ARMONK, NEW YORK, September 12, 2012 -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled new software and services that bring the power of big data analytics into the hands of today's social savvy workforce anytime, anywhere. Now, organizations can apply analytics to their social business initiatives, allowing them to gain actionable insight on information generated on networks and put it to work in real-time.
As part of today's news, IBM is announcing the availability of its industry-leading social software platform, IBM Connections. IBM Connections incorporates sophisticated analytics capabilities, real-time data monitoring, and faster collaborative networks both inside and outside the organization, whether on premise, in the IBM SmartCloud or using the broadest range of mobile devices.
In support of today's news, IBM also announced leading companies around the globe, including Bayer MaterialScience, Colgate-Palmolive Company, LeasePlan, Primerica and Teach for America, are using its social software to achieve real returns on their social business investments.
Today's news aims to accelerate IBM's leadership social software and analytics. For three consecutive years, IDC ranked IBM number one in enterprise social software. Today, more than 60 percent of the Fortune 100 have licensed IBM social software to activate their workforce to improve productivity, and gain insight on data to anticipate individual customers needs. IBM's leadership role in analytics has been established through a thoughtful strategy that required the expansion of R&D, acquisition and business initiatives across its hardware software and services portfolio.
The rise of social media is prompting business leaders', from the CMO to the chief HR officer to the CIO, to evaluate how to create opportunities that drive business transformation through the use of social technology, creating real business value. According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 per cent through 2016*.
At the same time, business leaders lack the tools to gain insight into the enormous stream of information and use it in a meaningful way. According to IBM's CEO Study, today only 16 per cent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years. A recent IBM study of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers reveals 82 percent plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years.
"To truly realize the full potential of a social business, leaders need to empower a company's most vital asset - the information being generated from its people," said Alistair Rennie, general manager, social business, IBM. "Now is the time for business leaders to embed social into their key business processes to shift their business from the era of "liking" to "leading."
Global Ecosystem Touting Returns on Social Investments
Today, more than 60 per cent of the Fortune 100 is using IBM social software. There is strong demand for IBM's social business platform in regulated industries, with 41 per cent of Connections 4 beta participants in banking, finance and healthcare institutions.
For example, Primerica, a leading distributor of financial products in North America, will utilize Connections and WebSphere Portal, to transform how its agents engage with its 2.3 million policy holders on the fly, to provide increased value for its customers. The company plans to use social business software to improve the overall client experience, drive competitive edge and stay on the forefront of innovation in the financial services industry.
LeasePlan, one of the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management companies in the world, is using IBM's social software platform across the organization's 40 subsidiaries, in 30 countries and over 6,000 employees. With nearly 800 communities formed, 400 blogs, and over 800 forums, the platform has become an integral component to business operations for the organization, increasing efficiency, enhancing knowledge retention, increasing innovation, and helping to improve customer care and insight. By socially enabling its business processes with IBM's social platform, the organization is seeing significant improvements in workforce effectiveness.
"By collaborating with IBM we've been able to transform our business processes. Our internal social network allows employees to find experts faster, leading to better customer service, superior workforce effectiveness, and enhanced product and service innovation," said Wim de Gier, Senior Global Project Manager Corporate Strategy and Development, LeasePlan. "It's allowing us to transform our organization into a social business."
To support the burgeoning demand for social business solutions in growth markets, in the fourth quarter of 2012 IBM will open two social business customer support centers to serve IBM's Asia-Pacific and Latin American clients. Located in Manilla, the Philippines, and Sao Paolo, Brazil, these centers will support the rapid adoption of social business tools in these growth markets. The Philippines and Brazil centers join a roster of IBM social business centers in North America, Dublin, Japan, China and India.
IBM's growing business partner network of more than 39,000 business partners are bringing new, cutting-edge capabilities to IBM's social platform every day in areas including gamification, video, compliance, project management and mobility. For example, Actiance provides leading compliance capabilities to thousands of organizations globally, SugarCRM helps sellers use social networking and analytics to for effective selling, and Bunchball provides gamification capabilities to IBM Connections.
IBM Connections, a cornerstone of IBM's social platform
Available on premise, in the cloud, and on the broadest range of mobile devices, IBM Connections integrates activity streams, calendaring, wikis, blogs, a new email capability, and more, and flags relevant data for action. It allows for instant collaboration with one simple click and the ability to build social, secure communities both inside and outside the organization to increase customer loyalty and speed business results. The new Connections mail capability provides simplified access to email with the context of the social networking environment.
Now, organizations can integrate and analyze massive amounts of data generated from people, devices and sensors and more easily align these insights to business processes to make faster, more accurate business decisions. By gaining deeper insights in customer and market trends and employees' sentiment, businesses can uncover critical patterns to not only react swiftly to market shifts, but predict the effect of future actions.
"I am thoroughly enjoying the ability to engage with a variety of employees through micro-blogging," said Patrick Thomas, CEO, Bayer MaterialScience. "I can get information out quickly, but even more importantly I can encourage two way communication and stimulate an open communication culture by breaking through barriers."
The new capabilities empower employees from every line of business, such as marketing, human resource and development to gain actionable insight into the information being generated in their social networks.
For example, the Connections landing page features a single location that allows users to view and interact with content from any third party solution through a social interface, right alongside their company's content, including email and calendar. The embedded experience of the news feed, also known as an activity stream, allows employees from any department inside an organization to explore structured and unstructured data such as Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, weather data, videos, log files, SAP applications, electronically sign documents, and quickly act on the data as part of their everyday work experience.
To learn more about IBM's social business initiative, sign-up to attend IBM's Connect conference in January 2013 at www.ibm.com/software/collaboration/events/connect/.
For more information, please visit www.ibm.com/press/socialbusiness.
*Source: Social Enterprise Apps Redefine Collaboration," Forrester Research, Inc., November 30, 2011.