IBM Announces New Software, Cloud Services for Social Business

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-01-28

IBM Announces New Software, Cloud Services for Social Business

ORLANDO, Fla. — IBM has announced new software and cloud-based services to help business leaders, such as chief marketing officers and chief human resource officers, further transform their organizations into social businesses.

The new offerings, announced Jan. 28 at IBM Connect 2013, will help business leaders integrate IBM's social networking and analytics technologies into their business processes to empower what IBM refers to as 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. Organizations applying analytics to their data for competitive advantage are more likely to substantially outperform their industry peers, IBM officials said.

"IBM is revolutionizing front-office processes with the application of cognitive computing and advanced analytics," Alistair Rennie, general manager of social business at IBM, said in a statement. "Social business has transitioned from being an emerging idea to a fundamental platform that clients everywhere are using to change the way they empower their employees and engage their customers."

Today, leading organizations, including 61 percent of the Fortune 100, are licensed to use IBM's social business technologies to transform their front-office business operations, company officials said. 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 Research has identified social business as an emerging business category, with the social technology industry growing to $6.4 billion by 2016.

Increasingly, front-office leaders, such as chief human resource officers, are looking to form a smarter workforce to unlock human potential and unleash innovation. According to a recent IBM CEO study, 70 percent of companies surveyed cited human capital as the single biggest contributor to sustained economic value. 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. IBM also conducted a CMO study, which showed that 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.

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 bring new employees onboard, while giving employees access to digital media and data in real time, enabling faster decision making.

IBM also announced 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.

In addition, IBM announced the next release of its industry-leading social networking platform will further enable users to access and analyze big data from inside and outside the organization, including via Facebook, Twitter, audio and video. IBM also plans to release the industry's first truly social email client, incorporating file sharing, activity streams and a simplified user interface. The technology, already in beta, will be the first major release of Notes and Domino in five years.

IBM Announces New Software, Cloud Services for Social Business

Following its $1.3 billion acquisition of Kenexa in December, IBM on Jan. 28 announced a new Web-based social networking environment that is expected to integrate its enterprise social networking platform with Kenexa's recruiting, on-boarding, learning and performance management solutions.

The IBM Employee Experience Suite will help HR leaders attract, empower and motivate talent to address skill and resource gaps while enabling their workforces to deliver better results for clients. For example, employees can use social networking, e-meeting and instant messaging capabilities to access applications and interactive rich media, such as videos, resulting in improved collaboration and greater teaming across globally distributed teams.

The suite will integrate with Kenexa's applicant tracking system; this will help HR leaders more swiftly educate existing employees and identify prospective talent. HR leaders will be able to set up a recruiting site, use it to bring employees onboard, present training options, administer surveys to employees and manage performance. Prospective employees can view the HR data on the broadest range of mobile devices, helping HR departments reach an increasingly social-savvy and mobile workforce.

"The combination of Kenexa and IBM shows great promise to change how HR attracts, retains and trains talent," Ross Grossman, vice president, human resources, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement. "In biotechnology, competition for top talent is fierce. We're excited about the potential to better attract talented people who fit our company culture and can really impact our business performance."

Meanwhile, the rise of the social-savvy, empowered consumer has prompted organizations around the globe to use social business and analytics capabilities to improve the customer experience. IBM today announced new capabilities that allow marketing teams to easily design, test and optimize sophisticated advertising campaigns.

For example, a new Social Media Publisher capability in IBM's Web experience software allows CMOs to push content such as ad campaigns or promotions to leading social networks with one simple click and without involving already-resource-strapped specialized IT teams.

These new features will further strengthen IBM's smarter commerce portfolio, Big Blue officials said.

Moreover, with this announcement, IBM is introducing the next version of its social networking platform, IBM Connections. The new software will further enable users to access and analyze big data from inside and outside the organization, including data from Facebook, Twitter, audio and video.

Available in March 2013, 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. In addition, IBM Connections will incorporate 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.

In December, IBM expanded its social business platform to include social document editing on-premises and in the cloud. The recently released IBM Docs, available on-premises and as part of the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, allows browser users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

IBM also announced that it expects to ship IBM Notes and Domino Social Edition 9 in March 2013. IBM Notes and Domino 9 will be the industry's first truly social email client, and they will deliver a social experience to users, whether using a browser or on the broadest range of mobile devices. More than half the Fortune 500 organizations use IBM Notes and Domino.

IBM mobile capabilities include the management and support of a variety of platforms, including Apple (iOS 6), Android, Microsoft Windows operating system, including Windows and BlackBerry smartphones (including BlackBerry 10).

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