IBM confident Connections can vie against nimble start-ups

  • When it comes to social enterprise, IBM claims to be a market leader
  • ‘We don’t intend to give up that position,’ says its software solutions head

IBM confident Connections can vie against nimble start-upsWHILE acknowledging that competitors – including web-based start-ups – have successfully entered and garnered a foothold in the social enterprise space, IBM is confident that its Connections software suite will remain an attractive solution for businesses.
During a press conference on the first day of IBM Connect 2013 in Orlando, Florida, Mike Rhodin (pic, left), senior vice president of the IBM Software Solutions Group (SSG), argued that a distinction needs to be made with web-born competitors playing in the same space.
“Mind-share aside, when you look at market share that’s measured revenue, in real business, IBM has been a market leader for years and we don’t intend to give up that position,” he said.
“What we will see is that standalone social is a tool. Social business is about integration of all that onto a platform that enables organizations to drive value.
“In terms of competitive landscape, there is no competition at that level. There are a lot of people with small tools,” he claimed.
When asked about how deeply popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have influenced IBM’s own redesign and approach to its enterprise social networking platform, Alistair Rennie (pic, right), general manager of IBM’s Social Business unit, said the company shapes its tools for ‘consumerability,’ which is informed by consumer products.
“It stems from the changing view of tools inside the workforce due to the exposure of workers to personal social networks, and we use the consumer market as a benchmark of what’s possible,” he said.
“The easier the tools are and the more familiar they are to users, the faster the internal adoption rate will be,” he added.
IBM’s confidence is partly powered by its acquisition roadmap which the company has stated amounts to US$20 billion by 2015.
The majority of purchases for its software group have been focused on “front-office space” solutions and companies such as Kenexa, whose solutions form an integral part to the products being announced at IBM Connect.
Rhodin said that IBM acquired "seven to eight" businesses last year, noting that all acquisitions have three common threads: They are all inherently social, mobile and analytics-based.
Gabey Goh reports from IBM Connect 2013 in Orlando, Florida, at the invitation of IBM.
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