IBM developerWorks

The technical resource choice for millions of developers

Forrester Groundswell 2010 award badge

IBM developerWorks is the premier web-based resource and social network for millions of developers and IT professionals worldwide. Join and participate in the developerWorks community to tap our rich set of technical forums, blogs, wikis, groups, and more—and see firsthand why developerWorks won this social media award, as well as dozens of other awards from industry observers and, more importantly, from users like you.

Honor recognizes excellence in effective use of social technologies

We're very happy to announce that developerWorks has won the 2010 Forrester Groundswell award in the business-to-business "supporting" category. As noted in the official press release from Forrester Research, winners were honored "for excellence in effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational or business goal." This year 16 winners were chosen from nearly 130 entries. Other notable winners include Adobe and eCairn, Intuit, UPS and Federated Media, Kaspersky Lab, and National Instruments.

"Once again, the entrants and winners for this year's Forrester Groundswell Awards amazed us," said Josh Bernoff, senior vice president of idea development at Forrester and co-author of Groundswell and Empowered. "We were particularly impressed with the diverse and effective social and mobile strategies that organizations are now using to reach consumers, business companies, and their own employees."

This award also reaffirms that developerWorks truly is the "world's geekiest social network," as Mashable said last year, reflecting the rich technical expertise of the developerWorks community. It also is an indication of the high level of engagement and interaction among our community members, who support one another through answering questions in discussion forums, sharing tips and ideas in articles and tutorials as well as blogs and wikis, pointing one another to helpful resources via tags and bookmarks, and otherwise lending a hand while they learn and solve their own problems. The impressive growth also reflects our success, with a half million new developerWorks member profiles since we launched our enhanced set of community features built on Lotus Connections in May 2009. Thanks to the community of developerWorks members who play such a key role in developerWorks and who enable awards such as this.

Check out our podcast interview with Josh Bernoff, Senior VP of Idea Development at Forrester Research, and tap his expertise on how to use social technologies in your business. Also see our award entry at the Groundswell site (which includes nearly 100 positive review comments), and read on for complete details.

Challenge

In the late 1990s, IBM realized that it had a problem: Because technology changes so quickly, it was not always easy for software developers to stay up to speed and communicate with each other on the most current technologies, techniques, and standards. Since the IBM software product line is built on open standards, there was a concern that the community skilled on these standards would gradually erode and IBM software products would suffer as developers had a hard time solving problems on their own without in depth information or a community where they could ask questions. At the same time, with high costs for the average support call, the IBM software support team needed a way to cut spending as much as possible.

Solution

In September 1999, IBM connected open standards developers through an online community, to make sure that developers had a central location to visit to build a professional network that helps them solve problems while growing developer skills on open standards and helped the developer world come together and communicate to each other. developerWorks (see screen capture) enables IT professionals to make technology decisions, learn new technologies, and get help during development by providing articles and resources about open standards and IBM products, and a thriving new online community around this content, launched in April 2009. developerWorks has always been on the cutting edge of social media use within IBM; our site hosted IBM's first-ever blog, and today, we offer a cutting-edge blogging platform for the developer community

In addition to blogs, our online community includes user profiles, forums, wikis, groups, and an integrated iPhone application, and users can also pull in Facebook and LinkedIn content to their developerWorks profile, and publish their developerWorks activities to Facebook via Facebook connect.

developerWorks stands alone in that it is a vendor-produced site that focuses on more than just that vendor's products, and dedicates a huge portion of its focus and resource to technologies, techniques, and concepts to help all developers and IT professionals worldwide. The focus on open, cross-platform standards and technologies (Linux, Java, XML, etc.), independent of commercial products, is driven by a decision to prioritize the wants and needs of the community and is unique for a corporate site. This bold move has been fundamental to our success in building a thriving online community.

Results

Since its inception, developerWorks has become the destination on the web for developers and IT professionals to stay abreast of open standards, develop skills, solve problems, and collaborate with peers. Our results demonstrate that through our forums and online community efforts, developerWorks has both encouraged the growth of the open standards development community while driving down IBM support costs. The net result of the following activities is over $100M in annual support savings.

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