IBM Launches Social Collaboration Cloud for Government

IBM has announced a new cloud offering aimed at the government that mixes social networking and cloud computing: the IBM SmartCloud for Social Collaboration for Government.

IBM has announced new services converging social networking and cloud computing for the federal government.

At a recent FedTalks event in Washington, D.C., IBM introduced its new offering known as SmartCloud for Social Collaboration for Government. Initially previewed in July, this new offering is a cloud-based service that combines social collaboration tools and email to maximize productivity and interaction among workers and across agencies, and with citizens. IBM officials said the new solution is ideal for private cloud environments. It is hosted in the IBM Federal Data Center and is compliant with Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) guidelines, IBM said.

Sandy Carter, IBM's vice president of Social Business and Collaboration Solutions, introduced the IBM SmartCloud for Social Collaboration for Government at the FedTalks event on Oct. 11.

The federal government spends $80 billion annually on IT. Government officials have been trying to reduce that amount so there is a federal mandate to move to cloud services where possible to reap cost savings. The U.S. Federal CIO's office earlier this year reported that the average cost savings associated with a move towards cloud-based technology would be $3 billion. Government agencies also have a need to work more efficiently by more effectively sharing knowledge across and between their organizations. According to a recent IDC report, IBM offers the No. 1 market share enterprise social software, so the company is an ideal candidate to fill these collaboration needs, IBM officials said.

IBM offers a variety of cloud technology and services and as part of its 2015 roadmap, Big Blue has a goal to generate $7 billion in revenue from its cloud business.

"The rise in Big Data and the demand for transparency and collaboration will continue to put pressure on agencies to embrace new computing environments such as cloud to improve IT capabilities," said Todd S. Ramsey, General Manager of IBM U.S. Federal, in July when IBM initially previewed its collaboration cloud technology for the government. "IBM cloud collaboration solutions will help agencies gain faster access to the latest technologies, increase innovation across departments and ultimately improve citizen services."

The IBM solution enables:

  • Blogs to allow staff to gather and prioritize community ideas, present their own ideas and learn from others.
  • Communities that allow people to exchange and share information with others through a Web browser, instant messaging or email software.
  • File sharing and microblogs to facilitate collaboration with dynamic networks of co-workers, partners and customers.
  • Instant messaging and online meetings to work seamlessly across geographies.
  • Profiles to allow people to find and work with others who share common interests and expertise as well as expand their social networks. Tags and social analytics technologies assist with this task.

Meanwhile, IBM is no newcomer to supplying cloud-based collaboration tools. A variety of organizations from Panasonic to General Motors, to Russell's Convenience Stores have benefited from IBM's cloud collaboration technology. A host of State and local government clients also have benefited from it -- from the State of Vermont to the Michigan Municipal League, a non-profit organization that trains leaders in that state.

Additionally, IBM is announcing a new client who is using cloud technology from IBM for smarter collaboration. Newly Weds Foods is a provider of food ingredient technology. A network of R&D, manufacturing and service facilities around the globe enables Newly Weds Foods to serve its customers' needs in more than 68 countries. Its team of eight chefs in the Culinary department can quickly share information and ideas including new region-appropriate sauces, batters, breading, seasonings, recipes for menus in a cost-effective and convenient way using IBM's LotusLive Engage social collaboration software. In addition, Brunswick, a leader in the marine, fitness, bowling and billiards industries has also adopted IBM cloud collaboration offering as its email tool.