IBM kicks off Lotusphere 2012 with a focus on social business, as actor Michael J. Fox tells the audience how important community and online collaboration have been for him.
ORLANDO, Fla. - IBM kicked off
Lotusphere 2012 today, with a general session that demonstrated the many uses,
benefits and faces of social business.
This year's Lotusphere and Connect
conferences underscored the importance of socially-enabling business
processes-from the three-song set by Ok Go-a band whose success was partially
fueled by the popularity of its award-winning videos on YouTube-to actor
Michael J. Fox and social media's ability to help him reach many who suffer
from or have family inflicted by Parkinson's disease, as well as presentations
from health care professionals who are using collaborative tools to save lives
and improve patient care.
Through their investment in social-business
technologies and culture-shifts, organizations reap benefits, such as improved
customer service, faster time-to-market, the creation of new ideas and
products, and the ability to share knowledge across workgroups, geographies and
industries, said Alistair Rennie, general manager of IBM Collaboration
"There's an endless list of really
specific use-cases," he told the packed conference room at Walt Disney World's
Dolphin Hotel in Orlando. "Social business is a competitive differentiator. In
five years, will we still think social is new? It doesn't matter. We will be
talking about, enjoying and delivering the benefits of completely new ways of
working. At least the people that win will be. The winners don't just tend to
win; they change the landscape along the way."
Some of those organizations already
transforming their operations include Bayer Material Science, a global
corporation that sometimes found separate teams working on the same challenges
without any collaboration or shared insight, said Kurt De Ruwe, CIO.
"Different partners were sometimes
working on the same problem across the world, with often duplicate efforts and
no sharing," he said, noting this approach was expensive and, in a highly
competitive industry where being first-to-market can have vast financial
repercussions, extremely time-consuming.
Bayer Material Science implemented
IBM's new IBM Connections
platform, unveiled during this morning's presentation, to enable fast adoption
of collaboration and social networking, said De Ruwe. With Connections,
employees or participating partners can quickly locate subject-matter experts,
team up on projects remotely, and improve Bayer Material Science's bottom line.
The program has been so successful that Bayer plans to implement the software
companywide, he said.
"We expect to see quick adoption across
the whole of Bayer. Our people really like it: It's very easy to use and very
intuitive so people can focus on collaboration rather than focusing on finding
their way around the software. Without a simple and intuitive platform like
Connections, we would not be on the path to sustainability and change."
A partnership made up of IBM Interactive
Boston, Harvard and the Children's Hospital of Boston worked together to create
a social-media solution that could help doctors share knowledge and treat
patients remotely, said Dr. Jeffrey Burns, chief of critical care at the
hospital. By imparting and sharing general intelligence using
platform-independent tools, the hospital can team up with and help train
physicians around the world, regardless of bandwidth issues or device, he said.
"There aren't enough doctors trained in
the care of a critically ill child," said Dr. Burns. "This is an innovation to
connect doctors across the globe. It is not a panacea, but it's an
For its part, Premier Healthcare
Alliance is using social media to strengthen communications among its 2,500-member
hospitals, said Denise Hatzidakis, CTO. These tools also help members address
and meet regulatory and compliance issues, she said.
"Connected health care is becoming the
new normal," said Hatzidakis. "For patients, this means greater certainty that
they will get the most effective treatment possible. For Premier, it means
providing a platform that continues enabling our partners to be exceptional."
Actor Fox is using social media to
raise awareness, funding and support for those affected by Parkinson's disease,
he told the audience. Social media also gives individuals and organizations the
opportunity to solve problems in different, new ways, he said.
That was the case at GAD, a German
solution provider that serves financial institutions. Using IBM products, such
as WebSphere, IMS and DB2, the company created wave, a cloud-based community
for these clients.