First, Big Blue purchased Coremetrics, a maker of analytics software for social media and the Web. The move will enable IBM customers to gain intelligence into social networks and online media sources through a cloud-based delivery model, adding to IBM's existing analytics portfolio. Such intelligence would then enable companies to more effectively direct their marketing campaigns.
Second, IBM announced new social software called IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5 for WebSphere Portal, designed to help workers find information fast, whether it's contained in a file, a blog or a wiki. The idea is to help employees work more efficiently by keeping them better connected to each other, leading to increased collaboration.
By having a presence on the front end through Quickr and the back end via the Coremetrics acquisition, IBM is hedging its bets on the success of social networks in the enterprise. Both stand alone as valuable additions to the IBM software family, and both speak to the attention social media is receiving from the corporate space as a tool to more effectively work both inside and outside the organization.
Social media and unified communications stand out as the current technologies to watch, and with good reason: The purpose of both is to create a more collaborative working environment among employees, thereby increasing productivity and reducing wasted time and energy. As the economy has rendered many jobs obsolete, companies are doing all they can to create a sleeker, more agile workforce. Keeping employees connected to each other is one important way to achieve that agility.