Home Live Blog: The Workings of Social Business

Live Blog: The Workings of Social Business

Yesterday at Lotusphere we heard about IBM’s big push into social business. Today, the focus is on the way social business works. IBM executives say the company is past the tipping point in its adoption.

This session will be more about how to use social technologies in a business setting.

Let’s get started!

8:40 A.M. EST: Starting with a well produced video about the smarter planet campaign with examples of the work’s success and its media visibility.

8:45 A.M EST: Mike Rhodin is on stage. He is talking about the monumental challenges that companies face in a complex world. He points to the overwhelming amount of dta we create. By some measure it is on the order of 15 petabytes per day. Rhodin is looking a the entry points for marketing and customer service; product development and operations. This means:

  • Push marketing to trusted relationships
  • R&D to shares insights
  • Email and phone to professional networks

Rhodin has introduced John Iwata, the marketing executive behind the smarter planet campaign.

8:55 A.M EST: Iwata is talking about the beginnings of the smarter planet initiative. He pointd to the forces driving a smarter planet:

  • Instrumented: Smartphone shipments will outpace PCs by 2012.
  • Interconnected: Social networking now accounts for 22% of all online time.
  • Intelligent: The age of the zettabyte is upon us.

Iwata is now discussing the business value for the new world of business. The question is about how behaviors will change as the people become the center of the enterprise.

9:02 A.M. EST: To drive the value for social bisness ot needs to be secure and scalable. It has to have business outcomes that matter. And it requires responsible management practices.

9:04 A.M EST: Panel! Executives from Cemex and State Street. The State Street executive makes a point we ehr a lot about. The company saw multiple groups adopting social media practices. For example, it was being considered for training and collaboration. The company has 27,000 employees. The goal was to use social media to bring more intimacy to the company. Iwata is with the group. He’s talking about the adjustments that were needed as the organization shifted from a “funnel” approach to one more about community. The shift is in how people are transformed to be part of a community that generates direct outcomes.

9:12 A.M. EST: Starting in the late 1990s the drive at IBM for the Internet was internal. Last year, he went to the executive committee who reacted strongly against the idea of social business and shooting people through the firewall so to speak. The meeting was cut short. It has been a transformation since that point that had to be approached with sensitivity.

9:18 AM EST: The fear of the unknown is a gigantic hurdle for management. The State Street executive said they had to move from risk avoidance to risk management. One lesson: make the entire process opt-in. It is not required. People engage on their own terms but the culture is there to support people. It’s not without risks. There are always risks in emerging markets.

9:25 A.M. EST: That’s it for now! Back in a bit.

10:01 AM EST: I am getting a demo of the Blackberry PlayBook, the RIM tablet device launching this quarter. The view is of the Web, not apps. The seven-inch tablet has apps but they are from companies such as IBM and Microsoft. It’s always a good question why RIM did not get its tablet out sooner. But it’s not just about the tablet. It’s about the entire ecosystem. From a Blackberry perspective, there is the need for apps. There is a need for apps that use touch. To encourage developers, RIM is having contests for people to develop apps. Applications are being built into App World, which serves Blackberry devices and PlayBook. The focus ins on open standards to help spawn the development. There will be a native SDK available for the device but developers can build on it otherwise through such platforms as Adobe Air Mobile Framework. Almost all of the apps are Adobe Air. For IBM, the approach is more about HTML 5 to attract developers. Developers may also develop on Web Works, the platform for technology development.

What can I do with it? QNX is the operating system for the device.

12:57 P.M. EST: Sitting in a session about Social Business ROI. IBM’s Sandy Carter is moderating. Carter is vice president of social business and global sales for the Collaboration Solutions Group. We’ll hear from Slumberland Furniture and Windsor University.

1:20 P.M. EST: Question to start: How did you become a social business?. Slumberland executive said the company follows LEAN, a way to reduce waste. Social media technologies fit into this perspective. A technologist from the Trinidad government is using mobile technology for social purposes to connect citizens. A manager from the University of Windsor is using technologies to create intelligent systems for reducing waste and enhancing the health of the community.

1:23 P.M. EST: Slumberland is helping franchises get information. The goal has been that each franchise provides the same experience for customers. Social technologies are being used primarily for training. The company is also leveraging the expertise of the sales people to train people throughout the organization.

The Trinidad government manager said they have streamlined information between ministries and its Web sites. The project allows the content to be built in a single repository.It allowed for the elimination of duplicate information and it provided a uniform message. The portal is sued to great feedback from customers. There is no strategic, cohesive way to get the feedback. That’s a next step. The government is now focusing on the mobile device as there are far more mobile devices among the citizenry than personal computers. They are using SMS information from citizens to then aggregate and then distribute that data to the ministries. The message is acted upon and then confirmation is delivered back to the citizens.

1:34 P.M. EST: The University of Windsor has a pay it forward project. The community is embarking upon an effort to integrate an intelligent system and is planning for a new border crossing to the United States. There are a number of homes that need to be demolished. Many are new homes. The University of Windsor manages a project that salvages the new plumbing, HVAC and other infrastructure of the homes. Social technologies are being used to enhance communication and chronicle the salvaging operation.

1:40 P.M. EST: In Trinidad, the story is about using IT to benefit citizens instead of for internal purposes. The IBM technology cost $10 million, which included software and services.

Paul Greenberg caught this bit about customer spending on social technologies from IBM:

2:12 P.M. EST: On to the next discussion with the Australian Football League (AFL). The group talked to Major League Baseball that had been using a portal as a front end for baseball data. It’s statistics, financial performance and other information. The AFL learned from what they did and applied to its code for the purposes of collecting data about the financial performance, crowd attendance, TV ratings and other matters such as human resources information. The portal also keeps track of the youth leagues. The portal brings the disparate data into one portal environment. The portal helps provide context. It has role-based security so people in finance are the only ones to see the relevant information.

The system will be expanded to the18 football clubs in the league. People with the clubs get the data relevant to them and information that has been filtered to be shared across the league.

3:09 P.M. EST: Ted Schadler of Forrester Research is on stage at the Social Business Industries Symposium. Good analysis of how the team was needed at BestBuy to make the integration of APIs possible through Twelpforce.

BestBuy had issues with acceptance. Some of the lessons learnd:

  • Start with people, not objectives
  • Technology matters
  • Work across organizational bundaries

Schadler says Only an empowered employee can serve an empowered customer.

The bottom line: technology empowers people, mobile, social, video and cloud. It empowers customers and employees.

3:17 P.M. Schadler says people work when and where they want to. It may be they work more at home. Women next to me is skeptical. Shaking her head. Ha!

Schadler says empowered customers that will set the pace in this age of empowerment. It means listening. Product development needs to listen. Employees need to engage. Here is where social media irks me. I am listening to a preacher. A lecture. Ugh.

Roles change. What is IT’s role? What is your role? What is the role of marketing? Sales? Customer service?

You need to set your team’s expectations. Small wins are surer than big commitments. The tools need to fit into existing ways of working. Everyone has to benefit. Build 80% of the project then listen. It needs to be treated as a business risk, not a technology one.

3:25 P.M. EST: Panelists are on stage. All are from IBM with the exception of Schadler.

Sandy Carter is asking when the executives had that moment of understanding about the importance of social technologies. Ben Edwards is vie president of of Web Experiences Software. His moment of realization came when the C-Suite began to accept it. Alice Chou is director of DeveloperWorks, a site for the IT community. The moment for her came when she realized they had to connect with people on Facebook and Twitter. They’ve since built a social platform for the IT community. It now has 600,000 members.

Larry Bowden is vide president of Web Experiences Software. He said there was a moment when he saw a group of doctors establish their own community. They used their collective wisdom to improve services to patients and help save lives. These types of communities will have impacts on all of us. This is a trending example I am seeing. Schadler says he had a moment when he saw his kids create YouTube videos with claymation characters they made.

3:36 P.M.EST: Edwards says it is important to transform relationships. At that poinnt, you need to embrace the fact you need a governance council. This is weird if you have been in the social technology world for any time. Bit it may be needed as the CIO and General Counsel. Mitigate the risk to get the full business value. Companies feel overwhelmingly it is worth the effort. Companies and organizations see risk as keeping them from adopting social technologies. The risk needs to be managed.

3:49 P.M. EST: Chou is in the business of driving skill building and awareness. That does creare an issue with internal powers that sometimes too much is being given away. It’s her group’s view that the more skills on the street, the better it is.

What’s hot? Video? Schadler says Video is going to be an important tool for training and other means. Social gaming is gaining acceptance, Carter said.

4:00 P.M. EST: Ended with each panelist having to sum up thoughts in 140 characters or less. They all did it. I counted. 🙂

5:13 PM EST: I am talking with Irene Greif, IBM Fellow and director of the Center for Social Software. The group works in concert with Lotus. Part of what Greif will talk about in her keynote tomorrow is the synergy between analytics and social. It’s representative of the way data is unifying across different domains that had historically been separate.

The lab’s research reflects what we are seeing in the market. For instance, there are several research projects that draw on the need to draw people into applications. The gaming research is to draw people into new user interfaces thar are more engaging and meaningful for their work. Collecting tags and metadata becomes a game. You earn points for how well you do.

Activty streams are becoming widely used by customers. The lab is trying to make sense of the activity streams that are so predominate. This is done in different ways. It may be done with visualization. Morning Report, for instance, helps you see what you need to see in the morning. Dog Ear was the name for social bookmarks. It was like Delicious. It influenced the user interface for the Connections product. That was seven years ago. Another example is SaND Stream, which is where activity stream technology is developed.

6:41 P.M.EST: What would a live blog be without a party update? I am at the party hosted by ZL Technologies and actiance, formerly known as FaceTime Communications. Heavy appetizers everywhere. What party are you going to tonight? Ping me and I will come by and do a live update.

Time for the House of Blues!

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