Category Archives: IBM

Any Organization, Any Industry – The Vegas Casino Story

Every industry has it’s own unique issues within their collaboration story. And the story doesn’t end when your organization buys an enterprise collaboration platform like IBM Connections.

Why? Because, no doubt, you use many tools in your work day to organize and share data, keep track of clients and leads, manage issues or a git repository, etc. Think about it – all these tools to get things done and collaborate with data, processes, and people in your organization, and all of it in different systems that don’t talk with each other. Collaboration? Hmm – more like two steps forward, one step backward given all those silo’d systems!

Maybe you have a fragmented email culture as well – which creates churn, politics, and other linear work models and inefficiencies. Perhaps all your silo’d tools prevent cross-enterprise engagement and lead to miscommunications and confusions?

IBM Connections “Integrated” by AppFusions – a platform to bring all your systems together in unlimited contextual communities – is the solution to your problems.  It’s time to stop wasting time, bouncing all over the place! It’s time to work smarter and faster, drive attention to key content in context, and reduce data and process duplication efforts. It’s time to streamline your workflow. Finally, a collaboration solution that “just works” – 24/7 for you.

In the spirit of this month’s IBM InterConnect in Las Vegas (see you there!), let’s think about IBM Connections “Integrated” – in a real-life scenario … Meet Vincent, a Las Vegas native.

Photo: www.westgatedestinations.com
Photo: www.westgatedestinations.com

Hello, I am Vincent.

I run a large Vegas casino hotel with high rotating traffic, which results in a very high volume of documentation – from employee data to guest information to incident reporting to housekeeping management records… yeah, it’s A LOT.

For years, given the diversity of our workforce, data was tracked via our central Facilities office that doubled as HR. They use a number of systems to get their job done. Over time, however, Facilities began to balk at the enormous amount of documentation, the many incident and record tracking systems, and the different levels of expertise required for HR.

HR was spun-out as a separate department, but we decided to move all our data records into Dropbox, categorized by different types. We also deployed JIRA ServiceDesk for incident tracking, and records associated with incidents were attached to the logged incidents. This helped a great deal, but still, it’s a never ending chase.

The HR spin-out was a good thing, but it brought to light other issues, of lacking real-time community communications, relationship development, and ongoing collaboration. While the data tracking and records issues were solved partly, we ended up with more systems and no central place for the many types of communities the casino needed (internally and externally)…

Enter IBM Connections integrated with Dropbox and JIRA ServiceDesk. We are thrilled with the new system since now everyone is looking at other ways to improve our work processes via integrations into the IBM Connections system. The good thing is everyone is aligned, in one home – the silo’d system is gone.  

The journey is just beginning – we hope to also build communities within Connections for our external customers that are regulars. By connecting with those customers closer, we can grow our relationships and they will come back more often. We are also excited about the IBM Connections integration with Salesforce – it’s about time we had access to our CRM within our HR and Account Management communities!

Thanks for reading! Vincent’s Vegas casino story is one of hundreds … unsure how your industry or organization would benefit from IBM Connections “Integrated?” Contact us at info@appfusions.com, and we’ll help you connect the dots!

Related links:

Again, if you like what you find here, please join the conversation through our comment fields!

Rock on,

The AppFusions team

Post by Rosalie Plofchan, Marketing Manager of AppFusions

Why IBM Connections + “Pink” + AppSpokes are perfect for each other

One of the biggest stories at last week’s IBM Connect is IBM Connections Pink. According to its creator at IBM, Pink is not an IBM Connections’ release, but a vision.

There were several sessions on Pink. I went to one led by CTO and Director of IBM Collaborations Solutions Software Development, Jason Gary, and another by Pink’s lead architect and developer, Andre Hagemeier.

Here is why I think Pink and AppSpokes are made for each other. (AppSpokes in AppFusions’ growing family of deep integration solutions for IBM Connections cloud and on-premise systems – PDF brief here).

First of all both emphasize an exceptional user experience as the #1 objective.

People are at the heart of the digital workplace – past, current and future.

IBM Connections “Pink” promises to provide a customizable UI for IBM Connections using “Muse” (another technology built for IBM Connections) for customer experiences, which allows for tenant-specific javascript code to be injected into IBM Connections. UI customization can be added to the App Registry, a central repository for all types of IBM Connections’ platform extensions (including IBM Verse extensions).

AppSpokes’ extensibility solutions, by AppFusions, also have been created with an end-to-end emphasis of the user experience in mind. Though the AppFusions’ team are firm believers of the API economy, we are also pragmatic.

AppFusions’ CEO, Ellen Feaheny, said it very simply: “APIs are not enough!” in her IBM Connect 2017 session, “Confront the Madness! All Your Tools and Systems of Record Integrated Natively in IBM Connections“. AppSpokes integrations provide a natively integrated user experience – and all the underlying integration “connectivity” technology – so everything “Just works!” in cloud or on-premise IBM Connections environments.

IBMConnectionsIntegrated


Second, both the Pink and AppSpokes teams realize that HOW YOU BUILD software is at least as important as WHAT YOU BUILD.
IBMConnectionsPinkTechnologiesAgain, AppSpokes is aligned with Pink: rapid agile development, open source technology, micro-service based architecture, multi-tenant services, single code base for cloud and on-premise environments, and containerized deployments are just a few examples of our shared vision and practices.

If you listened to the Pink sessions and the AppFusions’ sessions at IBM Connect 2017, you will agree that the people behind the visions and the work efforts too are risk-takers that are leading the tribes (as Seth Godin so poignantly describes!)


Last but not least, both Pink and AppSpokes are ultimately about strategy. That is, the customer platform experience strategy, not just IBM’s or AppFusions’ strategy.

PinkHow
Strategy – people first. Build the HOW with the WHO.

Both believe extensibility is a core part of a lasting strategy for digital collaboration in the enterprises. Both embrace open ecosystems with partners in mind.


IBMConnectionsPinkAtAglance
It’s a foundational strategy with “the people’s experience” at the heart.

With the motto of “Everything is an API”, Pink will allow both “Integrate In” and “Integrate Out” between your external applications and your enterprise social network.

The goal of AppSpokes is to power your IBM Connections environment, enabling powerful enterprise collaboration desktop with ready solutions, packaged yet extensible for easy deployments and enablement,UI-rich integrations, SSO, and capabilities through community and profile apps, activity streams, embedded experiences, menu items, macros and much more in IBM Connections (and soon IBM Verse).

AppSpokes implements “integrate in and out” designs – bringing your external applications inside IBM Connections so you can work from one platform, with unlimited contextual communities. For example, in the JIRA in IBM Connections integration, not only can you create, comment, and transition a JIRA issue in-context within your IBM Connections community, you can also link back to IBM Connections from your JIRA issue or task, among other.


At the closing session of IBM Connect 2017, composer Eric Whitacre showed us how the collaboration of thousands of singers across the globe can create the most beautiful music that lifts our spirit, touches our heart, and changes our view.

Like that! Let’s apply that viral tribe building joyful notion to IBM Connections’ extensibility, growth, and delight!

IBM Connect was a fabulous conference – the beginning of a new era – this year. The AppFusions’ team greatly looks forward to our continued work with the IBM Connections’ team, IBM partners, and of course and NOT least: IBM customers, to bring the richest and best experiences – IBM Connections (Pink) “Integrated” – to you!

EricWhitacre
Eric Whitacre conducting his virtual choir – a bold, unique, and beautiful “tribe” that he and his team created.

 

Bringing the team together at IBM Connect 2017 in San Francisco!

Last week, the AppFusions team met in the city by the bay for the annual IBM Connect 2017 conference at Moscone West in San Francisco. Our diverse team came together from the Rocky Mountains, East Coast, SF Bay area, and the UK to meet with IBMers, partners, and our wonderful customers to discuss our latest integrations into IBM Connections.

What a trip! It was a promising, memorable, and inspiring experience on so many levels. We were proud to be a Silver Sponsor of the event this year.

"There's always one unruly student in the back!" ... Some of the team at the EXPO
“There’s always one unruly student in the back!” … Some of the team at the EXPO (where’s Handly, Ross, Justin, Colin?)

Thank you, thank you IBM for your support and for an exciting opportunity forward; the game has only just begun! And thank you to everyone who stopped by our EXPO booth or came to listen to our team’s break-out sessions.  There was great energy from all who came to meet us at the booth – we love that our solutions really do address the work issues that frustrate our customers. Let’s work smarter together!

We laughed...
We laughed…
IMG_7838
AppFusions booth at the bustling EXPO – great to walk around to learn about new innovations by other IBM partners too!

Some highlights from the week include:

  • Learning more about the plans for IBM Connections Pink! Looks like the demand for integrations is key to the strategy :) Love that!Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 12.13.15 PM

    Presenting IBM Connections "Pink" Extensibility Vision
    IBM’s Baan Slavens and Jason Gary speak on the future of IBM Connections on #PinkWednesday
  • Talking to our customers, gaining new leads and a many new requests for integrations into IBM Connections Cloud and On-prem. Demand for our Salesforce, Atlassian JIRA and Confluence, and SharePoint Online/Server integrations was especially HOT. Yay :)
  • Watching AppFusions Senior Architect David Simpson demo Watson IOT, Speech, Cognitive, Node-RED, and Alexa in IBM Connections – cool! The integrated future of connections is finally inevitable in so many ways.

    Go David! Go AppFusions! Go Cognitive Integrations!
    Go David! Go AppFusions! Go Integrations!
  • An absolutely brilliant evening out at the SF Exploratorium with the conference attendees for an evening of great food including sushi, rockin’ band and more laughs..
  • The amazing opening and closing keynote speakers!
    Sheena Iyengar gives a captivating speech at the Opening General Session on how cognitive technology can help us make choices
    Sheena Iyengar gives a captivating speech at the Opening General Session on how cognitive technology can help us make choices

    Closing General Ceremony speaker Eric Whitacre conducts "Deep Field" ... "Art tells us who we are. #Technology tells us who we want to be." -Eric Whitacre
    Closing General Ceremony speaker Eric Whitacre conducts “Deep Field” … “Art tells us who we are. #Technology tells us who we want to be.” -Eric Whitacre

Overall, the week has been deemed a success, with customers on our backs following up with us already, and it’s only Tuesday!

Again, thanks for a great opportunity to network with customers and partners and get the team together. We’re excited for what 2017 will bring and look forward to next month’s IBM InterConnect… see you in Vegas, baby!

Again, if you like what you find here, please join the conversation through our comment fields.

Gratefully,

The AppFusions team!

 

Social Connections 8, AppSpokes, Atlassian Confluence in IBM Connections

Last week, 4 of us from the AppFusions team traveled to Boston to participate in the IBM Connections user group called Social Connections 8.

Here’s a “storify” slideshow that captures some of the essence, as well as this quote by Simon Vaughan:

It was a great conference that I would highly recommend, if interested in getting up front, close, and personal with “who’s who” in the IBM Connections’ ecosystem. This includes the many folks that work daily to make IBM Connections’ customers successful: IBM developers, PMs, and IBM Collaboration Services’ (ICS) management — they were all there!

In addition, the conference was attended by a passionate group of customer end users and administrators, and dozens of expert consulting implementors from across the globe.

With a packed schedule, it was an exciting two days and we are grateful for attending!

Boston Science Museum Dragon – Gala Reception 4/16/2015

For our part, on Thursday afternoon, AppFusions’ Patrick Li and Ellen Feaheny presented about our new AppSpokes Framework for faster development and deployment of single code-based integration applications for cloud, on-premise, hosted, or hybrid IBM Connections environments. We’ll be sharing more on that soon enough; just getting going with some initial deployments.

Already from the conference, David Simpson, a full-on dragon slayer AppFusions’ developer, was inspired, and quickly integrated the IBM Connections functional header with Atlassian Confluence, bringing a native IBM Connections Cloud feel to Atlassian Confluence.

Here’s some of his results:

ConfluenceInIBMConnections1


David then took it another level and added the header integration into AppFusions’ Immersive for Atlassian Confluence, in IBM Connections, and with a bit of additional theming, he morphed the Confluence theme to mirror the currently applied IBM Connections look and feel/theme.

For example, this:

ConfluenceInIBMConnections


… which looks a whole lot like the default IBM Connections theme, as shown here:

ConfluenceNativeInIBMConnections

Power10Men
Harvard or MIT Crew doing a “Power10” on Charles River – 4/16/2015

AppFusions’ Technical PM and overall great human Danielle Zhu was also with us, and AppFusions’ “Boston-camp”spin-off wouldn’t have been the same without her!

AppFusions left the conference with more knowledge than we arrived with or brought too, which to me means success. Our plate runneth over on great IBM Connections’ integrations plans and fired-up-ness — going to be a great rest of the year! THANKS to the Social Connections planning team!

The “Next” Social Connections event is planned for October, 2015 in Stuttgart! If interested, email info@socialconnections.info.



AppFusions is excited for IBM ConnectED 2015 – Orlando

440x220_2z_11-12For our fourth consecutive year at this IBM social business conference, AppFusions is pleased to be digging in deeper as a Silver Sponsor, further cementing our belief in connected systems and reduced silos given the social business/collaboration movement sweeping enterprises across the world.

9 of us from the AppFusions team will be attending the IBM ConnectED 2015 conference in Orlando, on January 25th-28th. We can’t wait to share our new and updated product releases with customers and IBMers alike.

IBMConnectED2015_AppFusionsThis year, we’ll be demo’ing both new and updated packaged integrations for IBM Connections V5 and Sametime V9. You can find us at Booth S4.

Cloud File Management Integrations with IBM Connections

Video here – yet development continues too! :) 

These integrations allow you to seamlessly authenticate, access, preview, download, upload, display all your cloud files, directly from within IBM Connections.

IBM-Integrations-Graphic-Connections-Wordpress-AtlassianWordPress with IBM Connections

Video here – yet development continues too! :) 

  • WordPress in IBM Connections V5 Extended!

This integration allows you to post your WordPress blogs directly to your IBM Connections community. Further, activity streams are logged, and IBM Connections business cards are displayed for the WordPress authors.

Atlassian Integrations with IBM Connections

Video here – yet development continues too! :) 

  • Immersive for Atlassian JIRA, in IBM Connections V5 Extended!
  • Immersive for Atlassian Confluence, in IBM Connections V5 • Extended!
  • Immersive for Atlassian Stash, in IBM Connections V5 • New!
  • Immersive for Atlassian Bamboo, in IBM Connections V5 • New!

These integrations bring your Atlassian systems into IBM Connections. All from within IBM Connections, you have powerful advanced search capabilities into all the different Atlassian applications, native IBM business cards in Atlassian applications, you can create a JIRA issue directly or share it, access and interact with Atlassian applications’ live activity streams, and more. AppFusions have been developing these integrations since 2013.

Atlassian Integrations with IBM Sametime

  • IBM Sametime V9 in Atlassian JIRA • Updated!
  • IBM Sametime V9 in Atlassian Confluence • Updated!
  • IBM Sametime V9 in Atlassian Stash • Updated!
  • IBM Sametime V9 in Atlassian Bamboo • Updated!
  • IBM Sametime V9 in Atlassian FishEye • Updated!

These integrations allow you to run rich IBM Sametime chat sessions, with context, from inside your Atlassian systems. These integrations have been supported since 2012.

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AppFusions will have two demo pods, so we hope you will stop by to check these out and/or to discuss with us your use cases or other possibilities for IBM Connections integrations.

Note: All AppFusions’ integrations are for sale as packaged supported solutions. As you grow and evolve, as well as your systems, so also do your AppFusions’ integrations. We’re right there with you on your integrated social business/collaboration journey.


GoldenGateBridgeSmallAppFusions senior integrations experts build supported use-case driven integrations between some of the most popular collaboration tools in the industry. Our integrations are not just web-links. AppFusions’ solutions bridge systems with enhanced user experiences so you can work faster and better.

With over 50 packaged integrations, and counting, AppFusions solutions quickly solve common yet tough pain point integration challenges by bridging together Atlassian Software, IBM Connections and Sametime, Jive software, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Egnyte, Alfresco, Microsoft OneDrive, Yammer and Parature, Lingotek (translations), single sign-on solutions (SAML2, Kerberos, OAuth2), UserVoice, and more.

IBM Brings Integration and Social Business to Messaging

I think that social business is the most significant transformation in business today and application integration is the backbone of this effort.  IBM has been making significant moves in social business for some time and has included application integration as a main part of its initiatives. See for example my post on: IBM Connections 4.0 Offers Expanded Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities and my coverage of IBM Connect 2013 on this blog. They were recently named by IDC the worldwide market share leader in social software for fourth consecutive year. Now IBM is extending its social business lead by bringing messaging into the social experience, turning email from a client application used only for messages to a core component of a platform that changes the ways people communicate across the enterprise.

Research from IBM supports this rising importance of social media. According to an IBM study, 82 percent of chief marketing officers (CMO) plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years. IBM’s 2012 CEO Study identified the same trend—while today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years. See my post on this blog on the 2011 study for similar trends.

I recently spoke with Scott Souder, Program Director, IBM Messaging & Collaboration Strategy , to learn about the news in email. Offered on- premises, in the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, hybrid or on popular mobile devices, the new offering of IBM Notes and Domino 9.0 Social Edition helps business simplify and accelerate social business adoption in the marketplace, providing employees with a single access point for all of their collaboration tools—social media, email, group activities, blogs and more.

For companies using Microsoft Outlook, IBM also provides a new social connector that brings the capabilities of shared files, communities and other key social capabilities directly into the Outlook client to ensure social email can be a reality for virtually any business.

Scott said that the goal is make email available in multiple tools, Connections and Notes, and multiple devices: laptops, mobile devices, and tablets. There is seamless integration so you can work within whatever tools you want. IBM has also developed a updated interface for Notes mail with improvements to spacing, fonts, and colors to provide a 2013 look. Ease-of-use is second goal with the simplified interface, which provides numerous consumability and productivity enhancements in the release. A third goal is an increased focus on application integration built on Open Social 2.0. This integration can enable embedded experiences and allow content from other apps to be integrated with email.

A sample use case can be seen through an employee who is working on a new marketing project.  Using a single interface this employee can check email, as well as activity streams containing the latest work from each team member, share files with colleagues, view new blogs on topics relevant to the subject and more without ever leaving the context of where the employee chooses to work In addition, since the service includes a broad device platform support, each team member has access to the same content all through their mobile device of choice, whether it’s an iPhone, Android device, Windows Phone or the new BlackBerry 10.

Connections Mail can be used to triage incoming mail more effectively. IBM wants to take email both out of a silo and away from being a fire hose . Future plans include increased filtering and analytics, which should enhance a user’s ability to focus on “What’s important now?” IBM is making significant moves in big data. It plans to take this capability into the email space by using what is known about the email user to make assumptions in filtering email.  IBM is  also going beyond the accommodation of the multiple devices with BYOD – or even “BYOC” (“Bring Your Own Client”) – to  exploit choice and flexibility in multiple backend platforms upon which Domino runs.  These are all moves in the right direction as they reflect the rising need for increased integration on all levels.

Dion Hitchcliffe on Social Media

Last year was a big one for social business. This year is positioned to be even greater. Major players, such as IBM, who have invested in establishing a large presence in social business have done well. See for example our Complete Listing of IBM Connect 2013 Notes. AppFusions is pleased to be working with IBM and others in this space.  Dion Hitchcliffe covered this past year in his useful post, Sizing up social business for 2012

Dion notes that, “perhaps the most important development of the year was the maturation and accumulation of experience in how to make social business work in large enterprises.” I saw many examples of this at IBM Connect 2013. He goes on to summarize five major trends from 2012.

First there was the re-unification of social business.  He notes that 2011 the realization emerged that social media must be connected to daily work to have real impact. I agree and wrote about it at the time (see for example, Putting Social Media to Work). However, 2012 revealed that enterprises had created numerous social silos that fragmented their efforts and employees. Dion went on to add that a growing body of evidence clearly shows that when social business environments had most connection between them, the measurable business outcomes were substantially higher. We cannot agree more. As we have written many times on this blog, application integration is a major foundation of social business success (see for example, The Business Value of Application Connectors).

A second trend is the addition of other major players into the space. While IBM has long made major bets here, Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft have joined the field. As these vendors move into the space, integrating their various applications and those of their partners will become even more necessary. Third, the rise of interest in big data has found a natural home in social business. One of the benefits and challenges of the transparency offered by social business is the massive amounts of data automatically generated by its use. Those organizations that can turn the massive global conversations in social media into relevant insights will be the winners. Numerous software firms added social analytics and business intelligence features to their existing products, while a great many new startups received funding in this space.

A fourth trend in 2012 is the continued rise of mobile. Dion feels mobile hampered social business projects more than it helped them. He writes that accommodating mobile requirements was a distraction to social business efforts in progress and that enterprise mobile apps did not compare well to their consumer side counterparts. However, he projects that the situation will improve. Mobile is a natural for social business. Companies and vendors now have to get it right.

The fifth and last trend he discussed was merger of social business with customer experience. He writes that a “new view has arisen to merge and combine the traditional and social customer experiences into something more holistic, natural, and expected by today’s consumer.” Application integration is critical here to connect the various customer-facing apps with the back office systems of record to create a seamless experience for both the customer service agent and the customer.

A theme running through many of these trends is the need for integration to realize the benefits of social business. A significant foundation for these benefits is found through establishing connectivity between the rising number of new tools and the established ones. Our goal at AppFusions is to build ready-to-deploy, reasonably priced connectors to solve the most common Enterprise system-to-system data and process integration problems. In other words we ant to provide tools to make social business work.

Highlights of IDC’s Worldwide Enterprise Social Software 2012 Vendor Analysis

IDC has released its Worldwide Enterprise Social Software 2012 Vendor Analysis. I received a copy thanks to Igloo Software. Companies covered included: BlueKiwi Inc, Cisco Systems, Inc., harmon.ie, IBM, IGLOO Inc., Jive Software, Moxie Software, Inc., Mzinga Inc, NewsGator Technologies Inc, Oracle Corporation, Salesforce.com, Inc., SAP AG, Socialcast, Inc., Socialtext Inc., Telligent Systems Inc., tibbr, VMware, Inc., Yammer, Inc. The reports evaluates and compares these vendors. In the post I will look at the cross industry movements that IDC offers.

IDC concludes that the “increasing sophistication of use cases demonstrates that the market for enterprise social software is maturing quickly. Organizations are looking to engage internal users and customers in an ongoing conversation, inside and outside the firewall. As usage increases in breadth and depth, activity streams, discussion forums, blogs, and wikis are becoming assumed functionality of enterprise social software to facilitate collaboration in real time and in context.” I would certainly agree with this assessment.

Application integration is increasingly becoming a success factor. IDC notes that “Customers are demanding broader and more specific collaboration scenarios that tie together internal and external constituents, deliver sophisticated insight into user behavior on the network, and extend seamlessly across mobile form factors.” These seamless extensions and the connection of internal and external constituents requires comprehensive integration that is designed to address business objectives.

Their key success criteria include: the ability to extend activity streams, blogs, and wikis to a broad range of stakeholders. The optimization of the mobile experience, comprehensive analytics that can “perform behavioral and predictive analysis on data generated by the network,” a scalable platform that can extend to customers, and partners, as well as handle different roles, company sizes and industries, and “prepackaged integrations with collaboration tools and major enterprise application vendors delivered via the cloud.”

We certainly agree with all of these factors, especially the prepackaged integrations. This is the goal of AppFusions and its suite of prepackaged integrations. For example, we have a number of integrations of Altassian’s issue tracking tool, JIRA, with a variety of collaboration platforms such as IBM Connections, JiveConfluenceAlfresco, Box.com, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

IDC notes that such social tools as activity streams and blogs are becoming required functionality within the enterprise. As social tools mature beyond initial marketing applications, use cases have grown into such areas as customer experience, sales enablement, digital commerce, socialytics, innovation management, and enterprise social networks.

The latter use case provides a means to find relevant information and people through connecting people, data, and systems in an overarching system. Collaborative workspaces are the outcome and the foundation for the connected enterprise.

Enterprise adoption of the new enterprise social software is on the rise. There has been as 40% year-over-year market growth. In this current survey 67% of organizations have implemented a corporate-sponsored enterprise social software solutions. While there are standalone solutions, many vendors have moved to more open and connected offerings through the use of APIs. This allows social software to be embedded within work processes, a topic I have covered before (for example, see Putting Social Media to Work and Giving Social Media a Good Job)

IDC concludes that “enterprise social software will eventually become the backbone of the ESN for a number of reasons.” This is being fueled by the recognition that connecting employees, customers, and partners is key to success. As McKinsey found, “higher operating margins (again, self-reported) than competitors correlated with a different set of factors: the ability to make decisions lower in the corporate hierarchy and a willingness to allow the formation of working teams comprising both in-house employees and individuals outside the organization.” Collaborative technologies create more agile organizations and these companies achieve higher profits.

In 2012 IDC expects to see enterprise applications and other collaborative applications being upgraded to include social functionality or becoming integrated with enterprise social software solutions in a complementary fashion.

It is an exciting time and we are pleased to be part of it thorough application integrations.

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.”

 

 

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.