ARMONK, N.Y., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new social business software to help enterprise clients collaborate easily and securely in the cloud using the broadest range of mobile devices. The new IBM SmartCloud services include new social networking features and the release of IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.
According to Forrester Research, cloud computing will grow from a $41 billion business in 2010 to $241 billion in 2020*. At the same time, social networking is on the rise. According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016, reaching $6.4 billion**.
While many firms have adopted cloud, mobile and social networking, IBM is helping clients, including the University of Texas at El Paso, capitalize on the convergence, making it safe for the enterprise.
To help organizations address this growing opportunity, IBM is announcing IBM SmartCloud Docs and new services in its IBM SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio allowing clients to collaborate both inside the organization and externally with partners, clients or suppliers. For example, when working on a document in the cloud, the presence awareness and instant messaging capabilities allow users to see if a document co-editor is online and available to chat in real time. The new features join IBM's SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio which includes business-grade file sharing, access to communities, online meetings, instant messaging, email and calendar in the cloud.
"As the mobile workforce moves beyond gaining access to email and calendars to collaborate and generate new ideas and be more efficient anytime, anywhere, on any device, the intersection of social, mobile, and cloud becomes even more critical," said Alistair Rennie, general manager, social business, IBM. "Social and mobile are driving business transformation, helping all aspects of an organization from marketing, human resources, sales and customer support and development leverage social concepts in their business processes. The power of cloud helps to amplify this by delivering enterprise strength computing power where and when you need it."
To hear more about IBM SmartCloud Docs, watch this video: http://youtu.be/kd88z7xANMs
Clients Getting Social in the Cloud
IBM is also announcing clients who are at the forefront of this transformation embracing social in the cloud, including the University of Texas at El Paso, Colleagues In Care (CIC), Centrax TCL, NEC Corp., the Victoria Implementation Center and Netkom iBPM LLC.
At the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), faculty and researchers are using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to track the status of research projects and help facilitate knowledge sharing across campus. The IBM SmartCloud provides a cost-effective, easy-to-use cloud solution that allows faculty and researchers to share resources and track progress of research projects without clogging up their email in-boxes while aiding in the ever challenging "version control" process for collaborative documents.
UTEP has recently expanded its use of the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to collaborate with universities across North America who are involved in CASHI, the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions. CASHI aims to increase the number of Hispanic students who pursue and complete baccalaureate and advanced degrees in the computer and information sciences and engineering. UTEP uses the IBM SmartCloud to collaborate with faculty at other universities, invite users from the other universities at no cost as guests to work on projects together. They can share files, manage projects, assign work, and comment directly on posted documents.
"Going to one place to find materials and being able to track the progress and status of projects has been a major benefit," said Dr. Ann Gates, Chair of the Computer Science Department at UTEP. "Before IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, email was the default way of communicating. Now I don't have to manage a lot of emails, I can go back and look at the status of projects and what people are working on quickly and easily. We're using the portfolio to boost brainstorming sessions across campus, sharing information immediately, saving time and resources for the university."
At Colleagues In Care (CIC), a non-profit dedicated to improving healthcare delivery in Haiti, medical workers and volunteers from around the globe are using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to access critical data and information for the current healthcare needs of the Haitian citizens. The new IBM SmartCloud Docs feature is allowing the network of healthcare volunteers to collaboratively edit materials resulting in a first-of-a-kind certification program and professional development curricula for emergency medical obstetrics professionals.
"The Emergency Medical Obstetrics Certification Program will address how a physician, a nurse, or an auxiliary could stabilize and keep a patient from dying, at locations where drugs and resources are unavailable," said Marie L. Kenerson, Chief Collaboration and Learning Officer, Colleagues In Care. "In record time using IBM SmartCloud Docs, the international team is able to upload medical protocols and educational course content, co-edit the documents, and even co-create appropriate original materials making up the EMO curriculum."
IBM SmartCloud for Social Business now meets both Switzerland and European Union Safe Harbor privacy principle standards regarding the collection, handling and access to personal information, furthering the opportunities for European organizations to embrace social business in the cloud.
New Services Make the Cloud Enterprise Ready
- Access documents anytime, anywhere -- the new IBM SmartCloud Docs cloud-based office productivity suite allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents in the cloud to improve productivity. IBM Docs authors can store documents in IBM SmartCloud, co-edit documents in real time easing the management of multiple revisions from multiple authors in team-based documents.
- Sharing insight and data in real time -- the new IBM Connections capabilities in the cloud allow users to embrace business-grade social networking between employees, partners and suppliers to find and share the right insight when needed. New community based blogs, wikis, idea-generation blogs and file viewers will spur creativity and drive innovation across teams.
- Meet and chat on the fly -- the new e-meeting service allows teams to meet on the fly, using instant messaging chats, screen sharing to share information and presentations, and includes a new chat room feature to communicate with colleagues, partners and clients in real time.
- Unlimited access -- chat with guests regardless of their instant messaging platform, share files and invite guests to participate in e-meetings at no additional charge.
- Improved mobile device management -- new software to help business partners organize and secure cloud-based IBM email on mobile devices allowing organizations to extend their current business capabilities to mobile devices, while capitalizing on the new opportunities that mobile devices uniquely provide.
Pricing and Availability
IBM SmartCloud Docs is available now for no additional charge in IBM SmartCloud Engage Advanced service. IBM SmartCloud Docs is also available for purchase as a service add on for IBM Connections and IBM SmartCloud Engage Standard for $3 per user, per month.
To participate in a live webcast on December 13, 2012, on how to enhance the workforce with socially enabled office productivity applications in the Cloud, register at http://tek.io/TIuCDy. To hear firsthand from clients using social applications in the cloud, register for IBM's premier social business conference in January 2013 at www.ibm.com/connect.
For more information, please visit ibmcloud.com/social.
*Source: Forrester Research Inc., "Sizing The Cloud, Understanding And Quantifying The Future Of Cloud