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The Possibilities of a Moment: Reflections on #IBMConnect 2016 #tech

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In every aspect of our lives, digitalHarry_Potter_Cheryl Burgess IBM has redefined how we experience the world. When we cook, we use apps like Allrecipes to guide us along. When we’re out with friends, coworkers, or business associates, we pose for pictures using the built-in camera on our smartphones and send the images across our social networks. When we need transportation or tickets to an event, we pull up apps like Über or Fandago to facilitate our requests. If there’s something we need to get done, there’s a digital solution ready to take care of it.

The digital experience makes us smarter, more connected, and more efficient. And at an electric event like this year’s IBM Connect 2016, the digital experience is an essential tool for anyone hoping to keep up with all the many exciting conversations, panels, and presentations during the four-day event. Unable to make a panel? Just wait for video of the event to go up on a company blog! Everywhere at Connect, there was something new to take in around every corner.

Make Every Moment Count

The mantra for the conference was a simple, powerful directive, actively embodied by IBM GM of Enterprise Social Solutions Jeff Schick: make every moment count. And when I saw everything IBM was doing to make that concept a reality, I couldn’t help but feel a tremendous sense of optimism for the future of workplace engagement—and the social employee.

Everywhere at the conference was an acute focus on the digital experience and individualized employee engagement. Driving these efforts is IBM’s revolutionary Watson technology, which is being applied to help employees engage and collaborate in surprising new ways—all while allowing businesses to grow data and create new business value that would have been both unaffordable and unimaginable even a few years ago.

Innovation from Moment to Moment

One of my most memorable encounters was a private tour of Design Studio with other prominent analysts and IBM influencers. During the tour, I had a chance to preview IBM’s Innovation Lab products, such as Enterprise Cognitive Assistants, with IBM’s Matt David demonstrating how artificial intelligence can improve the efficiency and social connectivity of employees using data, behavior, and context, enabling the assistant to provide the right information at the right time. These processes were also showcased in Jeff Schick’s demonstration of Verse, an enterprise communications platform designed to improve workflow and prioritization.

Heidi_Amber_IBM_Cheryl BurgessI also had an opportunity to attend The Future of Work session, which included speakers Heidi Ambler, Suzanne Livingston, and Luis Benitez. So what is the future of work? At IBM, their vision begins with a simple, employee-driven directive: Give employees less work and more collaborative tools, support a cohesive experience, and build tools that facilitate communication both inside and outside the organization. This could be said to be the social business equivalent to the ages-old philosophy to work smarter, not harder—a perfect compliment to IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative.

Magical Moments

After the Future of Work session, I joined Heidi Ambler and Suzanne Livingston at the annual Women’s Executive Lunch, hosted by Katrina Troughton. The experience was warm and engaging, full of great conversation and insights from some of the best and brightest in social business. It was a great pleasure moving from table to table listening what all these powerful women had to say. And with more research coming out showing that businesses with greater gender diversity earn greater profits, it is refreshing to see IBM’s continual commitment to building such a broad, talented workforce.

Finally, we got to break from work and enjoy a little play with a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. At the new Universal Studios attraction, we took in the sights and sounds of the beloved fantasy franchise—and even sampled a mug of butterbeer. Buoyed by this whirlwind event, and with a little magic in their step, IBM is poised to help usher in the next wave of social innovation—marrying smart, intuitive tech with the most crucial business ingredient of all: the social employee.

 

 

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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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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.

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Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in Social Business, The Social Employee | 0 comments

Bio

Cheryl Burgess
Cheryl Burgess, CEO of Blue Focus Marketing, helps clients transform brands from the inside out by implementing strategic marketing initiatives that empower social employee engagement, and social executive leadership. Blue Focus Marketing is a leading Employee Experience (EX) services consultancy, delivering e-learning, employee engagement, content marketing, and social media marketing solutions. She is the co-author of the best selling book, The Social Employee, (McGraw-Hill) How Great Companies Make Social Media Work, hailed by management guru, Tom Peters as a “landmark that converts the power of social media from fiction to fact.” Her book is featured in MIT Sloan Management Review. Burgess is a special advisory board member for The Economist Intelligence Unit, and interviewed by The Economist in “Power to the People”. She is on the advisory board of CultureSphere. Cheryl is a contributor to Wharton's Advertising 2020 Project and their book, Beyond Advertising: Creating Value through All Customer Touchpoints. Burgess is listed as “Forbes Top 5 Influential CMOs”, “Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Masters” and named by Huffington Post as a social media “Passionista”, and is an IBM VIP Futurist. She is a contributor to Harvard Business Review - Italia, and expert blogger for CEO.com and CMO.com. Cheryl is a keynote speaker at industry events, including AMP - Australia and New Zealand, Social Business Forum – Milan, Italy, IBM Connect Orlando, Dell World, Integrated Marketing Week NYC, Pivotcon - NYC, Rutgers Business School, AT&T, and KPMG. Her company blog won the MarketingSherpa Reader’s Choice Award for Best Social Media Marketing Blog. She is the winner of numerous Twitter Shorty Awards in marketing. Follow her on Twitter @ckburgess, @SocialEmployee and @BlueFocus. Google+

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