IBM aims to formalize the social enterprise movement

IBM is planning to offer services to help customers develop skills and technical support for social networking.

Amid more chatter about the social enterprise than the tech industry can stand, IBM is aiming to formalize training and services to help companies adopt new tools and processes.

The so-called social enterprise---a term that has been pitched repeatedly by Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff---is in the early innings, but there's a lot of interest. The general aim is to connect companies, customers and networks.

Benioff in his recent keynotes indicated that Salesforce.com holds sessions with companies to map out what their social enterprise would look like. IBM appears to be picking up that baton with more formal software and services.

Related: Social enterprise, meet master data management | Salesforce.com CEO Benioff calls for 'corporate Spring'

IBM is planning to offer services to help customers develop skills and technical support for social networking. Naturally, there's a heavy services angle here. IBM will offer live support, online courses and meetings with social business experts.

Among the key social enterprise items from IBM:

  • Consulting services to develop internal and external processes and figure out social businesses.
  • Education and mentor programs for business partners.
  • Technical certification programs to cultivate skills and assess resources.
  • Workshops that will revolve around becoming a social business. Some workshops will be conducted in partnership with The Dachis Group, which is a boutique consulting firm focused on social business.

IBM will also partner with Group Business Software to convert Lotus Notes apps into Web assessable tools that are mobile enabled. The stated aim of this partnership is to keep customers' Notes investment secure. The other thread here is that IBM can keep customer relationships by updating old Notes apps.

And finally, IBM and San Jose State University are teaming up on an academic program to cultivate students' social business skills. Under the program, students will learn how to collaborate across various business functions.

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