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Jeanette Horan, Vice President and CIO, IBM

By Jeanette Horan

As technology advances, enterprises are increasingly challenged to find creative ways to use tech to improve their operations and grow their business. It can seem like a daunting challenge. But I’d like to share a bit of wisdom that IBM has come to learn. That is, sometimes, looking within and tapping the creativity of your own family, can produce an endless stream of innovative ideas.

Today, IBM kicks off HackDay, a two-day online discussion that gives our employees the chance to think big and exchange ideas on how we can accelerate IBM’s transformation into a social business. This includes everything from new tools and work processes to fresh ideas on how to deliver value to IBM clients in a connected world.

As IBM’s CIO, I am excited about HackDay because getting thousands of talented IBMers together to collaborate is a powerful opportunity with limitless potential. One of the most important responsibilities of my organization is to help IBM and IBMers work more effectively and realize our full potential. It is great to know that the ideas generated over the next two days will come from the real experts – the people who put technology to work every day in their diverse jobs.  

The specific challenges we are framing HackDay around are How We Work, The Client Experience, and Code and Technology. A fourth category covers anything not included in the first three. The topic names underscore the importance of technology in all that we do inside IBM and with our clients.  

I chose to sponsor the How We Work challenge, not only because my job focuses on the employee experience and operational excellence, but because of the social business transformation potential of our many business processes. Rethinking existing processes through a social business lens is already delivering returns for IBM, as we have seen benefits in sales, marketing and product development by increasing the level of collaboration and real-time communication among employees. Moving forward, we are integrating social into the fabric of all our work — finance, procurement, business partner activities, HR, supply chain and many other areas.

Expanding social business in the enterprise is more than just a cool thing to do – it is rapidly becoming essential to success. This is truly a game-changer in the way we work within our own walls as well as the experience we create for our clients.

In order to grow as an enterprise, IBM believes it must always find ways to improve both structurally and culturally, while unlocking creativity and innovation in its employees. Today, I am encouraging every IBMer to see HackDay as an opportunity to re-think IBM’s business processes and interactions as being more open and community-based than they have ever been. In this way, we can envision benefits from the digital age that might not have been considered before.

The message is this: Ask yourself, “how could adding a social dimension to this process or task deliver new value?” Then take that answer, go forth and build your solution.

I can’t wait to see what we come up with.

What promise does social computing hold for your business?

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Posted by: Social Enterprises
October 11, 2012
8:55 pm

Thanks Jeanette! I am sponsoring the code and technology challenge. Here we are providing the IBM technical community with the resources and opportunities to experiment with a wide range of social business related technologies and product capabilities to prove out innovative ideas that were developed thru our internal community platform powered by IBM Connections. For the record our ideas only qualify as innovations if they benefit our clients and address their business challenges.. This isn’t our first hackday…it has proven to be a unique way to accelerate our delivery of innovations to market…and we are already seeing great ideas that will assist our customers with their transformation to social businesses.

Posted by: Ajamu A. Wesley
October 11, 2012
4:37 pm

As co-host of the How we Work dialogue I too am excited to see the level of passion and commitment coming from IBMers around the world. Innovation has always been at the heart of what we do, both in big leaps forward and in small steps that IBMers take every day in our drive to make things work better for our clients and the world. This is a great initiative and am am glad to partner and share in nurturing what comes out of it going forward.

Posted by: Kevin Bishop
October 11, 2012
3:51 pm

Great post Jeanette. I am excited to sponsor the HackDay open challenge (or anything goes category!). The open challenge allows IBMers to surface more opportunities for change. Maybe they have a hack idea that doesn’t fit in the other three challenges. Maybe their idea overlaps with the frameworks of the other three. Anyway, I’ll be looking for hacks that integrate social business into the way we function as an organization. No idea is too big or too small. There are more than 50 hacks in progress already. A couple hacks that caught my attention this afternoon were … one around how IBMers can better collaborate globally to serve our clients … a second on predictive text in Sametime chats … and a third on radical simplification of object oriented development. I am looking forward to seeing where all these hacks lead us. This is the social era for sure.

Posted by: Ross A. Mauri
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