Jeff Schick IBM Connect 2016 Opening Session

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the IBM Connect Conference 2016 in Orlando, Florida. As was the case the year before, the event was a whirlwind of activity, with exciting conversations and fascinating new tools to be discovered around every corner. From the time we first began writing The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill) to this year’s event, I have seen firsthand the vision IBM has for the future of business—and it begins with employee engagement.

This theme echoed throughout the conference halls. With more and more data coming out demonstrating the power of social employee engagement and collaboration, even social business leaders like IBM have showed a renewed focus in their efforts.

At the forefront of the this new social employee push is Jeff Schick, GM Enterprise Social Solutions, who said, “More engaged employees lead to more engaged customers—and more successful organizations. They can achieve things that are simply remarkable.”

Working Smarter with IBM Verse

Schick brought this message with him as he discussed two exciting new IBM initiatives. The first was IBM Verse, which Schick described as a revolutionary tool for the “era of cognitive business.” At the core of the Verse concept is workflow and collaboration made simpler. Employees at any company have a variety of notification and messaging tools at their disposal, but these tools rarely add up to a unified, intuitive experience. With Verse, IBM offers organizations an all-in-one tool for communication, content sharing, and scheduling—and all powered by Watson.

Verse combines analytics and user behaviors to help anticipate what’s important to you. It helps you focus on what you need to know and whom you need to talk to—and tunes out the stuff that’s not as important. The platform achieves this through a variety of features, but at its core is the ability to create project groups among your coworkers. Once created, relevant team members are accessible with a click, each with a digital summary of what they have worked on together and links to useful content shared between the two. An action center keeps workers updated on project and file changes as well, accelerating sharing and eliminating redundant or duplicate project files.

 You can watch the full presentation in the video below:

Introducing Toscana

Schick also unveiled another IBM project aimed reimagining collaborative workspaces called Toscana. While still in development, what Verse will do for e-mail communication, Toscana will do for collaboration spaces. When it’s time to get down to work, Toscana will be employees’ go-to platform, providing interfaces for simplified messaging and conferencing, a shared file library, and extensive mobile support.

But here’s where Toscana will really shine. The platform is designed to easily integrate with IBM’s existing Connections architecture, enabling users to draw data from across the Connections platform and integrate into the Toscana workspace. And with Verse also on the way, this one-two punch of enterprise offerings is sure to reaffirm IBM’s status as a global leader in employee engagement and connectivity. If these platforms are a sign of things to come for IBM, I can’t wait to see what they unveil to stakeholders at next year’s conference.

Were you at the 2016 Connect Conference? Share your experiences in the comments below!



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Below are recent endorsements for The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) by Tom Peters and David Aaker on their social networks, but if you want to see more of their endorsements click here.

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In The Social Employee, we go behind the scenes with several leading brands—such as IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo—pulling the lid off the inspiring social business success stories that have propelled these companies into the 21st century. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

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“Great brands have always started on the inside, but why are companies taking so long to leverage the great opportunities offered by internal social media? . . . The Social Employee lifts the lid on this potential and provides guidance for businesses everywhere.” JEZ FRAMPTON, Global Chairman and CEO, Interbrand


Amazon_agold-bookThe Social Employee offers an unparalleled behind-the-scenes look at the social business success stories of some of the biggest brand names in the business world, including IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

The brands that leverage their employee base in order to engage customers and prospects through social media are the ones destined to win the marketing wars. This book not only details the astronomical rise of the social employee, but also outlines the innovative methods that leading companies have employed to foster cultures of enthusiastic and engaged workers.

FORMcGrawHill_RedEWORD by David C. Edelman, Global Co-Leader, Digital Marketing & Sales Practice, McKinsey & Company

AFTERWORD by Kevin Randall, Vice President of Brand Strategy & Research at Movéo Integrated Branding, and journalist for The New York Times, The Economist and Vanity Fair.

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