IBM Moves Customers to SmartCloud for Collaboration

IBM announced that it is increasingly moving its customers to the IBM SmartCloud.

IBM announced that it is helping customers move workloads to its IBM SmartCloud to enable them to work collaboratively and be more productive.

At Lotusphere 2012 in Orlando, Fla., IBM announced that Newly Weds Foods is collaborating on the IBM SmartCloud to help its chefs create recipes adopted by its tens of thousands of clients globally. And IBM also is helping students at York University's Schulich School of Business develop leadership skills by learning to collaborate on course work virtually in the cloud.

According to IBM, chefs at Newly Weds Foods have reduced department travel and meeting costs by 10 percent using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business services. The cloud services enable them to easily collaborate and share information and ideas online, including new region-appropriate recipes and menus as well as ingredients such as sauces, batters, breading and seasonings.

With its network of R&D, manufacturing and service facilities, which include 27 plants and 19 regional laboratories globally, Newly Weds Foods needed to find a way to more quickly accommodate the regional differences, food preparations and ingredient availability of its food manufacturing and food service industry clients. IBM's SmartCloud services facilitate online meetings, social networking, brainstorming and online information sharing, saving Newly Weds Foods time and money spent on travel expenses, teleconference fees and in-person meetings.

"Working with IBM is helping Newly Weds Foods become a social business, connecting our many resources across the globe in an effort to bring better products to our customers," said Bob Brindza, manager of management information systems (MIS) at Newly Weds Foods, in a statement.

IBM's SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio features social networking, online collaboration tools and email as a service. It can help businesses of all sizes reduce IT costs, increase productivity and save money.

IBM announced at Lotusphere 2012 the new IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, which simplifies access to business-grade file sharing, social networking, communities, online meetings, instant messaging, email and calendar. In addition, IBM SmartCloud for Social Business will deliver a cloud-based productivity suite allowing users to co-edit documents in real time.

Newly Weds Foods' MIS department has also reduced expenses by using the IBM service. Instead of traveling to teach remote employees and new divisions how to use new and existing technology tools, the MIS manager now conducts the training from the comfort of his office, saving both time and travel expenses. The research and development department recently started using the service as well.

Additional IBM clients collaborating in the cloud include AA Translation, Brunswick, Michigan Municipal League, Russell's Convenience, Signature Mortgage, state of Vermont and York University's Schulich School of Business in Canada.

For instance, in the fall of 2011, 400 students enrolled in "Management 1000" at the Schulich School of Business used IBM's social networking services to aid their semester-long project of creating a comprehensive business plan. The students used the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio for online meetings, file sharing, decision making, workload sharing and overall project management.

"The students were already familiar with consumer social networking sites, but this project exposed them to how people communicate and collaborate in a real-world business setting," Jean Adams, a professor at the school, said in a statement. "Exposure to IBM social networking and cloud computing better prepares my students for employment in leading edge, technologically advanced work places when they graduate in four years' time."

Online meetings were used frequently since many of the students lived off campus and far apart. IBM SmartCloud for Social Business helped the students quickly get to know each other so that they could effectively collaborate to develop and complete their business plan projects.

Students used the social networking capabilities in IBM SmartCloud to share, track and vote on new business ideas. In addition, they worked in teams to create online communities, share files, set up activities, create action items, monitor project timelines, assign tasks and deadlines, and participate in meetings arranged by each team's designated technical expert. Using the IBM tool, instead of a consumer social networking service such as Facebook, allowed the students to collaborate in a confidential and more structured, businesslike manner, IBM said.

The use of cloud services is on the rise. According to Forrester Research, cloud computing will grow from a $41 billion business in 2010 to $241 billion in 2020. It can help businesses of all sizes reduce IT costs, increase productivity and save money.