IBM Emphasizes New Directions at IBM Connect 2013
IBM Connect (nee Lotusphere) is a big darn deal in the IBM customer community. This week, thousands of IT professionals from around the globe convened here in Orlando, Florida, at IBM Connect 2013 to share and learn, both from each other and from IBM.
Each year, the Opening General Session (OGS in the parlance) sets the tone for the event. The message this year is all about Social and Analytics: Social is driving business change, and Analytics inform decisions in the Social world as well as other parts of the enterprise.
Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Social Business for IBM, emphasized the themes of Customer Engagement and Employee Engagement, both with the purpose of improving Results for the enterprise. By applying analytics to the online social communities, IBM showed how enterprises are able to better understand and even anticipate the customer. By incorporating social tools into business workflows and into supply chain communities and then also applying analytics, IBM and two global customers – Bosch and Caterpillar – described how they were improving their innovation and their customer responsiveness.
IBM also emphasized the importance of adoption of the new social business tools in the enterprise and announced new services and best practices guides to facilitate acceptance and effectiveness of social business approaches.
Two key themes emerged from my perspective:
First, IBM is really building on their strengths in this market shift. It made me think that the old meaning of IBM, i.e. International Business Machines, could very well now mean, International Business Methods. IBM goes to market with an industry vertical approach. Of all of the companies who participate in the Unified Communications and Collaboration market space, IBM is arguably better equipped, by far, to lead the conversation about improving business processes with these new tools. Clearly, IBM is succeeding with this approach, based on their representation that 60 percent of the Fortune 500 have already embraced IBM’s flagship social business offer, IBM Connections.
Second, it is clear that IBM has moved beyond Unified Communications and Collaboration. IBM was the first to add Collaboration to UC, and now they are clearly the first to move on past both terms. While there was some inclusion of real-time communications in the demonstrations, in the form of video-based meetings invoked from the IBM Connections interface, the emphasis of past years on Domino, Notes, and Sametime was gone. Those products are still there, but they are now part of the infrastructure of Social Business, along with analytics engines, content management, portal technology and expanded services offerings.
Clearly, IBM has a vision and appears to be executing on this vision in a way that few others will be able to match. But that shift in the industry is the stuff of another article after seeing the rest of IBM Connect 2013.
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