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A very interesting topic to ponder or muse over is how contemporary software is changing the way we live and do business.
New markets are being explored, New customer segments are being reached out to and yet newer business models are evolving and getting established as well by the help of same
Resuming from my last post - a key thing I am going to discuss is - how are these software systems, social enablers for any business [inside and outside] and for the ecosystem [landscape, environment] they exist in. A Social Business is one that embraces and cultivates a spirit of collaboration and community throughout its organization — both internally and externally.
IBM has identified three distinct characteristics of a Social Business:
Essentially we have following elements to look at, to evaluate how social aspect of the business / organization can lead to innovation or improvements:
To summarize the capabilities and the known/demonstrated benefits of these software systems to help a business become Social :
Looking at the stack I have mentioned in previous blog posts - A confluence of Online interaction through chat and conferencing capability, IBM Connections capabilities, OOTB applications like banking and retail systems, eForms for workflow scenarios, Integrated analytics framework, Enterprise/integrated search capability, in built support for smart devices and finally the most important part - Aggregation system to host all of this as one system and realm - IBM Websphere Portal.
In my last blog ; I touched upon and referenced the framework for organizations to be social and overview of IBM's social software offering - IBM Connections.
The framework I referred to talks about the compelling reasons for the organizations to adopt social or 'more social' business pattern i.e All employees , Customers and Partners
can collaborate in one realm as against the current trend of Employees on Intranet and emails, Customers and Partners on Hosted sites and emails.
A summary theme of the frame work is :
With advent of social business paradigm, a enterprise can create a single platform for all the stakeholders to be collaborating seamlessly and also data so generated provides better information and
faster decisions .... The visual below provides the compositional view of social business framework .....
This whole scenario mentioned above is also reflected in Exceptional Web experience suite IBM has announced -
FOR QUICK OVERVIEW TAKE A LOOK AT IBM EXPERIENCE SUITE
Consider a scenario where enterprise Portal service provides all mailing / collaboration, intranet and extranet integration and the social aspect is covered by extending IBM Connections on to the IBM Portal....
IBM connections brings in powerful concept of communities(& Sub Communities) , Blogs, Wikis, Member directory, forums, Activities, bookmarks and tag cloud as OOTB capabilities on the Portal.
All of these services put together with Communities can provide dedicated channels for business i.e A enterprise portal could host a company intranet, a dedicated community
for the suppliers/vendors of the organizations, a community for the business partners of the organization and yet each one of them would be exclusive in terms of security and
access controls. A user of vendor community will not have access or visibility of the intranet or the community for the business partners and vice-versa.
To accomplish something similar without these offering (available & under development) - organizations today have to deploy Portal and write custom web applications which are
multi-man year(s) worth effort, incremental and also not effective/compelling in terms of integrating collaboration capabilities (email, blogging, forums etc).
IBM connections is providing necessary out of the box templates for making this happen. Effectively what we are talking about is :
Take a look at what it means in terms of possibilities :
SUPPLY CHAIN BUSINESS SCENARIO IN RETAIL
If we were to look at another industry segment[BFSI] and the possibilities :
INTEGRATING INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS IN A INSURANCE ORGANIZATION
One of the key things demonstrated in the two demos above is integrating various categories of users i.e you could be a internal user (employee) of the organization or a
registered user with the organization (Vendor / supplier / business partner) or completely external (facebook etc ). With supporting open authentication standards all these
class of users can be collaborating for the business.
Finally - Another way to discuss the anatomy of such a web experience would be to look at what will be the composition such a offering :
I have been working in the area of integrating social capabilities with Portal as aggregation platform.
We are gradually working towards exposing extra-net and intranet based social capabilities of IBM Connections on Portal .. which will help enterprise as well as followers outside to be part of confluence which is business relevant.
First - Capabilities of the IBM Connections as a enterprise social platform can be better understood here :