Tuesday's opening keynote at IBM Connect 2013 focused on how the combination of social, mobile, digital and analytics are having an impact in all industries. IBM Information Management General Manager Bob Picciano, along with IBM Global Business Services new markets Managing Partner, and IBM Public Sector General Manager Dan Pelino, described how these 4 key technology trends combined are leading to a fundamental transformation of front office processes.

Editor's Note: You can watch the live stream of this keynote here

Specifically, the transformation is happening not just in systems of record -- the traditional data systems and business process applications we are used to in the back office -- but also in systems of engagement --  the processes and tools that employees use to collaborate with one another and with customers, partners and other external parties. This transformation is happening because the 4 tech trends are leading to 4 shifts in how we work:

  1. Customers are leading the conversation around brands
  2. Partners are interacting to accelerate business
  3. Employees are using social media in all facets of their lives, including work
  4. Organizations are crowdsourcing new ideas, products and services

The recent IBM Institute of Business Value study, “The Business of Social Business”, showed that in 2012, while most companies “get it”, 70% are still struggling with how these 4 technology trends are impacting culture in the workplace.

To show how leading companies in all industries are purposefully applying social technology and transforming their culture and businesses, the audience was taken through three specific examples.

First up was BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts. Dealing with a radical change in the Massachusetts healthcare market following the implementation of universal coverage, CIO Bill Fandrich explained that data in particular has increasingly become an invaluable business asset. This helps them move from just managing costs per unit to delivering improved patient outcomes through a 360 degree view of their members. The result: member savings opportunities, clinical improvements, and enhanced patient engagement and satisfaction.

Australian retailer David Jones is using social, mobile, digital and analytics to transform an iconic 175-year-old retailer. Marie Foti, HR Manager, described how an internal survey of employees sowed a much greater need for 2-way communication, real-time access anytime anywhere to business information, and to do all this by complementing existing communications channels. Using IBM Connections as the core for an employee engagement platform called The Thread, David Jones has already seen great results since the launch of the pilot in October 2012: adoption rates have already hit 65% with a full year adoption rate of 75% well within reach. The majority of users believe it will meet the primary goal of improving 2-way communication. User feedback show 3 key benefits they already enjoy: increased knowledge of what is happening at work, direct links fostered to the leadership team, and an improved sense of community and collaboration. She also shared 3 tips to help adoption:

  1. Bring the platform to life by demonstrating to key stakeholders at every stage how usage brings value.
  2. Content, content, content! Fresh, interesting and engaging content needs to be ready and uploaded at Day 1.
  3. Engage champions at all levels of the business to drive community involvement and adoption.

Last up was City Manager Mike van Milligen from the City of Dubuque, Iowa. From a near-death experience in the 1980s, the City of Dubuque has reimagined and revitalized itself with the help of mobile, social, digital and analytics technologies to create a much fuller citizen engagement experience. The results have helped turn Dubuque into an award-winning place to live. They have worked with IBM on several Smarter Cities initiatives:

  • Their Smarter Water Portal project has led utility customers to see specifically how their usage affects costs, resulting in a 7% reduction in water usage and an 800% increase in water leak detection.
  • Their Smarter Electricity Portal also helps utility consumers analyze their consumption patterns, resulting in a 4-7% monthly savings and 79% of participants taking action to conserve electricity.
  • Their Smarter Travel pilot is focusing on reducing vehicle-miles traveled and shifting more to mass transit use.
  • They are also looking at pilots for discard & waste management, and health & wellness programs.

Mr. van Milligen also shared 3 key lessons from government application of social business:

  1. Incremental is best. You can't expect citizens to absorb too many changes at once, and their comfort levels with technology can vary widely.
  2. Self interest is a powerful motivator for change.
  3. Continuity and affordability are also critical for adoption.

The session closed out with a quick preview of sessions later in the day that will cover IBM Information Management initiatives that support Big Data and Social Business, including the new Social Analytics Suite, Hadoop support, and support for SaaS offerings.

Tomorrow I hope to cover the Tuesday Keynote Session.