IBM Is Social Business Software Leader: Study

IBM announced that for the third straight year, market research firm IDC has ranked Big Blue as the No. 1 seller of social business software.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced that for the third consecutive year, IDC has ranked Big Blue No. 1 in worldwide market share for enterprise social software.

According to IDC's analysis of 2011 revenue, IBM grew faster than its competitors and nearly two times faster than the overall market which grew approximately 40 percent, IBM said.

The growing popularity of social networking continues to explode, with more and more organizations looking for ways to adopt social business practices to integrate global teams, drive innovation, increase productivity and better reach customers and partners. Microsoft€™s reported recent $1.2 billion agreement to buy enterprise social networking specialist Yammer is evidence of this, as is€™s acquisition of Buddy Media and Oracle€™s buy of Vitrue.

According to IDC, the enterprise social platforms market is expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2016, representing growth of 43 percent over the next four years.

While this demand is on the rise, organizations are still looking for ways to embrace social capabilities to transform virtually every part of their business operations, from marketing to research innovation and human resources, but lack the tools to gain insight into the enormous stream of information and use it in a meaningful way, IBM said in a press release.

"Social software is gaining in momentum in the enterprise," said Michael Fauscette, group vice president for IDC's Software Business Solutions Group, in a statement. "Companies are seeing significant gain in productivity and increasing value from successfully deployed social software solutions including supporting ad hoc work by bringing people, data, content and systems together in real time and making more effective critical business decisions by providing the 'right information' in the work context."

IBM said more than 35 percent of Fortune 100 companies have adopted its social software offerings including eight of the top 10 retailers and banks. IBM's social business software and services combine social networking capabilities with analytics to help companies capture information and insights into dialogues from employees and customers and create interactions that translate into real value, the company said.

Moreover, IBM's social networking platform, IBM Connections, allows 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. IBM Connections is available both on premise and in the cloud.

In the past year, new IBM Connections clients include Lowe's Home Improvement, Electrolux, TD Bank, Newly Weds Foods, Russell's convenience stores, Bayer Material Science, The Ottawa Hospital, Premier Healthcare Alliance, Earthwatch, and the law offices of LaVan & Neidenberg.

"The opportunities for organizations to adopt social business processes to connect people and speed innovation are limitless," said Alistair Rennie, general manager for social business at IBM, in a statement. "A successful social business can break down the barriers to collaboration and transform the next-generation workforce, from device to delivery vehicle of your choice, to improve productivity and speed decision making."