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Digital Transformation

IBM Connect Keynote Part 3: Smarter Workforce and Watson

I’m breaking up my posts because there was so much content and they categorize themselves quite nicely.  Smarter Workforce is part of IBM’s strategy to redefine the idea of an intranet.  Rather than fight competitors in an increasingly commoditized intranet tools market, they want to employ tools like Kenexa and predictive analytics to take intranets to the next level.  This will be key to IBM’s success in selling workforce solutions and will have a huge impact to IBM’s portal and social world.

Kenexa has a great organizational research team.  Rudy Karsan, the Kenexa CEO, spoke about how to empower the workforce.  “Humans are the most powerful computer in the world.”   We are also driven by engagement and feelings. As we get engaged, we become better.  We are a social species. We love to interact. Today we are just finding new ways to get there.

Smarter Workforce is about “us” becoming better in how we perform and how we engage with coworkers and customers.  Human capital is the number one source of sustained competitive advantage.

IBM won a “Wagner Award’ for using predictive analytics to predict the right teams for engagement.  IBM wants to use this approach to add to the Kenexa platform and help you make great hiring decisions.

Combine Kenexa with Connections to build communities of employees and use that to launch them into the company and hit the ground running.


  • Launch a social learning suite: engage experts across a network
  • Launch smarter workforce analytics to help identify top performers, determine retention risk, and identify where and when to act proactively


  • The demo shows a vision of Kenexa integrated with WebSphere Portal and IBM Connections to create a truly smart intranet
  • Career site (delivered by Kenexa as a cloud service)
    • Includes a culture fit quiz to help determine if the person is a good fit for the company
    • Job openings can be reposted to your social sites
    • This information feeds into Kenexa which the company can use to understand the capability and fit of the candidate
    • Communities provide a start for new employees, even before they begin the job.
    • Includes learning plans and training modules
    • A Smarter workforce intranet includes a wide range of video and other content which is searchable and filterable.
      • Video is smart.  You can comment on a video or ask a question at specific points in the video.
      • You can search for and find comments on the video and when they occurred
      • Questions can be assigned to someone in the company, again, in the context of when the question occurred.
      • Answers hit the activity stream on the user’s homepage.

Focus: Mike Rhodin focused his comments on the needs of the business like CMO, CFO, and the head of HR.  That is a theme.  IBM is pushing everyone within IBM and at their partners for engage and empower the business.


Watson is moving to the marketplace.  IBM’s first step was to put it in healthcare to review a ton of data to identify diagnosis and treatment options.  Really, we are just beginning to un-tap the potential Watson has with a variety of industries. Why is this relevant to us in the portal and social world?  Because the portal will provide the front end to unleash the power of Watson


  • Help a CSR to identify the customer on the line and predict the issue along with upsell and cross sell
  • Help diagnose healthcare problems and suggest treatment options
  • Define how well someone might do as an employee of the company
  • Define who should be on a team to pursue an opportunity

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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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