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IBM Connected 2015: Collab in The Cloud, Strategy and Directions

At IBM Connected today, Rebecca Buissan and her team presented on where SmartCloud for Social is going. Jacob Anders, corporate systems manager for Verisure, Dave Durazzano and Alan Marshal of the technical team also presented.

The cloud has come a long way:

  • 2011: cloud was designated as one of 4 growth plays
  • 2013: invested $2B
  • 2014: additional $1.2B in cloud expansion with Cloud Marketplace and BlueMix.
  • 2014: relaunched as IBM Connections Cloud.  Now have more seats in SaaS than any other property
  • 2015
    • Cloud revenue of $7B
    • More than 100 SaaS apps
    • Complete reorginization of IBM Business Units

In 2014, IBM Connections Cloud:

  • 8th most visited IBM homepage
  • Verse launched
  • 3,000 new capabilities in cloud
  • Symetry with on premise app
  • More seats than any other IBM SaaS property
  • Quadruple growth in three of the last 5 quarters
  • 100% growth in the partner ecosystem

What are customers saying:

  • Expense pressures
  • I need faster access to new technology changes, pathes, etc.
  • Scale and growth: expand to new geos and deploy new capabilities
  • Secure mobiel and global access
  • Work effectively beyond the firewall for partners, suppliers, customers, prospects, etc.

What makes for success in the cloud?

  1. Planning, planning, planning. High touch advocacy of the new solution
  2. Choosing the right workload and pilots
    1. Fundamental importance and power of Connections Profiles
  3. Managing Continuous Delivery
    1. “What we really wanted was continuous delivery when we wanted it.”
    2. This requires a fair amount of planning
  4. Strong relationation with cloud provider
  5. Security: Define the right boundaries between cloud and premise controls. Where to setup users and passwords for example.  Colgate integrated cloud with SAML and the desktop.  Cloud becomes a natural extension of how and where they work.
  6. User Experience, make cloud a seamless extension of on Premise systems and processes

When you manage transformation you need to address both cultural changes and procedural changes due to the move to the cloud.  This pushes the need for a strong communications and enablement plan.

Key Success Factor: Let users experiment with possibilities.  Find the winning patterns as they emerge.  One customer found that files with external vendors was great. Another used communities for customer service.

What they say:

The big win ins the ability to have continuous delivery, constant upgrade cycle, taking in new features that realistically would be years instead of a month away.

There is no way we would ever take upon ourselves three upgrades in two years.

Jacob Andersson, Corporate Systems Manager Verisure

Facts: 6,500 employees, 1.8M custoemrs, 390 Euro Revenue, 14 businesses in 13 countries most recently south america.

Why IBM Connections on Cloud

  • Smooth transition tools
  • Hybrid Solution
  • Secure as a corporate cloud
  • Flexible subscription options
  • Verisure owns the encryption keys
  • Verisure owns the data
  • Know where the data is located

Verisure uses IBM Docs. They love the online document editing and collaboration.  Sales offices will co-edit their schedule and plans all the time.  They also share a lot of documents with people outside the company

In Activities, they bring in third party vendors to key tasks and activities.  The easy sharing without license implications helps a lot.

They are now pushing profiles across the globe. HR info forms the seed of profile information.

Finally, now using social business toolkit to share information.  Share a wiki page, update a page, etc. They do this with call centers for example.  e.g. download a wiki page to a file and then use file sync for offline access.

Lesson Learned: Be patient. This is new to a lot of people. Spend time with them.  If so, it will grow bottom up.

Product Directions

New in 2014:

  • Symmetry with the on premise Connections
  • New offerings with IBM Connections Chat on Cloud
  • HIPAA compliance
  • ISV integration: Unify Circuit featuring Connections Social on Cloud
  • Storage, storage, and more storage
  • Softlayer Data Centers: Deployed to Softlayer while softlayer continues to upgrade their dark fiber and capabilities
  • Launch of IBM Verse
  • Added a lot of mobile administration in communities, etc.  More secure and more flexibile
  • Enhanced search with a smarter search recommendation
  • Redesigned the mobile application
  • Updated file sync and share with the desktop on Mac, Windows, and Microsoft office
    • files become easy to see

Coming soon

  • New mail migration tool with 60% fewer steps. It’s also more automated.
    • should release late this quarter or early next quarter
  • Enterprise file sync and share offering
    • 1 TB of storage
    • up to 2GB file size
    • Let’s you use a mobile inter
  • Connections cloud app dev on Bluemix
    • social file sharing service
    • enables file sharing

Where are we going?

  • Worldwide reach
    • cloud resller partnership in China
    • German Datacenter soon
    • Data center federation: looking at having different users in different data center locations.
  • For End User…. Flexibility
    • Customization of Connections Next
    • Secure and named chat threads
    • Nested and synchronized folders
  • For adminstrators — control
    • Expanded MDM support
    • Onboarding and migration tools
    • Flexible provisioning
    • Delegated abmind
  • CIO
    • monitoring
    • analytics
    • audit certifications
  • for Partners
    • pay as you go
    • IBM SaaS back office enhancements
    • Parallels cloud marketplace plug-in
  • For Developers
    • Bluemix service
    • expanded api’s


Gave a demo of some of the new and the upcoming features.

  1. Showed tight integration of Microsoft Office to Connections Cloud.   Tagged and saved. Shared with other users, defined security settings.
  2. Web interface now allows better/faster preview
  3. Web Interface lets you define sync services
  4. The mobile app on iPad is brand new.
    1. Let’s you preview any file in the mobile app
    2. You can comments on any file from the app
    3. mark to synch any files. Very dropbox like on all OS’
    4. Better interface for status updates, etc. This includes @ mentions and “#” hashtags
    5. Apps user locations services and camera
  5. Search all content from one place. (not new functionality but it’s enhanced)
    1. Faceted search approach
  6. Verse mail is available as a cloud service
    1. completely redesigned interface
    2. Deep integration with social networking tools
    3. easy to add files from multiple sources
    4. Nice calendar interface from one view
    5. Launch meeting rooms from calendar
  7. Added audio and visual to the meetings
    1. Did a live demo with multiple users with both voice and video
    2. Also showed adding readers to the file security from a collaborative meeting
    3. Demoed how to share a file with an external user

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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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