IBM Fuels Social Business Adoption With Partner and Academic Skills Initiative

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ARMONK, N.Y., - 31 Jan 2011: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled new programs to help business partners embrace the growing social business market opportunity and to financially reward them for their value to clients. Over the next three years, the market for worldwide social platforms is expected to triple from $630 million in 2011 to $1.86 billion by 2014, according to market research firm IDC(1).

In addition, IBM announced new curricula and initiatives to help students prepare for the jobs of the future using social business skills.

Social business is the world of possibility that occurs when all of the energy and opportunities that have been generated around consumer models, such as Facebook and Twitter, are focused, and brought to bear on business challenges.  Becoming a social business means an organization needs to change its culture and embrace the technology that integrates social collaboration into their business processes.

"Social business plays an instrumental role in building a smarter planet," said Sandy Carter, vice president, worldwide collaboration sales, IBM. "Our partner and developer communities along with the workforce of the future are crucial to driving client success. These new initiatives will help partners grow their businesses and profit as we prepare the next generation of social business leaders and entrepreneurs, ultimately fueling growth and innovation for our clients."

To help business partners succeed in the growing market opportunity around social business, IBM detailed new programs and best practices for more than 900 business partners at its annual Lotusphere conference including:

  • New Education: Provides training to help business partners develop and integrate social business solutions for their clients. The social business technical  courses are available at no charge through the 38 worldwide IBM Innovation Centers or by virtual sessions. In addition, a new series of getting-started guides and webinars are now available on IBM PartnerWorld to help business partners transform their organization into a social business.

  • IBM Software Volume Offerings: Provides business partners marketing and sales tools for 35 software solutions to support deals under $50,000. The goal of the program is to provide the sales tools resellers need to shorten sales cycles and drive these deals in key growth markets such as social business, cloud and analytics.

Social Business Skills for Tomorrow's Workforce

From developers to business managers, social business skills are essential for future growth. Today's students – the entrepreneurs and leaders of the 21st century – must turn their personal understanding of social media into business ready expertise.

To help ensure the future workforce is prepared for this new era of social business, IBM is delivering new enterprise social software courses free of charge to more than 30,000 professors at 6,000 universities participating in IBM's Academic Initiative around the world.  The courses will introduce students to IBM social business technologies, help them gain a better understanding of the needs of a social business and the benefits of organizational change.

IBM is also announcing a new program with business partner Group Business Software  to share knowledge around social media and help educate students on the role social business technologies play in companies.  More than 500 business and computer science students from 10 Florida area universities will attend a day-long social business workshop. This first-of-its-kind program at Lotusphere is designed to expose students to the advancements in IBM social and collaboration technologies and help them identify the relevant skills for future employment.

Throughout the workshop, students will hear from industry leaders in social business, preview cutting-edge research projects and network with developers, business leaders and researchers. Recently, Group Business Software announced a programming contest for Florida area university students.  As part of the competition, the students built an application using Web 2.0 technologies and IBM XPages software.

Continuing the dialog around social business, IBM will host a Web-based Social Business Jam from February 8-11, 2011, where thousands of leaders from around the world will pool their knowledge and experiences to examine the next generation of business.  Social Business Jam participants will cooperatively explore the value of social technology in business, the mitigation of its risks, and the management system required to drive a social transformation resulting in a blueprint for organizations to help them become a social business.  To register, visit

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1 (1) IDC's Worldwide Collaborative Applications 2010–2014 Forecast Update: Market Poised for Slight Rebound Within Next Five Years (#224269, August 2010).