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

From the blog

My New Cheese – Lead Social Business Enabler for IBM’s w3 and www Connections

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo in the WinterThis is it! The moment of truth! The wait is over. The long hiatus of silence is now a thing of the past. The soul-searching period is finished and dealt with. It is, at long last, official and I am now ready to announce it to the world! As you may remember from a previous blog post, I mentioned how late last year someone decided to move my cheese and how that turned around into becoming a very good opportunity for me to make the move into the next big thing. It’s been a rather interesting and exhilarating experience how an extreme negative of a 20 minute long conversation can be turned around into an extreme positive with another 20 minute long one. Both of those having taken place within a couple of weeks in between. Both extremes are always disruptive enough to make you question your entire career and what you would want to do with your work / personal life next. Yes, I know you all know what I mean… that kind of change. The truly mind-blowing one. The one that, once you strike it, you know there is no turning point. No way back at all anymore. It’s just there to stay and become part of you and you become part of it. For better or for worse.

Well, I have just gone through one of those. I know that some of you folks may be wondering about what happened back in January about who moved my cheese and why was I so relatively quiet on social networks for a good few weeks, right? There was a reason for it, after all. A reason for which I am still trying to come to terms with and that I will be blogging about in its due time, whenever I feel I am ready to share it across. In short, it’s the one that provoked the extended period of silence on the Social Web and which concluded with me deciding to *not* stand till, do nothing and wait for the pay-check at the end of the month and succumb to everything that I have never believed in, in the first place.

I am not that kind of person. Don’t think I ever will be. So sorry if you thought I was, but I am afraid I am not. I eventually decided to find my new cheese in an attempt to move further on in my professional career. Yes, I know what you are thinking, there is a whole lot more than I could probably talk about around what eventually happened, but I am starting to think that it’s probably no longer even worth it. In fact, it may have happened because of a good reason: my time was well overdue and it was just the perfect chance for me to move on. And serendipity, as you all know, works in various mysterious and magic ways, so after having looked both inside and outside of the firewall, I am now pleased to announce I have got a new job.

Indeed, still at IBM (My current employer for the last 16 years… and counting…), and already fully immersed in it for the last couple of weeks, which is also why it’s taking me a bit of time to blog about it, as I first needed to adjust the massive learning curve, but still doing what I love doing: keep challenging the status quo of how certain things work in the business world in an effort to become much more open, transparent and sustainable. Indeed, an openly Socially Integrated Enterprise.

That is right, like I said above, a couple of weeks ago, my new reporting manager, Barb Mathers (IBM Director of Workplace and Collaboration Solutions), announced, of course, in no other way than through our internal social networking platform, IBM Connections, the following exciting piece of news:

“BIG NEWS! I am thrilled to announce that Luis Suarez is joining my team as Lead Social Business Enabler for w3 and www Connections. Luis will be driving the successful adoption of Connections across IBM, in support of our Workplace of the Future goals of transforming the way employees work in a globally integrated enterprise. Luis will be an excellent champion for the CIO office as he helps to communicate our direction of becoming a truly social business and what it takes to get there. Welcome aboard, Luis!!!” [Emphasis mine}

A dream job, without any doubt!, another one, that just came true. I could probably say that back in the day, when I was first getting involved with social networking tools, back in 2001, I knew, deep inside, that, at some point in time, I would be ending up doing this kind of job. And 12 years later that dream came true. Yes, I know, probably a bit too long, perhaps, right? Well, I guess that’s what patience, resilience and perseverance can do for you (Along with having plenty of good fun along the way doing a bunch of other interesting projects and initiatives as well and working with an amazing group of talented and rather smart fellow colleagues, too!). They keep saying that those who are patient enough to wait for it will eventually end up achieving it and I guess that is what just happened two weeks ago! Gran Canaria - Ayacata in the Winter

I am incredibly excited and truly honoured to be filling in this new position. Thrilled that I will have an opportunity to continue doing what I love doing, i.e. exploring that whole brave new world of Open Business in the context of helping my employer become a Socially Integrated Enterprise. I realise that, for most people out there, it would probably mean the very same thing I have been doing all along in the last 6 years, but there are a few differences…

As a starting point, I will no longer be working within the IBM Software Group as a Social Business Evangelist for fellow senior technical leaders and subject matter experts, which is the work I have been doing now for a bit over a year. Instead, I will be joining the Global IBM CIO Organisation as Lead Social Business Enabler for w3 and www Connections, our Enterprise Social Software platform (Internal and external), with the main goal, vision and mission of continuing to help facilitate the adoption / adaption of IBM and fellow colleagues in our journey to become a successful social / open business. Yes, indeed, I will be doing lots and lots more work on enablement, adoption, education, facilitation, adaptation, consultancy, and so forth around accelerating our very own social / open business transformation.

As most of you know already, IBM is one of the many Enterprise Social Software vendors out there, perhaps one of the most competitive ones, too (I will leave that to you to decide…), but, at the same time, long time ago, we decided that, instead of blocking the use of these social technologies, and in order to help improve the way we collaborate and share our knowledge, both inside and outside of the firewall, we were going to, instead, drink our own champagne and become a showcase of that social business transformation a good number of other firms have embarked on already over the course of the last few years.

And that is the journey that we started back in 2001 and that since 2005 it’s gone through a good number of tipping points, some of which I have already blogged about in the past. Well, I guess this will be the next one, at least, for yours truly, because that announcement that Barb mentioned above already is the most popular microblog post shared internally already from the very beginning, which has me even more excited and incredibly humbled, because, in a way, it’s confirming it was the right move when I started conversations about it a couple of months back. And even more so from the perspective that my new management line knew that, when they were hiring me, they weren’t just hiring Luis Suarez (That weird, strange guy who lives in Gran Canaria, and who doesn’t use corporate email to do his work any longer, that social business evangelist who works leading by example on what social / open is all about) but my entire global network, both internal and external! That’s how this new hyperconnected, networked business world works nowadays …

But what I do feel really excited about is that my new management line also walks the talk, they do lead by example in this brave new social / open business world. They do live one of my favourite mantras as of late, that is, “Doing is believing!“, so when I was first offered the job I just didn’t have to think much to accept it, right on the spot, on February 12th, in New York City, at a Starbucks coffee shop, near the IBM building in 590 Madison. [Yes, I don’t know why, but NYC does manage to have a special place in my heart over the course of the years. It already did back in 2008 when I first announced there publicly to the world I was starting the movement of Thinking Outside the Inbox. And it still has it 5 years later when I landed in this dream job!] I am sure over the course of time I will be introducing you to them all, my management line, that is, so that you all get to start knowing who I will be working with. It’s going to be quite good fun, I can guarantee you that!

I know that at this point in time you may be wondering about what my job role and responsibilities would be like and everything, right? Not to worry, I will be sharing all those in an upcoming blog post, but perhaps for one I will detail the main task / activity I will be working on from here onwards: Help facilicate and accelerate the adoption / adaptation of Social Business at IBM (Both internally and externally) through our strategic enterprise social software solution, IBM Connections.

Gran Canaria - Roque BentaygaLike I said, more to come in an upcoming blog post, but that’s it for now! That is the reason why I have been relatively quiet in the last couple of months while I was adjusting to this brave new adventure I have been so much looking forward to. Yes, your suspicions were absolutely right, too! There is a whole lot more than I could tell and share over here and that’s my intention as well over the course of the next few months when I will be blogging about the very same themes I have been blogging all along over the course of the last 8 years around Social / Open Business, Collaboration, Knowledge Sharing, Online Communities and Learning, but at the same time I also feel this blog will turn itself into an open and transparent window as to what it is like being in the role that I am, narrating my work, working out loud, by sharing how that fascinating journey moves along, i.e. the challenges, the opportunities, the really cool things, the not so cool ones, what I learn along the way and whatever else that comes up in my mind… I guess this blog will turn itself into what the original concept of blogging was all about: a (my) personal Social Web journal…

For now, time for me to move on and delighted to come back again, in full force, to the Social Web and really looking forward to keep up with the conversations and additional dialogue around Social / Open Business with all of you folks now that I am back in business with just one final token of sincere appreciation and gratitude for sticking around this long and for your patience and genuine interest (Yes, you all know who you are!) and for making it possible for me to bring into reality my next dream job: keep leading the Open Business (r)Evolution.

Thanks ever so much and let’s do it!

Let the good fun continue!

Bring it on!

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  1. Congrats, Luis.

    I am sure there are many like me who follow your work because you are an innovator — a do-er — and a very open, thoughtful one at that. Applause also to IBM for having the good sense to tap into your talent and voice this way.

    Looking forward to reading more about how all of this plays out, and continuing to learn from you as you model the kind of open, digital citizenship we should all be engaged in.

    1. Hi Jeff, many many thanks for the kind comments and for the lovely feedback. Yes, it’s been an interesting couple of months where distractions and the odd strange situation came along, but glad I had a chance to settle back again and into bigger, better things. Like I said, I will be doing most of my reflective blogging on the experience over here in this blog, versus just internally since I know other folks may benefit from those experiences, as much as I will do while having those conversations. Like I said, the hiatus is now over and I am back!

      Stronger, better, more focused and with a new purpose and meaning that are going to rock the stage, too! πŸ˜€

      Again, thanks much for sticking around all of this time and look forward to further interactions!

  2. Huge congrats to you and IBM.

    Even if the social business era it’s quite rare to see (some smart people at) big organizations publicly recognizing the value single individuals bring by helping them to help the organization itself succeed.

    Running the walk. That’s what social businesses should stand for.

    You’re a change agent and you’ll always be. Keep it going for a very long time!

    1. Ciao Emanuele! And I wouldn’t want to have it any other way, to be frank with you. It’s who I am and what I do for a living, both at work and outside of work. To me Social / Open Business it’s all about walking the talk, while doing is believing, way beyond just a bunch of tools, technology, or even business practices. It’s a lifestyle, a philosophy, a way of understanding how the world could become, indeed, a better place, for everyone and not just a few.

      Ha! There goes my Hippie 2.0 flair coming along nicely as well! Looks like the new job will be thriving with it, too! πŸ™‚

      Thanks ever so much, my friend, for your friendship over the years and here goes to plenty more to come along having some amazing conversations!

    1. Hi Mark, thanks a lot, my friend! It’s been quite a ride so far, in the first two weeks I have been in the new job, but having sheer loads of good fun! Really sorry we didn’t have much more time to talk while at #e20s in Paris, but I am sure we will be able to change that very soon F2F. Take care and hope things are going all right with you as well.

  3. Β‘Enhorabuena Luis! πŸ™‚ great to see you so excited about this next move. IBM is lucky to have you! Looking forward to the next blog posts, the social web is not the same without you.

    1. Hi Ana! Awww, you are just too kind, my dear! It’s been a blast all along and I can tell you I have got some really awesome plans in place that I am hoping to unveil over here as well over the course of time. It’s going to be a huge learning experience for me as well, but I am sure it will be equally fun and inspiring!

      It’s good as well to come back to the Social Web and keep feeding my brain with some of the conversations we have already started earlier on in the year πŸ™‚

      Thanks again for the props and looks like you folks had a wonderful time as well at Social Now! [Sorry I missed it…]

      1. We did, yes! Emanuele’s opening talk set the mood just right, we had a great discussion on gamification, Stowe Boyd left our minds buzzing in a good way, and the experts panels (myself included) had way too much fun πŸ˜€

        1. Hi Ana! I can imagine! I saw the Mentions and tweets from Ana Neves about the Gamification topic and guess Thierry and myself missed all the fun out there on it! LOL

          I can see as well how Emanuele got everyone with a good vibe and right on topic and how Stowe just keeps inspiring and leading the change for all of us to execute further on!

          Like I said, wish I would have been with you folks, but alas needed to do a work related event in Madrid those same days :-(( Next time for sure!!

    1. Hi Claude! Thanks much for dropping by and for noticing! It’s greatly appreciated the kind feedback and surely enjoyed our conversations at #e20s !! Next time I am around in Switzerland I will let you know and we will get together for a drink or two! Thanks again and right back at ya! πŸ™‚

  4. Whooot!! You did it!! There will be a huge crowd watching your next steps, following your next posts, bringing open/social into their own enterprises (no pressure!). On with the (r)Evolution!

    1. Hi Joachim! Oh, yeah! And I am more than ready for it! In fact, two of the reasons why I got hired for this new gig, which will come along in upcoming blog posts, for sure, is to exercise plenty of openness and transparency on how we are facilitating that adaption to become a socially integrated enterprise, so I am really looking forward to share the good and the not so good things, hoping those insights may help others as well as they move on with their own social / open journey. It’s been an exciting 12 years all along, but sense this is just a whole new league on its own and I am surely looking forward to it!

      Here’s a tidbit that just happened to me on the 2nd week at the job: a MASSIVE hard reset / reboot on everything that I have done in the last 5 years on #lawwe … Game ON, indeed! πŸ˜€

  5. The BIG news is finally out! Was talking to Emanuele the other day and wondering when you could go public. And it’s public now. Big congrats to you. Really curious what this new step will bring you (and us all). Good luck and we’ll be in touch. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Sam, yes, indeed, the big news is finally out! It took a little while for me to make it public, because it involved a few things in terms of shifting business units and HR paperwork, but I’m delighted the word is not out there, because I can now get down to work! Last couple of weeks the learning curve has been massive, so adjusting to it accordingly and hoping from here onwards to spend plenty more time on the Social Web πŸ™‚

      Very soon I will be putting together another blog post where I will talk about what would be my main responsibilities that I have been hired for, so you folks can take a look as well and dive into the conversations. Stay tuned, please.

      And thanks much for the kind comments and for the props! Greatly appreciated, as usual! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Marie-Louise, yes, indeed, even though they may take a little bit of time, it’s what it takes to be patient and resilient and, above all, believing in your passions. I am so thrilled with the new job that it’s kind of tough to relay it all out there, which is what I guess is going to come through on upcoming blog posts… By the way, there is a great chance I will be heading to London before the end of the quarter, so we may be able to go through that proper F2F catchup after all πŸ™‚

      Many thanks for the kind comments, Marie-Louise, and look forward to keeping up with the dialogue and the conversations!

        1. Yeah, it’s work related, so need to wait for confirmation details to come through and the moment I know I will be in touch and everything. If it happens, I’ll be looking forward to it, for sure! πŸ™‚ [See you soon!]

  6. Congratulations my friend. A ship the size of IBM takes a long time to adjust course. Your patience has paid off. I am so proud of you.I am looking forward to hearing how things go.

    1. Hi Tony! Goodness! That’s just such a lovely analogy! That’s exactly how I feel about it, too! It’s going to be a rather interesting journey to see how I may be able to help adjust the course into a Social / Open Business, but so far the first two weeks it’s been fascinating to open up to a whole new world, for real! It’s going to be fun, I can tell you that! More than anything else because it’s not only going to be the job of one man, but an entire network facilitating that change. Already starting to see it πŸ™‚

      And, like I said, I will be sharing plenty of information details about how things are moving on, experiences, know-how, lessons learned, initiatives I’ll be working on and so forth. It will be interesting…

      The first interesting challenge I have got now is to change all of my online profiles out there. Something I am not really looking forward to! Grrr Think a massive clean-up is well long overdue now! hehe

    1. Hi John! Thanks a million for the kind comments and best wishes! Yes, it’s been quite a journey all along during those 16 years. In fact, moving into the CIO Organisation means for me as well that I will move into my 6th Line of Business since I started working in the company 16 years ago. I guess that’s perhaps one of the perks on working in such a large corporate environment that it kind of feels like moving into a new job, without leaving the mothership altogether. Coming into the CIO does feel that way in terms of the whole new world I have just entered. Really excited and intrigued as to how it will work out eventually hehe

      Thanks again and look forward to further interactions over here and out there in the Social Web πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Luis, congratulations! This must be very exciting for you getting your dream job. Good luck and enjoy it. Looking forward to your new stories.

    1. Hi Hans-Juergen, much appreciated the kind comments and lovely wishes. Yes, it does feel like I am starting fresh and new into a whole new world, i.e. the one from the inside, versus the outside in terms of what a 2.0 practitioner would typically do, which is what I am really excited about in terms of understanding the challenges, experiences, initiatives / projects from the other side of the fence. Going to be a good fun ride, while we are at it for sure! πŸ™‚

      Thanks again for the props and for dropping by! Greatly appreciated!

  8. Parabens! Luis, this is wonderful news. I love kismet and how, when we put an intention out into the universe, something wonderful comes back (and yes, i mean that. No fluffy bunny stuff!) As others have said, IBM is darn lucky to have you. And keep it open, buddy! I was preaching your story just yesterday to another company!!!

    1. Hiya, Nancy! My goodness! Your comment triggered me to look a couple of words I never heard before and just LOVED IT! Kismet is so mysterious and mystic at the same time, when I read what it meant, BANG! Yes, it feels like that and so much more! πŸ™‚

      Still trying to figure out what “Parabens” means. Couldn’t find it anywhere :-((

      Oh, well, thanks ever so much for dropping by and for the kind wishes! Yes, surely hoping to continue to walk the talk on openness and transparency. Already got tons of ideas I want to jot down and share across! πŸ˜€

        1. Oh, my goodness! I should have known that, Ana! πŸ˜€ hahaha Here I was thinking it was an English word and didn’t think about Portugese :-O

          Thanks a bunch for the heads up and for taking the time to follow up heh

  9. HUGE congratulations, Luis! I am enjoying reading the congratulations and comments from everyone and can only nod in agreement with them all.

    Patience, resilience, vision, values and hanging on in there – you are an inspiration, Luis. Go get ’em!

    1. Hi Anne-Marie, LOL!! Yes, indeed, that’s the plan! Go get’em before they realised what they have just gotten into with me joining the rest of the team πŸ˜‰ hehe Seriously, it’s been a blast and the tremendous amount of positive responses, quite an inspiration to keep pushing gently for all of those changes we have been talking all about for years… this time around, coming from the inside out πŸ™‚

      Thanks again for the feedback and for the kind comments! Drinks are on me next time we meet up F2F!

    1. Hi Alan! Absolutely! It does! And working with Barb and the rest of the team a real treat! Folks I have known for years, but from the other side of the fence, are now work colleagues. Some of them even have been in the recent past managers of mine, confirming, once again, how small IBM is after all … Something I am sure you knew all along πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the props, my friend!

  10. How did I manage to miss this news ? (In fact I know…overwhelmed and socially disconnected).

    Nothing to add to all the well deserved comments and congratulation messages. Sure there’s no one more relevant than you to move the needle and keep IBM ahead of the competition !

    1. Hi Bertrand, well, if you would have stayed for a little bit longer at #e20s you would have found out like a good bunch of folks did while I was talking to them F2F to share the news, because at the time I had already given my formal agreement, but needed to get some things sorted out from the HR side, but it’s all sorted out now. It’s been two weeks into the new job and I am surely having a blast! Appreciated the kind props!

      And about moving the needle, yes, sir, you know me too well, that’s the plan! πŸ˜€ hehe

      Hope to see you soon again and with more time this time around!

  11. Congrats Luis! So glad to hear about your exciting new move. The best of luck and I, for one, is already looking forward to hear more about the next leg of the journey. I’m sure we all have a lot to learn πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Martin, thanks a million as well for the kind wishes and for the props! Once again, and like each and everyone of the above comments, it’s greatly appreciated!

      And, certainly, stay tuned! I will be combining a bunch of blog posts with activities, tasks, reflections and things I am doing at work and the usual blogging themes I have been covering over here all along… Thanks for sticking around and look forward to speaking soon again at the next F2F event, wherever that may take place!

  12. Finally! The long wait is over!! This is wonderful news, Luis. You’ve always been a strong advocate for social business, but now your enthusiasm is absolutely infectious. Every company should have an internal evangelist like you.

    Looking forward to hearing more as you settle into your new position. Congratulations!


    1. Hi Mary! Many many thanks for the kind wishes and for dropping by! It’s greatly appreciate such lovely commentary and I do appreciate it! Yes, it’s been quite a journey already, where I have learned tons of things and where I have had the opportunity to get exposed to a new wave of push vs. pull in terms of facilitating that adaptation versus driving that adoption πŸ™‚

      Surely, will be having the chance to blog some more about these and other topics, now that the world is starting to settle down after plenty of groups wanted to have a piece of me :-O hehe

      Look forward to catching up soon!

  13. Congratulations, Luis. I feel quite privileged to have been tipped the wink quite early on about the fact that change was afoot. Best of luck with the knew role. I have no doubt you’ll be brilliant at it!

    1. Hi Simon, thanks a lot for dropping by and for the kind wishes! Yeah, I know! It’s been brewing for a little while and I am glad the news is out there now so that I can move on and get down to work… So far I am having a great time and rather suitable for my skills and experience although it’s also presenting a good number of interesting opportunities and challenges that don’t allow for many dull moments! hehe

      Looking forward to sharing along the overall experiences on what I learn and how things progress further πŸ™‚

      Thanks again!

  14. Congrats to you Luis! Happy to see you are happy. Now I know of an IBM division that is only looking at the champagne and resisting to even taste it (no less drink it). G’luck with THEM!

    I hope your new role still gets you to where we can meet again – in Boston in June at e2conf.com!

    1. Hi Matt! Thanks a lot, my friend, for the heads up and for the kind wishes! Yes, I surely am rather content and happy of how things are moving along and I just can’t believe that tomorrow it will be already a MONTH! that I have been in the new job! Holy smokes!! Times does fly when you are having good fun! hehe

      RE: that division, you would be amazed as to how much things have changed over there… In fact, one of the most popular user guides / manuals on Social Collaboration and w3C is from one of the folks in that division coming closer to 5k downloads in less than a year!! Goodness! Talking about excitement!!

      Guess they are realising now what they were missing all along… hehe But glad they are now on board, too! πŸ˜€

      Thanks again for the kind feedback and stay tuned, I will reach out to you about #e2conf soon enough!

  15. Congratulations Luis..

    Looking forward to hearing more as you settle down and get on with the job at hand..

    Keep well. If you’re ever in London drop me a line..


    1. Hi Ben! Thanks a million for the kind wishes and for the heads up! I, too, look forward to sharing further insights on how I move along with the job, as I am sure it’ll be one of those experiences worth while sharing across πŸ™‚

      And next time I’m in London I will let you know… I am trying to have something confirmed and once that goes through I may be able to get in touch for a meet up! Hope it works out…

  16. Luis! My friend! Great news and a perfect step for you. IBM should be glad they kept you aboard in this great new position. Enjoy your new role and continue to be the great person you are:-)
    I’m sure you and IBM can go along for a while in this new setting. See you soon I hope, regards from Carla & kids…

    1. Hi Wout, many thanks for dropping by and for the kind commentary! It’s greatly appreciated. And I can certainly tell you it’s been quite a ride all along! At least, for these first few weeks on the new job! Having a lovely time and learning lots!

      I am sure it’s going to keep me busy for a while hehe and I surely look forward to the next time I’m in NL to do a proper catchup and everything! Please do share my best regards across to Carla & the kids as well!

      And keep having fun over there as well! πŸ˜€

        1. Ahhh, Wout, you are just *so* efficient, my friend! Yes, I have got to update a whole bunch of online spaces out there, including the About page from the blog. In fact, I have already drafted it and everything. I just need a little bit of time to update it with the changes πŸ™‚

          Soon enough, my friend, soon enough! Thanks for the heads up!

  17. Carinyo, me alegro un monton!!

    So glad you’re getting the recognition you so deserve and that IBM (and by extension, the rest of us) get to benefit from your visionary and bold actions to make us more transparent, open and collaborative.

    Thank you, IBM, thank you @elsua!! πŸ™‚


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