Category Archives: Social Media

Web Too Oh

Finally, I’m using our internal slideshare: that is, IBM Docs!

You have to wonder why given the success of Slideshare (just ask its 60 million users), there there isn’t more of that kind of technology being used inside companies.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that as you progress upwards in an organization, the time you spend either producing or consuming presentations has a high propensity to rise. So kind of crazy that for a lot of us this means we’re still shifting around large presentation files using email. Email wasn’t designed for this and using file systems incurs all the costs of keeping data client-side.

So, heartened to see an executive recommend an approach that takes us a step closer to our own internal Slideshare: using our cloud-based document sharing platform, IBM Docs:

Like most of these online presentation tools (and the big daddy Slideshare), none of them do a great job of translating all the bells and whistles from PPT and keynote, and text boxes can take on a life of their own. However, there is a lot to be said for stripping presentations down to a simple, core message, and in this respect, the foibles of cloud-based slide sharing tools may actually get us to a happier place Winking smile

Obviously with this model you do get all the other advantages of collaborative software, such as the option to collaborate with others and make updates in real-time.

Hopefully we’re not too far away from that wonderful situation where all the key docs we work on are securely accessible from a wonderful, searchable cloud and the days of transporting large, unwieldy presentations are numbered (can you feel my pain?).

Try IBM Docs (part of IBM SmartCloud Engage)

Is technology helping you gain competitive advantage? (Cool use of Instagram alert)

At 1pm ET on Aug 21, the latest Business Tech Trends Study will focus in on how pace-setting organizations use social, mobile, cloud and analytics to stand out from the crowd.

As great as that will be, I do want to point out this great use of cloud/mobile/social in terms of these ‘Datagrams’ created as short Instagram videos…

Like it? Want one of your own?

Believe it or not, you can create your own 😉 Unlike Vines which can only be recorded on your phone, Instagram allows you to upload your own movies. All you need to do is make sure you get the format right (including the box shape) and play within the 15 seconds you have and you can be off to the races. Check out this excellent tutorial from Photojojo for more info.


Does your brand have a social command center?

There’s a lot of social networks out there. There are a lot of folks both inside and outside your organization creating digital content. How do you track all of this so you can know what’s being said and be a part of the conversation?

At IBM Pulse this week just gone, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager for Ecosystem Development and Social Business Evangelist, ran a session sharing her top trends in social right now. She answered the question directly using the example of the American Airlines social command center.

The airline industry typically generate a lot of social media activity: for instance American Airlines is mentioned about 42K times a week on Twitter alone! So how does American keep on top of all of this activity? Using a Social Command Center from IBM Business Partner MutualMind:

Mutual Mind AA Social Command Center

The solution has two key components: deep analytics in order to be able to hone in on the content that matters, and pointed visualizations including content tag clouds and heatmaps.

As Jonathan Pierce, American Airlines Director of Social Communications, points out, the Social Command Center instantly spots breaking trends, tracks social mentions and images, and monitors global geographic regions.

It’s one thing having a tool to monitor social trends, but you need the right team ready to respond. American Airlines has a social team that engages customers directly and can engage cross-functional customer care teams. It monitors sentiment and interestingly also monitors the overall effectiveness of American’s customer service.

So, as you refine your social strategy, are you developing a Social Command Center that can help forge stronger customer relationships?

At IBM, we are working with MutualMind to provide an engagement center during the upcoming SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX. Come along and check us out in the Convention Center!

From content to service: the role of social analytics

I recently had the opportunity to record a presentation Graham Mackintosh, an IBM social analytics expert, gave to business students at the end of last year.

One of the points that really resonated was the idea that web publishers can use social data to move from being content creators to service providers. Why did this resonate? I think one of the reasons is that thinking of the client experience is so ‘en-vogue’ (to borrow the phrase from Luis Suarez). Areas such as social business and ecommerce are strongly focused on optimizing the client experience right now. Furthermore, in management theory, we’re seeing the emergence of service science as a discipline. 

Where does social analytics fit in?

Graham talks about the way in which publishers can look at social intelligence, whether this be sentiment analysis, keyword analysis or other social data produced by their target audience, and use this to develop a content strategy. A tough pill to swallow, I’m sure, for content creators who have been taught the inviolable nature of the creation process. However, when practiced most effectively, analytics does not negate creativity, but rather guide it in a direction closer to the end user. One example Graham suggests is looking at fan sentiment to determine content for a sports site.

Other key points from the presentation:

  • Social media generates human telemetry that can be used to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems
  • Social analytics can uncover useful insights in particularly fickle industries like fashion
  • The industry is moving from monitoring to management where more and more systems are allowing actions to be taken or workflows launched directly from the reporting dashboard

View the first and second part of Graham Mackintosh’s Social Analytics presentation

More on IBM Social Analytics

If culture holds the key to social business adoption, then the door is already open

In a provocative piece in ZD Net, Larry Dignan picks up on a thread doing the rounds in the online business/technology sphere suggesting social software vendors are feeling the pinch when it comes to social adoption within the enterprise.

On the one hand I wholeheartedly agree that having the coolest technology alone “won’t magically cure your enterprise”. However I find it hard to go along with the prognosis that we are currently in a period of disillusionment awaiting an ‘enabler’ to turn the field around. Enterprise social software has some factors on its side which differentiate it from the large-scale ERP, CRM and BPM systems that superseded it:

the drivers of social adoption_crop


Social software is now coming with a ‘cultural attaché’  

Social business software is fortunate enough to be riding the coat tails of a seismic cultural shift. Social media has become entrenched in politics, entertainment, sport, retail… the list goes on. We’re surrounded. Any naysayers out there are encamped. Whilst we may argue whether it creates revolutions or not, the one thing we can’t do is escape it.

Just like the web that preceded and spawned it, there has been hype and over-promotion, but just like the web, social media is rapidly becoming essential to our lives. Don’t believe me? Venture onto a campus near you and observe the students. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to do that over the last 18 months and one thing I notice is that it’s hard to find a student who isn’t a social native. Even if they don’t immediately realize how powerful social networking can be across the enterprise, it only takes a slight nudge to make the connection.

Social software has groundswell support, and whilst it may not be the external networks of Facebook and Twitter that are employed within the enterprise, the core concepts around social networking are becoming engrained in the new generation entering the workforce.

Our work is going mobile

I’ll use myself as an example here.

I work from home and for the last eight years or so have relied on a PC to do my job. However I have now joined our company mobile pilot and am tentatively letting work find its way into my pocket in an effort to make better use of my time. Having access to my calendar is great and email remains useful. But connecting to our intranet social network also makes a lot of sense for me.

For one thing, it feels less like work and closer to the social browsing and grazing I might do on Facebook or Twitter. For instance, we have an activity stream which allows me to see when people in my network (my team, my boss, others I work with) either post updates directly or engage with the social network tools, say to update a wiki page. This helps me keep a closer eye on what is going on around me

In addition, social software helps deal with the navigational problem thrown up by devices with limited screen real estate: I can eliminate clutter and focus on the people in my network. I’ll take this over our intranet which spills over thousands of pages any day.

There’s no need to boil the ocean

It’s feasible with social to ease an organization into adoption by running a pilot with one team or department. You can then measure productivity or improvements in time-to-market or other benefits before pitching a company-wide deployment. This is, say, different to a CRM system where you may need to tie in sales, marketing, support and finance before you can start showing the real value of the software.

OK, maybe there is one enabler that’s missing: personal big data analysis

The one area where social software still currently falls short is in the analytics that can help prove its value for adoption. Whilst inroads have been made into the ROI and TCO calculations that a CIO requires, I’m thinking here of analytics around collaboration that exposes value to the employee and the direct management chain. Think of an internal enterprise Klout score for employees which is used as a factor to judge performance. Speaking personally, if my performance is reviewed against my reputation and authority, this is a strong motivator for me to spend more time with the tools and at least attempt to realize the benefits that social software vendors proclaim.


Now it could be that I’m just too close to the issue, being currently employed by a social business software vendor, but I do believe that social software will have a transformative effect on the way we work and how businesses realize value.

Do you agree?

IT Tech Trends Survey: what does the future hold for business analytics?

The latest IT Tech Trends Survey is now open.

We’re looking to hear what you feel are the major drivers and motivators in the tech industry right now. This year we’ve devoted a considerable chunk of the survey to investigating business analytics – its role in the workplace and where we currently are on the adoption cycle. Typical questions:

  • Where is it used in the organization?
  • Where does your organization need to be?
  • What are the concerns you face?

Think you have the answers? Want to share your perspective? Complete the Tech Trends survey now!

In 2010, more than 50% of the respondents told us mobile application development will overtake other types of development by 2015. And nearly 70% felt cloud computing will become the primary way organizations will acquire IT in the next five years.

So, what exactly happens to the results of this survey? Last year the survey garnered press coverage across the globe, allowing IBM to highlight its offerings for the top trends identified.

We also use the survey here at developerWorks to help shape the strategy for our content and site. It helps us ensure we’re delivering relevant content that best fits the need of the 4m visitors who visit us each month.

Take the survey now and pass the word along!

developerWorks Twitter account saving over $600K per month: what uplift will Google+ provide?

Here at developerWorks, we get a lot of traffic from Twitter (and StumbleUpon via the URL shortener). We’re talking to the tune of at least 200,000 clicks per month. To get that kind of traffic through other channels, such as paid search, we would shell out at least $600K – and here I’m being seriously conservative.

Great, we’re getting a bunch of traffic without having to pay any third party. But is the traffic any good? developerWorks’ core objective is engagement, and we find this Twitter traffic ranking as high in terms of loyalty (and proxy metrics such as ‘average page views per session’) as any other channel at our disposal.

So here we have a social media strategy delivering tremendous ROI when measured against other marketing channels.

Now talk of using Twitter as a marketing channel may sound heretical. Whatever happened to using social media to engage in conversation? That’s fine, but that isn’t strictly our model. We produce technical content in the shape of articles, technical demos, trials – a lot of content that really doesn’t lend itself to 140 character feedback. So we take a different approach: we adopt a content syndication model. We use Twitter to promote our content. And our content helps bolster our Twitter audience. A swirling symbiosis of content and marketing.

Sure, we’ve reached out and made ourselves known to people in our space (primarily through monitoring #hashtags), but no-one is going to follow us back if our content isn’t appealing. How do we build and promote this content? Largely by looking at what resonates with our audience and building a content and Twitter promotion strategy around this.

This really is a content marketing story. As Edelman’s Michael Brito points out:

"As long as the messaging on a company’s owned media channels is relevant, not inundated with sales propaganda, and delivers valuable information, they will essentially position themselves as a trusted advisor of content related to their own products and/or industry related information."

Being a trusted advisor really ties up with the core mission of developerWorks.

Now where does Google+ fit into this? Well, this content marketing model can be applied to any social network that has a strong technical/informational community (for this reason, we’ve seen this model work better on Twitter than on Facebook). Google+ has something to offer this segment. Google does have some history here, having evolved Usenet into Google Groups and swallowed up Blogger.

As an early example on this fledgling community, Digg founder Kevin Rose upped and moved his blog wholesale over to Google+. We’re not quite ready to go that far with developerWorks, but if the platform continues to grow at its current rate, the Google+ for Business model could be a particularly strong fit for our content marketing strategy. There’s a bunch of suppositions here, but this is definitely something we will be keeping our eye on.

If you have similar stories around content marketing on social networks, we’d be interested in hearing these!

What’s the hottest topic covered in developerWorks articles? HTML5

OK, so I dropped the spoiler in the title. Mind you, you could argue that this is hardly surprising given the importance of mobile development at this point in time. Still, no less than 3 of the top 10 articles in the developerWorks newsletter for the month of May (where we showcase our latest content on a weekly basis) covers mobile web app development.

Also, we weren’t seeing this level of interest in HTML5 even a year ago. True, there was a lot of interest in mobile: but at that time the larger focus was around mobile platform development (led by iPhone and Android).

Full list:

>> HTML5 fundamentals, Part 1, Zone: Web development
Functional thinking Thinking functionally, Part 1, Zone: Java
Building CouchApps, Zone: Open source
On-demand demos, Zone: N/A
>> HTML5, CSS3, and related technologies, Zone: Web development
Just what is Node.js?, Zone: Open source
Application virtualization, past and future, Zone:  Linux
>> Improve web application security with jQuery Mobile, Zone:  XML
Use Node.js as a full cloud environment development stack, Zone:  Cloud computing
Taming big data, Zone:  Information Management

If you are a WebSphere application developer looking to go mobile, check out the Web 2.0 and Mobile Feature Pack.