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

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Big Blue’s Collaboration Challenges with Mark Hennessy

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las NievesEarlier on today, a fellow IBM colleague, and good friend, John Rooney, shared in various microsharing Web sites (Both internal and external) a link to a recent interview I thought would be rather interesting for folks out there who would be keen on reading further on IBM’s efforts exploring the world of social software and using its 400.000 + employee workforce as testbed for many of the social tools most of us have been exposed to for a while already and some of which eventually make it into IBM products in the area of Enterprise Social Software.

The interview itself was hosted over at Forbes’ CIO Network, where I hoped the embedded options would be a rather pleasant user experience to go through overall, but I guess I was asking for a bit too much. Yuk! So I am afraid you will have to head over there and watch Big Blue’s Collaboration Challenges.

The interviewee is one of the folks I have been admiring and respecting for a long while now, ever since he came into his current job, and not because of the job title he has (IBM’s vice president and Chief Information Officer), but eventually because he is one of those executives who walks the talk; blogs (Internally) on a very regular basis and everyone is more than welcome to reach out to him with any question / comment / concern / query they may have and that would need his help. In fact, just recently he did an internal podcast of about 13 minutes with another of my favourite high level executives, Bob Moffat Jr. where they both talked about social software and the business value they are both getting from making use of these social tools. Won’t say much more on that topic, since I’m working on whether I can share that podcasting episode outside of the firewall some time soon! Thus stay tuned for a potential new update coming up soon…

So, of course, I am talking about Mark Hennessy, IBM’s vice president and CIO, who spends a little bit over five minutes sharing several stories on how IBM is making use of social networking tools to reach new levels of productivity. The link to the interview can be found over here, like I mentioned above already, but here are also some other tidbits you may be interested in as well that he talks about for a few minutes:

  • IBM Lotus Sametime: with over 10 million instant messages shared across every day (Yes, 10 million!!); and highlighting the fact it’s the biggest productivity boost for real-time collaboration and interactions available out there to us, IBMers, and certainly my number #1 tool to keep living "A World Without Email"
  • WikiCentral: our internal wiki platform from which Mark shares plenty of business & uses cases on how wikis can be used inside the corporate firewall to help improve collaboration and knowledge sharing across teams and communities to take innovation into new levels. Quite a story on this one! I tell you.
  • Business Value of social software: Mark shares how IBM’s focus on measuring the business value of social software is based on measuring the output, not the social tools themselves; i.e. how many folks are using them; how many new ideas are being created; and so forth. And for that a key role has been played all along by the Technology Adoption Program (a.k.a. TAP), where early adopters and innovators / developers work together on pushing the limits on innovation by co-creating the next wave of social tools and interactions.
  • And, finally, Cloud Computing: in this fragment he gets to talk about a couple of mature cloud environments, one of them being TAP itself, with over 120.000 IBMers participating on a regular basis following a self-service provisioning model; you will also find out plenty more about his thoughts on what cloud computing is, where it is heading and how IBM is benefiting from it, both internally and externally. Very enlightening, for sure, specially for those folks who may want to know more about what IBM is doing in that space…

And, that’s it. Those are some of the major areas that Mark Hennessy gets to cover in this five minute interview at Forbes’ CIO Network ("Big Blue’s Collaboration Challenges") and which I hope it would have last for a lot longer as he always has got plenty of really good insights and stories on how he engages himself with the rest of the IBM population to help shape up the next generation of the collaboration, knowledge sharing and social computing tools we will use tomorrow.

Yes, I know you would agree with me on this one. It was just far too short and would have wanted to watch plenty more! Don’t you think? … Wonderful stuff though!

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