IBM SmartCloud for Social Business poised for Expansion

We are living on a Smarter Planet. As a result, enterprises are turning to the cloud to revamp existing business models while managing an unprecedented rate of change. In fact, the number of enterprises moving to cloud computing will double within the next few years as they seek to transform enterprise IT into a strategic center of business innovation. Facilitating this transformation is IBM SmartCloud, which first landed on my radar, with last years announcement that Sree Charan Souharda Cooperative Bank had selected IBM SmartCloud to help it meet growing demand, add new customer services and to centralize mission-critical operations such as real-time transaction processing across its five branches in Bangalore.

At the time, Jim Comfort, vice president, IBM Cloud Services Offering Management said “Cloud computing is having a dramatic impact on the financial services industry,”  “We see tremendous opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities in online banking and at the same time reduce the cost and increase the return on investment.” Smartcloud also made news when the Wimbledon website was redesigned on IBM’s SmartCloud for the 16 million unique visitors who accessed the site during the tennis tournament.

The recent announcement sees IBM extending its industry leadership with the opening of a European-based IBM SmartCloud for Social Business Data Center. The move aims to help business leaders, such as chief information officers (CIO), chief marketing officers (CMO), and chief human resource officers (CHRO), begin their organization’s transformation with the adoption of social business technology.

Based in Germany and serving the needs of customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa(EMEA), the new facility will help businesses follow the lead of customers such as Arnold ClarkCodorniuShanksCentrax TCL and Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) who are using cloud-based social business offerings to build the 21st Century workforces that can more efficiently share knowledge to spark innovation and deliver their customers flawless experiences.

According to analysts at Forrester Research, the market for social enterprise apps and related services will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 61% to become a $6.4bn market in 2016.

With its new European Data Center IBM will help meet each customer’s unique deployment needs through flexible delivery models including either public or private cloud or a mix of cloud and on premises. Once live, companies can tap into IBM’s integrated and powerful social experience that includes one-click access to tools such as online meetings, email, calendaring, instant messaging and more. In an effort to further empower customers, IBM also lets businesses invite external partners, clients, suppliers and more to take part in these interactions, all while meeting legal and regulatory requirements for data privacy.

For example, to improve the speed of marketing and sales execution, employees can build collaborative networks in real time, both internally and externally. With one simple click, employees can tap into the power of presence awareness capabilities to see if colleagues are online to chat about the plan, review the document and engage in collaborative and concurrent real-time editing.  When questions require outside input the team can quickly invite partners, suppliers, clients and others into the community to review project work as well as other related items.

“As global cloud-based Social Business adoption soars, companies continue to turn to IBM to usher them into this new social era,” said Alistair Rennie, general manager, social business of IBM. “With the new European Data Center we expand our industry-leading Social Business footprint, strengthening our ability to meet the needs for businesses seeking security-rich, flexible cloud environments that let them unleash innovation and drive a smarter enterprise.”

In 2012, IBM announced support for EU and Swiss Safe Harbor frameworks and model clause agreements to address EU data privacy requirements for the cloud.***.  Now, IBM extends its presence in Europe even further with the facility in Ehningen Germany. The new data center joins other SmartCloud for Social Business facilities in North America and Asia Pacific. Today thousands of customers around the world count on IBM’s cloud based solutions to conduct millions of transactions every day and adoption continues to grow fast. In fact in 2012 alone, IBM announced that its Cloud revenue grew by 80 percent in 2012.

Named the Enterprise Social Software leader by IDC for three consecutive years, IBM social business platform features a complete set of capabilities including enterprise-grade social networking, social analytics, and social content management in a seamless, unified experience across a myriad of business applications.

For more information about IBM’s social business initiative and please visit http://www.ibm.com/press/socialbusiness or follow @IBMSocialBiz on Twitter.

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