Turbo Todd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

A Maturing Social Business

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MIT Sloan Management in partnership with Deloitte recently released a survey concerning the uptake and importance of social business in the enterprise.

This year’s survey found that social business value is a function of what they term "social business maturity," or the breadth and sophistication of those initiatives.

The study results revealed that 73 percent of respondents claimed that social business is important or somewhat important, and nearly 90 percent say it will be so on a three-year time horizon.

It also suggested that measurement sophistication is maturing — though more than half of the least socially mature companies i the survey don’t measure their efforts, more than 90 percent of maturing companies do, and reflect a range of operational and financial metrics to connect their social efforts to business outcomes.

The third key finding: Social business is not just about business to consumer. Nearly 60 percent of B2B companies agreed or strongly agreed that social business initiatives are positively influencing business outcomes.

And this one you can pass along to the HR department: Employees want to work for companies that excel at social business. Fifty-seven percent indicated that social business sophistication is at least somewhat important in their choice of employer.

You can get more info and download the report here.

And you can learn more about IBM’s social business offerings here.

Written by TurboTodd

July 30th, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Ford’s Mobile Strategy: Not Back In Black

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What was that old saying about Ford Motor Company and the original Model T? You can get any color so long as it’s black.

Black may have been good for Ford in terms of simplifying its marketing of the Model T, but black ain’t back when it comes to Ford’s mobile adoption.

Bloomberg is reporting that Ford is replacing BlackBerry smartphones with Apple iPhones for 3,300 workers by year’s end.

Another 6,000 employees will get iPhones over the next two years, according to the report, replacing flip phones (maybe we should refer to those as Model Ts, although I always thought that Motorola Startac was kinda cool in Trekky sorta way.

Bloomberg also reported Ford would be hiring a mobile technology analyst to focus on the global deployment of its new iPhones.

But apparently the QNX operating system from BlackBerry will move forward as part of the next-generation of Ford’s Sync car technology system. No word as of yet as to whether that system will have a traditional BlackBerry keyboard (All kidding aside, please, keep your eyes on the road!)

This news follows the recent announcement that IBM and Apple are forging a new partnership to raise the stakes around enterprise mobility.

The Next Marketing Network

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If you’re following Twitter’s stock, make sure you use the right hashtag for their latest quarterly performance.

#lookingbetter

Twitter delivered earnings per share of $0.02 on $312 million in revenue, up 124 percent year over year.

But not only did its earnings rise: So did its monthly active users. This quarter Twitter had 271 million monthly active users, which exceeded expectations of 267 million, and again, an increase, this time 24 percent.

Of course, during this particular quarter, the World Cup was in full swing. The World Cup final alone generated some 32.2 million Tweets, and one would imagine the World Cup fever spread to Twitter and contributed to the increase in monthly active users with some 600+ million World Cup-related Tweets overall.

We’ll see what happens in 3Q, particularly in the doldrums of August.

In the meantime, Twitter announced the acquisition of a small, not-much-heard-of startup called Madbits.

In an announcement posted on the Madbits home page, a short blog post states that: “Over this past year, we’ve built visual intelligence technology that automatically understands, organizes, and extracts relevant information from raw media. Understanding the content of an image, whether or not there are tags associated with that image, is a complex challenge. We developed our technology based on deep learning, an approach to statistical machine learning that involves stacking simple projections to form powerful hierarchical models of a signal.”

Is a picture worth 140 characters? This move suggests it might be so, as Twitter continues to round out its photo capabilities (including its recent photo tagging capability that links photos to Twitter usernames without byting into the 140 character count.

All this front end improvement is good and all, but me, I’m still more interested in data back end of Twitter, the Twitter exhaust stream, if you will, and the network of relationships between the influencers on Twitter (and LinkedIn and Facebook, for that matter).

In my own mind, I keep coming back to Malcolm Gladwell’s Paul Revere story. The short version: Before Paul Revere came riding through town warning everyone that the British were coming, there was another gentleman who came riding through town just an hour or two before with the same warning. They ignored that guy, but listened to Paul Revere.

Why did they listen to Paul Revere and not the other guy?  Because Revere was a known and trusted source of information in the community.  When he spoke, people paid attention.

People listen to and respect other thought leaders for good reason: They trust their instincts, their judgments, their wisdom, view them as instigators and sharers of knowledge, serve as good filters, etc.

In the next wave of marketing, I think we will need to see a shift in focus from the broad-based social outreach, which is entirely too similar to the mass mediated broadcast model (one to many), to one of more a network-centric, where marketers establish relationships with loops of influencer DNA strands: influential networks of individuals against common topics and subject matter and areas of interest.

Instead of marketing to the masses, we’ll be increasingly have to be marketing to the experts. They, in turn, will become the Paul Reveres of their own subject matter expertise.

Marketing will be knowledge sharing, not shouting. Knowledge sharing will be marketing, and increasingly the shouters will be ignored and disappear into the distance.

The rapid pace of innovation and change in our world will demand more human filters just to keep pace with the information overload (and overlords).

In effect, that transition has already begun. Today, key thought leaders are being looked to as experts and filters across a range of topics in the social media.

Many marketers have been too slow to catch up.

They’re too busy trying to distribute pictures of skateboarding bulldogs via Twitter.

Written by TurboTodd

July 30th, 2014 at 3:05 pm

IBM Offers Up Free Supercomputing Power To Climate Scientists

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In support of the updated Climate Data Initiative announced by the White House today, IBM will provide eligible scientists studying climate change-related issues with free access to dedicated virtual supercomputing and a platform to engage the public in their research.

Each approved project will have access to up to 100,000 years of computing time at a value of $60 million. The work will be performed on IBM’s philanthropic World Community Grid platform.

Created and managed by IBM, World Community Grid provides computing power to scientists by harnessing the unused cycle time of volunteers’ computers and mobile devices. Participants get involved by downloading software that runs when they take breaks or work on lightweight computer tasks, such as browsing the internet.

The software receives, completes, and returns small computational assignments to scientists. The combined power contributed by hundreds of thousands of volunteers has created one of the fastest virtual supercomputers on the planet, advancing scientific work by hundreds of years.

Through the contributions of hundreds of thousands of volunteers, World Community Grid has already provided sustainability researchers with many millions of dollars of computing power to date, enabling important advances in scientific inquiry and understanding.

For example, World Community Grid partnered with the University of Virginia on Computing for Sustainable Water, which studied the effects of human activity on the Chesapeake Bay watershed to understand what actions can lead to restoration, health and sustainability of this important resource.

Harvard University’s Clean Energy Project has identified more than 35,000 materials with the potential to double carbon-based solar cell efficiency, after screening and publicly cataloguing more than two-million compounds on World Community Grid.

“Through his Climate Data Initiative, President Obama is calling for all hands on deck to unleash data and technology in ways that will make businesses and communities more resilient to climate change,” said John P. Holdren, President Obama’s Science Advisor. “The commitments being announced today answer that call by empowering the U.S. and global agricultural sectors with the tools and information needed to keep food systems strong and secure in a changing climate.”

World Community Grid is welcomed by researchers who don’t have the funds or dedicated access to powerful supercomputers that can accelerate their simulations and virtual experiments. It has been used to facilitate research into clean energy, clean water and healthy foodstuffs, as well as cures for cancer, AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

Nearly three-million computers and mobile devices used by over 670,000 people and 460 institutions from 80 countries have contributed power for projects on World Community Grid over the last nine years. Since the program’s inception, World Community Grid volunteers have powered over 20 research projects, donating nearly a million years of computing time to scientific research and enabled important scientific advances in health and sustainability.

Go here for more information on World Community Grid.

Written by TurboTodd

July 29th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

IDC MarketScape Names IBM A Leader In Managed Security Services

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Late last week, IBM announced it had been named a leader in the new IDC MarketScape for managed security services.

In the report, "Worldwide Managed Security Services 2014 Vendor Assessment," — which evaluated 11 companies offering managed security services worldwide, IDC plaed IBM in the "leaders" category, recognizing the company for its "strengths in advanced threat intelligence, big data analysis of threat intelligence, cloud security, complementary services, and customer portal."

With cyber attacks growing in both number and sophistication, these services are critical as businesses look to protect their most valuable assets, including those in the cloud.

The report also named IBM as one of the few “participants with managed security services delivery that can be considered truly global.”

Part of IBM’s global offering highlighted is its “Security Operations Center practice, which helps “customers identify ways to improve results from their security information and event management solutions and assist customers that want to build their own security operation centers.”

IBM currently has more than 10 centers located around the globe where teams manage and monitor 15 billion security events 24 hours a day, seven days a week for clients in more than 130 countries

This news highlights IBM’s commitment to providing security intelligence that helps organizations holistically protect their people, data, applications and technology infrastructure. IBM has more than 3,000 security related patents and more than 1,200 security software developers, 2,000 security consultants, and 6,000 security researchers, developers and subject matter experts.

To view the full report click here.

For more information about IBM Security, please visit www.ibm.com/security, or follow @IBMSecurity on Twitter.

Written by TurboTodd

July 28th, 2014 at 2:51 pm

California Department of Technology and IBM Announce Cloud Computing Service

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Today the California Department of Technology and IBM announced CalCloud, a new technology model powered by cloud computing to build and deliver more innovative government services and savings.

The platform, now available to municipalities and all state and local government agencies on a subscription basis, is the first of its kind to be implemented in the United States at the state level.

Through CalCloud, the California Department of Technology is providing next-generation tools that offer access to IT services at the rapid pace that customers demand while minimizing upfront capital investment and controlling financial risk.

Instead of separate IT systems for each department, the CalCloud service model allows government entities to share a common pool of computing resources and operate much more efficiently than they do today. Immediate access to modern back-end services frees up state department to focus on projects with direct impact on the public.

More than 20 state departments have already requested IT services through CalCloud.

As part of this public-private partnership, IBM is supplying and managing the infrastructure, while the California Department of Technology will manage all other aspects of the service offering.

Additionally, IBM will work closely with the state to transfer essential knowledge and best practices in security and systems integration to the Department of Technology.

California’s move to offer shared IT services through CalCloud gives state and local government the ability to buy only the computing resources needed with the flexibility to quickly scale up or scale down resources as workloads demand.

CalCloud is designed to allow around the clock access to a shared pool of easily configurable resources including compute, storage, network and disaster recovery services. CalCloud meets stringent security standards based on National Institute of Standards (NIST) for cloud based services andFedRAMP.

You can visit CalCloud here and learn more about IBM’s cloud computing solutions at ibm.com/cloud.

Written by TurboTodd

July 24th, 2014 at 6:55 pm

First Consumer Facing Watson App To Help Military Members In Transition To Civilian Life

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IBM’s Watson technology is now being put to good use to help the military community in their transition from civilian to military life.

Right down the road from Austin, in San Antonio, financial services company USAA is using the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson technology in its first commercialized consumer-facing application.

IBM’s Watson Engagement Advisor will allow USAA members to ask questions related to the civilian transition experience. To prepare the system for all those queries, IBM Watson analyzed more than 3,000 documents on topics exclusive to military transitions, enabling members to ask and receive answers to separation-related questions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 155,000 active military members transition to civilian life each year.

Like any career change, moving from a military to a civilian career presents challenges to members and their families. During this initial phase, transitioning military members can visit usaa.com or use a mobile browser to “Ask Watson” questions specific to leaving the military, such as “Can I be in the reserve and collect veterans compensation benefits?” or "How do I make the most of the Post-9/11 GI Bill?"

As a result, Watson combs through volumes of USAA’s business data providing answers to member’s inquiries with confidence while gaining value and experience over time.

USAA is a leader in delivering exceptional member service and innovative tools to its members. IBM and USAA are working together to redefine how a digital assistant interacts, learns and gains value over time by creating exceptional digital experiences.

Watson will also be leveraging sophisticated analytics to help USAA take advantage of new member, social and mobile data and provide a more personalized customer experience. IBM Power Systems will support Watson’s data learning by providing faster access to data.

You can read more about this new endeavor for IBM Watson on the Smarter Planet blog.

Written by TurboTodd

July 23rd, 2014 at 8:23 pm

College Graduates: Avoiding The Social Media Animal House

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Concerned about your new college graduate’s social sharing proclivities? Or perhaps a more suitable word would be "oversharing."

A recent survey by CareerBuilder suggests you might have good reason, as published by our friends at Bulldog.

The survey, which was conducted among 2,138 U.S.-based hiring managers and HR professionals earlier this year indicated more hiring managers are turning to social networking sites to find additional information on potential candidates, and don’t necessarily always like what they see.

In fact, fifty-one percent of HR pros researching job candidates on social media said they’ve found content that caused them to *not* hire the candidate.

So yes, that selfie with the beer bong may not be the best way of representing your professional business aspirations, Dear Graduate.

And lest you think HR pros’ investigations are limited to just social media, you might want to stick around after class to discover that 45 percent of them are also using search engines like Google for candidate research.

What are they finding in their queries? Following is a breakdown of a few of the highlights:

  • Job candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 46 percent
  • Job candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs – 41 percent
  • Job candidates bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee – 36 percent
  • Job candidate had poor communication skills – 32 percent
  • Job candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion etc. – 28 percent
  • Job candidate lied about qualifications – 25 percent
  • Job candidate shared confidential information from previous employers – 24 percent
  • Job candidate was linked to criminal behavior – 22 percent
  • Job candidate’s screen name was unprofessional – 21 percent
  • Job candidate lied about an absence – 13 percent

Oy vey, am I glad I graduated from college so many moons ago.

"It’s important for job seekers to remember that much of what they post to the Internet — and in some cases what others post about them — can be found by potential employers, and that can affect their chances of getting hired down the road," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, in a news release about the study. "Job seekers need to stay vigilant, and pay attention to privacy updates from all of their social networking accounts so they know what information is out there for others to see. Take control of your web presence by limiting who can post to your profile and monitoring posts you’ve been tagged in."

The good news is that many job seekers are taking measures to minimize over-sharing and to protect their privacy.

Nearly half (47 percent) of workers only share posts with friends and family, 41 percent have their profile set to private, and 18 percent keep separate professional and personal profiles.

Twenty-eight percent of workers say they don’t use social media (that may be taking things just a little too far, especially if you want to stay connected to a broad network of potential hirers and hirees).

In short, the study suggests that a little bit of social media vigilance, and a whole lot of common sense, could go a very long way.

That doesn’t mean you can’t go to the Toga party — just leave your iPhone and the selfies at home (Togas don’t make for good pockets, in any case).

Learn more in the full story at Bulldog Reporter’s "Daily Dog."

Written by TurboTodd

July 23rd, 2014 at 6:22 pm

IBM Expands High Performance Computing Capabilities in the Cloud

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IBM today announced that it is making high performance computing (HPC), as part of technical computing, more accessible through the cloud for clients grappling with big data and other computationally intensive activities.

A new option from SoftLayer, an IBM Company, will provide industry standard InfiniBand networking technology to connect SoftLayer bare metal servers. This will enable very high data throughput speeds between systems, allowing companies to move workloads traditionally associated with HPC, such as oil and exploration and data analytics to the cloud.

InfiniBand is an industry-standard networking architecture that delivers high transfer speeds—up to 56Gbps—between compute nodes. That is the equivalent of transferring data from more than 30,000 Blu-ray discs in a single day. The architecture provides additional features, contributing to InfinBand’s overall superior reliability, availability, and serviceability over legacy PCI bus and other proprietary switch fabrics and I/O solutions.

This new HPC option enables very low latency between bare metal servers and private clusters of servers with up to hundreds of compute nodes, making it ideal for applications such as life sciences and genomics, computer aided engineering, financial services, electronics design and reservoir simulation. By reducing latency between bare metal servers in these private clusters customers can easily manage massive amounts of data faster, more effectively and efficiently.

The introduction on InfiniBand on SoftLayer will especially benefit customers who are leveraging fully supported, ready-to-run clusters complete with code name IBM Elastic Storage, IBM Platform LSF or Platform Symphony workload management. InfiniBand will be available on SoftLayer through the IBM Platform Computing team, expected in the third quarter of 2014.

Written by TurboTodd

July 23rd, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Spend More, Crank Up The Cloud (And Productivity)

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A New York Times’ "The Upshot" blog post by Neil Irwin caught my attention early this morning.

Here’s the headline: "Businesses Need to Spend More. The Future of the Economy Depends on it."

Here’s the thesis: Five years into the economic recovery and business aren’t spending much money on big-ticket cap X investments to prepare for the future: equipment, software, buildings, intellectual property, etc.

In fact, equipment spending dove to 5.2 percent during the recovery compared to 6.5 percent over the prior half century.

Irwin’s suggests this undercapitalization can contribute negatively to productivity.

He also notes that the nation’s factories are running close to capacity, which suggests companies will need to spend more on equipment to meet higher demand (and, one might argue, software).

The difference this time around is the elasticity presented by cloud computing — companies are more than ever in a position to adapt workloads and provision (or deprovision) their computing resources, providing much more flexibility and limiting their cap x overhead with fixed IT investments, driving productivity concurrent with increasing demand without overcapitalizing on IT (including software).

Continuing on the topic of cloud computing, you can catch up on Forrester’s take via James Staten’s perspective on the IBM cloud strategy from a recent post. Staten suggests IBM’s new cloud platform strategy, though early in implemenation, is "shrewd and compelling" and that recent moves "put real meat behind the strategy."

IBM’s BlueMix PaaS service is one of the key efforts mentioned in Staten’s POV, which you can read more about in this blog post, "What is Bluemix?

Written by TurboTodd

July 22nd, 2014 at 4:07 pm

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