• September 12, 2012

IBM Brings Analytics to Social Business Processes

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 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 premises, in the IBM SmartCloud, or using a broad range of mobile devices.

In support of today's news, IBM also announced leading companies around the globe, including Bayer MaterialScience, Colgate-Palmolive, LeasePlan, Primerica, and Teach for America, are using its social software to achieve real returns on their social business investments.

"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 of social business at IBM, in a statement. "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'."

For example, Primerica, a distributor of financial products in North America, will use 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, a vehicle leasing and fleet management company, is using IBM's social software platform across its 40 subsidiaries in 30 countries. With nearly 800 communities formed, 400 blogs, and more than 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 of corporate strategy and development at LeasePlan, in the statement. "It's allowing us to transform our organization into a social business."

To support the burgeoning demand for social business solutions in growth markets, IBM later this year will open social business customer support centers in the Philippines and Brazil to 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, Ireland, Japan, China, and India.

Available on premises, in the cloud, and on a broad 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 click and the ability to build social, secure communities both inside and outside the organization. The Connections mail capability provides access to email within the context of the social networking environment.

Now, organizations can integrate and analyze massive amounts of data generated from people, devices,and sensors and align these insights to business processes to make faster, more accurate business decisions.

"I am thoroughly enjoying the ability to engage with a variety of employees through micro-blogging," said Patrick Thomas, CEO of Bayer MaterialScience, in the statement. "I can get information out quickly, but, even more important, 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 resources, 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 allows employees from any department 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.

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