By adding deep analytics to its social business software, IBM continues to demonstrate its ability to deliver key enhancements on top of existing solutions to make them more relevant to more users.
ORLANDO, Fla.-Leave it to IBM to
leverage its internal expertise to enhance and improve its solutions to tap
into a key business opportunity: social business.
As is typical of Big Blue, IBM went
back to its vast drawing board and has come back with a broad array of
technologies and services to help its customers become social businesses, to
further integrate social media and social networking into their everyday
working environments, and to leverage analytics to sift through all the data
coming from that social world. Just as IBM continues to reach within to find
its leaders and deliver key innovations, the company has done the same for new
technology to take its social business strategy to the next level.
"What we have is Facebook for the
enterprise, based on IBM," Jeff Schick, vice president of social software
at IBM, told eWEEK
in an interview.
At Lotusphere 2012
here, IBM unveiled new software
and services that deliver new networking capabilities to the ever increasing
social-savvy workforce. With the new offerings, IBM customers can apply
analytics to their social business initiatives, allowing them to gain
actionable insight on social networking sentiment anytime, anywhere and put it
to work in real time.
IBM looked inside for new analytics
capabilities to apply to its social business software. However, much of that "internal"
expertise was attained through acquisitions
. Over the last five
years, IBM spent more than $14 billion on analytics acquisitions to beef up the
company's portfolio of solutions and services. And Steve Mills, IBM's senior
vice president of Software and Systems, said he expects IBM to pull $16 billion in revenue from analytics by 2015
IBM announced it is delivering new software
and cloud services that bring the power of analytics to the social business:
- New social analytics software
that integrates wikis, blogs, activity streams, email, calendaring and
more, and flags relevant data for action. The new IBM Connections is expected
to also allow for instant collaboration with one simple click and the
ability to build social communities both inside and outside the
organization to increase customer loyalty and speed business results.
- The new IBM SmartCloud for
Social Business, which is expected to deliver a cloud-based productivity
suite allowing users to co-edit documents in real time, while providing
one-click access to social networking, online meetings, enterprise-class
email, calendaring and instant messaging.
- New software that integrates
social networking capabilities with enterprise content management to
better connect people with information so they can make informed decisions
and act quickly.
- New messaging and collaboration
software that brings the power of embedded experiences to the Web and
mobile devices, providing a single point of entry for all business
Schick said it all starts with
improvements coming in IBM Connections, the company's social platform that came
out of IBM's own internal experiences and started it all. In November 2010, IBM
introduced IBM Lotus Connections 3.0
, a social networking
platform with advanced analytics capabilities that helps people gain faster
insight and access to relevant information for improved productivity. That
version of the software helped users more easily connect, create global
communities, and find information and resources.
"Social business helps
organizations transform the way they work by connecting people and accelerating
decision-making," said Alistair Rennie, general manager of Social Business
at IBM, in a statement following the 2010 release. "IBM is at the
forefront of enabling social business, and driving a new generation of organizational
productivity, with a secure and compliant social collaboration platform."
Yet, on Jan. 16 at Lotusphere 2012, IBM
is announcing new cloud services and the next generation of its social
networking platform, IBM Connections, which Schick refers to as "Connections
Next." The new software incorporates sophisticated analytics capabilities,
real-time data monitoring and faster collaborative networks both inside and
outside the organization through IBM's secure SmartCloud services.
The next release of IBM Connections is
expected to include the ability to access enterprise email, calendars and
business tasks from inside the Connections platform, further unifying the
collaboration experience from a single home page, IBM said. The new Connections
landing page plans to feature a single location that allows users to view and
interact with content from any third-party solution through a social interface,
right alongside their company's content, including email and calendars, IBM
The embedded experience of the news
feed, also known as an activity stream, allows employees from any department
inside an organization to explore structured and unstructured data such as
Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, weather data, videos, log files and SAP
applications, as well as electronically sign documents and quickly act on the
data as part of their everyday work experience, IBM said.
In addition, the new Connections home
page is expected to include the ability to access email and calendar data from
IBM Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange, providing users with a consistent
collaboration experience. IBM expects the new version of Connections to be
available on-premises, in the IBM SmartCloud and on the most popular mobile