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IBM Brings Power of Social Networking to Millions of Business Professionals


ST. LOUIS, MO - 30 Apr 2007: Building on its commitment to deliver business value through enterprise-ready social software, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced two new programs that help organizations and information technology professionals engage in online collaborative networks.

The new programs are designed to help developers and business partners uncover the value of social networking to collaborate, generate news ideas and advance business opportunities. With more than 5.8 million members, IBM's developers and business partners represent a vibrant group of entrepreneurs eager to exchange information, knowledge and resources.

IBM is providing flexible ways to unlock this collective expertise and encourage collaboration through:

"With today's news our goal is to further enhance the concept of building successful communities around key technology areas within the enterprise," said Jim Corgel, general manager, ISV and developer relations, IBM. "These new initiatives are providing our business partners and developers with the resources they need to deliver innovative offerings to the marketplace."  

IBM developerWorks community spaces

The developerWorks community spaces initiative is a unique business channel that will provide an open platform for developers to build communities around a broad range of technology topics and business trends. Effective immediately, twelve community topics are available. Members will also be able to sign up for the opportunity to create and lead their own communities based on areas of interest.

Users can now tap into a global network of developer brainpower and gain access to customized resources, participate in online forums, business discussions and virtually collaborate to develop applications and as appropriate, explore joint business opportunities. There is no charge for participating in developerWorks community spaces.

As part of the announcement, one of the first technology communities will be Software as a Service (SaaS). IBM is building on a community approach to help develop a common platform for companies looking for direction on new technologies such as SaaS. The SaaS Community within developerWorks will allow companies to set up a dynamic profile page describing their business and solutions. The intent is that other companies and customers will use the profiles to locate prospective business partners and software vendors. The website will also offer information on what is happening in the SaaS industry including events and on new entrants into the marketplace.

Additionally, the new collaborative venue will serve as a business network, allowing companies to set up profile pages describing their business with the intention of letting other companies and customers view the profile to assist in locating prospective business partners and generating new business opportunities.

IBM Lotus Connections for Partners

Lotus Connections for Partners features a full set of social software capabilities including profiles, social bookmarking, blogs, activities and communities. These integrated components create a collaborative environment where IBM business partners can connect and build relationships regardless of location, business size or area of expertise.

For example, a small game development company in the United States wants to expand into Brazil. A keyword search in Lotus Connections for Partners returns a list of other firms within the community with expertise in the Brazilian market. Within seconds, the partner also has access to blogs, communities, activities and bookmarks related to the topic. By engaging with experts from around the world, the partner is able to collaborate, share ideas and learn best practices without leaving the office.

Initial communities of interests have been created in Lotus Connections for Partners to begin the collaborative process. IBM executives, researchers and subject matter experts will be invited to participate in the online environment as well.

The social networking phenomenon is having an unprecedented impact on the enterprise. The Web continues to evolve from a vehicle for companies to disseminate content to a tool for bringing together the contributions of millions of people.

According to industry analyst firm Forrester Research, social software tools will become so much a part of the fabric of an enterprise's collaborative environment that it will be like air -- enterprises won't be able to imagine life without it. Further, according to Forrester, the demand for social software tools is growing with usage rates of social software services almost doubling between 2005 and 2006.(1)

"IBM continues to play a significant role in driving the adoption of new business models," said Ken Wasch, president, Software Information Industry Association (SIIA). "These new communities create a unique network for developers, business partners and IT professionals to come together and share group intelligence. IBM and SIIA are working together to enable innovation and drive market changes around key industry trends."

Availability

Effective immediately, IBM is launching new communities through developerWorks community spaces including: Software as a Service, service-oriented architecture (SOA), game development and virtualization. To learn more about developerWorks community spaces visit: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/spaces.

Lotus Connections for Partners is available immediately, at no chart to all current IBM Business Partners. IBM PartnerWorld members can request access to Lotus Connections for Partners at: https://www.ibm.com/lotus/connections/partners.

For more information on Lotus Connections: www.lotus.com/connections

Contact(s) information

Faye Abloeser
IBM Software Group
+1-908-770-0762
abloeser@us.ibm.com

Erica Topolski
IBM Software Group
+1-617-693-2816
ericat@us.ibm.com

Related XML feeds
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Business partners
Business partner information including strategic alliances
Software
Information Management, Lotus, Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere, Open standards, open source

1 (1) Source: Social Computing: Tapping Into The Power Of Connected Customers, Forrester Research, Inc., October 2006.