Social, mobile and cloud are more than just three of the most hyped buzz words in technology, they are three facets of the same movement and an everyday reality for consumers and businesses alike.
Whether you’re a college student streaming music on a smartphone curated to your tastes, a CMO gauging customer sentiment ahead of Black Friday, or a price conscious traveler leveraging social networks for a deal on airfare – SoMoClo is driving our behavior and decision-making.
Since the advent of social networks and ‘social’ businesses, online file sharing and app stores, since we started accessing our work email on personal devices (coined BYOD), and discovered that the GPS-enabled social app on our phone could give us restaurant recommendations in a new city and find a taxi to take us there – we’ve been living in a SoMoClo world. It’s time that businesses recognized the reality and got their governance strategy in order, before their employees do it for them.
In fact, employees are already tapping SoMoClo at the office – opting to buy their own smartphone over the company issued one, accessing Facebook and Twitter at the office to keep up with the industry and competitors, using online storage for corporate documents needed from home without the hassle of VPN – these are inevitabilities of today’s social and mobile workforce.
But now, with the explosion of Big Data flowing in (more than 2.4 quintillion new bytes per day), organizations need to convert these one-off consumer behaviors into a consistent and systematic SoMoClo strategy across their business and IT governance. Like many consumer tech trends, SoMoClo needs to evolve for the enterprise. This represents the next chapter of the Internet transformation (and corresponding standardization), enabling more flexible delivery of services and expanding reach and collaboration for new levels of productivity.
This means that businesses need to start looking at these trends as one: cloud is the delivery, social is a shareable service, and mobile is the ubiquitous access. In essence, these are three legs of a tripod, but should be seen as one entity. For example, Lo (location) is incorporated inside Clo (cloud), because cloud gives location its context. What’s driving SoMoClo is the power of the consolidated framework, with cloud as the critical element allowing this to scale and be manageable enterprise-wide.
Further, SoMoClo is improving businesses’ bottom line by increasing productivity, responsiveness and efficiency. SoMoClo is truly a global convergence of digital and physical infrastructure with a low cost of entry, leveling the playing field so that a start-up can have the same global reach as a multinational.
When adopting a SoMoClo strategy, it’s important to keep in mind:
1. Guidelines work better than restrictions. While many companies block sites like Facebook within the corporate network, it’s often more effective to allow access but set clear social networking guidelines, understanding that these sites, while often visited for personal use, can also be effective marketing and communication tools for your business. Forbidding certain sites or applications may only drive employees to spend more time working around the firewall.
2. Security is key as BYOD proliferates. Instead of setting up roadblocks at every turn, intelligent security tools like data analytics can recognize and flag potentially unwelcome activity, such as correspondence to/from a country you don’t do business in, an employee in one division downloading data from another, etc. As more and more companies move to BYOD strategies, enabling security intelligence becomes key.
3. Keep employee morale and productivity in mind. More and more companies, many of which have been recognized as ‘Best Places to Work,’ understand the value of a mobile workforce – particularly for improving morale and work/life balance. For better or worse, working hours and home vs. office is no longer black and white. With a global employee base across several time zones, employers must recognize that working unusual hours, from home, the office and the road is the new normal – and mobility and flexibility is key.
4. Draw the line before compromising customer data. While personal freedom and flexibility is important to employees, employers must understand that maintaining the integrity of confidential data is a corporate concern and responsibility. Organizations must ensure a social/mobile governance strategy is in place, as part of which corporate IT should assess social, mobile and cloud-based tools. Those that can’t ensure the safety of proprietary data should be regulated.
5. Leverage SoMoClo to maximize your marketing and IT potential. Whether it’s leveraging SoMoClo to enhance your current business through social media marketing and analysis or the development of a cloud and location-based mobile app, or whether it’s the launch of new business or the transformation of your current one born into SoMoClo era, see through the risks of SoMoClo to recognize and harness the opportunity.
By keeping these tips in mind and adopting a corporate-wide strategy to leverage the trends of social, mobile and cloud, your firm will be better able to drive new innovations and collaboration, safely and securely. Recognizing the enterprise opportunity and enacting the necessary IT governance, businesses will evolve to embrace the convergence of three of the most important technology trends — a 3-for-1 punch of power where the sum is truly greater than its parts.
Vice President, IBM Cloud & Business Infrastructure Management
As Vice President for IBM’s Cloud & Business Infrastructure solutions, Scott Hebner is responsible for leading the organization’s worldwide marketing and strategic market development activities. In this capacity, Scott’s team drives IBM’s cross unit solution initiatives around key client priorities in Business Service Management, Data Protection & Security, Enterprise Mobility and Smarter Assets/Facilities as well as managing its channel performance, portfolio positioning and demand generation programs. He also serves on IBM’s Marketing Leadership Board, helping to set direction for the company’s global marketing strategy.