The compelling returns from IBM Connections in support of social business – five stories

I blogged about this a while ago on the Connections Blog but came across it again today.  It’s still a really interesting whitepaper and doesn’t seem to have been widely circulated:

A social business transforms itself by activating networks of people. Whether through online communities and meetings, team spaces, blogs, wikis, profiles or other social tools, people can explore new ways to build and leverage their networks beyond those dictated by traditional organizational structures or means of communication. Information also becomes more transparent and accessible, opening up new wells of knowledge and expertise. As a result, people can be more efficient in their tasks and more responsive, authentic and familiar in their interactions. In turn, the organization as a whole becomes increasingly nimble, engaged and creative.

The key to implementing social software is to set clear, realistic objectives for your social business initiatives and to embed social tools into existing role-based processes. The end point for your organization includes the following:
•        Enable an effective workforce: Operations, human resources and other departments can increase overall employee productivity and job satisfaction through improved knowledge capture, expertise location, and collaboration. Travel, training and teleconferencing expenses also can be reduced.
•        Accelerate innovation: Product research and development teams can quicken internal idea sharing and discovery, as well as transform how they generate ideas, share strategies and gather feedback from key customers and partners.
•        Deepen customer relationships: With more immediate access to content and expertise, customer service representatives can work more efficiently and provide higher-quality service. Marketing and sales teams can have more time to spend with customers and to dedicate to customer-focused initiatives.

Many organizations, including IBM, that have already begun making the transformation to a social business are reaping the benefits and measuring the returns. As the five stories in this paper clearly demonstrate, strategically integrating new social software and tools into your processes—and shifting your culture to support these changes—can deliver rapid, impressive outcomes.

The five stories include case studies featuring:

  • A leading health insurance network with millions of members and more than 3,000 employees
  • A large global consumer products company with more than 10,000 employees in global research and development (R&D)
  • An electric utility with over 10,000 employees, serving more than 10 million people
  • One of the world’s largest suppliers of building materials, with over 12,000 employees worldwide
  • A training institute for continuing education, with over 100,000 members, whose mission is to help members of the legal pro- fession grow their professional competence and careers

Whilst it would be great to know the identities of these organisations, I know how difficult it is to get formal references like that approved by the lawyers.  This format is a super way to get the case studies out there.

Link: The compelling returns from IBM Connections in support of social business (PDF)

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!