IBM Sees SaaS as Driver for Social Business in the Cloud

IBM said its software-as-a-service portfolio gives it a leg up in growing client and partner momentum for social business in the cloud.

ORLANDO, Fla.—IBM announced strong momentum for its software-as-a-service (SaaS) based social business offerings from partners, clients and developers.

As part of the news, IBM also highlighted its continued investment with new innovations in its social business and cloud technologies. Armen Najarian, program manager for SaaS marketing at IBM, told eWEEK that IBM has a portfolio of more than 100 SaaS products, but what the systems, services and software giant did not have until a year ago is a dedicated SaaS category.

"Our message is to drive a category level message to the industry," Najarian told eWEEK at the IBM Connect 2014 conference here.

According to a 2013 IBM study of more than 800 business-decision makers worldwide, organizations that use the cloud reported two-and-a half times higher profits than their peers. In addition, organizations that adopt cloud-based solutions are 79 percent more likely to drive increased collaboration across their organization, and twice as likely to leverage analytics to unlock greater insight about their business, IBM said.

When it comes to SaaS specifically, a new IBM Study released Jan. 28 found that leading enterprises—those gaining competitive advantage through broad SaaS adoption—are collaborating more effectively through social business tools.

A growing list of businesses such as Codorniu, Princess Cruise Lines, SIKA, SafeGuard, Shanks and Verisure have taken their business into the cloud, extending the benefits to millions of users around the globe, Najarian said

"We've seen amazing demand over the past year as clients adopt and partners extend the capabilities we've been delivering through the cloud," said Jeff Schick, vice president of Social Software at IBM, in a statement. "Over this period, we have spurred new innovation by integrating social capabilities into an organization’s business processes. This has been made possible through our open and extensible APIs that have let us unleash the power of cloud and help organizations collaborate and increase workforce productivity."

Meanwhile, IBM today announced the rebranding of its mail, chat, meetings, office productivity and content capabilities, making them part of IBM's Connections brand in 2014. As part of this effort, IBM plans to expand the Connections portfolio to include high-fidelity, high-definition video based on its Sametime 9 technology.

In addition, IBM is also announcing its next generation Web mail experience. In the age of information overload, workers must be able to quickly access and effectively manage the information most vital to their job, much of which resides in their inbox. This new mail offering, planned for availability in both the cloud and on-premises, will use analytics to deliver powerful task-level focus and inbox management capabilities that let employees easily track the content and messages needed to do their job.