SoMoClo: Why the bundle is stronger than its parts
Mary Forlenza 270001BN8C MARYF@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  somoclo cloud mobile social ibm_worklight
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Guest post by Tracy Boyer Clark, IBM Mobile Marketing Manager
Social, mobile and cloud technologies have became household concepts. According to the Pew Research Center, 66% of online adults use social networking sites as of February 2012.1 Moreover, as of April 2012, 88% of US adults owned a cell phone, with more than half using them to go online.2 Additionally, even back in 2008, 69% of online users had embraced cloud technologies, either by using web-based application software or storing data in the cloud.3
The next task for companies is to determine how to best leverage the added value that comes from combining any of these or all three. Initial findings from the latest Evans Data Mobile Developer Survey to be available in the fall of 2012, which targets nearly 500 developers working on mobile applications, indicate that close to 60% of mobile developers say they integrate social functions in their mobile apps with social APIs. Moreover, more than 75% are currently developing mobile apps to be executed via the cloud, or plan to in the next 12 months.4
Welcome to SoMoClo. This new acronym is an attempt to elevate the conversation: it’s no longer about just cloud or mobile devices or “boring” (as one analyst stated) social interaction capabilities, it’s about the entire package and how that package can encourage innovation, change the way businesses think about risk, impact the way organizations run their internal operations, and make companies reassess their interaction with customers. In SoMoClo, the cloud is the canvas on which the application landscape is painted. Mobile is the delivery point, and social is the glue – the web of threads that connects it all.
On a smarter planet, successful organizations that rapidly embrace SoMoClo are accelerating business by connecting people, processes and information in innovative ways. These organizations rely on a scalable architecture and capabilities for building, connecting, managing and securing an end-to-end SoMoClo environment. SoMoClo gives organizations and their customers the power to conduct transactions at the moment of awareness and anytime, anywhere – fundamentally changing the way companies derive and deliver value across their value chains.
Certain industries that rely heavily on customer transactions and relationships are adopting SoMoClo more quickly than others, for example, banking and retail. ING Direct successfully extended secure access to banking apps to mobile customers while at the same time enhancing productivity of employees to perform secure banking transactions via mobile devices. Moreover, Visa recently worked with IBM to design a real-time messaging system to implement location-based offers for its retail customers, such as The Gap.
Both small and large enterprises across all industries actually have the same innate expectations for SoMoClo. Primarily they expect to develop closer relationships with their customers through new channels and to establish an IT infrastructure that enables the rapid delivery of innovative products and services to that customer. Larger enterprises with legacy systems that have evolved over time may have difficulty integrating new technology. Small and mid-sized companies, naturally a bit more nimble, are likely to be better positioned for the adoption of SoMoClo and the infrastructure that supports it.
Let’s analyze how companies can benefit from SoMoClo.
First, consider the value-add from social capabilities bundled with mobile technology. According to the IBM 2011 CMO study, 57% of the 1,700 CMOs interviewed said that deploying tablet and mobile apps was their second highest digital priority. Enhancing customer loyalty and advocacy online – largely through social marketing tactics – was their top priority (67%).
VCC, a large construction general contractor, combined IBM’s social collaboration solutions with IBM mobile technology and realized more than a 40% year-over-year increase in new business by enabling its workforce to work remotely, resulting in a five-fold increase in productivity and saving the company 400 employee-hours per month.
The AberdeenGroup reported similar savings in the 2011 Aberdeen Survey where data taken from 240 enterprises suggests that overall the use of mobile apps designed specifically to help employees get their work done, largely meaning they collaborate remotely using social tools, increased productivity by 45%. Further, the data reveals that operational efficiency rises almost as much (44%) when enterprise apps are made available.5
Second, consider the added benefit of combining mobile technology with cloud infrastructure. Mobile empowers diverse communities of people to tap readily scalable, security-rich IT services in the cloud from anywhere, at anytime, and through any device.
Taser International, a leading manufacturer of personal safety devices, mobilized 100% of its sales force and connected them to its customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning systems using a cloud infrastructure. Since doing so, their order accuracy has increased three-fold, they cut entry processing time in half, and saved $135,000 a year by utilizing web forms rather than paper mailers.
Last, but not least important, think about the obvious symmetries of social and cloud. In a recent study by The Aberdeen Group, organizations that use cloud-enabled social business solutions to collaborate in real-time found that “73 percent of top performers (identified by a number of metrics, including their ability to share business-critical information throughout their company almost 50-times faster than the industry average) were able to work cohesively with departments with no direct reporting relationship in place.”6
This confirms that enabling peer-to-peer social infrastructure provides clear savings to a company’s operational overhead. In addition to internal savings, social and cloud technologies can also help increase revenue through enhanced external one-to-one and one-to-many interactions with customers. For example, one airline used IBM Worklight to provide a cloud-based social app for users to check-in during their travel, collaborate with others in their social networks, and utilize daily deals with mobile payments. These types of multi-channel customer experiences drove up loyalty as seen by the more than 1.5 million downloads, ranking the airline's app #1 in the travel category.
Another IBM client, Birmingham Metropolitan College, utilized IBM SmartCloud for Social Business solution to build a “classroom in the cloud” in order to synergize with the digital lifestyle of learners and compete in different markets. When the project is complete, up to 25,000 students and 1,350 staff will be able to use the solution to access learning through a variety of media including the web and smart phones.
SoMoClo: Bringing it all together
SoMoClo is forcing company executives to look at new technologies to achieve their business objectives. In fact, in IBM’s latest CEO study, technology was ranked as the #1 external factor impacting organizations. Businesses need to transform their IT from cost centers driving on-going operations to strategic centers of business innovation. IT must deliver agility to the business, while giving consideration to issues like security, openness of architectures and cost flexibility. Embracing SoMoClo as a part of the IT strategy, and executing prudently (as a journey or continuum) across the organization puts IT executives in the strategic center of innovation – to partner with business executives for mutual benefit in achieving business objectives.
To learn more about integrating social and mobile, watch “A Mobile Social World: How IBM Can Help You Meet Enterprise Expectations.” If you are interested in learning more about integrating mobile and cloud, view the webcast, “Network Management in Today’s Mobile and Cloud World.” Lastly, if you want to jump right in to SoMoClo, read “The Forrester Wave: Mobile Collaboration Requires a New Approach.”
You can also visit IBM Mobile Enterprise for the latest mobile news, events and resources.