ORLANDO: With IBM beating the drum on the use of social tools and collaborative software, its chief information officer Jeanette Horan, outlined the firm's own work in these areas, to show it practices what it preaches.
With almost half a million full-time employees (currently around 450,000) IBM has a huge workforce using a vast array of tools, both internally and externally and the figures she revealed are truly astounding:
• On average 360,000 staff use the firm’s instant messaging platform every day.
• This generates a staggering 50 million instant messages per day.
• There are 198,000 members of staff on Facebook.
• A much smaller 20,000 are on Twitter.
• LinkedIn Is the most popular platform, though, with 281,000 users.
• 20,000 members of staff run their own internal blog on the firm’s Connections tool.
She also revealed its willingness to shake things up by explaining it runs a reverse-mentoring system in the company where some of the youngest new staff members teach its most senior executives how to use the latest social tools.
However, one area the firm admitted it is still addressing is the growing issue of what should happen to employees' Twitter accounts after they leave the company.
Carol Sormilic, vice president global workforce and web processes, explained to V3 that it is an area the firm is currently debating internally, but has yet to reach an answer.
One area where the firm is up and running, though, is letting staff bring their own devices to work after the end of a two-year pilot that involved feedback from 20,000 members of staff, which actually equates to just five per cent of its workforce.
This led to the creation of a set of policies that include an enforced eight-digit password for each device to access the corporate network and Horan revealed that she herself uses her own personal BlackBerry phone as her work device.
On the issue of cloud computing, Horan explained that IBM operates six datacentres to help it run a private cloud computing network as the size of the firm makes this a viable return on investment.
“We have the scale to be able to see the benefits of managing the cloud behind the firewall,” she added.
As well as a fascinating insight into the day-to-day IT demands of a firm the size of IBM, its willingness to embrace new trends and give staff the power to take advantage of new tools may give IT leaders in other, smaller, firms the courage to go forward with their own plans in these areas.
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