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IBM Social Tools Help Cemex Connect 50 Countries

Mexico-based Cemex turns to IBM's enterprise social platform to link 20,000 users across 50 countries and multiple languages.
8 HR Collaboration Platforms In Action
8 HR Collaboration Platforms In Action
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When most people think of social networking, they think of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and their ilk. When you think about social networking in the enterprise, these public networks are certainly important and have their place in marketing and customer engagement roles, but the real driver for the widespread adoption of social collaboration among businesses will likely be platforms like Salesforce.com's Chatter and IBM's Connections--business-oriented social networking systems designed to be used by companies internally.

Mexico-based building materials manufacturer Cemex does business in more than 50 countries and maintains trade relationships with almost 100 nations. When looking for a way to provide an effective means of collaboration among its far-flung employees and partners, Cemex noted with interest the ways in which people were making connections on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, according to Gilberto Garcia, Cemex's innovation director. "We looked at Twitter and Facebook, and thought that maybe the same interactions and social communications could work in our own environment," he said.

Cemex started using IBM Connections at the beginning of 2010. The platform allows Cemex stakeholders to communicate in many different languages, bridging what were significant gaps in users' ability to share ideas and expertise across different countries and cultures.

Garcia said the company's IBM Connections implementation saw 5,000 users the first month and is now up to 20,000 users and hundreds of communities. He added that the company has opened the platform for everyone to use, and that by October it will replace the company's intranet.

IBM Connections is one of four platforms named by Forrester Research as leaders in Forrester's first ranking of enterprise social software platforms. The others were Jive Software, Telligent and NewsGator.

In its report, "The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Social Platforms, Q3 2011," Forrester Research notes that with the five-year-old Connections platform, IBM "continues to take an aggressive approach to the enterprise social platform market, introducing major new releases on a yearly basis that keep the offering highly aligned with consumer trends."

Forrester evaluated enterprise-focused social networking platforms on seven groups of criteria: core functionality, language support, architecture and administration, monitoring and reporting, security, cross-platform support, and information workplace readiness.

Cemex's Garcia says the use of social networking capabilities has provoked "massive change" at the company, increasing agility and the ability for stakeholders across the globe to effectively connect.

In its Wave report, released in late August, Forrester Research found that vendors that had made early moves in the area of enterprise social networking currently have the edge for IT buyers. Forrester notes that IBM is integrating Connections with its broader portfolio of products, including its portal, content, and business intelligence product lines.

That ability to integrate across apps will be important for enterprises to consider as they evaluate social networking applications and capabilities for existing applications moving forward.

How is social networking making its presence felt at your company? What evaluation criteria are you using to determine the best products for your company and the extent to which social capabilities will be implemented across applications and business processes? Weigh in below.

Attend Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, Nov. 14-17, 2011, and learn how to drive business value with collaboration, with an emphasis on how real customers are using social software to enable more productive workforces and to be more responsive and engaged with customers and business partners. Register today and save 30% off conference passes, or get a free expo pass with priority code CPHCES02. Find out more and register.

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