E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

IBM Drives Enterprise Adoption of Social Networks with New Enterprise Adaptability Practice

And it looks like I may be continuing with some more blogging on IBM and its adoption of social software within the corporate environment, because a couple of days ago Jack Vinson pointed me to another superb article where one of my fellow IBM colleagues, and good friend, Scott Smith, describes the kind of disruption that social computing is causing to the enterprise world! Check out the article over at IBM Drives Enterprise Adoption of Social Networks with New Enterprise Adaptability Practice!

I know it is a rather lengthy blog post over at The Global Human Capital Journal, so I am going to keep things short and perhaps just point you folks to some of the most interesting quotes from the entire entry so that you can get a glimpse of what you will find in there, plus some more additional commentary from my side.

Oh, another good thing from the article that you should not miss is the description of a couple of technologies that IBM has been putting together and which, in my own personal experience, have become essential in my escaping and fighting work related e-mail. Yes, I am talking about SmallBlue, a.k.a. IBM Atlas and IBM’s Lotus Sametime family products. Very helpful tools not only capable of enhancing your real-time collaboration experience, but also with great potential to help you find the experts right when you need them and when they can collaborate and share their knowledge with you. Amazing stuff that, as I get to uncover the tools suite I am currently using to escape e-mail, you will be able to find out some more on it in upcoming blog posts.

So here is one of the various different quotes that I thought would be worth while mentioning over here:

"As organizations have already gone global (and become more complex), they want to drive innovation, and innovation comes down to people and collaboration. They have to connect those people and make the world small. They need to find the right people at the right time"

Indeed! Scott is right on the money with that statement and for those folks who may have been reading this blog for a little while now, this particular may resonate as very similar what some of the various topics I have been discussing over all along on the kind of impact social computing is having behind the corporate firewall. Amongst many other things it is helping business realise they have got an incredibly amount of great talent with various knowledge workers that in the past was just plainly hidden and not available. Now, all of a sudden, that focus that used to be on tools and processes is slowly, but steadily, leaving its place to a focus on people, i.e. the knowledge workers, as the main drivers of the different interactions and knowledge sharing activities. Something that in the past wasn’t having the same kind of impact as it is having nowadays, something that may well be *the* main success factor for those companies that would want to thrive in the current Knowledge Economy of the 21st century.

From there onwards you would get to read some more on how some of those various social networking technologies have been helping out different businesses address, and perhaps fix, one of the main issues that knowledge sharing and social computing have been having all along: finding experts, right when you need them!, to start sharing their knowledge and collaborating with other knowledge workers.

As the article continues to dive into the impact of these emerging technologies behind the corporate firewall, there was one particular quote that I thought was very relevant as well for the overall discussion and it is this one:

"People who don’t trust each other will not collaborate because collaboration is about sharing and collective risk taking. Innovation is a practical approach to channeling creativity, and the most efficient innovation entails cross-boundary collaboration. You’re stalking surprise and taking risks and making mistakes. That won’t happen if the enterprise culture doesn’t prize trust and discontinuous risk-taking"

I am not sure how many times I have been saying this already, but that trust is one of the main key success factors from any social networking tool available out there. People hang out in these social software tools on a regular basis, because they want to improve very much their social capital skills so that they can help improve their trust levels with others, specially in the corporate world, to such extent that they would be much more participative and engaging when they know someone they can trust, than when they don’t know a specific person they would need to collaborate with.

And that is one of the reasons why social software is key to any business, because if there is one thing that social software is good at is helping knowledge workers work through building those trust skills by sharing knowledge snippets that could be work related or not, but still provide value that would be helpful to others. Yes, that is right, interactions through communities making use of social software is going to bring many many benefits, but perhaps the most significant is the huge push on improving your own social capital skills, something that all along most corporations have been missing, as they thought it was not that important in the recent past. Well, think again, not only is it important, but crucial to any business to boost such set of skills to help bring knowledge sharing and collaboration into the next level.

And from there onwards you will be heading towards the end of the article where you would be able to find this other interesting gem which I think summarises pretty well why business cannot longer afford ignoring social computing, both inside and outside of the corporate firewall, and how if they don’t pay attention and react to it soon, they would probably be the businesses of the 21st century that would be struggling the most to the point where they may no longer exist in the medium / long term:

"Web 2.0 is the age of collaboration; people pay more attention when companies solicit and act on their input. Brand value will be increasingly driven by how well the brand inspires and participates in customer relationships and experience. Too many companies still see themselves as producers and customers as consumers. Of course, this is literally true, but the value of the underlying good continues to drop, and Web 2.0 enables people to create value via scalable digital relationships"

Thus still think that Enterprise 2.0 hasn’t got its place within the corporate world? Not sure what you would think, but something tells me it has, and a lovely spot, too, I must admit!

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  1. Hi, Luis. This summarizes nicely what IBM is trying to do with Enterprise Adaptability practice. What I am interested in to learn is how IBM Atlas is compared with tradional Social Networking Analysis. Appreciate your view on this.

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