Interview: Living social (and loving it) with IBMer Luis Suarez
Delaney Turner 270003RQ8K Delaney.Turner@ca.ibm.com | | Tags:  lotusphere social-business ibmsoftware ls12
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You may have noticed that I've been on a bit of a "social business" theme lately, what with McKinsey reporting on companies' successes and stumbles, IBMers trading workplace foibles and Lotusphere 2012 in full swing. So, here's the latest. In prepping for my presentation to Social Media Breakfast Ottawa I had the chance to speak to Luis Suarez of IBM Spain. Luis lives the tenets of the social business - and reaps the benefits - more effectively and with more passion than any IBMer I know.
The next time you're stuck in "mail jail," think about how Luis. He cut his inbox to 16 messages a week and hasn't missed a beat.
That's right: 16 messages. Every week.
Don't believe me?
Can you briefly describe your role?
I work for IBM Software in Spain; I am part of the BlueIQ Program working as a Social Computing Evangelist, Knowledge Manager and CommunityBuilder, looking after the community management / facilitation of the program, helping accelerate the adoption rate of social software for IBMers, both inside and outside of the firewall. In my spare time I have been living “A World Without Email” since Feb 2008 proving it’s possible to work effectively, if not more altogether, with social tools than with just making use of email. This article describes what that experience has been like so far.
What three business benefits do you see to your own social media and social business activities? How do you quantify the benefits of being so prolific on so many social networks?
Smarter work: That’s been one of my main mantras over the course of the last few years on what it really means for me to be living social. It’s all about working smarter and not necessarily harder. Tapping into social networks to not only be able to find relevant content within a matter of minutes, but also the right experts behind that content is key in helping me accelerate the way I collaborate, share my knowledge and learn from others. In a business world where the response time is almost in real-time, social networking surely provides me with an opportunity to just anticipate the way I interact with fellow colleagues, customers, business partners and other industry thought leaders.
Personal Brand: In conjunction with the corporate brand there isn’t probably anything more powerful out there for businesses than empowering employees to leave a digital footprint of their skills, subject matter expertise as well as their persona. Personal branding surely has got a very nice place within the social networking realm and through tools like blogging we have never had it this easy to demonstrate our thought leadership, passion and knowledge for a particular topic. That’s also one of the biggest advantages, in my experience around social business: building your reputation and social trust through nurturing on a regular basis those personal business relationships we all use to conduct business.
Living “A World Without Email”: It’s been rather interesting to see how over the course of the last few years, since February 2008, to be more precise, and thanks to making regular use of social software tools, whether internally or externally, I have been capable of reducing my dependency on corporate email by over 98% having gone from 30 to 40 emails per day to about 16 emails per week. If anything it’s allowed me to reinvest the two to three hours I used to spend on managing my mailbox to nowadays spend 10 to 15 minutes per week on it and invest the remaining time in social networks, helping out other colleagues with their queries, answering customers‘ questions and solving their problems or just sharing my knowledge and learning from others from what they have shared. That’s meant going from two to three hours per day of private, opaque, obscure interactions to two to three hours of open, public and transparent interactions where my knowledge and that of others is stored out there on the (Internal) Social Web.
I think the main benefits knowledge workers like myself are getting from using these social networking tools are pretty much along the lines of how they empower us to improve our overall individual and group productivity, as well as overall business performance. Thanks to it, I am closer to our customers and business partners, I can help out directly more than ever before to fix their business problems or I generate more business value by engaging with customers in a much more open and collaborative manner, including the massive learning experience that’s attached with it all along! But the key focus for me has always focusing on the business outcomes and overall performance improvements than just measure the use of the social tools. That‘s what differentiates, to me, the real key benefits
Tell me about the Blue IQ program: what are the goals? What is the curriculum? How does it work? What can other companies learn from your own experiences?
BlueIQ is an IBM internal adoption program to help accelerate the deployment of social networking amongst fellow employees so that they can collaborate and share their knowledge much more effectively, at the same time they would be able to hold meaningful conversations with customers and business partners. It was born in 2007 and throughout the years it’s morphed into a core set of program components that allows IBMers to not only have an understanding of social computing and social networking tools, but to also use them effectively as business tools for both internal and external collaboration. Folks can go ahead and learn more about BlueIQ by downloading this free whitepaper on BlueIQ, where we explain our entire methodology and how other businesses could copycat to match their needs and requirements, along with their own additions and corporate culture.
They can also download this general BlueIQ Overview presentation to get a quick glimpse of how BlueIQ works and what are all of the various components do. I think what other companies could learn from BlueIQ is a wide range of experiences that we have gone through over the years into what works, and what doesn’t!, with regards to social software adoption; through a natural evolution of the program we have seen how we have been extending the overall program from just a few thousands to the entire IBM population. It’s been a new and exciting learning experience sharing with folks ideas and experiences that could help them, as well as learn from others into ways of how we could improve the already existing program components. In our experience, BlueIQ could surely help out pave the ground towards a smoother adoption strategy of social software focusing more on the movement and philosophy behind it all things 2.0, than just having to focus on the technology alone.
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