In every aspect of our lives, digital 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.
I 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.
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.
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.
“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
The 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.
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.