IBM unveiled new programs to help business partners embrace the growing social business market opportunity and to financially reward them for their value to clients.
Over the next three years, the market for worldwide social platforms is expected to triple from $630 million in 2011 to $1.86 billion by 2014, according to market research firm IDC.
In addition, IBM announced new curricula and initiatives to help students prepare for the jobs of the future using social business skills.
The new era of social business opens up the world of possibility that occurs when all of the energy and opportunities that have been generated around consumer-side models, such as Facebook and Twitter, are focused, and brought to bear on business challenges. Becoming a social business means an organisation needs to change its culture, processes and the technology that integrates social collaboration into their business processes.
“Social business plays an instrumental role in building a smarter planet,” said Lillian Barnard, Business Partners Executive, IBM Sub-Saharan Africa . “Our partner and developer communities along with the workforce of the future are crucial to driving client success. These new initiatives will help partners grow their businesses and profit as we prepare the next generation of social business leaders and entrepreneurs, ultimately fueling growth and innovation for our clients.”
To help these business partners succeed in the growing market opportunity around social business, IBM detailed new programs and best practices in front of a record 900 business partners at its annual Lotusphere conference including:
- Social Business Authorisation: Provides business partners that demonstrate a mastery of social business skill up to an addition 15 percent sales incentive.
- Industry Authorisation: Provides business partners access to industry-focused resources and incentives to help their clients transform into social businesses. Business partners with specific industry authorisation can earn up to 15 percent more financial incentive, and gain access to industry assets such as IBM Cognos Dashboards, IBM Connections social collaboration widgets and research analysis tools to track web traffic and other key measurements.
- New Sales tools: Provides assessment training and tools helping business partners express the value of social software. In addition, the tools include first of a kind social “day in the life” demos, presentations, and sales material to assist with client engagements.
- New Education: New training resources to help business partners develop and integrate social business solutions for their clients. The Social Business Technical courses are available at no-charge through the 38 worldwide IBM Innovation Centers or by virtual sessions. In addition, a new series of getting started guides and webinars are now available on IBM PartnerWorld to help business partners transform their organisation into a social business.
- IBM Software Volume Offerings: Provides business partners marketing and sales tools for 35 software solutions, including five from Lotus that support deals under fifty thousand dollars.
Social Business Skills for Tomorrow’s Workforce
The transformation to a social business also requires skilled employees. From developers to business managers, social business skills are essential for future growth. Today’s students — the entrepreneurs and leaders of the 21st century — must turn their personal understanding of social media into business ready expertise.
To help ensure the future workforce is ready for this new era of social businesses, IBM is delivering new enterprise social software courses now available free of charge to more than 9,000 professors at 4,500 universities participating in IBM’s Academic Initiative around the world. The courses will introduce students to IBM social business technologies, help them gain a better understanding of the needs of a social business and the benefits to organizational change.
IBM is also announcing a new program with business partner Group Business Software to share knowledge around social media and help educate students on the role social business technologies play in enterprise companies. More than 500 business and computer science students from ten Florida area universities will attend a day long social business workshop. This first of its kind program at Lotusphere is designed to expose students to the advancements in IBM social and collaboration technologies and help them identify the skills they need for jobs in the new era of social businesses.
Throughout the workshop, students will hear from industry leaders in social business, preview cutting edge research projects and network with developers, business leaders and researchers from both organizations. Recently, Group Business Software announced a programming contest for Florida area university students. As part of the competition, the students build an application using Web 2.0 technologies and IBM XPages software.
Continuing the dialog around social business, IBM will host a Web-based Social Business Jam from February 8-11, 2011, where thousands of leaders from around the world will pool their knowledge and experiences to examine the next generation of business. Social Business Jam participants will cooperatively explore the value of social technology in business, the mitigation of its risks, and the management system required to drive a social transformation resulting in a blueprint for organizations to help them become a Social Business.