Slides: How IBM Enables A Social Workforce

This week I have been attending WOMMA’s School of WOM in Chicago.  The conference started on Monday and wraps up today.  There have some great keynotes, workshops, and breakout sessions.  I’d estimate roughly that there are about 300 attendees.

On Monday, Susan Emerick of IBM (@sfemerick), Chris Boudreaux of Converseon (@cboudreaux) and I presented during a breakout.  Our presentation, “Enabling the Social Workforce” discussed how IBM has been able to enable thousands of employees to participate in social media.  At IBM, employees are such an extension of our brand and it is important that IBMers represent our brand in the social media.

Most businesses are finding it challenging to mobilize employees in social media on behalf of the brand.  For years prior to the social media explosion, IBM had focused on enabling IBMers to collaborate internally via collaboration tools.  As social media took off on the public Internet, IBM has, in turn, successfully enabled thousands of employees to participate in the social media conversation. 

The presentation (loaded on slideshare and then embedded below) discusses how IBM advances the goals of the business while growing the professional influence of the employee. The key to enablement for IBM is focusing on empowering the workforce to communicate their strategic expertise socially.  Our presentation and the Q&A session afterwards covered important program elements like

  • Developing the Digital Strategy Model
  • Publishing and Communicating Social Media Guidelines
  • Developing a Social Computing Curriculum that includes certification-based training
  • An Expertise Locator system that helps aid in the search and discovery of IBM experts
  • IBM’s Centennial Program that enables social conversations.

Leveraging Social Media and Communities for Foresight

Last Wednesday evening I delivered a keynote presentation at an end of the year student event at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendozza College of Business MBA program (http://business.nd.edu/). 

Mendozza Keynote

The students are all required to take a class in Futures Studies and this was their end of year event.  During the late afternoon Poster Session that was held in the atrium of the Mendozza building, they all assembled and displayed posters that communicated the results of their semester long projects.  The topics covered a wide variety of subjects, from the future of Electric Cars to Solar Technology, to how to solve water irrigation in Africa.   In all there were over 50 projects from teams of 4-5 students.   I was impressed with the students projects and the level of research, analysis and insight generation that went into the poster presentations.   I learned a lot just by walking from poster to poster.

After the poster session was done, we all assembled into the auditorium where I delivered my keynote to the students “Leveraging Social Media and Communities for Foresight”.  The deck has been uploaded to my HorizonWatching account on Slideshare and is also embedded below. 

During the keynote, I discussed how the emergence of online social media and communities is transforming communication around the world.  The shift from traditional institutional-led communications that is relatively controlled by a small number of companies to an era where any individual can create and publish content is a shift that is transforming the way individuals learn, collaborate, and create content.   This has a ripple effect across all business professionals and certainly is impacting the way we research, analyze and develop insights about emerging trends, technologies and issues impacting businesses and individual citizens.

I provide the students with my personal story of how I’ve led an internal IBM community called HorizonWatch since early 2001 and how I started blogging internally in 2006.  I also discussed my public social community effort called HorizonWatching.   Both efforts have helped me do a better job of scanning for emerging trends and then developing insights from those scanning activities.

I ended the talk with some advice to the students on how they could get started leveraging social media in their own careers.  My main advice was that they should all think about taking control of their personal online brand.  As they are soon to turn their attention to job searching, now is the time for them to think hard about what their digital brand looks like to recruiters and potential employers.  But after the job search is over, I believe those who will be successful in their careers are the ones that will figure out ways to leverage social media and communities to build their expertise.

As this was their last day of class, they were all eager to go out and celebrate, so the Q&A session was short and sweet.  However the 5-6 questions raised were smart and right on topic.  I wish all the students good luck and best wishes over the summer and challenge them to begin using social media and communities as a strategy to better understand the future(s).

My presentation is embedded below.

Fourteen Social Media Disasters: Learning from the mistakes of others

Social media can work wonders for your brand, but it can also spell disaster.   A colleague recently asked me for a list of examples of where the wrong post or tweet has damaged a brand’s reputation.  I had a few examples on the top of my head, but thought I would do some extra research on the side to see what else I could find.

After some research, I produced a deck titled “Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters”.  I’ve loaded the deck to Slideshare and have embedded it here:

Examples of bad social media can be tracked back to a focus on social media governance by companies. 

  • Lack of real-time monitoring
  • Not responding to customer concerns
  • Lack of corporate social media policies
  • Employees not trained in company policies
  • Lack of professional Social Media managers
  • Too much focus on self-promotion (lack of relationship building)
  • Lack of due diligence before launching social campaigns

We can all learn from these mistakes.

  • Having a social media presence that represents your brand means responding quickly and directly.
  • You need to plan for the worst while expecting the best.
  • A professional and responsible manager should be in charge of all communication on the various sites and this person should be very well versed on the many risks of social media.
  • All employees are potential spokesmen for your brand. They (including executives) should be trained in the basics of good and bad social media communications.

There is a risk to participating in social media, just like there is a risk with any other channel or method used for external communications.  Smart companies acknowledge that risk, but have focused on limiting that risk by hiring professional social media managers on staff, putting in place proper social media guidelines, and ensuring that employee and management alike are trained in how to best represent the brand when participating in social media.

WOMMA School of WOM: The Art & Science of Creating Talkable Brands

SOW On May 9-11 the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) comes to my neck of the woods (Chicago).  The event is the “School of WOM:  The Art & Science of Creating Talkable Brands”.  You can check out the event and register at http://womma.org/schoolofwom/about.html

sow-speakerbadge-1 (2) I’m on the speaking agenda along with my colleague Susan Emerick (@sfemerick) and our friend and colleague, Chris Boudreaux and (@cboudreaux) SVP of Management Consulting, of IBM’s strategic partner, Converseon.  We will be speaking on May 9, Tuesday afternoon.  Our topic is entitled “IBM: Empowering Employees to Participate in Online Conversations.  We’ll discuss how we’ve developed an ongoing social listening and engagement process within IBM designed to enable IBM employees to become active in the social conversations happening everyday.  Hope to see you there.

The School of WOM event has a jam-packed schedule of presentations from brand names you all know, including:

  • IBM
  • Gap
  • Kellogg's
  • Nabisco
  • McDonald's
  • Chick-fil-A
  • SAP
  • Random House

You can check out the full agenda here http://womma.org/schoolofwom/faculty.html

It’s a very rich and full agenda.  I’m really looking forward to it!!

Thursday’s Chicago AMA Event – Social Media: Beyond the Chaos

Social Media Beyond the Chaos 2This Thursday, I am on the speaker list for a special event organized by the Chicago branch of the American Marketing Association.  And I’m looking forward to not only presenting, but meeting a bunch of new people who are interested in social media marketing.

There will be three other main speakers in addition to myself, all with 20 minute presentations about our experiences with social media marketing, whether in B2B or B2C.   After the presentations, we will have a panel Q&A discussion. 

I’ll be talking about two topics during my 20 minute slot.

  1. How IBM is approaching the development of a digital communications strategy that aligns with the IBM Brand.
  2. An overview of how we at IBM plan out social media marketing strategies.

I’ll post my slide deck up on Slideshare tomorrow at http://www.slideshare.net/HorizonWatching

The other speakers joining me are…

  • Blagica Bottigliero, Director of Social Media, Motorola Mobility
  • Troy Janisch, Social Media Manager, Digital Marketing, American Family Insurance
  • Jennifer Severns, Creative Director, Zocalo Group

You can read up on their bios at this site.

Here are the event details:

  • Event Name:  Social Media: Beyond the Chaos
  • Date of Event:  Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Time:  Registration opens 3:30pm.  Presentations begin at 4pm.  At 6:30 we will close the presentations down, but people can stay up until 8pm for networking opportunities.
  • Event Location:  Alhambra Palace / Marrakech Room, 1240 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL
  • Registration:  If you have not registered, you may still be able to get a ‘ticket’ to the event although last I heard they were almost sold out. The registration website is http://www.chicagoama.org/events/social-media-beyond-chaos

For those of you wanting to follow along on Twitter, the hashtag will be #AMASocial.  If I don’t see you at the event, perhaps I’ll see you on Twitter!

You Are Invited To The Social Business Jam

Last week, I posted about the emergence of the Social Business term to represent the next stage in how companies are using social and collaboration technologies in order to conduct business.  My post “The Social Business Train Is Leaving The Station Are You On It?” provides an overview of the trend and makes the case for why it is important.

As a follow-up, I wanted you to be aware of the Social Business Jam.  On February 8-11, 2011 IBM will host the Social Business Jam (www.ibm.com/social/businessjam).  Should you register, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with leading experts on topics such as:

  • Building the Social Business of the Future
  • Building Participatory Organizations Through Social Adoption
  • Using Social to Understand and Engage with Customers
  • What does Social mean for IT?
  • Identifying Risks and Establishing Governance

I will be jamming…along with some leading Social Business experts, including:

  • Charlene Li, Founder of Altimeter Group, Author of “Groundswell”
  • Mei Li Tan, CMO, Treasury & Trade Solutions, Citigroup
  • Steve Wylie, GM of Enterprise 2.0 Conference
  • Vittorio Cretella, CIO, Mars Inc.

Join me in the Jam.  Should be an interesting discussion.  It all starts February 8th, so register NOW!!!  www.ibm.com/social/businessjam

For those of you on Twitter, we’ll be using the hashtag #sbjam 

The Social Business Train Is Leaving The Station: Are You On It?

Social Business I expect the Social Business topic to be among the most talked about trends in 2011…and all that buzz is justified.    In fact, the buzz will kickoff next week as IBM conducts it’s Social Business Jam February 8-11, 2011.  I’ll post more about the Jam next week, but for now, head on over to http://www-01.ibm.com/software/info/social_business_jam/ and register for the Jam. 

Social collaboration is changing the way business is being conducted. Enterprise processes are being transformed by social technologies. Over the next 10-15 years, social computing capability will becomes part of every business function within the company.  I fully expect that social capabilities will become embedded in every single website, computing device for every participant in every single business transaction. 

In the future, all participants involved in a company’s business processes and transactions will have the ability to share content, comment on content, rate/vote on content, and collaborate in an open and sharing environment.  In addition, all this social activity will generate data that will be mined and analyzed in both batch and in real-time.  The insights generated will be a critical input into all business processes, including research, product development, marketing, sales, technical support, and even business processes like accounting, procurement, and legal. 

Since social will eventually be embedded in every business process and transaction workflow, social computing capability will need to be a critical part of every business application.  As a result, I expect entire business application suites will be rewritten to make use of social collaboration features.

Analyst Perspectives

“The social business model is changing the way companies generate and conduct business online, and IDC believes that this model will have a long-lasting impact“ – IDC (link)

“Social Technologies Will Drive The Next Wave Of BPM Suites” – Forrester (link)

“Just as the Internet had a disruptive impact on organizations' processes and business models at the beginning of the decade, today social media is changing the way business is conducted”. – Gartner (Link)

“Business application vendors are integrating social features into their applications and the dividing lines between transactional tools and social environments are fading.” – Gartner (Link)

“To optimize investments, competencies, and outcome, it is essential that enterprises establish a shared understanding of social technologies and trends, coordinate strategies and initiatives, and leverage investments.“ – Gartner (Link)

Implications

  • This will require a cultural transformation within most older, established companies.
  • Business leaders must realize that 80% of success of social business efforts will come from strategy, planning, roles, and processes — only 20% will come from the technology platform.
  • The path to a Social Business requires definition, education, and career paths.
  • Centralized implementation may be required for company-wide social tools, standards, policies and practices
  • Social capabilities will become embedded in every single website, computing device for every participant in every single business transaction. 

An important thing to realize is that the success of implementing social technologies into mature businesses will be how well business leaders can lead a cultural transformation in order to leverage these new social technologies.  Business leaders must realize that 80% of success of social business efforts will come from strategy, planning, roles, and processes — only 20% will come from the technology platform. All these new capabilities will require new Career Paths and Education tailored to the new social technologies. 

The Social Business Train Is Leaving The Station….are you on it yet?

For More Information

Virtualization Continues To Be An Important IT Trend

Virtualization, while not a new trend, is an important IT trend for 2011.  It will continue to transform IT infrastructures, impacting servers, storage, desktop, and applications in 2011.

Virtualization is one of the best ways to get more business value from an IT infrastructure. Virtualized infrastructures are popular not only for cost savings, but because they can enable quick changes to business models, operating structures and the way that business processes are enabled.  By decoupling logical resources from physical assets, virtualization can empower an exceptionally swift response to changing business conditions or changing business strategies.  In addition, a highly virtualized infrastructure is a prerequisite for private clouds (See Cloud Computing In 2011: Private Clouds Are An Important Trend) so CIOs will continue to focus on virtualization.   

Adoption Drivers: 

  • Desire to reduce IT operational costs,
  • Desire to move towards cloud model.
  • Networks and servers are better equipped to handle this technology.

Inhibitors to Adoption:

  • New roles & responsibilities,
  • Security of virtualized environment,
  • Requires more sophisticated virtualization Management and Utilization techniques

Implications:

  • IT Departments must understand their environment completely and this requires good communications between IT and Business Leaders
  • Security becomes more complex in a virtualized environment. It become more difficult to manage and make sure every asset is utilized efficiently.
  • Enterprises should thoroughly evaluate how business processes, administrative rights, capacity planning, performance monitoring tools and security strategies will need to change.

Analyst Quotes

“The next "big thing" will be automating the composition and management of the virtualized resources”. – Gartner (Link)

“Server virtualization is the 'killer app' for the datacenter and has forever changed IT operations” – IDC (Link)

“Virtualization will continue as the highest-impact issue challenging infrastructure and operations through 2015, changing how you manage, how and what you buy, how you deploy, how you plan and how you charge.” – Gartner (Link)

For More Information

Over the last 3-4 years we’ve seen server virtualization really take off as a trend and now it is almost standard technology in the data center.  While security concerns remain a hurdle to deployment, we’ll continue to see a focus on virtualization across the entire infrastructure in 2011. 

Cloud Computing Is Enabling The Next Phase Of The Internet Evolution

Carlota Perez wrote a book titled “Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital” (2002) that is a real interesting read.  Perez says that there have been five historical waves of economic and social transformation in the developed economies of the world. Each of these waves have what she calls an Installation phase followed by a crash of some sort and then a Deployment period. 

HorizonWatching - Carlota Perz 5 Waves

Perez says that our global economy has now entered the deployment phase of the fifth technology investment cycle, which she says is the Age of Information and Telecommunications (see embedded picture).  Perez says that this will be a period of adjustment when novel business models will exploit the new IT infrastructure that is now being put in place that enable more porous, open, collaborative approaches that seek to leverage the economics and flexibility of global sourcing.  She expects enterprises of all sizes will employ technology to help them transform their business models, processes and operations.

As mentioned, Perez says we are entering this Deployment phase. As we do there are some key characteristics across our global economy that is impacting how this phase develops. The firms that will succeed are the firms that will embrace these characteristics and the change that is happening in order to innovate and leapfrog competition.

Important characteristics of our global economy includes:

  • A level, global economic playing field presents new opportunities, challenges and competitive technologies
  • New technologies, services and skills are emerging…and they are quickly being integrated into every aspect of business and everyday life
  • The pace of change is dramatically compressing “windows of opportunity” for real competitive advantage.
  • Billions of skilled people are entering the world’s economy, fundamentally transforming the mix of the global workforce
  • The interconnected nature of our world’s economy means businesses must be prepared to respond to – and capitalize on – changes in real time, with unprecedented flexibility.

While all this is happening, we are moving into what I believe is the third stage of the Internet. Call it Web 3.0 or whatever you wish, but cloud computing is perhaps the most important technology.  In fact, I believe that cloud computing is the key enabling technology for this next technological wave and the next phase in the evolution of the Internet.

HorizonWatching - Private Clouds Enables Next Wave of the Internet

Back in the mid to late 1990s companies were just concerned with getting websites up so they could have a presence on the Internet. It was all about providing very basic information to the public. But soon the so called e-commerce trend arose and business was being conducted on the Internet. Then Web 2.0 came into play and all users realized that they could share their ideas, create content, and collaborate online.  We are now well into this next phase of the evolution where the enabling technologies will be cloud, analytics, mobile, video, and semantic capabilities.  This so called Web 3.0 phase will provide applications that are much more immersive, social, and collaborative in nature.  Combined that with an explosion of networked sensors and advanced predictive analytic and all the Smarter Planet initiatives will become a reality. 

But the most important enabler will be the combination of private and public cloud computing infrastructures that will be the ‘engine’ of the future Internet.

A Social Business Strategy Can Make A Company More Responsive and Agile

One of the big buzzwords of 2011 will be ‘Social Business’.  It’s an outgrowth of terms we’ve seen the last 3 years like social media, social media marketing, social computing, social networking, social CRM, and digital strategy.   I think this term will take hold because it will resonate better with business leaders, who want to make sure social activities leads to business success.  And yes, I do believe a well-implemented social business strategy can help a business become more successful.

Social Business Strategy Can Make A Company More Responsive and Agile Successful businesses put the customer at the center of everything they do. Successful businesses should, in fact, have as a major objective to help their customers be as successful as possible. To do that they need to understand their customer’s business problems and their strategy for solving those business problems. Successful businesses can sometimes be better at anticipating a customer's business needs than the customer itself.

To be successful, companies need to look for ways to increase the volume and quality of conversations they have with the customer. Increasing the volume and quality of conversations help them get closer to their customers. It helps them understand their customers better and hopefully, anticipate their needs.

The social computing trend allows companies to develop a social business strategy that can allow them to get closer to customers. A well designed and implemented social business strategy can enable an increase in the volume and quality of conversations companies can have with their customers. The great thing about having those conversations digitally is that they can happen 24X7.  So wherever you are and whenever you have the urge, you can have a conversation with your customer. 

These conversations can be initiated by the customer or by a company employee.  Through the use of mobile devices, employees can participate in these conversations wherever they happen to be in the world.  And those conversations can be happening at any hour of the day.  Being active socially means that employees can potentially reach customer contacts no matter what level they reside within the customer's organization.  Relationships can be built on social networks with even the most senior contacts within a customer organization.   Employees can share digital content about products and services with customer contacts, getting information in the hands of customers much faster than waiting for a face to face visit.  And the neat thing is that all these digital conversations can occur in real-time too. 

So look for the Social Business buzz to pick up steam in 2011.   To summarize, by implementing a social business strategy, companies can 1) get closer to their customers, 2) understand their needs better, and 3) be much more responsive to their needs.   And a big benefit is that by being more responsive, companies can be more agile, responding to those needs faster than competition. 

Implementing a social business strategy is not easy.  You can’t do it just by setting up a social platform.  It requires hard work to change culture, implement new roles, business processes, etc.  I’ll save that discussion for another future post.

For More Information

For those of you wanting to do some extra reading, here are some links for you to explore. It’s not a comprehensive list, but it’s enough for now.

Cloud Computing In 2011: Private Clouds Are An Important Trend

The cloud computing ‘buzz’ has been going on now for 3 years. IBM Cloud White Papers Benefits include reduced costs, improved service delivery and an enablement of business innovation.   Public clouds have been a major part of the discussion and experimentation.  However, many CIOs and business leaders are concerned with having their data residing outside their firewall.   So, in 2011, I expect we’ll see more companies adopting approaches to private clouds in parts of their businesses.  

Adoption Drivers

  • Commoditization and standardization of technologies,
  • Virtualization and the rise of service-oriented software Architectures,
  • Dramatic growth in popularity/use of the Internet and the Web.

Adoption Inhibitors

  • Bandwidth, Complexity, Standards, Security, Privacy, Compliance, Performance, Loss of Control of Data outside the firewall.

Analyst Perspective

As can be seen by the quotes below, more companies have begun adopting approaches to private clouds in parts of their businesses.  Analysts agree that enterprises will be interested in learning more about how to leverage private clouds within their own ecosystems.

“Almost one-quarter of the infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals polled in our Forrsights Hardware Survey, Q3 2010 said that building a private cloud is a high or critical priority for them. Five percent said it is critical.” – Forrester Research (Link)

“According to recent IDC survey results, almost half of respondents, 44%, are considering private clouds.” – IDC (Link)

“The cloud market is evolving rapidly, with 39 percent of survey respondents worldwide indicating they allocated IT budget to cloud computing as a key initiative for their organization” – Gartner (Link)

“Private clouds’ are a natural next step in the evolution of data centers over the last ten years, toward consolidated, virtualized and automated IT service delivery environments.” – Frank Gens, IDC (Link)

“there is still some lingering apprehension over issues like integration, availability, security, and costs. These concerns, and how they are addressed by IT vendors, will continue to guide the adoption of cloud computing over the next several years.” – IDC (Link)

So the analysts agree that a growing number of organizations are turning to clouds to manage basic applications. Core business apps, IT infrastructure services, analytics, and app dev/test/deploy are next in line. However, as mentioned, since CIOs and business leaders are concerned with having their data residing outside their firewall, 

What To Expect In 2011

  • Expect to see mid and large-sized businesses to increase their experimentation and implementation of private clouds as the promise of the cloud delivery model is one that is just too good to pass up. 
  • There’s also a growing interest in private ‘community clouds’ hosted for a group of organizations who trust each other.
  • Something else to watch out for this year is how cloud computing will impact the mobile infrastructure and ecosystems in 2011.

Since cloud is a disruptive new way to deliver software & services, cloud will enable both new opportunities as well as new competitors in all areas of business.

For More Information