IBM last week announced at its Connect 2013 event a new software and cloud-based service to help business leaders, such as chief marketing officers and chief human resource officers, advance their organization's transformation with the adoption of social business technology. The new offerings are designed to help business leaders integrate IBM's social networking and analytics technologies into their business processes to empower the 21st Century workforce and transform client experiences.
The new social software offerings will help companies gain deeper insights into big data generated through the use of social networks. This includes connecting employees globally to empower faster decision making and analyzing big data from sources such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs and public forums, to react swiftly to customer trends and outpace competitors.
Just as social networking has flourished in the consumer realm, Forrester has identified social business as an emerging business category, with the social technology industry growing to $6.4 billion by 2016. At the same time, social media and predictive analytics have emerged as indispensable tools for CMOs, who are using technology to make the customer experience more intelligent, intuitive and individualized. According to the IBM CMO study, 82 percent of CMOs say they plan to increase their use of social media over the next three-to-five years to communicate with their clients.
As per the announcement, IBM's new software and cloud-based services include:
· A new Web-based social networking environment that provides HR leaders with a better way to recruit and onboard new employees, while giving employees access to digital media and data in real-time, enabling faster decision making.
· Software to help marketing teams design sophisticated advertising campaigns and quickly publish those campaigns to leading social networks, resulting in a consistent customer experience through every online channel.
· The next release of IBM's social networking platform will further enable users to access and analyze big data from inside and outside the organization, including Facebook, Twitter, audio and video.
· Already in beta, IBM is also announcing its plans to release the industry's first truly social email client incorporating file sharing, activity streams and a simplified user interface. This will be the first major release of Notes and Domino in five years.
Since we wanted to get a little more information on this from IBM, we had the opportunity to speak last week with Sandy Carter, IBM’s Vice President, Social Business Evangelism and Sales. Carter spoke with us while she was attending IBM Connect last week in Orlando, FL. The Connect conference was a conference-within-a-conference inside IBMsphere, which is the “renamed” Lotusphere.”
During our discussion, Carter also noted how IBM also introduced at the event the next version of its social networking platform, IBM Connections. The new software is designed to enable users to access and analyze big data from inside and outside the organization, including Facebook, Twitter, audio and video. “The way that companies adopt is a hot button for us,” Carter said, “especially as it relates to our partners and SMB customers.”
Available next month, IBM Connections 4.5 will include embedded document management capabilities so that members of a network can access, analyze and act on wide ranges of data types in the context of their work to improve decision-making and business results. IBM Connections' Content Manager feature will allow teams and communities to harness an organization’s collective intelligence to solve business problems, increase productivity, and drive profit.
IBM Connections clients have access to new social features in the cloud, including blogging and ideation in Communities and access to information. In addition, IBM Connections will include enhanced integration of social capabilities in the Microsoft Outlook client, allowing users to access their social data such as profiles, files, and communities directly in Microsoft Outlook. “If you think about our business partners today, they play an amazing role in our business, especially around social networking,” Carter said. “If you think about our partner community, it includes a host of partners that specialize in deployment and consulting on what they need to accomplish.”
Carter also discussed the company’s intention to ship IBM Notes and Domino Social Edition 9 in March 2013. IBM Notes and Domino 9 is said to be the industry's first truly social email client and delivers a social experience to users, whether using a browser or a mobile device. “Think about the way people work today, and with that being said, the newest version of Notes and Domino combines those thoughts together,” Carter said. “It is a fascinating way to transition into the social world that we are currently living in.”