IBM has recently announced new software portfolio called IBM Customer Experience Suite. According to Fast Company in an article called Why IBM could be bigger than Facebook in Social Media , this software announcement is a clear indication that social media has changed the business landscape.

According to the IBM site, the purpose of the software is to

  • Drive revenue & increase brand loyalty with enhanced web experiences that include native social & mobile capabilities.
  • Improve customer satisfaction & reduce costs through online self-service that’s quick and easy to use.
  • Deliver greater flexibility & drive incremental value by creating personalized web experiences that seamlessly combine back-end applications, commerce solutions, social media sites, and cloud-based services.

Fast Company’s article indicates that IBM will be targeting both large and small and medium business with their new software suite. Using cloud computing, smaller businesses may be able to use these new capabilities as well.

To learn more IBM has a short video you can watch or you can sign up for an online webcast.

Some interesting points from the webcast:

1. The risk that customers can destroy your brand in a matter of minutes is real and is happening now.

2. Companies that will succeed will have to reinvent their relationships with customers.

3. 88% of CEOs globally that  IBM surveyed this year  said it is imperative for growth that companies get closer to their customers in the next 5 years.

4. A study by the CMO council this year indicates that 46% of marketers are undertaking a digital marketing makeover in 2010.

The closing point of the Fast Company article is very telling. The fact that IBM has entered the social software business is a heads up for all businesses that they need to have a broad social media strategy, not just a Facebook Fan Page.

From what I can read on the website, the areas that relate to customer satisfaction are the ability  focus of this new software will allow businesses to customize software to individuals and the customer’s actions, to resolve problems faster and allow customers to interact and share ideas and opinions with each other.

Based on my prior experience with IBM, this announcement appears to  provide tools to businesses to help them build this infrastructure. But that takes time to plan, enable and roll out. So while IBM’s offerings certainly legitimizes the need for organizations to plan and engage in customer satisfaction activities using Social Media,  I believe organizations will need to engage with existing tools,  currently in the marketplace, in the short term.

I also did not notice any reference to IBM providing any tools to monitor social media and mobile media to help organizations understand what their customers are saying about them around the web. There are many companies providing social media monitoring tools.  It is hard to keep up with all the new entries.

I wonder if IBM has missed an opportunity here or is waiting for a leader to emerge in the social media monitoring tool space and buy them. IBM is excellent at buying technology to enhance it’s  software portfolio. Keeping track of what customers and prospects are saying about a business is a key to understand what they think and to maintain customer satisfaction levels. It will be interesting to see  monitoring customer sentiment gets added to the IBM Customer Experience Suite.

What do you think of the new IBM Customer Experience Suite? Leave your comments below.


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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