SmartCloud for Social Business: LotusLive Rebranded
IBM announced that it will rebrand LotusLive to become SmartCloud for Social Business. In an effort to rejuvenate the Lotus brand and perhaps as a way to entice more small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to embrace social business cloud solutions, the product will come with new web-based collaboration enhancements, which will be available later in the year. An article in Information Week cites Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of IBM Software Solutions Group, as saying that SmartCloud will be the single brand overall of IBM's software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud infrastructure solutions.
By rebranding LotusLive, IBM is staking a claim not just on a new name, but on social business as the future of office collaboration and communication, with tools and services delivered through the cloud to any device anywhere. And they are not alone: A Forrester Wave report, excerpted in an article on CMS Wire lists a number of vendors with social business solutions, including Jive, Cisco, Telligent, Microsoft, and IBM. Some of the drivers that may cause an SMB to adopt a social business platform might include potential reduction in travel costs for a geographically distributed business, the ability for a team to "brainstorm" without needing to be in the same place at the same time and the ability to collaborate as a team within a secure project space. As an example, eWeek recently reported on Newly Wed Foods, a company that used SmartCloud for Social Business and saw a 10-percent reduction in travel and meeting costs, as well as a reduction in IT costs linked to training.
Certainly, SMBs can benefit from good communication and business collaboration, but adopting a social business platform also means adopting new workflows beyond email and document sharing. Further, cloud-based solutions impact IT processes and procedures, which may need to be restrategized as cloud solutions are adopted, particularly those that are integrated with other corporate solutions. Before implementing a social business platform, IT analysts would be wise to evaluate existing company workflows to determine how they need to change, and investigate what types of employee training will be needed to make sure that the platform will be used to its fullest capability.
In spite of every preparation by IT, change is often difficult for an enterprise to accept. But the potential for a social business platform to be accepted seems like it might be high, in part because social media platforms are so inherent in the private lives of employees. Familiarity with tools like wikis and microblogs may make social business platforms seem more natural to embrace. That, coupled with the desire by SMBs to have the tools to collaborate more effectively and with greater transparency will hopefully lead to a wider adoption of social business solutions.