Business Insider: ’Why IBM Represents The Future Of Social Business’

Wow, this is quite a write-up from Mark Fieldman at Business Insider, not least in his assessment of IBM’s Jeff Schick:

There are executives who are social and there are executives who are anti-social. There are executives who do social well and executives that don’t. Some claim to be leading social organizations, and there are those that boast that they are not.  There are executives who have thousands of followers, and there are executives that have none.

There are social executives that say, “Trust me” or “Admire me,” that tweet, “Believe me” or “Look at me,” or that yell, “Follow me.” But there are very few executives, only a fraction, who are actually creating next-generation social experiences for their companies like Jeff Schick.
The IBM executive doesn’t just leverage social business solutions, he and his team create them.

“We started well over 15 years ago. We’ve been thinking about how to better connect people with people and people with information in terms of IBM itself,” Schick says, “the idea of getting the right person over the right opportunity at the right time to yield the right result was genuinely a business imperative at IBM.”

The article goes on to cover IBM’s leadership position in the Social Business space:

Becoming a social business is hard.  In reality, a struggle. Fortunately there are companies like IBM that can afford to experiment with cultural and technological – social transformation while the rest of us observe and learn.  

So why do they do it? Since they are both an early adopter and creator of social technologies, they’ve learned that content management, business process management, collaboration, commerce and analytics must all be combined with a social layer to create a universal and unified solution. Consequently, IBM recognizes and is capitalizing on the market opportunities for these solutions because 400,000 employees have proved it in their corporate laboratory.

To emphasize the point, Schick said that most of the technologies they bring to market are a direct result of the research and testing they’ve done internally. So IBM does represent the future of Social Business because they are willing to invest, test, fail and succeed in becoming a social business.  

That’s why while everyone else seems to be asking the questions, IBM has the answers.

My comments:

  • This is 100% positive article.  Whilst I am pleased to see a journalist being so pro-IBM, it would be good to see just a little balance!  
  • However, what Mark discusses is happening for real in IBM – the experience from IBMers being engaged in Social inside and outside the firewall is leading to innovation in the company’s products.  Sometimes being a 400,000+ person organisation could be considered a hindrance, on this occasion it helps to provide direction for sure.
  • I have long been an advocate for more IBM Collaboration Solutions (Lotus) execs being ‘out there’ and willing to engage with the media and to build a visible profile.  Jeff Schick is clearly someone that is able to play the media game with some confidence, and so we should applaud that.
  • More please!
Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!