#ucoms #socbiz This week, several IT industry blogs reported on the increased focus around unified communications as organizations embrace social computing in the workplace. In the first, IT Business Edge discusses in "Social Networking and Unified Communications: Catalysts for Change", the impact of unified communications on social business and cloud computing:
What Barlow is driving at is that it won’t be too long before all of these technologies combine to fundamentally change the way we all work.
The barriers to enterprise social software adoption are far more cultural than technical. Internal social networking tools make for great demos, but unified communications (UC) pros often struggle to define what problem enterprise social software is trying to solve.
IBM today announced new cloud-based collaboration services to help U.S.
Federal government organizations reap the benefits of social computing. The new set of social collaboration services, including IBM Sametime, delivered on IBM's Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)-compliant Federal Community Cloud, addresses the administration's drive to adopt a "cloud-first" policy which is designed to help the government improve its overall IT efficiency and delivery of services to citizens. By having Sametime as part of a FISMA-compliant environment, IBM is able to provide a roadmap for unified communications as a service for those organizations looking for FISMA-compliant delivery.
IBM Business Partners: please join us on Monday, July 18 for our second in our Living Social webcast series. Presented by Sandy Carter, VP IBM Social Business and Collaboration Solutions
Sales and Evangelism, and Rick Schonbrun, Worldwide Business Unit
Executive for Unified Communications and Collaboration, discuss with IBM and your peers about why IBMers, IBM Business Partners, and our customers are
using the IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration platform to socially connect employees across the enterprise, regardless
of geographic location.
Why Attend? We all need to LIVE social. Your customers and prospects expect you to live as, and not just talk about becoming, a social business. Living social earns you credibility with your customers and opens more doors. It's simple: live social, and close more business.
To accomodate multiple time zones, we have two sessions you can attend (PartnerWorld membership and registration is required):
#ucoms This week in Germany, IBM announced the district of Lüneburg (which includes 177,000 residents and the metropolitan region of Hamburg) is moving away from paper-based filing in favor of IBM's collaboration solutions. The district's administration is using Lotus Notes, Sametime and Quickr to help its employees collaborate in the office and on mobile devices. If you can read German, the IBM press release is now online.
I wanted to welcome a new blog to the IBM Collaboration Solutions family of blogs: the IBM Social Business Insights Blog. With this blog we hope to share news and thoughts on becoming a business that is engaged,
transparent and nimble. Join us in cultivating a spirit of collaboration
and community. You can also get to it by visiting the short URL for this blog:
As a reminder, other blogs we have include the IBM Collaboration Soapbox Blog (our Social Software blog), the Ed Brill Blog (the blog of our Director for Messaging and Collaboration, which includes Notes, Domino, Symphony and more), and coming soon, a new IBM Exceptional Web Experience blog and community.
Please join IBM and IBM Business Partner Polycom Tuesday June 21, 10am Pacific, for a free live webcast (registration required), "Becoming a Social Business with Unified Communication". In
this webinar, UCStrategies experts will
discuss how Unified Communications with visual collaboration help
medium-sized companies (100 - 1000 employees) achieve "Location
Liberation" and more effectively communicate both internally and
Before you listen in to IBM's social business announcement later at noon, listen in as IBM joins Plantronics earlier that morning, live at the New York Stock Exchange for a global webcast. Plantronics will be announcing the latest wave of groundbreaking audio solutions and our specially designed Enterprise Call control software plug in v2.0 for Sametime that further enhances IBM’s Social Business agenda .
Social Business has to be engaging. It is about connecting people in a way that is meaningful for all. Join Plantronics CEO Ken Kannappan -- supported by our very own Jeff Schick, Vice President of Social Software -- as they share insights into how businesses everywhere from anywhere can just simply communicate.
On May 18, Plantronics also celebrates 50 years of innovation (happy birthday!). Tune into Smarter Communications - Wednesday May 18, 10am EDT. Visit www.plantronics.com/launch to sign up for a reminder Webcast Event email.
And Plantronics has also introduced a Sounds for Sametime Plantronics Voice Pilot, new call control software, and has the latest UC headset for free – designed especially for Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony. As my friend's aunt used to say: "Such a deal!".
Cleaning up through some leftover actions from the excellent Enterprise Connect 2011 event a month ago, I found some videos taken by our irrepressibly upbeat Brent Wolfe, Worldwide Business Development Executive for Unified Communications. He had the wherewithal to bring his portable video camera and captured a few IBM Business Partners showcasing their technologies on the Expo Show Floor. I just posted them to YouTube and embedded them here, in no particular order.
Don’t miss our upcoming Webcast for Lotus IT professionals, presented by David
Price, IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration Practice Manager at Meridian
IT, sponsored by Meridian IT and Plantronics. Register Here.
Whether you’re just thinking about deploying or just curious about the benefits
to your company, you’ll want to check out this Webcast from David Price of
Meridian IT. Meridian has been certified by the leading communications and
collaborations vendors such as Plantronics, IBM, Cisco, Tandberg, Radvision,
Shoretel and Polycom and has in-the-trenches experience with Sametime and SUT
roll-outs. This presentation will feature real world examples of what they’ve
seen and what you should know as a Lotus admin, voice architect, systems
engineer or IT manager. You’ll hear how IBM's offerings differ from traditional
telephony vendors and you’ll get first-hand tips on what you should expect when
working with system integrator. David will demonstrate ways to lower your
investment, improve collaboration, and enable your work force to operate
remotely with optimum productivity. Plus, you’ll come away with the knowledge to
effectively communicate the benefits of SUT to others in your company, including
As we blogged about way back in November 2010, unified communications is a core component of becoming a social business. And social media needs unified communications to help turn socializing into action. While we may have been ahead of the industry a little bit in making this connection explicit, much of the conversation at Enterprise Connect last week was dominated by Social Business and Social Media and how they're related to UC. Now comes this blog post from Carousel Connect as well, where they discuss IBM's social business initiative within the UC context. Whether you're trying to provide a more exceptional customer experience...
Now that you are listening more effectively, give [customers] more ways to interact with you. On-line chat and customer service
solutions integrated into your contact center are proven to substantially improve customer satisfaction levels. Providing customers with the types of social interactions and collaboration they have
become accustomed to will pay dividends both in cost savings and happier
...or an exceptional work experience...
An overlooked toolset in corporations is ‘Group Chat”. Many businesses
are bastions of “tribal knowledge” where a few employees know the
answers to problems that are asked over and over again. Setting up
“topic-based” group chat rooms (think Facebook-like simplicity) that
employees can join and which are moderated by internal
subject-matter-experts (SMEs), can speed reaction time and build up a
powerful knowledge base very quickly.
...what's important is that UC is placed within a broader context of collaboration in the enterprise.
What makes a successful solution ecosystem isn't just the vendor platform, of course, but the business partners that add value to that vendor's platform. In the case of IBM Unified Communications, we have over 400 business partners that make Sametime one of the leading unified communications platforms out there. Here's just a few of those business partners that happen to be exhibiting at Enterprise Connect this week. In addition to stopping by our own booth at 623, please stop by their booths to learn more about what they do, and how they work with IBM.
IBM will host a Web-based Social Business Jam from February 8-11, 2011, where more than 1,500 leaders from around the world will pool their knowledge and experiences to examine the next generation of business. Social Business Jam participants, including reporters, analysts and other influencers from Dachis, Read Write Web ZDNet, FASTForward, Altimeter and Gartner, will cooperatively explore the value of social technology in business, the mitigation of its risks, and the management system required to drive a social transformation resulting in a blueprint for organizations to help them become a Social Business.
Events like Lotusphere are always exciting, busy, energizing affairs. I look forward to meeting with clients and business partners. Getting out of the office and into the marketplace is all goodness for a marketer. But no matter how good the conference, inevitably the presentations all start to look like this after a while (from WorkFailBlog).
Many of you are no doubt gearing up for what will be a very exciting Lotusphere 2011. There will be plenty of Sametime and Unified Communications activities and content filling up the week. Here's just a taste of the top activities:
INV106: "Unified Communications and Collaboration Strategy and Roadmap", with Caleb Barlow and John Delpizzo
ID501: "What's New in IBM Lotus Sametime?" with Rob Ingram and Amy Travis
ID502: "Join the Lotus Sametime Communications Revolution Now!" with Pat Galvin and Binh Nguyen
ID503: "Lotus Sametime Meetings: Today, Tomorrow -- and Beyond" with Ron Pontrich andAmy Travis
ID504: "IBM Lotus Sametime Mobile: Native Meetings and Messaging", with Josef Scherpa and Steve Babin
ID505: "Network Architecture for IBM Lotus Sametime Audio/Video", with Uri Segev and Anat Fradin
ID506: "Planning and Implementing a Highly Accessible IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5.x Deployment", with Uri Segev and Tony Payne
ID507: "IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony: Today and Tomorrow", with David Marshak and Tracee Wolf
ID508: "IBM Lotus Sametime Web-enabled Audio/Video Conferencing", with Bhavuk Srivastava and Sagar Joshi
ID509: "Unified Communications and Collaboration: Clicking to Collaborate", with Jane Wilson and Sam McHan
AD306: "Sametime Proxy: A Collaborative recipe for success", with William Holmes
AD307: "Application Development with the Sametime SDK: From Java to Web 2.0", with Marlon Machado
BP102: ""Get Started Installing IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 – You Too Can Be a WAS Admin!", with Gabriella Davis
BP120: "Sametime Gateway: The Business Case, Implementation and Best Practices", with Chris Miller
BP121: "The SUT "WOW Factor": How to Surprise and Delight Enterprise Voice Architects", with David Price (MeridienMeridian IT) (and for misspelling it the first time, I promised to mention that everyone who presents a best practice session also gets a seat/spot at their next GURUpalooza! GURU101)
JMP202: "Sametime 8.5.1 Deployment Workshop", with Wes Morgan
SHOW201: "From Zero to Hero - Next Generation - Sametime 8.5.1 installation" with Frank Altenburg and Volker Juergensen
For our Business Partners, there's also plenty of additional content and activity at the Business Development Day (BDD) on Sunday:
we plan on having a surprise UCC partner as part of BDD Opening General Session
Jeff Schick's Executive Insight Session from on Exceptional Work Experience will include UC content
Exceptional Work Experience: Winning against the competition will also include UC content
Winning Customers with IBMs Exceptional Work Experience, a panel with David Price (Meridien IT), will include UC speakers
The Building Customized Integrated Collaboration Solution Demo will have a strong UC component
The Upgrade Session will include detailed information on upgrading to Sametime 8.5.1
The Application Development: Social Business Framework will cover the entire IBM Collaboration Solutions portfolio, including Sametime APIs
The Market Insights session will discuss the market opportunity for UC
During the main Lotusphere event, in addition to all the sessions covering Sametime and UC, we'll also have:
Certification will be available on-site for Sametime Unified Telephony and Social Software + Unified Communications through out the week.
The Business Partner Cafe will feature Unified Communications as part of the Exceptional Work Experience table
Two IBM business partners I wanted to highlight on this week's Business Partner Tuesdays post.
In the first, Bob Preston over at DiscussUC had an excellent post about Innovation - the Heart of the Matter in Unified Communications. In it, he discusses some of his thoughts coming out of a CIO virtual event hosted by Polycom. John Del Pizzo, our Program Director for Unified Communications Software, was one of attendees joining 60 CIOs from around the globe. Bob's key finding:
...my top take-away from today's event is that innovation is at the heart of the matter. Corporate leaders are beginning to radically rethink how to guide their companies into a new era of economic growth to maximize performance and stay ahead of the competition. Forward leaning executives with the passion to lead have a new opportunity to kick-start patterns of innovation within their organization to stimulate organizational transformation. Tapping the energy, enthusiasm, and power of human interaction to enable a culture of innovation is now THE business imperative for ALL organizations.
This very closely matches IBM's own findings in the 2010 CEO Study, where we found that CEOs of leading organizations are slowly but surely re-orienting their organizations towards growth, and that innovation driven by collaboration and closer customer relationships is core to many of their transformation efforts. As Bob quotes John from the event:
“Collaboration is what we do on daily basis, it’s just what we do, and it needs to be seamless," commented John Del Pizzo of IBM. "Integrating desktop and mobile devices, UC enabled collaboration becomes ubiquitous and will drive transformative and innovative work flow environments.”
Secondly, my fellow blogger Marlon Machado has just published a joint whitepaper with Brad Herrington, Product Marketing Manager at Interactive Intelligence, Building Customer Centricity through Expertise-Based Interactions (free registration required). This paper discusses the emergence of customer centricity, driven by growing customer sophistication and empowerment across geographies and market segments. It also discusses the need for large and small businesses to embrace customer centricity and to take steps to internalize it as the driving force behind business processes and policies. Not surprisingly, it ties into the same innovation and customer-centric themes talked about at the CIO virtual event.
As we posted about over at the Lotus Knows blog earlier today, IBM has announced the coming availability of Connections 3.0, and the IBM social collaboration platform. Why should those of us in the unified communications business care?
The inclusion of Lotus Sametime as one of the key platform components of the IBM social collaboration platform -- along with Lotus Connections and Lotus Quickr, business and technology services, and more -- was no accident. As loyal readers you know IBM has been talking about unified communications and collaboration for several years now. This is a natural extension of that conversation, and our leadership in this space. Gartner said recently that the distinction between unified communications (UC) and collaboration will disappear by 2013 (as reported by CIOL), but we know that outperforming organizations are already doing this today.
Social media may generate a lot of buzz, but if you look more deeply at that conversation, invariably there is a communications element. All that socializing may be great, but eventually you just want to talk to someone (or IM them, or video chat with them, or meet with them, or...). For all the power of these new social collaboration capabilities, we are at heart a social species which means we still crave live verbal and visual contact with others, not just their words or photos or (pre-recorded) videos. That's why the phone isn't going away anytime soon as a collaboration device (maybe as a wired desktop phone, but that's just replacing one form factor with another, the underlying capability is still the same).
Unified communications and collaboration, then, is about making sure that we include that verbal, visual contact as an integral component of the overall collaboration mix, because that's how people WANT to collaborate. That's why we continue to invest in Sametime - with three releases in the past 2 years alone (Sametime Unified Telephony, Sametime 8.5 and Sametime 8.5.1). And why we continue to push the integration of Sametime with not only the rest of our Lotus portfolio, but the broader IBM portfolio (like WebSphere Portal, or Cognos), business partner offerings (just read any of our recent Business Partner Tuesday posts that highlight just a small sliver of the over 400 partners we work with), and even competitors (because we live in a heterogenous world, despite the rip-and-replace strategies other vendors ask of you).
So when you see the words Social Business, or social collaboration, from IBM, know that Sametime, and Unified Communications, are absolutely critical and key to that strategy:
trust is the new competitive advantage - what better way to build trust than through real-time conversations (whether IM, voice, video or e-meetings?)
brands are experienced through their people - and unified communications is critical for not just call centers, but for enabling all your employees to be real-time brand ambassadors to your customers
outperforming organizations are doing this today by making people, not devices or documents, central to the collaboration strategy. And we have plenty of real examples where unified communications have resulted in profitable transformations
We're excited about this announcement. Hopefully this explains why we think you should be too. But what do you think? How well integrated today are social collaboration and unified communications in your enterprise? What will it take to get there? Why aren't we there yet?
Join IBM and IBM Business Partner ShoreTel for an informative luncheon and seminar program on
how to drive business value, improve productivity and reduce costs with affordable
and reliable unified communications. Learn how small and midsized businesses can leverage the enterprise- class capabilities of unified
communications through the ShoreTel on IBM Foundations unified communications appliance. There will be three seminars throughout September, and you can attend by registering online here.
Just a quick reminder to our Sametime audience. As we blogged about a month ago, our friends over at Wainhouse Research are still soliciting responses to their 2010 Unified Communications and Collaboration End User Survey. Your responses will help develop a clearer understanding of the unified communications marketplace. This
survey should take 5 - 8 minutes to complete! And as an added bonus for your time, Wainhouse will select ten
respondents to win a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate. Hurry: the survey closes July 30!
One of the great things about a blog is you can quickly experiment with editorial calendars. A month ago I started the Friday Funnies postings, where I try to inject a little humor into the Unified Communications market. This newest series I'm calling Business Partner Tuesdays, where I would like to feature a specific member of our loyal and critically important business partner community. If any partners out there have some interesting things they're like to share about being a Sametime partner, from customer references, new integrations, new technologies, partner success stories, or more, just send me an e-mail (just click my name above).
This week I wanted to showcase an upcoming presentation by Epilio (sponsored by LotusUserGroup.org and Plantronics), a business partner who has written many interesting plug-ins for Sametime. Carl Tyler will present "Two tin cans and a piece of string? Sametime can do better than that!" virtual event, June 10 at noon ET (registration link here). The focus will be on features and capabilities that customers are using to make their employees lives
easier. If you're confused when you hear
Sametime, VoIP,TCSPI, SUT, and Lotus Foundations Reach in the same sentence,
then this webcast is for you. Registrants are entered to win a Plantronics Plantronics Voyager PRO UC wireless Bluetooth headset
(drawing void where
prohibited, see rules for details).