IBM at Le Web11 – Interview with Loic Le Meur

As I already shared with you on this blog , IBM is platinum sponsor at Le Web this year.

We went this morning with the IBM  Collaborations  team (Martine Sorbara, Yves darnige, Renaud Raffaeli) and our IBM  PR  France Manager (Amina Chaffri) visiting Les Docks and the 2 main area that we are sponsoring: The press and blogger lounge and Le Web Studio. A huge thank you to Christophe Dousteyssier for guiding us around Les Docks, impressive venue getting ready to welcome over 3,000 people in just 4 weeks time !

I asked Loic some questions on how he sees Le Web shaping up this year:

At Les Docks, with Geraldine Le Meur

We are bringing some bloggers with us at Le Web. Here is our IBM Official Bloggers Gang : Catherine Ertzscheid  , Cyril Attias , Henri Kaufman , Cyrille Chaudoit, Box Europe- Claire Goyat , Pierre-Olivier Carles  , Jeremy Rodney,  Fabien Thomas  , Joackim Le Goff . More to come on this, but you can tune in to any of their blogs, twitter, to find out more about IBM @ Le Web #lewebibm #leweb11 #leweb (Thanks to Emery Dolige for his help in reaching out to some of them)

We are thrilled to be part of this event and share with you how we see Social has  a new culture for large corporations. As in our view, Social Business is the world of possibility that occurs when all of the energy and opportunities that have been generated around consumer-side models such as Facebook and Twitter are focused, and brought to bear on business challenges. The stuff that has sprung up on the consumer side is just the tip of the iceberg. The real mass, the real power to transform, is on the business side. This is where a social framework can create new ways to enable sales forces, new ways to discover expertise, new ways to understand your organization’s culture, new ways to establish brand trust with your customers, and much more.

IBM is most certainly a social business and a pioneer at that. We’re the largest consumer of social technologies, and a case study for this transformation. This goes beyond our business in social software and services (IBM’s collaboration software, consulting services, analytics/social media research, conducting Jams for clients). We’re leading social business on all fronts – technology, policy and practice.

Our social initiatives started over a decade ago and really date back to the 1970′s when our mainframe programmers started online discussion forums on the System 370 consoles. For 15 years, IBM employees have used social software to foster collaboration among our dispersed 400,000+ person global team — long before Generation Y became fixated with social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. In 1997, IBM recommended that its employees get out onto the Internet – at a time when many companies were seeking to restrict their employees’ Internet access. A few years later, in 2005, we made a strategic decision to embrace the blogosphere and to encourage IBMers to participate. In 2008, we introduced the first social computing guidelines to encompass virtual worlds and sharing of rich media. These guidelines aimed and continue to provide helpful, practical advice to protect both IBM’ers and IBM the brand. In 2008 and again in 2010 we turned to employees to re-examine our guidelines in light of ever-evolving technologies and online social tools to ensure they remain current to the needs of employees and the company. These efforts have broadened the scope of the existing guidelines to include all forms of social computing.

The new workforce has also played a part in our transformation. The younger generation of workers demands tools that help them do work better, communicate with their peers and connect with IBM’ers with similar interests. In order to appease this new workforce, we had to develop tools they were familiar with (Facebook, blogs, Twitter) and relate them to business goals. What better asset does an organization have than its employees? Its the IBM’ers that have pushed us as an organization to develop these social tools, social media guidelines, etc. We recognize that our employees are our what makes the IBM brand and services the best in the world.

IBM has always been about innovation, pushing the envelope. But there’s no “i” in innovation at IBM, its always been about the collective, creative mind – collaboration. So becoming a holistic, social business has been somewhat of a natural transformation for the organization – we want to work together to achieve our goals.

The new workforce has also played a part in our transformation. The younger generation of workers demands tools that help them do work better, communicate with their peers and connect with IBM’ers with similar interests. In order to appease this new workforce, we had to develop tools they were familiar with (Facebook, blogs, Twitter) and relate them to business goals. What better asset does an organization have than its employees? Its the IBM’ers that have pushed us as an organization to develop these social tools, social media guidelines, etc. We recognize that our employees are our what makes the IBM brand and services the best in the world.

We don’t force anyone to participate in social media externally or internally, but its a natural curiosity and interest for IBMers, so we educate and enable them.

We were one of the first organizations to embrace the blogosphere and encourage our employees to participate. Our own IBM bloggers were the ones to develop the company’s Blogging Policy and Guidelines which has evolved into the social computing guidelines as external social platforms have sprung up and evolved.So our social web engagement is a little bit of both organic interest and careful design and education.

We’ve learned many valuable lessons along our social business transformation journey. One of the biggest lessons learned was that social business transformation involves more changes to culture than technology. Remember that your employees are your most important asset. Shift your focus from documents, project plans and other temporary artifacts to the source of the energy, creativity and decision making that moves the business forward: people. Remember that trust is a key element to becoming a social business. An organization needs a certain level of trust to empower its employees to share their ideas and expertise and it must demonstrate this trust by rewarding behavior. At the same time, this trust must be balanced with an appropriate level of governance or discipline that sets the parameters of appropriate actions. Lastly, becoming a social business is not simply a matter of deploying some collaboration tools and hoping for the best. It is a long-term strategic approach to shaping a business culture and is highly dependent on executive leadership and effective corporate strategy, including business processes, risk management, leadership development, financial controls and business analytics.

See you at Le Web !

#leweb #leweb11 #lewebibm

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