IBM: Instant messaging has replaced voicemail - Fortune Tech
IBM CIO Jeanette Horan
It’s too early to tell whether Facebook-like features in the workplace will be a passing fad or a lasting trend, but IBM says it’s eating its own dog food. The company uses its 400,000 worldwide employees as a testing ground for upcoming social products and features. IBM employees have launched 17,000 blogs to date. They also generate 1 million page views of internal wikis and 40-50 million instant messages per day. I recently caught up with IBM’s new CIO, Jeannette Horan, to find out more about how employees use social networking features in and out of the office.
Fortune: What are your priorities as CIO?
Horan:The whole area of social media and the enablement of it in our very large diverse workforce is a key innovation area for us. Many of our [social software] ideas get tested within the IBM sandbox before they make their way into products that we deliver to the market. We partner heavily with the software development teams to make this happen.
What kind of social tools do you use internally? We had internal implementations of a lot of the social media technologies like wikis and blogs when they were first emerging in the marketplace. We have over 400,000 employees and had a very active set of internal bloggers. All employees have an IBM Connections page. When you join IBM you have an entry in the HR system and that populates an entry into the employee directory. Initially it just has your name, phone number, work address, etc. Then you can add information about your skills, your resume and projects you’re working on. This becomes your public persona on Connections. We encourage people to do this, and a significant percentage of the IBM population do. With 400,000 people, you want an easy way to find people that are experts in specific areas. Beyond that the second most prolific use of social networking within IBM is this notion around self-identifying communities. You can establish a community with different rule sets. And increasingly, people are also using microblogging, or Twitter-like, features. But people here don’t tend to do the “I’m going for lunch” kind of posts. It’s more like “I’m going to give a seminar.”