According to Forrester Research, Cloud computing will grow from a $41 billion business in 2010 to $241 billion in 2020. At the same time, social networking is on the rise. According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016, reaching $6.4 billion.
While many firms have adopted Cloud, mobile and social networking, IBM is helping clients, including the University of Texas at El Paso, capitalize on the convergence, making it safe for the enterprise.
To help organisations address this growing opportunity, IBM is announcing IBM SmartCloud Docs and new services in its IBM SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio allowing clients to collaborate both inside the organisation and externally with partners, clients or suppliers. For example, when working on a document in the Cloud, the presence awareness and instant messaging capabilities allow users to see if a document co-editor is on-line and available to chat in real time. The new features join IBM's SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio which includes business-grade file sharing, access to communities, on-line meetings, instant messaging, e-mail and calendar in the Cloud.
"As the mobile workforce moves beyond gaining access to email and calendars to collaborate and generate new ideas and be more efficient anytime, anywhere, on any device, the intersection of social, mobile, and Cloud becomes even more critical", stated Alistair Rennie, general manager, social business, IBM. "Social and mobile are driving business transformation, helping all aspects of an organisation from marketing, human resources, sales and customer support and development leverage social concepts in their business processes. The power of Cloud helps to amplify this by delivering enterprise strength computing power where and when you need it."
IBM is also announcing clients who are at the forefront of this transformation embracing social in the Cloud, including the University of Texas at El Paso, Colleagues In Care (CIC), Centrax TCL, NEC Corp., the Victoria Implementation Center and Netkom iBPM LLC.
At the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), faculty and researchers are using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to track the status of research projects and help facilitate knowledge sharing across campus. The IBM SmartCloud provides a cost-effective, easy-to-use Cloud solution that allows faculty and researchers to share resources and track progress of research projects without clogging up their e-mail in-boxes while aiding in the ever challenging "version control" process for collaborative documents.
UTEP has recently expanded its use of the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to collaborate with universities across North America who are involved in CASHI, the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions. CASHI aims to increase the number of Hispanic students who pursue and complete baccalaureate and advanced degrees in the computer and information sciences and engineering. UTEP uses the IBM SmartCloud to collaborate with faculty at other universities, invite users from the other universities at no cost as guests to work on projects together. They can share files, manage projects, assign work, and comment directly on posted documents.
"Going to one place to find materials and being able to track the progress and status of projects has been a major benefit", stated Dr. Ann Gates, Chair of the Computer Science Department at UTEP. "Before IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, e-mail was the default way of communicating. Now I don't have to manage a lot of e-mails, I can go back and look at the status of projects and what people are working on quickly and easily. We're using the portfolio to boost brainstorming sessions across campus, sharing information immediately, saving time and resources for the university."
At Colleagues In Care (CIC), a non-profit dedicated to improving healthcare delivery in Haiti, medical workers and volunteers from around the globe are using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to access critical data and information for the current health care needs of the Haitian citizens. The new IBM SmartCloud Docs feature is allowing the network of health care volunteers to collaboratively edit materials resulting in a first-of-a-kind certification programme and professional development curricula for emergency medical obstetrics professionals.
"The Emergency Medical Obstetrics Certification Programme will address how a physician, a nurse, or an auxiliary could stabilize and keep a patient from dying, at locations where drugs and resources are unavailable", stated Marie L. Kenerson, Chief Collaboration and Learning Officer, Colleagues In Care. "In record time using IBM SmartCloud Docs, the international team is able to upload medical protocols and educational course content, co-edit the documents, and even co-create appropriate original materials making up the EMO curriculum."
IBM SmartCloud for Social Business now meets both Switzerland and European Union Safe Harbor privacy principle standards regarding the collection, handling and access to personal information, furthering the opportunities for European organizations to embrace social business in the Cloud.
New services make the Cloud enterprise ready:
IBM SmartCloud Docs is available now for no additional charge in IBM SmartCloud Engage Advanced service. IBM SmartCloud Docs is also available for purchase as a service add on for IBM Connections and IBM SmartCloud Engage Standard for $3 per user, per month.
To participate in a live webcast on December 13, 2012, on how to enhance the workforce with socially enabled office productivity applications in the Cloud, you can register at http://tek.io/TIuCDy . To hear first hand from clients using social applications in the Cloud, you can register for IBM's premier social business conference in January 2013 at www.ibm.com/connect .