IBM Launches Social Business Initiative

IBM has launched an initiative to help businesses become more social as part of its overall Smarter Planet strategy. The push is extending social to mobile, the cloud and to developers.

ORLANDO, Fla. - IBM is delivering its vision for the social business of the future today in the form of its new "Social Business" initiative.

At its Lotusphere 2011 conference here, IBM will give attendees a look at the "perfect storm" of factors working to bring the social business a reality. Social networking has had a profound effect on society, couple this with the explosion of mobile devices and new Cloud delivery models, a perfect storm of industry trends is merging that makes this the right time to move it from the hands of teens to business. Indeed, once viewed as a tool for students and teens to connect with one another, businesses are now looking for ways to adopt similar concepts to better connect their employees, partners and clients and to transform globally. And just as the internet changed the economics of information and business models, a new shift is occurring as the social networking phenomena shifts into global business.

With this is mind, IBM has announced a new initiative to help organizations bring social business to the broadest support for smart phones and through flexible cloud delivery models. With its Jan. 31 announcement, IBM is introducing new software and services that will help global organizations integrate social collaboration into their business processes to accelerate collaboration, deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas faster, and enable a more effective workforce.
In an interview with eWEEK, Jeff Schick, vice president of social software at IBM, said the adoption of social software is rapidly becoming a vital business tool, enabling organizations to transform virtually every part of their business operations from marketing, customer service and sales, to product development and human resources.

Thus IBM is announcing:

  • New software to help organizations socially enable their business processes using the most successful mobile devices, including tablets, such as the iPad, iPhone, Google Android, RIM's Blackberry and Nokia devices.
  • New software and services to help social businesses embrace a new business model through Cloud computing, including a technology preview of IBM's cloud-based office productivity suite;
  • A Social Business Framework to help software developers add social techniques to improve their organization's participation in the fast growing enterprise social business market.
  • New customers adopting IBM social software on mobile devices, and partnerships to advance social business concepts with the next generation of workers.

Schick said this type of shift is rapidly being embraced by large enterprises that have been typically reticent to embrace social networking concepts. Social business is the world of possibility that occurs when all of the energy and opportunities that have been generated around consumer-side models, such as Facebook and Twitter, are focused, and brought to bear on business challenges.
According to IBM's 2010 CIO Study, 57 percent of companies who have invested in social business tools have outperformed their peers citing collaboration as having a direct impact on their organization's growth. In fact, Social Business software is rapidly gaining momentum in the enterprise. From 2011 to 2014, the market for worldwide social platforms is expected to triple from $630 million in 2011 to $1.863 billion by 2014, according to market research firm IDC, up 33 percent from 2010.
Whether accessing applications on premise, from a mobile device, or in the cloud, social businesses need to communicate and collaborate on the fly across a global network of clients, partners and employees, IBM said in a press release on the move.

Meanwhile, if more evidence was needed for how pervasive social networking has become, Facebook now has more than 700 million worldwide users and there are more than 110 million Twitter Tweets per day, IBM officials said. And the burgeoning mobile workforce is expected to reach more than 1.19 billion by 2013, and nearly 1 trillion Internet-connected devices will be in market by next year, generating 20 times more mobile data by 2015.