Email is one software application that's practically guaranteed to be on the taskbar of every office worker. IBM wants those inboxes to help usher in connected, enterprise social experiences for businesses and their employees.
Big Blue just launched IBM Notes and Domino Social Edition 9, which includes new social collaboration tools designed to make the inbox the preferred destination for sharing and connecting with fellow employees -- capabilities first teased when the company announced Connections 4.5 in January. The capabilities are available across mobile devices (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10), IBM's SmartCloud platform, on-premise or in hybrid implementations.
In short, the era of social email has arrived, says IBM -- and not a moment too soon.
Social and the C-Suite
Enterprise social capabilities are rapidly evolving from "nice-to-have" to "must-have," argues the tech giant. The vast majority of chief marketing officers (82 percent) surveyed by IBM are planning to increase their social media use over the three to five years.
Even CEOs are taking notice from their perches atop the org chart. Today, "only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers," said IBM in a company statement. Over the next three to five years, however, that number is expected to surge to 57 percent.
Combining email and social technologies can "improve workforce productivity and speed innovation," according to IBM. Just having the inbox and social media streams appear within a unified interface can help workers become better attuned to their teams and the momentum of their projects.
"For example, through a single interface an employee who is working on a new marketing project can check email as well as activity streams containing the latest work from each team member, share files with colleagues, view new blogs on topics relevant to the subject and more," offered IBM.
Microsoft Outlook, Too
Even Microsoft shops can get in on the action, thanks to the plug-in friendly nature of Redmond's software offerings.
IBM now offers integration with Microsoft Exchange email server software and a new social connector for Outlook. With those elements in place, the Outlook client gains social capabilities like communities and file sharing.
For exhibit marketing specialist Czarnowski, IBM's approach fits the bill. "The ability to integrate our critical business processes directly into our email platform can allow users to be more productive in the one tool where they spend a majority of their day," stated the company's director of IT, John Roling.
Despite the deafening buzz surrounding social media, customers would rather get an email than any other method of communication, said Roling. "Today our customers do not think email is dead. In fact it's still their preferred way for communicating with us. Now by bridging email with social applications our team can be more connected and productive than ever," he said.