suite of applications to having Connections becoming a comprehensive social business platform with tighter integration. One of the enablers of this tighter integration is the use of Connections with OpenSocial.

IBM recently did a study on the cloud and found that organizations – both big and small, across geographies and in virtually every industry – are embracing cloud as a way to reduce the complexity and costs associated with traditional IT approaches. Almost three-fourths of the leaders in their survey indicated their companies had piloted, adopted or substantially implemented cloud in their organizations – and 90 percent expect to have done so in three years. And the number of respondents whose companies have substantially implemented cloud is expected to grow from 13 percent today to 41 percent in three years.

IBM is also tying the cloud to mobile. The cloud and mobile can be very co-dependent.  This connection has an impact on user experience design. High expectations are set for mobile apps by those on the consumer web.