Network - Fall 2010 - (Page 12)
Technology in action
A team of researchers at an IBM lab in the U.K. arranged to have the local transit bus tweet its location and status, so they know exactly when it will arrive. Other IBMers are using Twitter for monitoring tools, such as alerting a project team of new bugs and fixes in software development projects. Examples like these illustrate how new technologies are enabling smarter work all over the business landscape.
IBM Works Smarter using Technology
By Diane Horton and Chuck Hamilton Humanity is at an exciting point in history. For the first time in history, the world is connected economically, socially and technologically, with people, systems and organizations interacting with each other in entirely new ways. The Internet now has one billion users, and almost one-third of the world’s population will be online by 2011. Over the next decade, there will be two billion mobileweb users. This year, 30 billion radio frequency identification tags will be embedded into our world, giving us the ability to measure, sense and see the exact condition of everything from traffic congestion to where that steak on our plate was born and raised. This means we can respond to changes quickly, accurately and securely, and get better results by predicting and planning for future events. This is an opportunity to transform the way we work to be more productive, efficient and resilient—in short, “smarter.” As more people become mobile web users, the concept of “the office” will become obsolete. At IBM, social networking tools such as blogs and networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have become invaluable business tools. More than 250,000 IBMers are on LinkedIn, more than 40,000 use Facebook, 16,000 use internal blogs and 1,000 use Twitter.
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Informal learning—those lessons learned almost serendipitously, by random-chance conversations with colleagues or superiors—is perhaps the biggest undiscovered treasure in today’s workplaces and something that is becoming increasingly difficult in our cross-geographical work worlds. This is particularly true at IBM, with close to 400,000 employees worldwide. In response, IBM built a Virtual Speed Mentoring facility in Second Life, a 3D virtual world, and holds informal meetings where avatars representing mentors and protégés “talk” in 15-minute intervals. The exchanges take place in a relaxed and intimate virtual setting. In fact, 85 per cent of participants report the events helped them achieve their learning objectives. Interestingly, a survey of those who participated suggests people represented as avatars are more comfortable asking questions they might not otherwise ask in person.
Looking ahead, imagine what you could do from a virtual world, or your desk, home or neighbourhood coffee shop with these tools. You could form your own network of experts, bid for a project, find talent to complete it, meet customers, or collaborate with your partners and colleagues. The results would be astounding. Costs would go down. Stronger relationships would be fostered. Untapped sources of expertise would emerge. New markets would be realized. We have an opportunity to transform the way we work. By investing in “smart” systems, we could energize people, use resources more efficiently and increase productivity while cultivating an environment of innovation. Diane Horton is a partner in IBM’s Human Capital Management Consulting Practice and Chuck Hamilton is an IBM virtual learning leader. This article originally appeared in the February 2010 issue of HR Professional magazine. It is reprinted here with permission.
NETWORK O Fall 2010
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Network - Fall 2010
Network - Fall 2010
HRIA President’s Message
HRIA Membership = Career Advancement
Social Networking: The Good, the Bad and the Legal
Shifting Focus Harnessing Technology for Learning and Development
Technology in Recruiting: All It’s Cracked Up To Be?
Drowning in Data: Get the Most Out of Metrics
HR Data Management: Gains Through Employee Empowerment
Technology Aids the Human Touch
The HR Office True-life Tales from the HR Profession
Index of Advertisers
Network - Fall 2010