IBM, one of the world’s largest computer companies and systems integrators, has recently announced that they will be offering new social enterprise programs, services and partnerships to help organizations become fully integrated social businesses.
According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61% through 2016. Acknowledging this trend, IBM is investing in its clients and business partners to develop the skills, technical support and industry resources that will allow them to effectively adopt social networking capabilities to transform their business operations. But we aren’t just talking about getting a Facebook business page and a Twitter account – it’s much more complex than that. A social business is one that embraces and cultivates a spirit of collaboration and community throughout its organization—both internally and externally.
The path to turning a business into a fully integrated social business is not a smooth one. It requires changing a business culture – something that we all know can be very difficult. According to the 2011 State of Community Management Report from The Community Roundtable, culture is the hardest thing to change in an organization. Sandy Carter, IBM’s VP of Social Business and Collaboration Solutions Sales and Evangelism, says, “Before an organization can decide to become a social business, they need to take an honest look at the company and create a social business agenda. Part of that agenda should be aligning your business goals and culture to be ready to become more engaging and transparent. Focus on how your company can engage with your rich ecosystem of employees, clients and business partners. What are the tools and techniques that will be most successful considering your organization’s culture? These will be some of the first steps you take on your social business transformation journey.”
But if anyone can help a business transform, IBM, the industry leader in social business and among the first to develop social computing policy and guidelines, can. As a part of this new social business initiative, IBM will deliver the skill set, technical support, development resources and expertise needed to guide their clients and business partners down the path. The key components of the program include:
- Strategic Consulting
- Global Educational and Mentorship Programs
- Technical Certification Programs
- Social Business Agenda Workshops
To ensure that they are providing their clients the most successful program possible, IBM has partnered with the Dachis Group and is collaborating with Group Business Systems. The Dachis Group is the world’s leader in powering the design, development, management and measurement of Social Business performance and brings an expertise in helping organizations quickly drive adoption success through social business adoption workshops. They focus on the use of social business technology while fostering cultural skills and engagement. Group Business Systems, an IBM Business Partner, is on board to help clients convert IBM Lotus Notes applications into applications accessible on the Web or via mobile devices, which is essential in the social conversion. This allows clients to retain the value of their investment in Lotus Notes while allowing them to take advantage of the latest web technologies available to support their business.
Integrating into a Social Business with IBM does not come without a cost. According to Jennifer van der Meer, EVP, Managing Director at Dachis Group, “Working with IBM to help clients to accelerate social business adoption, Dachis Group provides a QuickStart program with initial engagement fees ranging from $50,000 to $250,000. Every client has different needs and we are able to price our services to fit those needs”.
Before you go and write the check, you’d be remiss to not check out some of the other players offering Social Enterprise services such as SalesForce and CoreMatrix. You can also visit Jive Software and download free resources, such as a social intranet kit that provides a Social Business Blueprint, which is a step-by-step guide to becoming a social business.
So, whether you are a mid-sized business with $50K+ to dish out on this venture or a small start-up that is looking to make the change yourself, there are valuable resources available to help you become a fully integrated social business and I’m sure, as the trend becomes more significant, there will be many more players joining the game.
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