BIZTECHBUZZ in the world of social, cognitive, IoT and startups

Category: social workday

Talking Social Business with Airlines in Prague with a new Social Study for Airlines

 The GLOBAL AIrline Summit. 

On September 9, I’ll be talking with senior airline executives from around the world at the IBM Airline Summit in Prague, Czech Republic. The theme of the summit is “Smarter travelers expect smarter airlines: Delivering an exceptional customer experience while optimizing operations.”

Today’s travelers really do expect more from airlines than ever before. Yes, we expect smooth operations, a pleasant flight and good value.

But more and more we expect personalized customer service while we are shopping for a trip and during each step of the journey, delivered consistently through all the devices we use.

The NEW Socially Connected Airlines. 

Today, meeting those expectations depends on using the latest social business tools to help the airline workforce keep the planes on schedule and to create exceptional customer experiences.

I recently read a related article in Business Travel News that might interest you by Paul Campion, an IBM colleague in the UK.

The SUMMIT.  A Breakthrough Event!

 At the summit, airline executives will share their own experiences and hear speakers from other airlines, industry analysts, a leading international airport, Coca-Cola marketing, Netflix, and from IBM. 

We’ll be launching some exciting new social business research sponsored by IBM with PhoCusWright – “Social media in travel: mayhem, myths, mobile and money.” The study will provide clear quantitative insights around what travel companies need to manage, mobilize, and monetize their social strategy.

Of course, the Summit won’t be all work and no play. I hear that we’ll take a tram ride and walking tour through Prague’s beautiful old town. Then we’ll share a meal in one of the city’s great restaurants. I’m looking forward to it. Watch this space for my blog post after the event.

Sweet tea and screen doors. Social Businesses could learn alot from them!

Yes, I am southern pure as they come!  I love my sweet ice tea, grits with butter, screen doors, and Kudzu.

screen door

In the summer, the screen door is an essential element of everyone’s home.  The screen door’s entire point is that it’s not a barrier.  Its job is to open easily.  It is a welcome to all visitor’s and friends that approach it.

Is your social media site like that screen door?   Does it open and welcome others in?

Tips to make your site as welcoming as that Southern Door!

  1. Do you make people type in that “code” to enter?   Don’t!
  2. Is your site mobile friendly and usable?
  3. Do you have stellar content ?  Content is Queen!
  4. Is Video part of your strategy?  Video is the highest trusted media!  Use it wisely!
  5. Do you have a Twitter Widget on your Home page to engage your audience?  (Check out my blog on IBM Voices!)
  6. Can you feature other guests on your site?
  7. How do you listen?  All relationships listen first!
  8. Are your employees empowered to really represent the brand on your site?
  9. Have you chosen the right social tools that welcome your audience?  For instance, if you are selling to men, Pinerest may not be the best first choice.
  10. Do you constantly review the feedback and make changes to adapt and change?  

Top 6 Social Business Patterns for ROI!

It’s easy to see how the world has adopted social media to help strengthen ties between people all over the world. People like to share and the explosive growth of Facebook and all the other social media platforms out there are surely a testament to the fact that we like to share and discover what our friends are up to.  (IBM is, of course, the market leader at applying social techniques to business situations. Our entire Social Business Platform is the best in the market, four years in succession, according to IDC. )

Why these 6 Patterns Matter to Your Company:
While you might see how social could apply in a business setting, and understand that somehow harnessing some of these principles might be beneficial to improving how your organization works, you might not know where to start, or how the common business processes you work with could be transformed with social business.  Or you may be looking for the top ROI yields.   Or how to embed social without the S word (yes, that’s Social that some people view Social as Play!)
It’s for these reasons that we have created the Social Business Patterns or Use Cases.

  • Identify top ROI cases
  • Showcase the value and business outcome with having to use the S word
  • Allow you to learn from others

These are a suite of example business processes common to many industries. We show how these processes can be improved using IBM’s Platform for Social Business and, most importantly, what return on investment you can expect to realize from implementing the use cases.  These are not IT solutions, however. They are examples of business processes which will be very similar to your own. Using and adapting these examples can allow you to improve the communication, collaboration, awareness, knowledge-sharing, morale and efficiency of your organisation in simple but very effective ways.

Over the coming blog posts I will look at each of these in more depth, but let me outline to you the areas IBM’s Use Cases fall into:
Finding Expertise
Being able to locate the expertise in your organization is vital in many situations. Almost any service organization relies entirely on the knowledge of its subject matter experts. Manufacturing organizations such as car manufacturers, oil & gas producers and many others need to know how to solve problems quickly and easily without re-inventing the wheel and by accessing the expertise of the right people. Travel and transportation organizations’ entire business is built on being safe and reliable. These two facets are based on them being experts in their chosen fields and making the most of their staff’s expertise.  Finding Expertise focuses on how any organization can make the most of their experts. Whether it’s finding the right person in critical situations or unlocking the tacit knowledge in the experts’ heads to build the collective expertise of the organization.

Knowledge Sharing & Innovation
Social Business solutions are at the forefront of helping organizations all over the world increase their level of innovation.  Social helps to drive the process of innovation by giving ideas and new concepts places to grow and adapt based on the collective knowledge of the participants.  Use of social demonstrates how you can create a more nimble and flexible organization with dramatic return on investment opportunities backed by real client examples.


External Customer Insights
Many organizations nowadays have a presence on social media. They now have Facebook and other popular social network accounts, some use these to great effect and are generating real new business.   You can boost your selling power by unifying your sales people and distribution chain together with the most important people to your organization – your customers.

There are a set of sub cases around the external focus:

  • Customer Service.  Since empowered customers with social tools are changing the focus of business from selling to “partnering” , engaged employees lead to…higher service, quality, and productivity, which leads to… higher customer satisfaction, which leads to… increased sales & profit.
  • Sales.   Using social to better target individuals, not just demographics and segments to better sell to your client.
  • Community Building.  Using community to target your advocates and drive loyalty into your base or to recruit and learn from a new client set is a powerful ROI case.


Recruiting and On-boarding
Your organization lives and dies by the quality of its people. Attracting and retaining the best people in the market is one sure way to make sure that you are investing for your future.  To be able to demonstrates how you can enormously increase the time-to-value of new employees, increase the retention rate of your employees and provide much faster access to experts, highlights the focus on people as an important part of your strategy.
Everyone involved in bringing new people on board, including the new recruit themselves, wants their endeavour to be a success. How do you go about ensuring that happens? More than simply “inducting” a new member of staff, how do you streamline the recruitment, assessment and hiring processes?

new hire

Mergers and Acquisitions
Did you know that between fifty and eight three percent of mergers and acquisitions fail? This is an enormous cost for everyone involved, both financially and in terms of morale of the staff and customer and stakeholder confidence.  A focus on social in acquisitions can help reduce this failure rate by improving the key business processes involved in mergers and acquisitions. It focuses on the people and the culture associated with the organizations coming together and demonstrates how employee retention, failure rate of acquisition and communication can all be improved.
Social can assist in helping your organization improve its safety record and have a huge impact on ROI for worker’s compensation and injuries.  . The social tools within our solution can help you reduce incidents, increase effectiveness for your existing safety programs and accelerate the adoption of a culture of safety amongst everyone concerned.   Many industries use simple, but effective and tested approaches to using social collaboration can improve the safety record of your organisation and its reputation.

Join Me
We’re going to explore each of these Use Cases in more depth in the coming blog posts here, so I hope you’ll join me as we deep-dive into how social business, and IBM’s Platform for Social Business in particular can help your organization.

As always, I’d really appreciate your feedback and comments!  To get more information, you can get the summary report here!

Social Tip of the Week! Turn off Retweets!

Do you follow somebody on twitter who publishes great content but also tends to retweet anything (like anyone who thanks them), thus making it really hard for you to spot the interesting pieces in the mass of tweets? Than try this useful function: To turn off a person’s retweets, go on their profile, click on the little person icon next to the following button and select “Turn off retweets”. One exception: This only works for retweets sent by using the retweet button, not for those with RT at the beginning of the tweet.

Happy Friday! What is a Social Business Anyway?

Please forgive me if you know this but I have had so many questions at SXSW on “What is a Social Business” that I jotted down my thoughts to share!!!

If you are 201, please skip but I am hoping this is helpful to a lot of you!!

1. What is social business?
A major change is taking place in social media these days: leading-edge companies are moving from “liking” to leading.

Social media has become an extension of traditional paid media with many companies broadcasting messages, from traditional to innovative. The next step will be much deeper as the leaders recognize that social engagement is an opportunity to redefine the client service experience, be proactive in delivering customer care and differentiate in new ways.

We call this social business. And just as social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest changed the flow of information by helping people share insights, opinions, and news with anyone anywhere, social business is changing the way people connect with companies and inside of them and how organizations succeed.

What is a social business? It’s an organization that integrates social technologies with critical business processes to improve the productivity of its workforce and create exceptional customer service.

Forrester Research estimates the market opportunity for social software is expected to rise 60% annually from 2010.

2. How is social business different from social media?
Organizations have quickly learned that a Social Business isn’t a company that just has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. A Social Business means that every department in the organization has embedded social capabilities into their traditional business processes to fundamentally impact how work gets done to create business value. A Social Business utilizes social software technology to communicate with its rich ecosystem of clients, business partners and employees.

Three shifts are creating an opportunity for social technology to create real business value

  • Pressure to build and share expertise for competitive advantage
  • Increasingly influential and vocal customers
  • Growing demand for 24/7 and mobile connectedness

Leaders in every industry are leveraging Social Business technology to disrupt their industries and create competitive advantage. They are improving productivity and unleashing innovation by tapping into the collective intelligence inside and outside their organizations. With social, they’re creating a smarter workforce.

3. What are the benefits of becoming a social business?
In a social business, employees are smarter, more loyal, and engaged because their organization uses social networks, collaboration systems and shared messaging services.

A “social” approach enables employees around the world to tap into each other’s expertise and connections. Companies can attract top talent and give employees the social tools they need to work together. Executives can layer analytics on top of social technologies to make sure their companies have the right skills and expertise to meet market demands.

A social business is also one where customer service is exceptional because the company reaches out to customers through social networks, Twitter and blogs in innovative ways and acts on the insights it pulls together about consumers. That way, customer service teams have the insights and the analytics they need to predict and resolve problems before they happen. Companies can dish up more targeted offers to customers and respond more quickly to their problems. R&D can gain new sources of inspirations and insight from customers and employees so that the products customers want are the ones that get to market.

4. Example of social business transformations.
Teach for America: Teach For America, a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty, is using IBM’s social business platform to help bridge the gap in educational inequality for 600,000 students nationwide. Teach For America’s 40,000 teachers, alumni and employees are accessing a digital network built on IBM’s industry leading social
networking platform to share best practices and innovative teaching techniques in the classroom, across school districts, and state borders. Teach For America’s digital portal, TFANet, allows incoming and current teachers, alumni and staff to connect and share knowledge, resources and guidance to help deepen their impact as educational leaders. All 40,000 corps members, alumni and staff have access to discussion forums, blogs, wikis, videos, and user profiles to exchange information and insight across the organization’s 46 regions. IBM social networking technology has allowed Teach For America to build a network and digital experience for its teachers and alumni that includes a resource exchange with over 30,000 user-generated classroom materials focused on classroom management plans and worksheets, lesson plans, and new teaching techniques to help increase efficiency and learning in classrooms across the country. Members can access more than 600 content-specific communities, nearly 20 blogs, and 500 video clips and virtual classroom visits, providing Teach For America members with vital advice and insight from their colleagues to help advance their performance in the classroom.

LeasePlan: LeasePlan, one of the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management companies in the world, is using IBM Connections across the multi-national company of over 40 subsidiaries, in 30 countries and over 6,000 employees. LeasePlan is using IBM Connections for knowledge retention, optimizing workflow, increasing innovation, and transforming business processes. Nearly 800 communities have been formed, 400 blogs, and over 800 forums are all helping the organization decrease the amount of emails sent and received, helping the workforce easily find expertise and saving employees valuable time. Wim de Gier, LeasePlan’s Senior Global Project Manager Corporate Strategy & Development says, “LinkedPeople makes it easy to find people with specific expertise. Employees create personal profiles that include information such as their background, expertise, and links to articles or papers they have written. By searching tags, users can locate specific information and find colleagues suited to answer particular questions. Users can also find questions relating to their expertise that they can answer.”

Electrolux:  Electrolux is powered through the innovations of its employees to create products that consumers need.  Because of this, the ability for employees to access content and collaborate on the fly is crucial. Using IBM enterprise social networking software, Electrolux employees can now easily find experts and gain valuable insight from information and data. They are engaging in over 1,000 collaboration spaces, including 100 information portals managed by more than 450 editors and visited by employees 15,000 times a month and 9,000 times a day.

CEMEX:  Speeding innovation and time to market
CEMEX is the third largest building materials company in the world, with employees in 50 countries. To meet business challenges, it had to bring its global community closer together, so it created a social network initiative, called Shift, for open collaboration across its entire workforce. Within a year, over 20,000 employees were engaged, over 500 communities had formed, nine global innovation initiatives were underway — and ideas started flowing around the world among specialists in all areas and levels of the company. Wikis, blogs and communities became links between operating units around the world, and the collaboration among employees led to impressive results — for instance, the launch in under four months of the first global brand of CEMEX’s Ready Mix special product. If the same level of collaboration now enabled by Shift were conducted today through traditional meetings by phone and travel, CEMEX would be spending an additional US$0.5 to US$1 million per year.

#SXSW here we come! Sign up for … #socbiz !

I LOVE Austin! As a former Austin resident, I relish the chance to visit any time and hope to make it my home again some day.

If you are new to visiting Austin, or are back again for South by Southwest (SXSW), you can never run out of places to see, eat, drink, shop and enjoy. Next week, I will have a blog focused on how to make the most of your SXSW visit providing you a list of some of the places that truly make Austin the crown jewel of Texas. It will mostly be focused on dining, but I will also include some not to miss shopping, outdoor favorites and places that help to “Keep Austin Weird.”

A great place for unique Texas fare is Lambert’s Downtown Barbecue. They serve up an original twist on BBQ in a vintage downtown Austin building with an uptown vibe.

Join me at Lambert’s on Saturday, March 9, where I will be participating in a panel discussion called Just Add Followers — The Key Ingredient to Telling Your Brand Story and Getting Results, along with Shoutlet and Bare Escentuals, moderated by TechCrunch. This should prove to be a very lively and interesting session! The details are below. It would be great if you could join us. Please come early as there is limited seating on a first come basis.

Just Add Followers — The Key Ingredient to Telling Your Brand Story and Getting Results

Gone are the days when brands used a brochure or static website to tell their story. Today, social media provides a platform where brands can communicate their story through the way they engage and interact with followers. And often, those interactions shape the brand in new ways, too. Join TechCrunch, IBM, Bare Escentuals and Shoutlet as we take a look at social storytelling and provide practical tips and tools for the job. You’ll hear a robust discussion on how to effectively manage online communities, listen to fans and impact buyer behaviors and preferences. More details here.

What:    Panel Discussion with Shoutlet, IBM and Bare Escentuals, moderated by TechCrunch
When:     Saturday, March 9 from 2:00 – 4:30 pm
Where:     Lambert’s Downtown BBQ — 401 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

Diving in Bonaire: 5 lessons of the coral reef & the Social Ecosystem! #ibmsocialbiz #socbiz

Last week I was on vacation and finally got to dive in Bonaire!  We went with Bob from!  They were great.  Even though I had a back injury, they helped me tremendously to dive safe and took us to 2 amazing dive sites!!!  I’d highly recommend them to you!!!!

So what did we see on these dives?   I saw tons of turtles, eels, barracuda, flounder, and colorful coral reef.    But my favorite was a first for my dives … I saw my first seahorse there!  He was a bit red, cool, and incredible.   Though I didn’t get a pic, here’s one from a pro that looks just like my sea horse!!!



But while I was diving I was thinking about the social ecosystem!!  (Folks like Dachis, Jeremiah Owyang in the past have done the same!!!)

A few of my thoughts:

  1. What I saw:   Seahorses hanging on for dear life like … many companies struggling with Social.   They cling to the past.   We need to see that social is now a part of the business system.  I’d love to help you embrace it!
  2. What I saw:    Schools of fish being chased like…consumers banding together in communities, being chased by companies!
  3. What I saw:     My guide searching for fish we had not seen like... companies approaching social in a focused way.   Adding value, searching not for the masses but those consumers that matter to their business.
  4. What I saw:      Tons of turtles having fun in the sea but working hard too.  (Did you know that that marine turtles actively, and intentionally, remove algae from coral reefs)  like:  a great social analytics engine to remove the “stuff” that doesn’t matter, and helps you identify what does!
  5. What I saw:    Lots of color and coral formed overtime like a great community platform (IBM Connections!) that enables the different social networks to form!  These tools are important and the security they provide enhances results!

Yes, I know many of you ask “do I ever stop thinking about Social?”   Ummmmm….no!!!

How do you balance Social and the Workday?

I love to multi-task and social really enables me to do more than one thing at a time.

However, the study by ( showed that

  •  The typical worker is interrupted once every 28 minutes on average.
  •  28% of the average work day is spent on interruptions and recovery time.
  •  45% of workers believe they are expected to work on too many things at once.
  •  And tasks done in parallel take on average 30% longer to complete than those performed in a sequence

So what are my secrets to getting more done with social:

  1. I schedule social time in.    15 minutes at the start of the day, middle and end so that I can focus on listening and learning.
  2. I plan my social calendar.   On the weekend, I plan my blogs my subjects to focus on, and even the tools of the week.
  3. I focus on what’s important with social analytics tools that help me sort through the rivers of information.
  4. I focus on the relationships and engagements.
  5. I love experimenting and look for surprises and learnings in everything (like see my last blog on the Ducks!)  If you don’t look, you won’t see it!

What would you add?