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.


The impact of driverless cars on insurance

I had an interesting discussion with Lee Fogle a year ago who was them at Exigen. We talked broadly about some of the key trends in car insurance and it began to dawn what a different landscape we will have in this regard if driverless cars become the norm. Sure you can still have accidents, but now it will be the fault of the car software, not the hapless human driver.

This should leave insurance costs rapidly trending downwards. For example, there’s no reason why folks in New York shouldn’t pay the same rates as those in Idaho. Frankly, i’m surprised this didn’t come up as an example as this great article in the UK Telegraph:

Oh, and if you want to hear Lee share his thoughts, check out this video:

#SMBEB: Jory Des Jardins, BlogHer on current state of blog publishing

When Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins founded BlogHer in 2005 they were only thinking of helping showcase women bloggers, not of building the content network empire that BlogHer is today.

In an inspiring Social Media Breakfast here in the East Bay this week Jory took us through where BlogHer came from and where BlogHer is today. Sourcing content from 1000s of bloggers and dealing with issues as diverse as tech, politics, sex and food, means that Jory and team have a good sense of what’s happening in the world of digital publishing.

So what’s going on?

Jory reiterated three major trends impacting the world of publishing:

Most consumption of BlogHer content now happens on mobile devices. And it has been that way for some time. Jory points out that for BlogHer they do adopt a mobile-first mentality, whether it relates to infrastructure or advertising. We hear a lot about responsive design and building for mobile, but Jory points out this is tough for smaller publishers (read many individual bloggers) who lack the time and skill to ensure an optimized mobile experience. Jory suggests that practically all traffic to the network will be from mobile devices within a few years. One observation: we still hear a lot of pronouncements that the web is dead, particularly driven by the use of mobile apps of the mobile web. However listening to Jory, it’s clear that the blogosphere (built on the web) has a vital role to play in our mobile future.

Jory points out that increasingly video is being employed for digital storytelling purposes. Video consumption is growing and the ease at which you can create great video grows, particularly given the huge advances in digital cameras and smartphones. It’s a medium that needs to be understood, particularly on how you can leverage video for maximum effect.

Jory stressed the importance of getting to the right metrics, and this also proved a popular area when it came to questions. Gone are the days of showing success through page views. What are the key areas to focus on? On the one hand attribution metrics which help advertisers chart the course to a sale and give attribution back to each of the partners that helped enable that sale. On the other hand engagement and community metrics which tell you a lot about how your content resonates and the propensity for you to build and influence a network. Somehow I suspect there is still some room to grow when it comes to metrics – so watch this space!

Check out this recap of the event:

And obviously check out BlogHer and their upcoming conference in the Bay Area July 25/26.

IBM @ TiEcon 2014

I’m looking forward to attending my first TiEcon event tomorrow. If past events are anything to go by, we’re in for a real treat from some of the brightest minds in the startup/tech space.

And some of those minds just happen to currently hold positions at IBM. Just take a look at this line-up of IBM speaking engagements:

9:15 am 
Fireside chat in the Grand Key note Hall
Mike Rhodin, Manoj Saxena

10:15  am
Announcement of Big Data Lightning Round Winners
Piyush Malik

10:45 am
Onramp to Big Data session with Gartner in Big Data Track
Piyush Malik

12:15 pm
Fireside Chat on Cognitive Computing in Big Data track
Dr Laura Haas

1:45 pm
To Introduce the Afternoon Keynote in Big Data track
Piyush Malik

2:30 pm  
To introduce the panel on Technology Landscape of Big Data
C Mohan

2:45 pm 
Panelist on the cloud Infrastructure track
Monica Hein

4:30 pm
Keynote in IOT track by Sandy Carter
Sandy Carter

4:45 pm 
Fireside introduction on Big data in Education with Andre Ng CEO
Piyush Malik

6:35 pm
Tie50 Award Ceremony
Sandy Carter

Thanks to Piyush Malik  @pmalik1 for compiling this list!

I look forward to seeing you there…

SaaS, PaaS and IaaS explained

We just had a fun challenge around cloud computing in our department, which involved researching some useful documentation around the cloud.

In that documentation was this neat description of the cloud together with explanation of the benefits:

Software as a Service (SaaS) allows businesses to provide direct access to the applications consumers, clients and citizens need from the Internet or company intranet.  Because the applications are centrally managed, there are no licenses or upgrades to maintain.     

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is an application development platform delivered on demand, allowing developers to focus on software design, development and deployment — without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware, software, provisioning and hosting. 

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) delivers compute power, storage and networking on demand, eliminating the high cost of maintaining, staffing and providing power and cooling for an in-house data center if the service is provided externally.  If it’s provided internally at a department level it still offers greatly improved speed and efficiency in providing compute resources needed for the business.          

Useful, huh?

Scrabbling around on YouTube I found this great video too:

There you go. Up to speed on cloud now?

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!