Social media is gaining greater traction in the corporate world. Yes, you read that correctly, your employer wants you to use MORE social media in the workplace. Unfortunately, they are less interested in your mirror selfies and cat photos than they are in the implementation of strategically aligned social media applications for cost savings and business benefit.
On March 13, 2017, IBM released a product offering with new capabilities for enterprise social networks. It offers a more simple collaboration across the organization and the employee ‘on-boarding’ experience. IBM Connections 6.0 now links with IBM Cloud Object Storage to provide the option of storage scalability. Other features include ‘Orient Me’, a new form of API-driven construction that pulls information by relevancy for the end user. Another feature – ‘Touchpoint’ – helps new employees get acquainted with their colleagues and facilitates a streamlined orientation process. Touchpoint also reduces the amount of time needed to set up new workspaces.
IBM Connections helps employees access files and data in addition to syncing workflows. The platform also helps employees access a variety of data streams, including blogs and wikis and can be delivered via cloud, on-site or as a hybrid solution.
IBM Connections was first released in 2007 and the latest iteration ‘Pink’ will be released later this year. The main components include:
- Homepage: A customizable portal for user interactions
- Profiles: An online directory of all the employees in the organization
- Bookmarks: A social bookmarking option that allows employees to share content (indexed by keywords, tags, names)
- Activities: A system that enables employee collaboration for projects and tasks
- Wikis: Information on various subjects
- Files: Personal file-sharing capability
- Communities: For collaboration on a project or area of interest
- Blogs: Blogging capability for employees
- Forums: To facilitate discussion
- Plugins: For integration with existing apps
© Forrester Consulting. Retrieved from A Forrester Total Economic Impact™ Study Commissioned By IBM on April 2, 2017
Cost Savings and Business Benefits of IBM Connections
Forrester Consulting conducted a total economic impact study of IBM Connections in 2015. They conducted multiple interviews with existing customers to get insight and understanding of the financial impact of the platform. Their findings revealed that the platform facilitated user productivity through information sharing, decision-making, and reduced IT costs.
- Increases user productivity
- Reduces employee turnover resulting in cost-savings
- Reduces IT overhead costs
- Licensing and subscription fees
- Professional service fees and implementation costs
I spoke to Christopher Murray, a long-time IBM employee, and he described his first-hand experience with IBM Connections:
“When you work with people across a large organization, it is essential to have enterprise social media. I’ve been with IBM for many years and noticed the difference this platform has made. My daily tasks are that much easier to coordinate and I can easily access and share information with my team regardless of where they are located. I feel more engaged with the projects I work on and have the flexibility to work remotely if needed. It’s an important tool for sharing information and data and this proves to be invaluable in my line of work.”
Lessons for Others
There you have it – enterprise social media confers greater business benefit. Employee needs have evolved and it is great that the technology to facilitate communication and media sharing has evolved right alongside them. Not only are costs reduced but decision-making frameworks are augmented with cross-organizational information flows. The IBM Connections platform has the power to engage and motivate employees, foster innovation and add overall value to organizations. IBM Connections would prove revolutionary within more hierarchical organizations and government units. This would help ‘break down the silos’ and allow employees to partake in knowledge-sharing across the organization.
Name of Organization Contact: Christopher Murray, Technician in Development
Authored by: Sylvia A
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Forrester Consulting (2015). Retrieved on April 2, 2017
IBM (2017). Retrieved on April 2, 2017
Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on April 2, 2017