Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Social Business Frontier: Randal Ries on Measuring Progress

“The Social Business Frontier” is a video blog series consisting of a number of short interviews taking a deeper look inside the IBM Research Labs to explore the groundbreaking and innovative social analytics research that's redefining the future of social business. 
In the fifth and final episode of The Social Business Frontier we speak to Randal Ries, IBM Senior Research Analyst, about how IBM is providing an example for businesses to measure the progress of their social business journey. A key aspect of an organization’s transformation into a social business is culture change. In order to measure culture it’s necessary to rely on traditional research methods. It’s Randal and team’s mission to understand employees’ attitudes and behaviors toward working socially. To do this they’ve developed a survey that measures different aspects of a social workplace. Their strategy helped them understand how employees felt about the value of working socially, how their management was embracing social and if there was enough education on how to work socially. Listen in to hear Ries explain how these results helped IBM understand where it is in its social transformation journey and how it can continue to grow as a social business.


from Social Business Insights Blog

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Get Social with These Sessions at Amplify 2015

With a focus on customer engagement and building “experiences that attract, delight and retain clients,” it’s no wonder that there are plenty of sessions at IBM Amplify 2015 with social business themes and tie-ins. The conference, taking place May 11–13 at the San Diego Convention Center, features streams on Customer Analytics, Marketing, Merchandising and eCommerce. We’ve gone through the agenda to identify ten of the most compelling social business sessions on tap this year. Be sure to check out all of these and browse sessions to find your own favorites.


from Social Business Insights Blog

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

4.74 Degrees of Separation: Jessica W Ramirez

If a picture is worth 1,000 words then prepare yourself for the best long essay you've ever read! After learning that Sean House had named her as one of the most important people whom he'd met via Connections, Jessica couldn't help but showcase the very skill she was recognized for.

A Software engineer with background in both design and development, Jessica proves how powerful social truly is when it comes to learning about opportunities you otherwise would've never knew existed. Her story about connecting with Bill Higgins also illustrates (literally!) how social business democratizes communication and doesn't break down barriers, but eliminates them by its very nature.


Jessica Ramirez's Story:


from Social Business Insights Blog

Monday, April 27, 2015

Don’t Let “Experience” Be the Spoilsport in Your Customer Acquisition and Retention Plan

While I was not yet fully recovered from a recent move into a house near my office, I had to kick-start a linear array of daunting tasks to transfer my internet, telephone and cable television accounts to the new address.


  • It took four business days for my existing internet service provider to confirm that service coverage was not available in the new location.
  • Another service provider that offered coverage in my area for internet didn’t even bother to check if I needed cable service as well. I had to make two parallel follow-ups over a week’s time to get these two connections set up from the very same new provider.
  • As if that wasn’t enough, a customer service associate from one of the region’s leading credit card service providers followed up with me about my online application for a new card, submitted on their website form a year ago! What upset me further was they didn’t even realize that I have been a customer all the while.


These related scenarios made me realize that many organizations have yet to utilize the right technology to provide a good customer experience. Let’s look at a few ways they could improve that experience.


Self-service functionality, dashboards and user interface

My ex- internet service provider apparently doesn’t have the ability to instantly check service availability in different locations. Deploying an external self-service functionality to handle similar repeat customer queries would have taken care of this scenario. Organizations that have a horizontal matrix setup, newer business models and multiple modular offerings must have the functionality of an integrated dashboard. Business-friendly dashboards should have a clear, intuitive and responsive user interface that integrates extremely well with multiple back-end systems and dynamically displays a 360-degree view of the customer, customer interaction history, suggested cross-sell opportunities and contextual help to leave a lasting impression with the customer.


Integration and context

My new internet service provider doesn’t seem to have any technology integration among their business verticals. This integration could have provided the online service associate with relevant, related product information on the fly to efficiently cross-sell their offerings. Customer-facing sales associates and field service engineers could benefit from access to scenario-based contextual business rules and easily consumable sales help material to improve their ability to efficiently capture new customers and effectively retain existing customers.


Workflows, forms and rules

Apparently, the credit card provider in my example doesn’t have action-oriented workflows to act upon customer queries flowing across different customer touch points through various digital channels. Online forms need to do more than simply capture customer queries and email them to the assigned executives. Business rules could be assigned to the responses for online forms with time-based service level agreements to trigger different follow-ups that could ensure customers’ queries are addressed to the fullest extent.

A recent Gartner survey on the role of marketing in the customer experience found that “by 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.” I can’t think of a prediction that better illustrates the need for businesses to adapt digital technologies that can help to create unique, long-lasting customer experiences.

Even though technology has advanced and many of the early challenges of automation have been solved, many organizations—such as those I dealt with during my recent move—have yet to completely adapt. They need an integrated approach like the one that can be provided by IBM Digital Experience Solutions. To get a first-hand look at these solutions and more, check out the IBM Digital Experience 2015 in Atlanta in early June.



from Social Business Insights Blog

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Social Entrepreneurship – the New Batman


Ask any Austinite what one of the biggest problems is in the city right now and the answer will likely be the same: growth. Traffic, cost of living or running a business, new construction – all of these issues are swelling at an overwhelming rate. Locals are moving because they can no longer afford the city, businesses are closing to make way for new condos, and the quirky “keep Austin weird” culture is slowly getting a bit more normal. For better or worse, Austin is one of the United States of America’s fastest growing cities.


On Monday, I had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting between five teams of social entrepreneurs and Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, TX. He explained these pressing challenges and how people are looking to him and government for the solutions … but the truth is, like Batman in Gotham City, social entrepreneurship is the real-life superhero in solving our cities’ biggest problems.


We the people need to be active participants in identifying the problems and then innovate and find solutions using technology as an activator for social responsibility, and do so in a sustainable way. That’s exactly what these five millennial-led startups are doing. They are the next generation of philanthropists – proof that millennials aren’t just the “ME” generation, but the “We through Me” generation.


Creativity is part of the DNA of this city, and true to Austin’s lake-loving spirit, these five teams of entrepreneurs are staying at a house on Lake Travis as they go through an intensive, innovative accelerator workshop – all of which is being filmed for a reality web series. You can follow the journey of these startups as they use IBM Verse and Watson Analytics to guide them through daily challenges at To see where it all began, watch the first episode filmed at SXSW here.

from Social Business Insights Blog

What's New in the April 2015 Release of IBM Connections Social Cloud

A new post on SocializeMe:As we run our final checklist to turn on the new features, I wanted to give you a heads up as to what to expect next week.  I had the opportunity to give a preview of these to the audience at Social Connections, the independent IBM Connections user group, last week in Boston.

The conference was great as usual.  It was completely sold out as usual was great. I had the opportunity to meet with developers (check out this related post) as well as customers/users.  I learned about how they are driving the culture shift and increasing the adoption of Connections within the organization.  So much insight! The next Social Connections has been announced for October 2015 in Stuttgart, Germany (Oktoberfest anyone?)

So on to next week, here's a few things that you can expect:

  • New custom layouts for communities so that you can tailor your communications to your team
  • Drag-n-drop apps between columns in a single step
  • Responsive apps so that they adjust to the right column width
  • Type-ahead search for recently visited content to get back to where you've been faster
  • Access Activities via the mobile device

Here's a sample of a community with apps moved around:

To give you a visual idea of what to expect, check out these couple of slides:

And for those of you who couldn't make it to Social Connections 8, here's the presentation that I delivered:


from Socialize Me

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

4.74 Degrees of Separation: Jessica W Ramirez



If a picture is worth 1,000 words then prepare yourself for the best long essay you've ever read! After learning that Sean House had named her as one of the most important people whom he'd met via Connections, Jessica couldn't help but showcase the very skill she was recognized for.

A Software engineer with background in both design and development, Jessica proves how powerful social truly is when it comes to learning about opportunities you otherwise would've never knew existed. Her story about connecting with Bill Higgins also illustrates (literally!) how social business democratizes communication and doesn't break down barriers, but eliminates them by its very nature.


Jessica Ramirez's Story:


from Social Business Insights Blog

How to Move from Google Mail to IBM Verse

A new post on SocializeMe:Recently, I helped a company move from Google Apps to the IBM Connections Cloud. They were attracted by IBM Verse and were heavy users of Google Mail and they needed a new way to manage the flood of email that was coming in and impacting their productivity. They did their migration in mid-March.

Back in February I started to do some research to figure out how this could be done. ​​ So how did I do it? The actual technical part was pretty straightforward.. in fact, as easy as drag-n-drop as you'll see below. Things were made easy because this company only used the Google Mail portion of Google Apps.

So here's the process to migrate:

  1. Buy IBM Connections Cloud S1 via .
  2. I created the 10 user accounts for the company with Mail and Connections entitlement. This was pretty easy
  3. Configure mail routing and DNS settings as documented here.
  4. Then, proceed to enable IMAP for the IBM mail service as documented here
  5. Now with your favorite IMAP client (I used Apple Mail) configure both the Google Mail account and the IBM Mail account. Instructions for Apple Mail and adding your IBM mail account via IMAP are here.
  6. And then for the super easy part...
  7. Drag-n-drop all your folders from Google mail to IBM Mail
  8. Drag-n-drop all your sent mails from Google mail to a "Old Sent" folder in IBM Mail
  9. Drag-n-drop all your emails in the Google mail inbox to the IBM inbox
  10. Suspend the account in Google Mail
  11. Repeat steps 7-9 for every account
  12. Voilá

And that was it. The customer is now running their mail with IBM Verse. If you want help with this process, I would recommend engaging one of our expert consultants in this area.

from Socialize Me

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How To Integrate Your App with IBM Connections Cloud with 2 Lines of Code

A new post on SocializeMe:Last week I was at the IBM Connections user group conference, called Social Connections, in Boston MA.  There, I got the opportunity to meet with many end users as well as developers interested in building apps for IBM Connections.

A particular session that I got great feedback from developers was the one titled Mastering the IBM Connections Developers Experience. Vijay Francis and Paul Bastide took the audience through the options to integrate with IBM Connections Cloud.  One of the samples was how to take an existing app and bring in our navigation components into it in less than 30 seconds!

So imagine you have an app like this:

Now let's take that and add the IBM Connections Cloud navigation to it.  Add a couple of lines of code and boom!

Now, you have an easy and consistent way for users to go back and forth between your app and the main Connections interface. So how did I do this? As easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Add the following before the closing body tag in your web app

    <script src="" type="text/javascript"></script>
  2. Add the following to the head tag

    <link href="" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></link>
  3. Add the following CSS classes to your opening body tag

    class="lotusui30 lotusui30_body lotusui30_fonts scloud3"
And if you look at the steps above, basically you are using 2 lines of code to do the integration. Easy!

For more information check out these links:

from Socialize Me

#20Questions with Dave Heath

Meet Dave, co-Founder and chief executive officer of BOMBAS, a one-for-one sock company that donates a pair every time a customer makes a purchase. Prior to the launch in 2013, David dedicated two years to rigorous product testing and refinement to create the best performing and most stylish athletic-leisure sock available, while staying true to their mission of helping those in need. Who knew socks could be so awesome?! Previously, he led business development as one of the founding employees at UrbanDaddy and served as Executive Director of Membership Opportunities at Vibe Media.

Dave recently served as a judge for the first installment of IBM's New Way To Startup competition at SXSW, where 10 startups focused on social good missions are given the chance to raise their profiles and compete to win software, services, mentorship and a trip to TED@IBM.  As a true serial entrepreneur who has invested and consulted on a range of start-up businesses from concept, through launch and continued growth, Dave was the perfect person to judge the first round of the competition during SXSW 2015.

passion is helping you kick ass at your career and life. - See more at:

Get ready to learn everything from his fantasy startup for the year 2115 to his favorite life hack!



from Social Business Insights Blog