IBM has introduced new cloud and on premises social software to help clients better connect, collaborate, and share information with key stakeholders inside and outside their organizations. The latest version of the market-leading IBM Connections platform features an open and fully integrated suite of social and real-time collaboration, analytics and content management tools, all securely delivered on any screen or device.

Ranked by IDC as the worldwide market share leader in enterprise social software, IBM Connections helps organizations drive deeper collaboration and engagement with customers, employees, partners and other third-parties. The need to deepen engagement is quickly rising to the top of many board room agendas — IBM's recent survey of 4,200 C-suite leaders found that 90% of respondents expect to increase collaboration through both social and digital channels. The challenge for many is sharing the right information from the right experts to address quickly emerging business or client opportunities, and to do so in a secure way.

IBM Connections 5 is now available on the IBM Cloud marketplace, making it faster and easier than ever for clients to deploy an end-to-end collaboration platform. IBM Connections 5 extends the company's leadership in both social and cloud technologies — including more than 100 Software-as-Service (SaaS) solutions available today — to help organizations personalize and share relevant content between internal and external users via simple file sharing and integrated social collaboration tools. The platform can be quickly deployed on premises, through the cloud or in a hybrid environment, allowing diverse global project teams to connect and collaborate in real-time on urgent activities. Enterprise file sync and document sharing features help ensure that all team members and experts have access to the most current and up-to-date files regardless of how, when and where they are accessed. With these new hybrid capabilities, companies can embed collaboration, analytics and content capabilities within existing business processes accessible on almost any device or business application — mobile, Web and desktop — making it easier than ever to engage anytime, anywhere.

"There are few things as potentially detrimental to a company as disconnected employees. When a workforce is out of synch or out of touch, the whole organization suffers from lost productivity, efficiency and innovation," said Jeff Schick, vice president of Social Software, IBM. "With the open nature of today's business environment, organizations are looking to build new systems of people-centric engagement. The ability to bring key internal and external stakeholders into the conversation can facilitate a more collaborative, responsive and authentic way to work and deepen engagement."

Thousands of companies rely on IBM's industry-leading Connections platform, including Superior Group, a premier provider of workforce solutions and outsourcing around the globe. As part of a strategic brand review, Superior Group executives discovered that employees worldwide felt disconnected from corporate headquarters, regional offices and each other. Executives knew they had to address the roots of the problem: an intranet that had outlived its usefulness, and a lack of effective communications tools. Today, Superior Group is using IBM Connections to deepen employee engagement and increase productivity. Employees have embraced social tools such as file sharing, communities, blogs and wikis and as a result, have reduced email volume by 20%. Superior Group's workforce is now more empowered to communicate, accelerate collaboration and quickly act on new business opportunities from any location at any time.

"Great ideas can come from every corner of the extended organization, so we needed a secure way to open up our organization and make it easier for our workforce to engage with one another and our key internal and external stakeholders, "said Tom DeClerck, CIO, Superior Group. “IBM Connections gives us an open, agile and customizable platform with fully integrated collaboration, analytics and content management capabilities. This has allowed us to put our people back at the center of our business focus to energize and empower them to deliver exceptional experiences to our customers."

In January, IBM announced its intent to bring together its cloud and on premises mail, social collaboration, chat, meetings, office productivity and content capabilities —including new high-definition video streaming planned for the latter part of 2014 — under the single IBM Connections brand. The combination of these capabilities, as well as its open architecture and APIs, has enabled leading independent software vendors (ISVs) such as HootSuite to develop hundreds of new social apps built on the IBM Connections platform.

Seventy-five percent of Fortune 100 companies today use IBM's enterprise social software to transform how they connect, collaborate and get work done. In April, IBM was named the worldwide market share leader in enterprise social software for the fifth consecutive year by IDC. Forrester Research also recently named IBM a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Social Platforms, Q2 2014.


This article was originally posted “IBM Unveils Cloud And On Premises Social Software” from Cloud Strategy Magazine.