Happy Tuesday! 

Today we continue our series on the top 5 Trends in Social Business today.  As a reminder, our trends so far have been:

1)   Information sharing is the new black.  Therefore trust and expertise location are essential elements of all businesses.

2)   Knowing how to reach a client set of 1 is as important as segmentation and demographics.   Social makes this possible.   There are “averages.” But the rapid emergence of Big Data, social networks, mobility, location-based tracking is generating a thousand clues about the individual human being. This will bring about the death of the “average” and usher in the era of “you” – the unique consumer, citizen, patient, student.

3)  Innovation is a cultural norm for high performers.  Decisions will be based not on “gut instinct,” but on predictive analytics and social analytics.

4)   Social networks are the new production line.

In 1959, the legendary management guru Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker,” defined as someone who does “non-routine” work… seeks and makes sense of information (he estimated 38% of the worker’s time)… and renders judgment – creating what we now call intellectual capital.

 Now consider what that means today. What’s happened to information since 1959? Well, there’s that exponential increase in volume, speed and variety of data that I mentioned. Now think about what tools are available. In 1959 – files, spreadsheets, tabulators. Today, we have advanced analytics… heading toward systems, like IBM’s Watson, that aren’t programmed… they learn.

 We also have billions of mobile devices, which are rapidly becoming the world’s primary interface to the Internet. In one study in China, 90 percent of users said they have their mobile device within arm’s reach 100 percent of the time.

 Finally, and most importantly, knowledge workers today have 24-hour access to something else: each other.

 In a world where value is shifting rapidly from things to knowledge, knowledge workers are the new means of production. And it follows that the social network is the new production line.

 This is important. In a social enterprise, your value is established not by how much knowledge you amass, but by how much knowledge you impart to others.  We are in early days of this shift. But some pioneers are changing how they actually create value.

Consider the Mexican cement maker CEMEX. The company wanted to create its first-ever global brand of concrete. It would have to accommodate multiple different specifications for concrete in different countries. To develop this, they didn’t build a new lab or production process… they built a social network. It was called Shift, and it connected their product development staff in 50 countries. It grew to more than 400 active communities. They wound up launching the new global brand in a third of the time it used to take them to launch a new product within Mexico.

 Now, this new way of operating is spreading across the enterprise. CEMEX is working with IBM Research to deepen the expertise functionality in Shift – to dynamically build heatmaps of recommended experts, materials and activities, so that any CEMEX employee knows how to become an “expert” in a given topic of interest. The first group to make use of the tool was the Alternative Fuels community. The long-term objective is an enterprise expertise model where information is analyzed automatically, content is organized in relevant topics and personalized action plans are created – and where rewards are shaped by who contributes the most and best ideas.

 Remember, this is a cement company.

 Note: This may have begun as an attempt to enhance connectivity and sharing. But it is taking a crucial next step to the actual creation of expertise… and the actual creation of experts.

 Cemex is an example of the social dimension of the Smarter Enterprise. Could every organization follow its example? Could every company hire, compensate, evaluate and promote on the basis of how well one shares and catalyzes knowledge? I believe most can, and will. And we are working aggressively to do this at IBM.

For example, today, every IBMer has a social network page – as well as access to thousands of internal information sources, blogs, communities, wikis and universal instant messaging.

 We are now working toward a future – a near-future – in which all IBMers will be rated by their peers and profession, based on how good they are at sharing their knowledge… how good they are at making it useful, consumable… how well they contribute to the community and to our clients’ needs and experience. Five stars? Here’s your bonus. Two stars? You have work to do.