IBM Brings Social Business to Tablets and Mobile Devices

IBM is leveraging the social impact of tablet computers, mobile devices and the cloud in moving enterprises to become social businesses.

ORLANDO, Fla. - As part of its new Social Business initiative, IBM is making big moves to leverage the social impact of mobile devices and the cloud.

Indeed, by bringing social business to the broadest range of mobile devices, IBM is expanding a mobile worker's ability to collaborate beyond e-mail to include instant messaging, Web meetings and social functions such as blogs, wiki communities and activity streams, said Jeff Schick, vice president of social software at IBM, in an interview with eWEEK. And with the burgeoning mobile workforce expected to reach more than 1.19 billion by 2013, the need to help clients collaborate on the fly is increasingly growing. IBM announced its new moves at its Lotusphere 2011 conference here.

For its part, IBM announced the next releases of its popular Lotus Notes e-mail -- Connections file-sharing and networking software, and Lotus Sametime instant messaging software to help social businesses collaborate anytime, anywhere. These offerings will extend a full range of social business functions to the most successful mobile devices, including tablets, such as the iPad, iPhone, Google Android, Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Nokia devices.

Moreover, in an embrace of social business transformation in the enterprise, Big Blue said thousands of clients and partners are adopting IBM social software on tablets and smartphones, including General Motors, Bekins Van Lines, University of Zurich, Vimpelcom JSC, mySolutions, dp consulting, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Town of Fort Erie in Ontario, Canada.

For example, insurance company Zurich North America is using IBM collaboration software on an iPad to connect 60,000 of its mobile workers with e-mail, calendar, contacts and directory services.

Meanwhile, cloud computing has its own relationship to collaboration and social networking. The adoption of cloud computing is on the rise as companies look to adopt new delivery models to improve efficiencies in their organizations. Recent IDC research shows that worldwide spending on cloud services will grow almost threefold, reaching $44.2 billion by 2013.

With this rising interest and adoption, IBM has announced it intends to offer a cloud-based version of LotusLive Symphony, an office productivity suite that will give organizations the ability to simultaneously collaborate on documents in the cloud. What sets LotusLive Symphony apart in the industry is its ability to offer globally distributed teams the ability to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations simultaneously, IBM said in a press release on the new offering. Users can co-edit in real time or work privately on their sections of the document, manage tasks assignments across multiple authors, comment and manage revisions. Currently available on Lotus Greenhouse, an early preview place for Lotus technologies, LotusLive Symphony will become generally available via LotusLive in the second half of 2011.

LotusLive Symphony in the Cloud complements its on-premise, free of charge, office productivity suite, IBM Lotus Symphony. IBM has seen more than 50 million downloads of Lotus Symphony, and recently introduced updates including tighter integrations with the desktop to LotusLive allowing users to click to the cloud to get, save, share and collaborate on documents.

National Bank TRUST is a social business using Symphony to collaborate on documents and transform their business processes, IBM officials said in its press release.

"The collaborative editing support and productivity gains make Symphony unique in the productivity suites market," said Sergey Chikov, director, NB TRUST's Board of information and banking technologies for remote sale of credit products, in a statement.

Further accelerating open standards in emerging markets, IBM also has introduced new software distribution partners, Red Flag Linux, GreatWall PC, and Archos, which are leading with IBM Lotus Symphony in emerging markets and around the globe. Archos is shipping its ARCHOS 9 PC tablet preloaded with Lotus Symphony to help mobile workers in France to easily create documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The shift of open standards in emerging markets like China is on the rise. Embracing this market dynamic, Red Flag Linux and GreatWall PC, both headquartered in China, are bundling Lotus Symphony when distributing the Linux operating system to their clients. In fact, Great Wall will replace OpenOffice software with Lotus Symphony in all computers and laptops for sale to customers, including those in the China government, education, finance and communications industries.

With the introduction of LotusLive Symphony and adoption of Lotus Symphony 3.0, IBM is the leading alternative for organizations looking to break free of costly Microsoft Office desktops allowing organizations to socially-enable their business processes, the company said.

Moreover, IBM is also introducing a new licensing model for customers eager to incorporate cloud computing into their IT strategy. With Domino Utility Server for LotusLive, customers can now shift, develop and deploy collaborative applications on the IBM Cloud, complementing their use of LotusLive Notes. Accessible from IBM Lotus Notes and other client interfaces in the first half of 2011, Domino Utility Server for LotusLive provides flexible licensing options from the IBM Cloud or other cloud providers like Amazon.