Tools & Technologies

Notes from IBM's Social Business Success Story

Vaughan Rivett from IBM New Zealand is presenting on the IBM Social Software Success Story. The session is in Auckland New Zealand, and there's about 80 people here for a 7.30am breakfast and presentation. Vaughan's struck an engaging tone for the session, lots of people are nodding in agreement and laughing at Vaughan's jokes … it's a good atmosphere.

Key points:
– Vaughan talked about his background with social media, and customer engagement. He's @SocialBizGuy on Twitter. He's been blogging for a long time.
– Vaughan has seen the power of social – through blog aggregators (like Planet Lotus), meeting people at conferences that he's already "met" through various social tools.
– Social is changing the face of business. Eg., what we're doing is leaving a digital trail that can be searched for finding expertise.
– Definition – "a social business embraces network of people to create business value." Three key areas – engagement, transparency, and being nimble.
– … engagement – how do you engage with customers and employees.
– … transparency – how do you see the essence of what's going on
– … being nimble – responding quickly to market and customer changes.
– social is about the transition from being document-centric to people-centric.
– what IBM has done in becoming a social business:
– … the vision at IBM – from Steve Mills, to "harness our collective intelligence across IBM and ultimately across our ecosystem."
– … IBM has created an internal corporate social networking platform – which includes person profiles, file sharing, communities, and much more. 
– … this allows new ways of collaborating – eg., from email to a wiki for co-creating documents.
– … this allows new ways of collaborating on events – eg., using a wiki for tracking speakers for Lotusphere.
– … allows people across IBM to comment on any blog post – it helps with flattening the organization.
– … allows IBM to capture wisdom and experience from older employees as they retire or leave. Getting away from locking knowledge inside an email inbox. What employees have said while they're at the organization can be kept in the system – not lost when they leave.
– … provides a way of bringing silos together. Eg., HR – creating and moderating communities for career development across IBM, or how to build teams, or how to recognize employees.
– … "BlueThx" for saying thank you to people for their contribution. It's even integrated with Sametime, to suggest giving thanks to people.
– … CIO's Office – a variety of communities for supporting platforms or applications in line with the BYOD strategy. These communities are about creating cross-line of business collaboration.
– … IndustrySPACE – for sharing expertise on specific industries, to help people upskilling.
– … Sales enablement – tools and resources for effective selling.
– … communities are used for many different purposes – eg., sharing demo environments, specific office locations, product marketing, product development, research projects, innovation, and more.
– … communities can be divided into sub-communities too, to provide focused discussion.
– … files – a way of sharing documents. Have conversations / discussions on a file, and that knowledge is collated. You can also see who has shared the file with someone else.
– … it's important to have Executive Sponsorship for adoption of social. The executives need to be involved, to model the behaviours, and to help with cultural transformation. Eg., at IBM, senior executives are using the tools such as blogs and communities to engage with staff.
– … Social Analytics – where the system starts to recommend things you should read, or people you should know (and why) – based on your connections, behaviours, and expressed interests.
– … This quarter are releasing Lotus Notes Social Edition – with new features like in-line replying, previewing of files, easy notification of new document versions, etc. This is leap forward for coordination and discussion through email.
– … One key to user adoption – make it easy to do the right thing. Eg., sharing links to files via Lotus Notes sidebar, instead of sending the file itself.
– … Connections is available on various mobile devices. Interestingly, out of 80 people at the event this morning, only 1 person is using a BlackBerry device. About half have iPhones.

– Where to from here?
– … The IBM Social Business AGENDA approach, through a free workshop. It's a start to end way of thinking about using social business ideas in your organization. If you'd like to have a Social Business Agenda workshop, please contact Vaughan.
– … An alternative is to run through a survey to look at where you are at with social business, and where to go from here.

Questions for Vaughan:
– … (1) Is Facebook blocked in IBM?
– … … it's not blocked. And neither is Twitter.
– … … We are encouraged to engage with our customers through the social media tools.
– … (2) What does IBM get from the Social Business AGENDA?
– … … it helps us to position ourselves as a market leader here in New Zealand.
– … (3) Where do you start with social business?
– … … sort your own house out first. Work your internal systems so you can be nimble and respond quickly.
– … (4) Do you draw any lines between work and social?
– … … No, there's no difference. The way we work is changing – the work/life balance is changing. When I'm at home, I can respond to an issue from there. There's a blurring of those lines.
– … … Equally, see IBM's social media policy and guidelines. 
– … (5) How do you personally draw the line between SocialBizGuy and your work at IBM?
– … … I use SocialBizGuy to bring me business that I can transact here at IBM. See my recent blog post, "Rent a brand."
– … (6) Is there information overload? Are you spending more time filtering through the information?
– … … You connect with the people you want to connect with. The information I'm seeing is tailored to what I need. 
– … … Also, social analytics helps inform me about what's important and what I should be paying attention to.
– … … You're going from "information you can't find," to "information that's brought together."
– … (7) Re information overload – we're getting access to a lot of different things. How do you manage?
– … … I use Zite on my iPad, to help me track interesting things. It can keep me informed about things that are of relevance / interest to me. Social analytics in IBM works in a similar way.
– … … Now using the tools to capture important information that's necessary for the work I do.
– … (8) How did IBM get the right culture going?
– … … We're still working on it. Eg., gamification.
– … … Vaughan didn't say it, but I'd add executive modeling of what social looks like. And also, collaboration has been a key part of IBM's culture for multiple decades.

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