Today IBM announced new software and services that indicates Big Blue can see the forest through the trees in terms of social media's potential impact on business.
The new software is part of Lotus Notes Connections 3.0, a platform that provides enterprises with communities, forums, wikis and blogs to help users discuss and refine ideas. Today's announcement adds social analytics capabilities to the platform, which, In essence, helps close the time-to-answer gap for questions like:
- who worked on that project?
- who is the expert in this field?
- what connections do we have to this reporter?
In addition to the software, IBM is launching a new Global Business Services initiative to help companies understand how social networking is being used and how it'll fit into their business.
"Today's social business cultivates trusted relationships and capitalizes on them when and where they are needed in order to grow and make people more effective," said Alistair Rennie, general manager, collaboration and social software, IBM. "Today's worker uses a more social form of communication and information sharing, pushing businesses to provides employees with the tools to support this paradigm shift in an increasingly connected global environment."
In terms of the software, IBM is focused on solutions that are based on "actionable outcomes and return on investment," according to the release issued today. The new social business services offerings include:
- Social business strategy, assessment and implementation programs,
- Social network analysis readiness and maturity modeling,
- Leadership and skills development in a social workplace
- Policy/Privacy management
- Social business learning programs
The new analytics capabilities in Lotus Connections includes recommendations of who to connect with based on prior connections and similar interests. It provides users with recommendations of content they would be interested in based on their actions — for example, if they commented on a specific blog or tagged a Web site.
Additionally, the new Lotus Connections allows users to discover people and content in a network, helping users to build broad networks in order to reach new resources and experts. These advanced analytics capabilities were born out of IBM's social software Research lab in Haifa, Israel.
Pushing social into the enterprise is a smart move because at the end of the day, collaboration breeds success. Often times, especially in mid-sized to large businesses, information isn't shared frequently enough nor is it corralled in a way that it can be searched, shared and built-on effectively.
It'll be interesting to see how IBM's platform is embraced by brands and what impact it might have on the small business market in terms using social media to drive business objectives.
How is your company using social media to impact business?