International Business Machines Corp.’s head of social networking was in an Indian airport last year when the client he was meeting changed topics. Unprepared, Alistair Rennie used his BlackBerry to access IBM’s internal network and poll colleagues on the matter.
“I had everything I needed,” Rennie said Jan. 28 in a telephone interview. “It saved me hours.”
Rennie is betting IBM’s customers will have the same reaction. The company is revamping its social-networking programs for mobile devices, including Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad tablet and Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry.
As Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. continue to add millions of users, IBM is aiming to carve its own space in corporate social networking. Sales of social-business programs should triple to almost $2 billion by 2014, IBM said, citing research firm IDC Corp. Adding its collaborative software to mobile devices will give IBM an extra boost in the industry as it raises corporate productivity, Rennie said.