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July 17, 2012
IBM (NYSE: IBM) likely knows that more than 7 trillion users access the Internet worldwide. That’s without a doubt a powerful figure. But here’s another one, maybe not so well known, that is making perhaps a larger impression on U.S. businesses: Some 60 percent of employees visit their corporate intranet at least once a day.
Why is that important? It means that a company’s face to its employees — its Intranet, a representation of what a company is and how it wants to interact — now, with the advent of social and mobile, must extend far beyond traditional collaboration and communication to meet employees’ needs.
IBM’s newest addition to its web experience lineup, the Intranet Experience Suite — a solution that pulls together company information and data, personalized content and news and social media and analytics, for users to connect, collaborate and access information under most any circumstances — aims to help chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) construct the intranet of the future. It’s what IBM is calling the socially enabled Intranet because it packages social and analytics capabilities for CIOs to help their organizations improve internal operations and communications.
It’s also a new opportunity for channel partners to engage with the C-suite on a growing, and perhaps pressing, need to provide business users with a high quality, multichannel online experience. Indeed, according to IBM, the convergence of social and mobile is prompting organizations to revisit older websites to create modern web experiences to reach and engage with their audiences.
Along those lines, IBM has unwrapped a new version of its Customer Experience Suite, first offered in 2010, which provides CMOs the ability to manage and integrate all manner of data on their websites and then analyze it to decode customer buying patterns and preferences.
IBM believes the updated Customer Experience and new Intranet Experience solutions will deliver new business opportunities for partners because together they tap into marketing and data functions valued by CMOs and CIOs.
“IBM is very excited about what its partners can do with the IBM Web Experience — they can resell it, deploy it for customers in custom solutions, and extend the software with their own expertise and solutions for industry and specialized technology needs,” said an IBM spokesperson.
As an example, IBM pointed to Portico Consultancy, an IBM channel partner based in the Netherlands, which created a business intranet for Omron that integrates external social media including Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, allowing the company’s 1,700 employees to elect which applications they want in their intranet view. A sales manager, for example, can gain a view into monthly sales reports by region, as well as competitive background on new product updates and forecasts.
In January, at Lotusphere 2012, Gary Dolsen, IBM director, Strategy, Portal and User Interaction Products, told the audience in the past 18 months the vendor had seen a significant spike in business related to the web experience, with more customers viewing it as a competitive advantage.
“You need to have strategies for social, mobile and content at this point,” he said. “You could have survived the last couple of years maybe dabbling in one or two of those areas but it’s really coming together right now. This is your opportunity to either distance yourself from your competitors or they’re going to distance themselves from you.”
If the market opportunity is, indeed, that hot, channel partners should jump in.
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