Social Collaboration: IBM

As the first of the large software vendors to enter the social collaboration software space back in 2007, IBM has seen considerable success in this area, with its Connections product becoming the fastest growing new technology ever within IBM. Today IBM’s social collaboration portfolio spans both on-premise and the cloud through the addition of IBM Connections Social Cloud.

Top takeaways

A rich and established social collaboration capability addressing a range of scenarios

With IBM Connections for on-premise deployments and IBM Connections Social Cloud for cloud-based requirements, IBM has developed a social collaboration portfolio which supports a range of business use cases, both internal and externally-focused, for both people- and project-based scenarios. By leveraging and integrating tightly with the broader IBM technology portfolio, IBM offers a comprehensive and flexible suite of capabilities that are particularly well-designed to meet the needs of large organisations.

Part of the broader IBM Social Business Platform suite of technologies

As IBM’s social collaboration capability, Connections combines with other key technologies (including analytics, portal and content management) to provide a platform designed to support the various different aspects of being a social business, whether externally-facing (such as Exceptional Digital Experiences and social media analytics), or internally-facing (such as Smarter Workforce and social collaboration). This enables IBM to engage at a strategic level with organisations and offer a path for growth and expansion as its social business strategy matures and develops.

Extensive in-house consulting capability, strong partner ecosystem

While the on-going challenges of social collaboration may lie more in adoption strategies than in technical customisation work, IBM’s established services organisation offers a significant differentiator over its competitors, particularly in instances where organisations have more complex ambitions spanning both internal and externally-focused social business strategies. This is supported by a substantial partner ecosystem offering both technical and practical implementation and adoption services.

On-premise Connections remains a much larger business than its cloud-based equivalent

Although it has been available for four years, IBM Connections Cloud continues to trail IBM Connections significantly in the market, both from a profile and a business perspective. While IBM is now seeing a strong rate of growth for this area, with stiff competition from smaller independent social collaboration players as well as market giants like Microsoft and Google, the company still has work to do to achieve the broad market profile and awareness it needs.

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