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Flattening the World

Businesses Adopt Social Tools to Improve Effectiveness and Efficiency

Sandy Carter’s job as social business evangelist is to help teach IBM’s clients about the value of adopting social networking into their business models.
Photography by Matt Carr

Social media adoption is holding steady among Fortune 500 companies, according to a recent study by the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth ( - link not active). The study reveals that many companies have a forward-facing blog (23 percent), while most have regularly updated Twitter accounts (62 percent) and Facebook pages (58 percent).

Are all of these companies, then, social businesses? Not necessarily. Being a social business means more than having a presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social venues. It’s more than having a customer-facing blog.

“A social business is a business that applies social tools and techniques to their business processes to make them more effective and efficient,” explains IBM’s Sandy Carter, vice president of social business evangelism and sales.

As with any new technology, some businesses are on the bleeding edge and are early adopters. Others prefer to take a wait-and-see approach. In the Internet’s infancy, for example, businesses didn’t always know how to capitalize on its promise. They viewed it as an asset best used by students and universities. Similarly with social media, some organizations view it as something targeted toward youths.

Its Carter’s job as social business evangelist to help teach IBM clients about the value companies can gain from adopting social in their business models.

  • Social businesses share dialogue with employees and customers, are more transparent, and are more nimble and able to adapt.
  • Becoming a social business isn’t just about technology; it requires change management and transformation.
  • Successful companies make IBM’s six-part social strategy work for them.
  • Ignoring social business is a risk you can’t afford. Instead, join the conversation.

Evelyn Hoover is the content director of IBM Systems magazine. She can be reached at



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