Tag Archives: IBM

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.

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Weds Opening Session – AppThrowdown and Jane McGonigal (@avantgame)

 Updated Feb 2, 2013: Added full video of this session at the end of this post – enjoy, especially the rockstars – at the beginning and throughout! :)

(@jonathancoulton ‘s Code Monkey playback, the demos, and @avantgame ‘s VERY inspiring and insightful “gaming” talk are a “Don’t Miss” – see video below!)


This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years.  Kevin Cavanaugh, VP Strategy, Social Business and Nigel Beck, VP Business Development led the opening session.

Jonathan Coulton played a rockin’ session of “Code Monkey” to get us awake after last’s night events. (IBMConnect live play at bottom of post!)

Nigel said there will be five demos from IBM partners. These firms just did the work without having to talk to IBM. You can just go to the IBM site and get started.

There were 27 initial entries into the AppThrowdown. From those, 14 challengers presented at Monday’s throwdown sessions. Of those, five were voted in, to do a repeat performance at today’s Keynote event.

SugarCRMThe first demo was from SugarCRM. It provides CRM solutions. Clint Oram CTO and Co-Founder did the demo. Kevin mentioned that Clint has read every Stars Wars book.

SugarCRM is the currently fastest growing CRM app. It can turn every employee into a salesperson. Sugar CRM links to IBM Connections to use its capabilities to help with collaboration around sales. Activity streams, and OpenSocial embedded experiences support remote management of SugarCRM transactions, directly from IBM Connections, providing users with the easy and convenience of progressing the lead transaction right from within Connections. Or, Connections mobile!

WrikeAndrew Filev from Wrike did the next demo. Wrike does social project management. Wrike integrates with IBM Connections to become more social. I have covered them before (see for example Wrike Takes Project Management Mobile). Emails can be integrated into Wrike and Connections to become social objects with version control. So the team can become more efficient.

You can reach out to team members and assign tasks. Wrike is mobile enabled to extend its reach. The tasks get pushed into the activity stream in Connections to better monitor progress. Wrike is very scalable. One client has over 2,000 tasks on a project. You can look at resource availability to help fill the team.

Colin Goudie and David Simpson, Senior Developers at AppFusions led the next demo. Being part of the AppFusions team, I was very pleased to see this portion. AppFusions builds packaged software integrations that bring enterprise systems together.

AppFusionsColin and David showed integrations between Atlassian JIRA and IBM Connections. It uses OpenSocial gadgets, OAuth2 support for seamless interactions, real-time live-link activity streams, and embedded experiences. This integration is especially great in bridging the gap between business personnel and engineering/product management in a corporation.

(c) All rights reserved by malexander1219

With the Immersive for Atlassian JIRA, for IBM Connections, ANY user of IBM Connections can quickly log JIRA tickets from any part of the company, whether they have a JIRA account or not! (AppFusions also has integrations with Confluence and Stash, with IBM Connections – which they did not have time to demo!) These integrations are also supported by IBM Connections mobile, so you can also interact with JIRA, Confluence, etc. from your mobile device.

Next Colin and David showed a quick demo of IBM SameTime integrated with JIRA (issue tracker), Bamboo (continuous integration server), Fisheye (SVN source code manager), Stash (git repository manager), and Confluence (enterprise wiki). Directly from the Atlassian applications, Sametime presence is live for any user, any place a users name is shown. By right-clicking, users can launch a basic chat or even video chat, if your Sametime subscription supports this.

TrilogJohn Tripp from Trilog did the next demo. He is also an opera singer. He showed a demo integrating their project management app and Connections. You can start in Connections and go to their project app. You can use the Connections activity stream and have your project work get aggregated into a Connections community.

He showed a social gantt chart.  The work in their app appears in Connections to make use of its capabilities. You can update status in Connections and it will appear in their project app.

Russ Fradin from Dynamic Signal was next up. He does marathons. The tool does social CRM. He said that your employees can be your greatest advocates with Dynamic Signal. Their solution can manage the whole process giving employees some freedom and the company some level of control to strike a balance.

Dynamic SignalActivities in Dynamic Signal appear in the Connections activity stream. The company can present messages that it would like its employees to share on their Twitter and Facebook pages and other means. Employees can earn points for this activity. Others can see this and also share it.  Employees can share content that their company wants shared and get rewarded for it.

Kevin said there is an open app dev challenge coming up with $5,000 in prizes and there is another contest with same prize money. These are in OpenNTF.org. Jane McGonigal next spoke. Her recent book is, Reality is Broken, and it covers her topic in more depth. She said there are 1 billion gamers in the world who spend over an hour a day gaming online. She said this is good news. Over three hundred million minutes are spent each day on Angry Birds. The average Call of Duty player spends a work month a year playing. Many players called in sick when a new release came out.

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the WorldIn contrast 71% of workers are not engaged in their work. This costs companies 300 million annually as well as lack of innovation. Gaming can be used to get the right engagement. The engagement economy is about unlocking the energy put into gaming. For example 100 million hours went into Wikipedia. This is only 7 days of the time spent on Call to Duty playing. If you can put this time to work on world problems or company challenges much can be done.  You want mass participation. Girls are catching up to boys in gaming hours and 92% of two year olds are playing games on their parents’ devices.

She showed ten positive emotions that people get from gaming. They are in order: creativity, contentment, awe and wonder, excitement, curiosity, pride, surprise, love, relief, and joy. These positive emotions have a great impact on how we solve problems. These positive emotions can overcome stress. There is science backing this up. She has a site – show me the science – to give access to the studies. For example, children who play games score higher on tests of creativity.

Gamers spend 80% of their time failing but they are willing to hang in there to succeed. Studies show that ADHD symptoms seen to disappear when people are gaming. Also cooperation is enhanced through collaborative gamers. Gamers with autism show higher social awareness when doing multi-player gamers. Gamers can outperform drugs on the treatment of depression. Games make us resilient and more likely to get going until you succeed.  She showed some great pictures of gamers in action and focused on their tasks.

She said that the opposite of play is not work but depression. If you can put play into work people will perform much better. She showed brain images of active gamers vs those watching them. The active players have much more active brain images.  This is especially true for the area, hippocampus, where new learning takes place. These changes are lasting.

One project turned to the game, Farmville, to transfer the participation in an actual city garden. They got a 400% increase in participation. I certainly agree that making work into play gets better results. People doing their passions do not retire. When I was developing training programs for businesses in the 80s, including IBM, I always tried to introduce a game aspect with simulation. This could occur in a computer-based game or a classroom situation.  It shortened the required training time and increased perform at the end of the experience and then again on the job.  This was especially true if you could bring the learning tools back to job to help with the work.


 Updated Feb 2, 2013: Added full video of this session below – enjoy, especially the rockstars – at the beginning and throughout! :)

Watch live streaming video from ibmsoftware at livestream.com

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Reinventing the Inbox – Ed Brill

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: Reinventing the Inbox with Ed Brill, Director, Social Business & Collaboration, IBM.

I first meet Ed Brill in person at the 2011 Lotusphere. He remembered our phone interview six year earlier when I was collecting cases for blog book. Here is that interview: Blog Cases from 2005: Ed Brill on IBM, Collaboration, and More.

Before I get into the session I want to mention, Ed’s excellent new book, Opting In: Lessons in Social Business from a Fortune 500 Product Manager. I had a chance to preview the first few chapters. As I wrote in response to this preview:

Opting In is an important book that takes social business beyond external marketing to provide practical guidance on how to drive significant business value through enhancing human interactions within the enterprise.

McKinsey’s research has demonstrated many quantified benefits here and Ed shows you how to realize them. I look forward to reading the rest of the book.

Ed runs product management for messaging, collaboration, and unification products. The two big new things this year are improvements to existing apps through Social Notes 9.0 and IBM docs.  Ed said that email has become dysfunctional and needs to be transformed.

Adding social capabilities will greatly increase its efficiency and I would certainly agree. Some of the content that used to be in broadcast emails has already moved to social apps for good reason. But there needs to be changes to email itself. This is happening in several ways.

There is embedded experience so that email alerts can come into other apps you are working on. You can respond to the email without leaving the other app. Another major change that is coming is to use analytics to prioritize your mail so the most relevant messages come to the top of the email inbox, replacing the simple chronological order that has been standard for some time.

There could be several different types of filters for this prioritization such as skills, team membership, location, or relevance to a project you are working on. Ed said that one challenge will be getting people to trust the prioritization.

Within IBM as an organization, Connections has replaced the portal as the first place people go. Now you can have mail within Connections so you do not have to leave it. There is also a discovery engine that teaches people how to use the new features. One capability I really like, is the ability to act on a message directly. For example, you might get a request from HR in an email that requires using an HR app. You can respond to the request directly in the email without having to go to the app.

I have covered IBM Connections in depth recently on this blog (see IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities). For this post I spoke with Suzanne Livingston, Senior Product Manager for Connections on the 4.0 release. I have covered Connections a number of times before (see for example, Review of IBM Connections 3.0 and IBM Connections: Analytics + Social).

Ed talked a bit about activity streams as they also have this embedded ability to respond to requests from apps. Email and activity streams are now two parallel communication channels. Activity streams are for public information, as many people can see them. Ed said they can be useful for discovering new information. Email remains the channel for private communication. It is still necessary but some of its uses have moved to better tools. Here is a list of features for Notes 9.0 from the IBM product page.

  • Provides an easy-to-use, single point of access to everything you need to get your work done quickly, including business applications, email, calendars, feeds, and more.
  • Lets you tailor your work environment with widgets that bring social communities that are important to your job, both within the enterprise and across the Internet, right into your peripheral view.
  • Enables you to work with people right at the point of context with social tools weaved into the work experience, allowing you to pivot to the tool you need, such as business cards, presence awareness, instant messaging, and more.
  • Helps you quickly locate the people and content you need through integrated access to social tools from IBM Connections and IBM Lotus Quickr® software, including profiles, activities, team places, and content libraries.
  • Offers advanced replication technology to enable you to work with email and applications even when disconnected from the network.

Sometimes changes to becoming more social can have unintended consequences. For example, Ed mentioned a CEO who started a blog to more directly communicate with his workforce and allow for two-way exchanges that email messages did not promote.  Employees were so pleased to have a communication channel with the CEO that many comment threads got pushed into topics unrelated to his post. So he set up a second app, called the Speaker’s Corner, to allow for these comments. This allowed his first blog to stay more on topic.

Ed said that Notes use remains very active. In fact, many clients who let their Notes licenses expire are coming back. The added social features are one driver of this re-engagement.

IBM Docs also has integrated social features. You can open a document and invite others to collaborate on it in real time. In
traditional word processing you designate a file name and place it in a file structure. It is document oriented. IBM Docs is more people oriented. You open a document and place in a location such as a team workspace within Connections, not an abstract file structure.

Then others can be invited into this workspace. I see this people orientation as a great improvement and one of the shortcomings of MS Word and SharePoint. IBM Docs can work in the cloud as IBM SmartCloud Docs is a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents. Here is a sample screen is on the right.

Notes can also be in the cloud. 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.

There is also extensive mobile support including client and client-less (HTTP, browser based) access options and seamless
network connectivity as you roam. There is optimized network utilization to reduce data transmission and connection costs. Notes Mobile Connect also supports a wide range of device types – mobile, desktop, laptop – for security-rich connection into business infrastructure. It is nice to see that Notes in alive and well and entering the social age. This move should ensure its longevity.

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Tuesday Opening Session

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. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012. Bob Piccano, IBM General Manager led the opening session. The theme was the rise of social business – moving from liking to leading. These notes are real time so please forgive any typos.

Bob Piccano opened the session. He mentioned that this was the 20th year at this conference.   He has moved to a new post that includes leading the big data efforts across IBM.  He introduced Adam Klaber, Managing Partner, New Markets, who is working on big data among other things. IBM is moving from systems of transaction to systems of engagement. This has major transformation implications. I have written about this a bit (see for example, Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions and Integrating Transactions and Interactions: A Fable).

Adam said that customers are leading the conversations that define brands. Partners are interacting to accelerate business value. Employees are using social media in all aspects of the their lives, including work. Organizations are crowdsourcing ideas to bring better solutions.

Adam mentioned the four I’s: Interact, Inform, Integrate, and Innovate. Each builds on the other. This shift is enabled by technology supported social interactions. They are releasing a study on how companies are moving forward in social. Over half of the organizations are shifting their investments to social technology. They are also looking at the cultural change. IBM is doing more than technology but also helping with the social change. They have formed a cross-disciplinary group on front office transformation and a center of competence in this space. He moved to client examples in healthcare, retail, and government. He began with healthcare.

All of these cases make use of IBM Connections. I have covered IBM Connections in depth recently (see IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities). For this post I spoke with Suzanne Livingston, Senior Product Manager for Connections on the 4.0 release. I have covered Connections a number of times before (see for example, Review of IBM Connections 3.0 and IBM Connections: Analytics + Social).

Dan Pelino came out to discuss healthcare and the other cases. There is now a huge increase of people getting healthcare benefits in the US.  Thirty million new people are coming into the system. It is the largest single change for any industry. It will change everything including the use of technology.

Dan began with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. I was a subscriber of this Blue Cross for years when I lived in Cambridge until I recently moved back to New Orleans. Bill Fandrich, the CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts spoke. They have been dealing with universal coverage since 2006 when Massachusetts passed the first laws in this area. When they started today’s smart phones were not in the market, yet these devices are now the primary ways members access their benefits.

There is now a new paradigm, out pacing Moore’s law on change with growth of over 45% per year. The real question is whether they are getting insights from the massive amounts of data or is this just an expense. There is now coverage for 411,000 uninsured residents and only 1.9% remain uninsured. Blue Cross is the glue that connects members and providers. They look at all the touch points in the process.  They keep a 360 view of their members to provide better care at less cost. They want to provide more personalized health care. I have received calls on some of the issues he raised.

Next, Maree Foti, HR manager at David Jones, a department store in Australia, spoke. They have 36 stores with 8,000 employees. They are the oldest department store still on their original name.  They started a working group to have more two-way communication with employees. They needed a platform with two-communication, anywhere, anytime while complimenting existing infrastructure. They started a pilot of IBM Connections with 1,000 employees. They have 65% take up in three months. There are also behavioral changes.

Usage is strong with 64% accessing the system several times a week. More than 55% believe it will enhance two-way communication. The top three benefits: increased knowledge of the firm, more direct link to leadership team, and a greater sense of community and collaboration. Her three top tips: bring the platform to life for users, focus on content, content, content; and engage champions at all levels of the business.  Moving forward their focus is changing to find ways to obtain business benefits. They want to create a platform for social business.

Dan next introduced the government example. Municipalities affect how we live so better participation in good for everyone. Jeff Rhoda, General Manager, IBM spoke. We are all touched by government. The issues that have been discussed all apply to government: big data, collaboration, analytics, cloud, and mobile. For example, police can use analytics to predict where crimes will occur to prevent them before they happen. I have seen the TV commercial about this.

Dan introduced Mike Van Milligen from the city of Dubuque to discuss how they engaged citizens to help with local challenges. They have come back from population loss and economic downturn to create a growing community that is sustainable. They use smarter technologies to give new information to citizens and business to save money. If you give people the right information, they will make smarter decisions. Water was the first example. Thee hundred volunteer households were given a portal looking at water use. It resulted in a 7% reduction in water use and 800% increase in water leak detection. The also did a smarter electricity study with over 1,000 participants. They received a 4 – 7% cost savings in electricity. Over 70% took actions to converse electricity. The state officials in Iowa are looking at these projects for state-wide use. Next, they are wrapping up a smarter travel study. They are developing better bus routes.

Mike said the lessons include:

  • Incremental change is best
  • Synthesize and analyze large amounts of data from unrelated and unstructured sources
  • Reach people on through multiple channels

They are focused in creating a sustainable model for cites under 200,000 people where 40% of the US population lives. They revamped their riverfront. They have a population of 60,000 but 3 million live within a 100 miles.

Dan concluded the three part case examples and Bob came back to wrap up the morning session. He began an architectural discussion with systems of record. There are now machine-to-machine interactions. At the top end of the stack you have systems of engagement.  A big data platform links the two. Content is curated and made useful for analytics and subsequent decisions. They are releasing a new version of IBM Social Analytics, formerly known as Cognos. It will be available on a SaaS model. The platform allows big data to be used at the point of impact.  There is interaction data, attitudinal data, behavioral data, and more.  An airline manufacturer saved 36 million in shorter service calls, another client process 17 billion bits of data on a daily basis. They have now 300 business partners in this space and have released their Stored IQ product.

 

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Creating a Smarter Workforce – Panel

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: Creating a Smarter Workforce with Rudy Karsan, CEO, Kenexa, an IBM Company; Jonathan Ferrar, VP Strategy & Product Management, Smarter Workforce, IBM; and Tim Geisert, CMO, Kenexa, an IBM Company.

It was asked why Kenexa decided to be acquired.

Rudy mentioned the opportunity to change the world with IBM support. The IBM name and capabilities allows them to go beyond what they could do on their own.

It was asked about the recruiting process. 

Rudy mentioned KSA (knowledge skills, and attributes).  These dimensions are the traditional ones used by HR. Now a fourth dimension is culture. As an example, for culture issues, they can look at all the data points to see predictive factors for profitability and then what is driver of these sales. For example, at AMC movie theaters it was popcorn sales and the manager was the major driver of popcorn sales. So they can look at how the manager can drive sales to spread the activities of the successful ones.

Home Depot ran three tests for their on-the-ground store personnel. One was the IBM-Kenexa model and it led to significant increases in revenues per sales person. The approach of the sales people was a driver here. The big data also said that the number one driver of turnover was the length of commute of the employee.  It took a big data look to discover this, even though it makes sense. How you handle this is tricky so you are not discriminatory and subject to law suits. One approach is to raise the commuting issue and let recruits self-select.

The benefit for the employee is having a better chance to find a meaningful job. This discussion has helped people find work that is meaningful to them. Many people are unsure about what they want to do. The tools can help with channeling into the right work and then succeeding. The tools are not perfect but predictors.

It was asked about the fact that people do not always give honest answers to interviews.

Rudy said there are authentication steps but it is not precise. The tools are to help people make better decisions, not eliminate people and make decisions for them. Their model can predict which people will stay at up to 95% reliability. This helps with workforce planning. It also helps identify issues before they happen and make corrections.

A case example was given where a company was having trouble filling some key jobs.

Kenexa came in and interviewed. They found that this was seen more as a transition job.  So they needed to find people who wanted a transition job.  They filled the jobs in 6 weeks that had been open for 6 months. The people are still with the company in different positions.

Behavioral science has changed in the last 15 years. If you can provide people with more awareness about the job, the more likely they are to stay. You need to better empower people to make decisions. They are introducing not just smarter HR but smarter workforce. We are helping people better self-manage their own tools.

Social learning with Connections and Kenexa was the next topic. 

Rather than connecting people in a room, a company used Connections for virtual social learning around product development. It led to more collaboration and brought a new product to market sooner. This occurred because it tapped into a wider portion of the company so there was some crowd sourcing.

It was asked does data only give you correlation or can you find causation?

The big data science can look at what likely causes the correlation. Then you can move to validation to find causation.

Rudy said at the end of the day the smarter workforce is about the individual.

People do want to be better.  However, they distrust corporations since they see them only interested in profits.  These tools do help people become more engaged because they feel more connected to the company.

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

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. Here is a summary of my notes for 2012 and 2011. These notes cover the Monday Session: Four Major Trends Shaping Social Business in 2013 and Beyond with Beverly Macy, CEO of Gravity Summit LLC & Huffington Post Columnist; Mark Fidelman, CEO of Evolve! & Forbes.com Columnist; and Sandy Carter, VP, Social Business Sales.  Here is my review of Mark’s new book, Socialized.

Mark said that being precise is hard these days but trends can be seen. Mark reviewed the four trends they will discuss. He then asked Sandy how marketing in the social age is different. She said that IBM sees social moving beyond marketing. For example, one firm is using social to capture ideas from a retiring employees. IBM is leveraging influencers on Twitter and other social media to help with their messages.

Mark asked Beverly if we still need a CIO? She said yes. In fact, the cloud will be bringing more work back into IT. Many companies are having trouble dealing with the idea that social will effect all areas. There is a lot to manage. How will different departments engage with each other? How does a tweet that needs answering get routed to the right people within the enterprise? What are the legal aspects? Are you allowed to tweet about your work on the weekend?

Mark asked Sandy about influence marketing. She said that 20% of your customers influence your other customers and 15% of your employees influence what everyone else thinks about the company. Word of mouth is more trusted than traditional marketing. Over 90% of people trust their friends. She gave the example of Mark as influencer. If she can get him excited about an IBM idea or product, he might tweet to thousands of people.

Mark asked Beverly if firms should get rid of traditional marketing. She said no. Traditional marketing still works. Influencer marketing is an amplifier. Traditional marketing should not be abandoned but still need the influencer marketing.

Sandy said they worked with an investment bank and identified their influencers. They built a relationship with an influencer and got him to recommend their offerings. Beverly said that social has come into traditional marketing like Twitter hashtags on TV ads. Sandy said there are three groups to reach; digital natives, digital immigrants, and those who use traditional means. Now you need to reach all three but over time everyone will be digital natives.

Mark asked Beverly about how big data can help sales. She said that big data have been around a while but what is new is the social data. It provides context to traditional big data. She said that predictive analytics will become much better at focusing sales.

Mark wondered why more people are not on Twitter. Beverly said you still have a lot of non-digital people in sales.  Sandy said that sales analytics can be very useful on Twitter. Sentiment analysis is useful. Are findings a trend or a fad? One European energy drink company saw their image shrink. Michelle Obama had said that energy drinks are a source of childhood obesity. This will be a trend that may last since she has great influence.

The Obama campaign used predictive analytics. They interviewed likely voters and profiled them. The tested messages at the door and on the phone and fine tuned them. They also used influencers. There is much more. Sandy said the Obama campaign used mobile very well and 68% of social is done on mobile.

Beverly said that people do not take smoke breaks any more but they take Facebook breaks on their own smart phone.  She gave the example of a person getting a coupon for a store as they walk pass it. Some people may find this spooky but they can opt out. Others will find it useful.

Sandy said that on a clothes store has an automated tracker on the cloths hanger that says how many people liked the item. In Asia they have pictures of the product on the subways. You can take your phone and take a picture of the product and order it and/or recommend it.

Beverly said there was dating service that would cause your phone to go off when you walked by someone else on the service with a similar profile. They had to turn it off because it caught too many married people who were secretly on the dating service.

Mark told the story about a father who discovered his daughter was pregnant because she was getting baby ads from Target based on their analytics. Sandy said that younger people see less separation between work and their personal life so there will be less issues about privacy. Beverly said security will also get better even as the concerns might decrease.

Sandy said 57% of social business efforts fail because of adoption issues. So they worked with clients to create ten steps to succeed in adoption. Changing culture is one. Another is how to get buy-in. Then how do you sustain engagement? Gamification can help. One company used gamification to bring back customers who had gone to a competitor.

Beverly said the hard part is changing entrenched old school culture to accept social. This is as big as Six Sigma as a transformation.

Mark asked Beverly if most CEOs will need to be social within five years? Beverly said boards will be looking at the digital footprint of candidates to evaluate them. To succeed CEOs will have to become social. They will need help. Beverly said that this can be a role for the CIO and enable them to become more strategic.

Sandy talked about the IBM Social Business Agenda. It includes:

Align organizational goals and culture

Gain social trust

Engage through experiences

Network your business processes

Design for reputation and risk management

Analyze your data

Mark asked what can companies to do with the skill gaps in social? Beverly said it starts with education. They need to become strategic. Companies have to make a commitment. She is concerned that there will be a major skills gap and not enough people with the right skills. Companies are going to start hiring but they may not find enough skilled people. Also, companies will look more at individual’s Klout score to rate them and determine how much service they get.

Mark about what to do with people who say they will not go social. Sandy said that some companies have used gamification to move the resisters. Mark asked about the difference in cultures between IBM and Apple. Beverly compared that Coke has never had a spokesperson and Pepsi is very personality driven. Either strategy can work. Apple is now suffering from being icon driven and the lost of their icon. Sandy said the employees are the best marketers. You need employee engagement to get client engagement. IBM has been very open to letting their employees speak for the firm. I wrote about this issue last year (see Why Apple Needs to be More Like IBM), as did Mark (see Why Every Company Needs To Be More Like IBM And Less Like Apple).

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Monday Morning Press Q&A

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 are real time so please forgive any typos.

These notes cover the Monday morning press Q&A with Mike Rhodin, IBM Senior Vice President, Software Solutions Group; Alistair Rennie, IBM General Manager, Social Business; Craig Hayman, General Manager Industry Solutions, and Rudy Karsen, CEO, Kenexa – an IBM company.

Mike began by talking about big data. Traditional data processing had a set order. Now we need to be more flexible and adaptive based on what we learn from analytics looking at big data. This capability has to be woven into everything that is done in the workplace. Supporting employee engagement is key as it leads to better customer experiences and increased revenue. Computers need to be taught rather than programmed so they can continue to learn, like Watson.

Alistair continued with more social business opportunities. IBM found that 82% of CMOs plan to increase spending on social media. IDC has ranked IBM as number 1 in the social business market for the past three years. They now have an employee experience suite to go along with their customer experience suite. The next release of Connections will have greater integration with enterprise content, as well as content outside the enterprise at sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Rudy and Craig joined the group as it was open to questions:

The first one was on roles within IBM.

Senior VP ranks above General Manager.  Mike has four General managers reporting to him including Alistair and Craig.

It was next asked about learning, OutStart, and Kenexa which also led to their acquisition strategy.  

I like that a Boston based firm worked with OutStart on their blog before the Kenexa acquisition. IBM sees great capability here to integrate into their efforts. They had already started work in this area even before the acquisition. Connections will connect with the Kenexa 2x platform.

Rudy explained how their survey capability can be used for talent management. First they survey to find key managers. Then they use these characteristics to develop an assessment model for all potential managers. He      said the survey business is evolving.  On one hand it is getting less complex and on the other big data makes things complicated.

Mike said that social and analytics are interconnected. This is part of the excitement of the Kenexa acquisition. Mike said there will be more acquisitions in his Solutions Group. They are looking a lot at front office digitalization. Here are more of Mike’s ideas on acquisitions and convergence.

Craig gave an example of how the capabilities of different firms they are acquired are interwoven. Mike said they are looking to provide a single integrated solution. Customers often have to go to many different vendors to solve their business problems. IBM wants to provide total solutions. They also want these solutions to be flexible and draw on many options, including those from other vendors or open source.

It was asked about how stricter privacy laws in Europe affect the analytics.

Rudy said they use different capabilities to adapt to country laws. They also centralize the data to keep individual data private. Craig said that all of their acquisitions are in the leadership quadrants in their space. Mike said they have been very careful in their acquisitions. They do not want to give up best of breed to have integrations.

It was asked about the competitive landscape in the social space.

There are start-ups such as Jive, Yammer, Box that have gained mind-share. Mike said many of these companies offer a “freemium” model to gain market share. IBM has ranked number one in revenue for the past several years. Many of these tools are standalone tools. IBM is building an integrated platform and they are unique in this goal. Craig added that many IBM partners are building Connections integrations.   AppFusions is one of these with integrations with Atlassin JIRA with Connections and SameTime.

It was asked about the fit of IBM products and Connections for smaller organizations.

Craig gave an example, the marketing center that was shown this morning. The marketing center runs in the cloud. There is no software and hardware to install. This makes it easier for small businesses. IBM is making money in this business. Mike said this is the key metric of success.

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Opening Session

Updated Feb 2/2/2013: Added recorded video at bottom of post, if you want to see it in complete!


This is the first in a series of notes on IBM Connect 2013.  I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years thanks to IBM’s support.  Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012.  These notes are real time so please forgive any typos.

Alistair Rennie, IBM General Manager led the opening session which began with a very loud and good rock band. They said this was the earliest performance in 30 years. The band was They Might Be Giants.

Alistar asked if we were awake after the performance.  This is the twentieth year of Lotusphere.   In the next 20 years IBM is going to focus on how to empower people.  I was at the 2000 Lotusphere with a client presenting one of the first SameTime and Quickplace implementations with Ryder.

He then introduced the actor, Joseph Gordon Levitt who started a web site, HitRecord.org, to promote creativity. You can upload music and videos. Then anyone can download it and build on the creation. This is to promote collaboration.  One of the videos was A man with a turnip for his head.   The moral was live with what you have and do not try to hide it.

They have created a positive community around the site.  This is counter to what happens sometimes in Hollywood.   It was started by Joseph and his brother it started slow and positive.   He rewarded good work, rather than trash stuff.   It makes people feel good and willing to put their art on the site.   He also said much creativity is built on past work.   So people need to let go of their sense of ownership, at HitRecord.org when you upload material,  you give others the non-exclusive right to build on it.   For example, “A man with a turnip for his head” was a poem.   Gary Oldman read the poem and they took audio and put it on the site.

Then he requested the community to make illustrations, then another request was made for an animated film based on the narrative and the winning illustration. Then he asked for music and that was added. 29 different people contributed and they contribute the profits to this group.  They have about 150,000 members. At each step members vote on everything, including how much each contributor should get.

Alistair took a video of the crowd to contribute to HitRecord.org. He said “The site is a great living laboratory for collaboration”.  He then talked about being a member of bike riding community. There is an online community to support their efforts and other riding groups. Looking at what others are doing, encouraging them to start performing better. Community plus competition can drive performance.  Getting everyone involved is key. Connection is key. I would add that application integration is an important part of this connection.

The IBM Social Business Platform is now licensed by 60% of the Fortune 500. This platform was featured next. Sandy Carter and Jeff Schick demonstrated the social platform. Sandy said that social is a life style change.  So IBM did both technology and a methodology.   Now they have introduced a best practice adoption program.

Luis Benitez showed how a sales manager can be supported to run his team. He built a sales hub for his sales team community using out-of-the-box capabilities. Their content “gets social” to obtain the collective wisdom of their group. There is multi-way video for conversations available for laptops and tablets.

Next, an interactive table top by Foresee, where you can see and manipulate the content through multiple means including drawing on the table. You can drag people into the team and then provide them with guidance.

Luis next showed Notes 9.0 Social Edition that combines mail with social. Email messages can be made social. File Sync allows you to integrate with iPad, Mac, Windows, etc. IBM Docs will allow multiple users to edit docs at the same time.

Sandy said that an IBM study found 57% of CEOs believe social is a key driver. One senior exec said social revealed one company’s culture. Connections will have another release, as will SameTime.  Everything will be available in the Cloud. They also have Adoption Services & Strategies along with Customer Council.

Bosch’s use of social was the next topic. Their CIO spoke. Bosch offers automotive, industrial, and consumer products. I had a Bosch dishwasher, washer, and dryer recently and they were the best examples of those appliances I have owned.  They promote collaboration and diversity through a social business strategy. IBM Connections is their platform for this company wide collaboration. They started with pilots, but will open it to everyone soon. Community managers are key to success for this to work.

Craig Hayman next spoke about Steam-punk, a new trend. They found this using social analytics. Customer experience is more important than ever before. You need to turn them into advocates by listening for what they want and then acting on it. For example, 50% of customers are using mobile devices in stores. Social analytics were demonstrated using a climbing gear company, Greenwell Sports, case example. I am very familiar with this space as my daughter is the Editor of Alpinist Magazine. There is a lot of gear talk in this space and much discussion on the Web. The firm using Facebook, Twitter, and other means to link back to the right gear on their site. It has resulted in huge increases in sales. They built a community around canyoneering with Connections.

ING is a company that looks at where abandonment occurs and built in remedies. Expedia and Shop.ca, did the same thing. Jeff Bowman from Caterpillar next spoke. Now customers often start online. This undermines their traditional face-to-face selling approach. So now they are adding social online to remain competitive.

Social recruiting was next covered to demonstrate some of the Kenexa capabilities. The applicant starts with an assessment. Then analytics are used to find the best match. Once selected an on-boarding portal streamlines the process. There are collaborative social learning experiences to share expertise. The many resources that are available are easy to find.  Questions can have a video context to better explain what is needed and get better answers.

Mike Rhodin spoke next. He said it is the 11th time he has spoken here. Introducing Neil Armstrong was his best experience.  IBM now works as social enterprise. I have interviewed Mike on a number of occasions and really appreciate his big picture thinking. He said that big data is allowing us to see patterns that were not thought of before. This is allowing businesses to transform and re-invent themselves. They can target individuals rather than simply segments. Mike said that analytics is key and I could not agree more. Social opens up content to be mined through analytics. Mike said analytics is the new language of business and IBM is investing heavily here.

I am about to run out of power so I will post now.  More later.


Updated Feb 2/2/2013: Here’s the video of the Opening Session – Day 1!

Watch live streaming video from ibmsoftware at livestream.com

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

The Business of Social Business Report: What Works and How It’s Done

IBM has released a new report, “The Business of Social Business: What Works and How It’s Done” based on their survey of 1,160 business and IT professionals.  In it, it concludes that companies at the forefront of the new connected enterprise movement are:

… doing more than developing a presence on major social platforms.

A social business embeds social technologies into core business processes, and then applies the technologies to drive customer-facing activities such as lead generation, sales and post-sales service.

I could not agree more (see for example, Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions). For social business to truly be an enterprise operation, it needs to take in the old with the new. In today’s world, “rip and replace” is not always the right solution for many reasons, especially since it may not be cost-effective or practical given the current state of the business.

Instead, companies need to think beyond the “buy new” solution only – and complement it so that transactions and the interactions around them are simply “connected”. Application integration is a key to achieving this goal (on a related note: The Business Value of Application Connectors).

The integration of social capabilities in applications has been a key component of IBM’s business strategy and I, and of course AppFusions, are very supportive of this effort (see for example, Talking About Social Business with IBM at SXSW).

What’s key is that you’ve got to get the systems of engagement (the social business) talking to the systems of record (the enterprise applications). With social technologies you have to be aligned with a business problem. I never saw a knowledge management system that was not business process aligned succeed.

You’ve got to be able to align the enterprise social business tools with a business process and business process tools. They must all work together. They must have value, they must be able to solve a business problem, and this is tactic that IBM has taken.

IBM found that while 46% of the surveyed organizations increased their investments in social technologies in 2012, only 22% believed that managers are prepared to incorporate social tools and approaches into their daily practices. In addition, over 60% of respondents were not sure they sufficiently understood the impact that social technologies would have on their organizations over the next three years.

Kevin Curtis, Vice President and Global Leader Social Business and Mobility Services, IBM Global Business Services is quoted:

Businesses are struggling to make sense of the vast amount of data generated from social networks. To transform a vision into a reality, executive leadership must guide middle management on the value of being a social business, and build company-wide support for the use of social practices across organizational functions.

IBM offers a plan to overcome the concerns about engagement and return on investment they found.

First, there must be an infrastructure for engagement including activity streams, forums, team-rooms and collaborative spaces. Once these capabilities are in place, social practices should be integrated into day-to-day work activities. This is key.

Next, the organization must also create the capability to understand where and how data generation could benefit the enterprise.

Finally, employees need to be taught how to collaborate effectively with individuals outside of the organization’s boundaries, using social business methods and tools. As McKinsey noted, higher operating margins than competitors correlated with a willingness to allow the formation of working teams comprising both in-house employees and individuals outside the organization.

IBM concludes that a properly executed social business plan can lead to significant benefits. Organizations will be able to integrate and analyze massive amounts of data generated from people, devices and sensors. Then they can more easily align these insights to business processes to make faster, more accurate business decisions. Finally, by:

gaining deeper insights in customer and market trends and employees’ sentiment, businesses can uncover critical patterns to not only react swiftly to market shifts, but predict the effect of future actions.

There is a big pay off here.

This year McKinsey projected that effective use of social technologies in the coming years could potentially contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value just across the four sectors of consumer packaged goods, retail financial services, advanced manufacturing, and professional service. (Download report.)

More value lies elsewhere. It is an exciting time to involved in social technologies. Making this potential happen is the challenge and the IBM study offers some very useful guidance. For more information on IBM’s Study, or to review the related webinar on demand, go here.


AppFusions is exhibiting/demoing our new Atlassian to IBM integrations with IBM Connections and IBM Sametime at IBM Connect 2013 (Jan. 27 – Jan. 31, 2013). We will also be covering the event daily on this blog beginning Jan. 28. Hope to see you there!

Success with Social in Business: Review of Socialized! by Mark Fidelman

Happy New Year! Thought we’d start out the New Year with a power hitter on demystifying the wild world of social media – that is, for business.

What’s the tricks,  the secrets, the behind the scene aspects, and a whole slew of other obvious and not so obvious nuances that we think are good and godly advice in this  social marketing entrenched world that we all live in. Whether you like it, agree with it, do it, or not – one thing is sure: it’s here to stay, so we’d suggest, get on the train, or the train will leave the depot (or has already) without you!

To do this, AppFusions (and in particular me – Bill) was fortunateto receive a review copy of Mark Fidelman’s new book Socialized!  How the World’s Most Successful Businesses Are Harnessing the Power of Social. Mark is a a Forbes blogger and seasoned executive with many years and experience in the industry of social business. (More information on the book is also here.)

Mark Fidelman

In this very useful book, Mark presents the strategies and tactics of the world’s best social business organizations, including IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, Google, JetBlue, and several small businesses.

Mark also offers a playbook that businesses can use today to make effective use of social business practices. In fact, McKinsey has predicted that there is over a trillion dollars in benefits waiting for those organizations who properly use social business practices so this is a worthwhile goal to pursue.

The book includes how to create and nurture a high performing “digital village” or internal social network. It also offers ways to connect with your “digital network” and build a community of brand advocates. It then includes how to manage a sales and marketing funnel with a social wrapper.

I asked Mark what motivated Mark to write the book?  He replied:

The majority of senior executives I meet are feeling a stinging sense of urgency that their businesses must adopt a true social business model if they are to remain relevant, sustainable and profitable.  However, most simply don’t know how to go about it.

I wrote Socialized! to give businesses a roadmap for capturing the power of social inside the organization and out.

Mark makes the very important point that successful social business starts inside your organization.

With the initial emphasis on social media marketing, this has often been overlooked as a crucial step toward social business success.

  • First, there are many internal efficiencies that can be realized by socializing business processes and these are part of the trillion that McKinsey counts.  Putting social media to work inside the organization is a topic I have often discussed (see, for example, Giving Social Media a Good Job).
  • Second, a focus on external social business alone, without an internal social business component, will not make the necessary transformation of the business culture to realize both the external and internal benefits. This crucial link is often coined/termed: “social business”.

There’s much debate out there on what’s the difference between ‘social business’ and ‘enterprise 2.0’, in terms of terms (for example, here on Quora) – and we won’t go into that debate here, but in short, both are about collaboration, bringing it together: people, systems, and processes, whether internal  external, or both.

Mark provides ten rules that are essential to build a culture achieve a closely connected business culture, or, as he refers to it, a “digital village.”  Developing this digital village mentality allows for the creation and sharing of critical content across the enterprise. Aspects include: employees, management, operations, processes, workflow, technology, strategy, standards, and governance. It requires the updating of structures, processes, and workflow and making the investments to ensure these efforts succeed.

I am glad that Mark includes technology. Too often, people say, “well, it is not about the technology, but the people.”

Actually it is about both. For the connected enterprise or digital village to work, you certainly have to have the right culture in place. AND you also have to have the applications integrated so there are actually connections within the digital workflow. This second fact is often overlooked and then you end up with a bunch of frustrating silos.

Mark offers eight requirements for the digital village. These include developing a code of conduct and realigning the village to make it a social environment. Then you need to deploy social platforms to support the infrastructure of the digital village.

This is where application integration comes into play. Now you can leverage the collective intelligence of the village. To make it real you also need training and a more human focus to HR.

Finally, analytics need to be put into place to gauge the health of the digital village and make adjustments. Benefits need to be spread across the organization.

Once the internal digital village is in place you can turn toward to market with a unified force. The term “markets as conversations” introduced ten years ago though the Cluetrain Maninfesto remains highly relevant. Communities become one of the main platforms for these conversations. Mark contrasts old model behavior that was centered around onward communication and the new model of actual exchanges.

I asked Mark, “What are the most critical things for organizations do to become socialized in an effective way?”

He replied with the following three points.

  • Connect and empower thought leaders.  ” I can’t emphasize enough that traditional marketing is dead.  Your customers don’t trust your advertising as much as they do the individuals they have been following for years, so make it a priority to build reciprocal relationships with influencers.   Once you’ve connected with them, you can work together to talk about the pains your customer community is experiencing, which your product can solve.”
  • Build or join an external community.  “Building an external community around your brand is one of the most powerful things you can do to positively impact sales, create goodwill, and generate ideas. It’s also an effective feedback vehicle. Imagine thousands of people discussing topics related (and sometime unrelated) to your products every day.Your community is answering support questions, helping other members with career aspirations, or just networking.  If your brand or product does not yet have enough authority to build a community around it, and if there is already a robust and thriving community where your customers are hanging out, then by all means join it. If your competitor is running it, you’ll need to create a community around another subject related to your product.”
  • Build internal online communities. “To support an adaptive organization, employees need to connect, share, and expand on ideas. This is a critical part of becoming a more social, adaptive organization. Employees must have the ability to share insight with each other easily and visibly. Imagine a professional sports team that doesn’t practice or share information about the opposing team. Indeed, imagine a sports team that doesn’t review its game tape. How effective would they be long term?”

There is much more including the rise of the social employee and a playbook to support and engage this employee.

The book is rich in practical examples and guidelines. I certainly recommend it to anyone embarking on a social business program.

Check it out for yourself on Amazon here!