Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recap of IBM's Social Business Jam

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As mentioned in a previous post, the IBM Social Business Jam results have been posted (no registration required).

Others have already beat me to the punch to highlight some of the results from our Social Business Jam which was held the week after Lotusphere 2011 #ls11. For example, Peter Kim from the Dachis Group offers his take here and my colleague Rawn Shah has his take over here.

The 72-hour jam brought together 2,700 participants from 80 countries (with a high profile list of special guests). According to the report, in those 72 hours, there were 2600 posts and 600+ tweets (this # seems low to me though).

Throughout the Jam there were several quick polls aimed at getting a quick pulse from the participants. One of the polls that caught my eye was: "What is most likely to encourage you to use social software more in your job?". Top answer? Social software must be embedded in the applications I use to do my job!

And that's something that I've been promoting a lot. Every customer I go to, I tell them the importance of integration, integration, and integration. Just like real estate is all about location, location, location. This poll also validates IBM's Social Everywhere strategy which was announced at Lotusphere 2010.

The jam also addressed the elusive social media ROI (retun on investment). The participants believe that social media ROI is measurable but there's a need for a new set of metrics, for example:

  1. Brand mentions
  2. Customer engagement (comments / re-sharing)
  3. # of active advocates (outside of the brand)
  4. Customer satisfaction increase
  5. Increased web traffic
  6. etc
I thought #3 was an interesting one. I hadn't really thought about that one and that's a good one to try and measure.
Another section of the report that caught my attention was that "the role of middle managers is changing -- or perhaps disappearing altogether". This is something that I fear prevents adoption at some organizations as some levels of management see this as a threat to their jobs. It reminded me of a blog post I read recently: Why middle management must feat social media. To address this, I often mention how middle management is going to become even more effective and productive at their work because they'll have more transparency. At the same time, they remove themselves as the bottlenecks and can focus on business decisions that require their attention instead of just being a connector.
A key point that was brought up by the participants was the role of IT in a social business. In a previous blog post, I highlighted the importance of not falling victim of the "If you build it, they will come approach". The jam participants validated this by stressing the importance of making IT a partner in this process. If IT is not nimble enough to adjust quickly to the needs of the employees, the company faces a bigger challenge: the adoption of consumer tools for internal social collaboration.   

You can download and read the full report here and read it on your way home on your iPad or favorite eBook reader.

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