IBM Pushes Social Business Adoption With Free Connections for Mobile

IBM announced new social business software for mobile devices with its Lotus Connections for Mobile now offered as a free download for users.

IBM announced that it is making downloads of the new mobile version of its Lotus Connections social media and community building software free to users.

Big Blue announced its new mobile software Aug. 29 with the goal of helping organizations embrace social networking using a broad range of mobile devices.

IBM officials said customers can easily download the software from all major application stores, including those for Android, Apple and BlackBerry. Customers can also gain immediate access to blogs, employee data, status updates and wikis, and share files, videos and photos.

Also, as part of the announcement, IBM also said it is helping IT administrators simplify the management of corporate and personal data on employee devices. With more companies allowing employees to use their own device for work, the time and management of securing personal data was becoming a burden to IT administrators. A new IBM collaboration software "partial-wipe" capability for Apple iOS devices allows IT administrators to wipe only the confidential company data from the device while preserving a worker's personal email, photos, videos and games.

Indeed, a shift is occurring in the enterprise. The adoption of mobile devices and 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, IBM said.

According to a recent report from the Renegade firm, 86 percent of business people now use social media to help them make business decisions. With more than 1 billion mobile users, combined with rise of social networking in the workplace, companies are looking for ways to better integrate these industry forces to help organizations accelerate collaboration, deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas faster and enable a more effective workforce.

Meanwhile, to fully enable a social business, IBM announced these new mobile applications:

"Social networking application: Available at no charge, the new IBM Connections application works just like the industry-leading IBM social software with added functionality for Google Android smartphones and tablets, Apple iOS devices and BlackBerry smartphones. In addition to the popular File share application, Profiles, and Activities, Blogs and generate-and-vote-on-ideas features, workers can now take photos with their smartphones and upload them directly to Connections. All three applications are available now in the respective applications stores. Partial wipe for Apple iOS devices: New IBM software provides "partial-wipe" capability for Apple iOS devices allowing an IT administrator to wipe only the company data from the device while preserving a worker's personal data, such as personal email, photos, videos and games. Administrators can still initiate a full reset wipe if circumstances warrant it, as an alternative to this new partial-wipe option. Traveler enables IBM email, contacts and calendar information to be accessible from the most popular mobile devices. Click-to-call from Android OS device calendar: Available in beta now, Lotus Notes Traveler will allow IBM email users to call people listed in their calendar views with just one click. Unified Communications for Android devices: IBM's Sametime software for Android extends presence awareness and instant messaging with new features, including text-to-speech, which can read incoming messages when the users cannot stop to look at the device, for example, when driving; send photos taken with the device through Sametime chats; and automatically update location status. Workers who also have Sametime Unified Telephony software reduce phone use costs by initiating calls to whatever phone happens to be nearby. Online meeting support for BlackBerry: IBM Sametime meetings support allows BlackBerry users to participate in online meetings using their mobile devices. Cloud-based meeting support for Android: LotusLive Meetings support for the Android OS is planned to be available later this year."

In an embrace of social business transformation in the enterprise, thousands of clients are adopting IBM social software on tablets and smartphones; these clients include General Motors, Amway, Bekins Van Lines, University of Zurich, Virginia Commonwealth University and Cummins Inc., IBM said.

Cummins designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel engines, power-generation systems, and related products and technologies. A Fortune 500 company with 2010 revenues of $13.2 billion, Cummins has approximately 40,000 employees in 353 locations in 190 countries. The ability to collaborate from a smart mobile device enables Cummins employees to be more productive in more places because they can access mail, calendar, contacts and to-do lists anywhere in the world, IBM officials said. In the future, the promise of mobile computing expands "true" business capability enabling new business paradigms, ranging from performing diagnostic tests while working on top of large engines to taking parts inventory and finalizing parts distribution logistics to having instant access to comprehensive business analytics that reflect a business unit's growth in a key market segment.

"Cummins' workers have benefited from the use of IBM Lotus Notes Traveler and its functions have been well integrated into our model of how we work and help to increase the productivity of our workforce overall," Eric Christian, director of Global Architecture and Security at Cummins, said in a statement. "We look forward to expanding our use of IBM mobile collaboration applications in order to enhance the flexibility and on-demand features that allow workers to work where they want to work."