Tag Archives: social networking

Social Business webcast series kicks off next week

Want to understand more about social business and IBM’s role in this emerging space? Some of the major practioners will be presenting latest thoughts, concepts and applications in a webinar series that kicks off next week.

From May 17 to June 14, topics covered will include a definition of social business (a hot topic given the latest round of presentations by Deloitte’s @ChrisHeuer), the implications of taking applications into the Cloud, and producing applications that can be deployed across mobile and other platforms.

Taking into account the fast-paced nature of the social business world, each of these webcasts will delivered in a punchy 20 minutes:

Date: May 17, 11am EDT
Title: IBM Social Business Overview
Presenter: Charlie Hill
Abstract: IBM’s Distinguished Engineer and CTO, Charlie Hill will define what it means to be a Social Business and the benefits organizations can gain with successfully transforming into a Social Business. Charlie will talk about how to build social applications and embed social capabilities into existing business processes and applications. After attending this webcast, you’ll be ready to get started in building the social applications that will drive businesses for years to come.
Check out the recording

Date: May 24, 11am EDT
Title: The IBM Social Business Toolkit
Presenter: Philippe Riand
Abstract: Adding social functionality to business applications brings productivity to a whole new level.  Learn how to use the IBM Social Business Toolkit to bring your applications to a whole new level.  Social business applications leverage the collective wisdom and discover a wealth of relevant information in the context of the current task.  Learn how to make your applications do that!
Check out the recording

Date:
June 7, 11am EDT
Title: Lifting Applications to the Cloud
Presenter: Mike Masterson
Abstract: Everyone is talking about the cloud.  Customers want to know if your application runs in the cloud.  Find out how IBM can help you to answer "yes" by integrating with IBM’s premier cloud solution, LotusLive.
Check out the recording

Date: June 14, 11am EDT
Title: Social Applications Go Mobile
Presenter: Tyler Tribe
Abstract: People need to access your application from anywhere, and it’s no different for social business applications.  Learn how IBM’s strategy allows you to write once and run everywhere, whether on a PC, smart phone, or iPad.  Find out how to build Websphere Portal applications that can be accessed from your favorite mobile device.
Check out the recording

We’ll use crowdsourcing to come up with future subjects to provide insights from subject matter experts.

The business value in social networks

I just had the wonderful opportunity to present to the students of City University of New York (CUNY) along with Bilal Jaffery on where we see the business value in social media.

You can watch the presentation, which is part of the ongoing Roundtable series here:

CUNY Presentation: The Business Value in Social Networks from Daryl Pereira on Vimeo.

Or rifle through the slides:

Bottom line is that social media is transforming the way we do business: we are realizing massive efficiencies and humanizing corporations by providing employees the tools and knowledge to develop deeper relationships with each other and the extended ecosystem. Gone are the days when communications from a brand only came through the marketing and communications department.

As with any presentation, the following Q&A session was fascinating. Questions ranged from how does an individual make a dent in the social media landscape to how do you expand into foreign markets. We also touched on how we use crowdsourcing here at IBM for feedback on everything from our social media guidelines to the positioning of marketing campaigns.

More on the CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise

Can Twitter sentiment analysis predict outcomes (like the Irish election)?

When I was growing up, election coverage was characterized by an exuberant political pundit leaping around large cardboard charts of the UK with the kind of coloring normally reserved for the weather report. The ‘exit polls’ we were familiar with only updated about every four hours and only included those people who were prepared to be cornered by the political researchers hanging around near polling stations.

Fast forward to 2011.

We currently have a general election unfolding in Ireland. The Irish online news site The Journal has been crawling over Twitter, that political social network du jour, using the conversations that happen there to predict which way the election will sway. And so far the headline graphic looks like this:

image

It’s a great case study in the current status of analytics and throws up some wonderful points that have relevance beyond the Irish political scene.

Data is everywhere

Researchers no longer need to go in search of data. Whilst I don’t deny the added color and in-depth insight from questionnaires, focus groups and other tools used by human researchers (whether in the political or commercial realm), there is rich data out there that you don’t have to force out of people. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook give us access to voluntarily-provided information on social groups. We no longer have to bug people to provide us with data.

Growing importance of social media analysis

Let’s face it, we’ve seen a huge growth in the use of social networks over the last two years (not sure why I pick that time frame, maybe tied up with when Twitter/Facebook buttons first starting appearing in ads and on TV). We’ve taken our social lives online. And the beauty of being online is that everything can be tracked. We leave traces. and when you aggregate all of these, patterns start to appear. Is this level of analysis creepy? The privacy issue definitely has to be considered, however I’d contend that the information is so much more valuable in aggregate (effectively anonymized) than it is at the individual level.

Sentiment analysis can throw a curve-ball

Here is what the volume of conversations around the Irish election shows us:

image

Now look at the sentiment:

image

Fine Gael have by far the most conversations. However, much of this conversation is not positive. I’d say from a marketing perspective this is something we need to pay more attention to. Far too often we’re still using raw numbers as a determinant of campaign success. We need to add the sentiment layer on top to understand more of the nature of the conversations we ignite.

Presentation is everything

The first image I highlight in this post is so immediately descriptive. Newspapers have been producing wonderful infographics for decades. In the business world we still end up with reports that look more like this:

(not meaning to pick on anyone, this is just an image that came up in a search)

How much further our story goes if we take time to package it up. Business analytics will only move further into the mainstream if the findings are presented in an easily-consumable fashion.

So, having stuck my neck out in favor of The Journal’s Twitter Tracker, I’ll have to come back next week with some post-election analysis. In the meantime, back to Twitter to watch this election unfold.

Creating a social business through developerWorks: the GoMidjets story

Even though I wasn’t at Lotusphere this year, I did get a sneak peak at Stacy Pschenica’s presentation on the value of the developerWorks community: to members, partners and thankfully (given the source of my salary) IBM.

One particular slide jumped out:

image

This is the impressive story of GoMidjets, a provider of configuration management plug-ins for IBM Rational software. GoMidgets founder Tamir Gefen was a user of Rational CM and ALM who originally used developerWorks Rational forums to solve problems and pick up tips. Before long he found himself contributing heavily on Rational forums – providing simplified and automated processes to help other users work more efficiently. This led to the creation of GoMidjets: an IBM partner offering plug-ins and professional consulting for IBM Rational ClearCase. Tamir continued to use the developerWorks forums for obtaining product feedback, development and brainstorming around ideas. 

As he pointed out in an earlier interview with Valerie Skinner,

"I use developerWorks as a focused network to communicate with professionals from the Gurus to the users. Through developerWorks, I get to hear what people have to say, learn new ideas, get technical information and more. I like to think I don’t just gain from it but also contribute. More than anything, I use it to answer questions in the Rational ClearCase and ClearQuest forums. I enjoy solving users’ problems."

Tamir now receives 40% of his leads from the developerWorks network. How’s that for a living, breathing example of social business?

Some key points that come out of the GoMidjets story:

  • Social networks represent great assets for business development. Forums contain detailed market intelligence: users openly share their pain points. If you can help address these, you could be looking at a viable business proposition.
  • Don’t underestimate the altruistic motive. Look to add real value to the community. Spend time answering questions rather than just pumping out sales/marketing messages. Develop relationships: who know where these will lead in the future?
  • Take the risky business of product development out from behind the closed doors of your organization. Think of forums as focus groups where you can obtain user feedback and find out if a new feature really does have legs, or is just an attempt to solve a non-existent problem.

Want to replicate the GoMidjets story?

Our forums are one of the most popular areas of our site – check them out. If you would like to setup a specialized group with the opportunity to collaborate over files, activities, bookmarks and more, go right ahead. If you have a message to share or would like to provide regular updates to our community, request a blog via the link on this page.

Stacy took the opportunity to talk a little further about the developerWorks mission to the Lotusphere video press gang:

Have your own social business stories to share? Comment below!

#LS11

Lotusphere 2011 opening session: mobile, social business has arrived

Lotusphere Opening General Session So IBM’s premier social business event, Lotusphere 2011, is now fully underway.

Who better to get things started than Hollywood legend Kevin Spacey: few have done a better job of capturing the zeitgeist. Whether it’s a portrait of middle-aged, middle-America ennui in American Beauty or producing the Aaron Sorkin-scripted dissection of the rise and rise of Facebook (‘The Social Network’), Kevin Spacey is a man with his proverbial finger on the pulse. (If you missed it, I can recommend his recent appearance on the Colbert Report). “Stay open and listen to other’s points of view” is one of his takeaways.

Key themes from this year’s opening:

Marketing page creation

The energetic Brian Cheng shows off some of the powerful new features of Lotus Connections 3 (LC3) for building an external web presence. Drag-and-drop functionality allows a marketer to build a web landing page on the fly – fully incorporating those social features demanded by the market today. You can even see how the experience will be for someone who is logged in to the community (eg. maybe they see their network connections and have the ability to comment on specific parts of the page) versus what a new visitor will see. Full integration with Coremetrics and SugarCRM means you have can see instantly just how well the page is performing.

Interesting development from Lotus Connections given its general perception as an intranet tool. Will we see a further crumbling of the iron curtain that separates the intranet from the external presence of an organization? 

The mobile experience

As mobile usage continues to soar, we demand more of our web applications to be accessible from our smart phones as we wait in line for our Chai Tea Latte. This morning we see multiple demonstrations of just how LC3 performs in the mobile space. Cheng shows how marketing pages created with the Customer Experience Suite can have a specific look for a specific device (in this case demonstrating how the site will appear on an iPad). We also see how presentations shared within LC3 can also be viewed via a Blackberry app. The Sametime messaging system will have mobile support, making it easier to get on the phone when your Sametime instant-messaging chat conversation goes south.

Video support

During the demo, the Lotus Connections team show new web-based video capabilities integrated with enterprise communications systems like Polycom. For instance, video conferencing a la Skype can be embedded directly into the page of a presentation, creating a more interactive experience. The team showcases web-based video so there is no need for the installation of any plugins. Not quite sure what technology underpins this but there is the announcement of a big commitment to HTML5 in the later press conference (yey!). 

Sub-communities

So you want to organize your communities by brand, function, department, etc. LC 3 now supports sub-communities so that you can group together related networks. All settings (including permissions) can be defined at the sub-community level. So, for instance, you can use one sub-community to surface part of a project for external stakeholders whilst keeping the internal workflows more private.

Integration of mail and social

Activity streams can be woven into the mail experience (regardless of mail server) so a user can see all conversation in a single interface. No doubt this will continue to grow and form the segue of modern corporate communications, especially amongst the younger workforce who relate to email the way I relate to fax technology.

So, a lot to look forward to in the next three days in Orlando as IBM’s vision of social business unfolds.

Be sure to check out the live stream recording and live blogging from ReadWriteWeb.

Photo courtesy of Jacques Pavlenyi.

#LS11

Lotusphere 2011 is coming to a social network near you

Collaboration, social networking, disruptive technologies, social media… the list goes on. Lotusphere is IBM’s premier event dealing with this emerging space where technology intersects with people intersects with business.

The event takes place from Jan 30 – Feb 3 in that last vestige of sunshine at this time of year: Orlando, Florida.

As you’d expect for a conference covering all things social, there are a number of ways to connect if you can’t make it down there this year.

Definitely check out the social media aggregator pulling together relevant content from blogs, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. If you are planning on generating one iota of content around the event, register and remember to use #LS11 or #LotusKnows  in your blog posts/tweets to bask in the social glow this aggregator provides.

For the big announcements, keep an eye on the Livestream channel which will be broadcasting highlights from across the conference.

For the extended community (albeit in Twitter, YouTube, Facebook…), the developerWorks team have done an excellent job of putting together a community page.

Let’s face it, Orlando’s a fitting place for a conference on social business: this has to be one of the ‘hottest’ areas of the tech industry right now.

#LS11

Lotusphere 2011: building collaborative business intelligence with Cognos 10

Over on the IBM Software Blog, Cognos Product Marketing Manager Brendan Farnand explains just why business intelligence solutions from Cognos have a place at the Lotusphere social business event:

"Everyone involved in a decision or a solution needs to know who else is involved, what transpired before they were asked to contribute and what other ideas are out there for that decision or solution."

Business intelligence shouldn’t happen in isolation. As I’ve pointed out before, many reports from sales figures to customer service levels have added value if key constituents can comment on the results and define follow-up actions. Pairing key functions from the Lotus suite with Cognos Business intelligence allows exactly that:

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As I won’t be at Lotusphere this year, I’m looking forward to following Brendan on Twitter

If you can’t make it to Lotusphere, check out this Tech Talk webinar where Brendan highlights Cognos’ built-in collaboration and social networking functionality.

Foursquare to use predictive analytics to beat Facebook?

There’s a growing battle in the location-based services business between Foursquare and Facebook. Foursquare, with its past emphasis on gaming and status building (who wants to be the mayor of the local laundromat?) is now focusing on a more functional aspect: helping people decide where they should go next. According to a report in Brandweek (backed up by this article on a recent job ad), Foursquare sees offering recommendations as its chance to avoid being squeezed out of existence by Facebook, who, with over 500 million users, is the ostensible gorilla in the room.

How does it plan to do this? Brandweek suggests it will adopt predictive services which are common on sites like Amazon and Netflix:

"Those services crunch behavior data—what movies you watch and books you read—to suggest new products. Foursquare wants to do the same, only with recommendations of real-world activities."

For instance, let’s say you are a sushi freak living in Chicago who’s been active on Foursquare for the last year. You’ve been using Foursquare to capture badges for most of the top local Japanese eateries. Foursquare can see your penchant for fine sushi in the windy city and look across its network for others in your area who share the same passion. It realizes that there is a new joint downtown and can suggest you check this out.

How does this crunching work? The data is mined along a process which runs something like this for each individual visitor:

  • What are the past actions you have recorded
  • What patterns can be determined from your actions
  • Who else in the network is like you
  • Where are the gaps between your actions and their actions?
  • Offer as predictions these actions that people like you have performed

Note, this obviates the need for a user to fill in a vast registration form listing all their likes and interests. The system can figure this out by looking at past behavior.

In terms of making predictions, systems need to be smart enough to factor in elements that can cause shifts in our patterns of behavior:

  • Seasonality (no taste for raw fish when snowing)
  • Change in tastes (eg. pregnancy pushes sushi off the menu)
  • Removing system bias (eg. not only favoring well-established popular places, but allowing new entrants a chance to prove themselves)

Whether Foursquare makes a concerted move in this direction remains to be seen, but as web and mobile applications creep further into every aspect of our existence (with their inherent ability to track behavior), expect to see an increasing use of business intelligence and predictive analytics to create smarter systems offering us more relevant information.