IBM Get Social Roadshow in Dallas

Below is a summary of the event I attended yesterday. It will mainly be quotes from the different speakers.


Ed Brill, IBM (@edbrill)
People want to do business with people. They like to know something about the person they do business with. When I started my blog, I had to decide what my online presence should be. Am I Ed Brill the IBM executive? Or Ed Brill the father, traveler and photographer? The answer is all of them.
Historically, many companies (including IBM) had a policy that only the highest executive, or certain people, talked to customers. That policy, one face to the customer, does not work today, in the age of social business. Companies must decrease the distance between themselves and the customer.
It is important that you get a social media policy. When IBM developed one five years ago, we encouraged people to blog, be on social networks, etc. We said "do this" instead of "don’t do this".
According to the IBM CIO study, 95% of standout organisations will focus more on "getting closer to the customer" over the next five years, connecting people – customers, partners and employees – ast networks to drive innovation.
People don’t use the restaurant reviews in the Sunday newspaper anymore. Instead they use crowdsourcing. People go to Yelp and similar sites and read reviews by other people.
Who here in the audience would go to Best Buy and get a new big screen TV or a blue-ray player and trust the sales guy? How many of you would pull out your smartphone, go to and check the star rating and perhaps a couple of reviews right there in the store? (Most in the audience raised their hands at this point)

Marcia Conner, author and analyst (@marciamarcia)
96% of people under 30 are on a social network.
Companies with highly engaged employees have 26% higher revenue per employee.
9 in 10 adults trust recommendations from online friends and total strangers.
Many companies are afraid of social media and block it. People will work the way they need, using the tools they need, with our without you. They will figure out ways to get around limitations. They might just all use their smart phones and bypass any proxies/firewalls, and use the social tools they need.
What are the companies afraid of?
*"People will say the wrong things" – Help them say the right things. Have a social media policy. If someone says something wrong on the phone, you don’t take their phone away.
*"People will do other things" – And they will remain engaged. It is good to decompress, that actually makes them more productive. And giving them access to the tools makes it possible for them to get back faster to the task they are working on.
Link the network of networks together. Link what you know, who you know and who you are.
Give people permission, a path clear of obstacles, and they will participate.


Jon Raslawski, IBM
Retaining customers is linked to increased profitability.
2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as cutting costs by 10%. It is 5 times as expensive to get a new customer as retaining an existing one.
5% reduction in customer defection can increase profits by 25-125%.


Scott Souder, IBM (@sssouder)
Social business is engaged, transparent, nimble.
Embrace it or don’t embrace it, but social networking is here and will take place despite your firewalls.


Jason Dumont, IBM
"Email is where knowledge goes to die" – Luis Suarez
In the old days, some executives asked "why does everyone need their own phone? What’s the ROI on a voicemail system?".
Everyone want their 15 minutes of fame. Let people share their knowledge and expertise. And don’t let the knowledge walk out the door with the retiring employees. They are the experts, keep that knowledge even after they are gone.
Let people air the "dirty laundry", just do it internally, not externally.


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