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Digital Transformation

IBM Connect: IBM’s Social Cloud Strategy

IBM has had a cloud based social product in Lotus Live / IBM SmartCloud for Social Business for several years. It’s had problems with lack of integration and lack of feature parity with it’s Connections sibling.  I’ve heard multiple times this week that those problems are about to be resolved with a “Cloud First” strategy.  That’s why I’m at this session.

  • IBM is ranked #1 in Enterprise Social Software by IDC
  • Forrester ranks IBM as a leader for online Collaboration Software Vendors


IBM has a number of cloud options ranging from PaaS, to IaaS, to the true SaaS solution like SmartCloud for Social Business.

  • 60 SaaS products
  • 300,000 trading entities in the cloud
  • 6 million users
  • Kenexa joined the portfolio as a cloud solution
  • Introduced SmartCloud Docs
  • Introduced SmartCloud Archiving

IBM strategy is:

  1. Cloud First
  2. Mobile always
  3. Offer multiple choices for installation

What is the value proposition for IBM and how does IBM differentiate itself?

  • Keep Private business private. What you put in the cloud is owned by you and no one in IBM can see that data
  • You have many choices for public, dedicated, or hybrid
  • We allow and even excel in bring your own devices. Great Connections app for example
  • Fastest way to make your processes social
  • Simplest way to interact beyond the boundaries of your business
    • It’s unique guest model lets you share files outside of your company. It’s a two step process and costs nothing with those you share to.

Ricoh case study: found a 23% faster cycle time for new product introductions with collaboration around the world.

Other value

  • Flowline components found a 30-40% reduction in infrastructure costs
  • Many Disaster response teams get a free account to allow for collaboration during disaster. (Kudos to IBM for this)

Karonly Schalk, VP infrastructure for APEX (a supply chain company)

Was using small business server but it wasn’t meeting needs and starting to fail.  They signed up SmartCloud for Social Business and took Trilog’s third party Project Exec product to enhance it. It’s easy to create communities within and without the company. The entire company is using SSB and ProjExec.  Result: improvement in cycle times and more relaxed scheduling meetings.

What has IBM Been up to in the Past Year?

They were busy.  She flashed a slide with a list of at least 20 enhancements around mobile, more functionality, and security.

  • Secure Mobile Access
    • Now supports a wide range of platforms like Android, iOS, etc.
  • Security and Standards matter. IBM has the proof and the results from their audits
    • Includes things like encryption at rest and over the wire, privacy,
  • IBM Docs shipped in December
    • Out to the cloud first
    • supports mobile
  • 2012 had 9 major releases, 46 service updates, and 650+ enhancements
  • Achieved 99.9% availability.  Still improving year over year
  • 25% improvement in deployment time
  • Double Digit drop in incident volume for 2012

Demo with enhancements

This is for what they have delivered and will deliver

  • a new modern UI
  • Better partner apps
  • mobile collaborative editing
  • Better navigation
    • toolbar is driven by what you purchased
  • Now have a true activity stream
  • One click access to start a meeting no matter where you are
  • Always see your last micro post
  • On the iPhone
    • Showed an email with a request to review a document
    • Put integration to chat from within the contacts. It’s the SmartCloud Sametime App
    • Shared the app with the SmartCloud Files functionality to upload the document
      • Also shared the file with an entire community.  (add with a dropdown and simple type a head)
  • Went back to a normal web browser for a bigger screen
    • Showed Files Widget (also showed other common community features like ideation, wiki, files, bookmarks, and and activities
    • Edited the document in IBM Docs (Simple button to edit it)
      • the UI of the Docs has a comments sidebar to add quick comments and see it real time
      • That includes the aiblity to target comments using @mike.porter type functionality
      • Showed Docs in the iPad. Very nice UI.  You can see the previous comments
        • Changed the image with a picture on the camera role.  (it’s device specific capability)
  • Jumped to a web meeting
    • Easy to share the files to the meeting
    • Audio control to mute the lines  (all lines or individual lines)


What are the partner capabilities

  1. Offer and sell the service
  2. Expand or extend core capabilities. (e.g. new tools to add new functionality)
  3. Certification to help customers to move clients to the cloud
  4. Leverage cloud delivery.  Build solutions on top of SmartCloud.  It’s not just a resell kind of thing.

Important to partners is extensibility and integration.  The Social Business Toolkit or API allows you to integrate Private cloud services, on premise business process, 3rd party apps, and public cloud services.

Partner Cloudmore from Stockholm Sweden

Basically Cloudmore has a control panel to help control cloud services. They work with multiple vendors and added SmartCloud for Social Business. They decided to make it the foundation for their next generation social cloud offering.  Think of them as a value add services like what you see from some vendors on the Amazon platform.  Only move it to the value add with Cloudmore provides with IBM SmartCloud.

2013 Priorities

2013 starts with Cloud First but includes mobile and doesn’t forget the user experience.

  • 1H
    • redesigned dashboard
    • Connections 4.5
    • Audio conferencing capability
    • Continuous updated to mobile
    • More support offerings
  • 2H
    • Notes 9 social mail
    • Sametime 9 meetings
    • Advanced IM
    • Offline Web Editors
    • Archive eDiscovery for Premises eMail
    • Community Analytics
    • and even more to come
  • Will continue to focus on options in public cloud, private cloud, and on premise deployments

Getting Started: They have a 60 day trial

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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