I’ve written a few times about the mistakes IBM has made with their intranet (and then “socialized” intranet) tool, Connections. So I can’t say I was surprised when “IBM Intranet Experience” started making headlines this month. The big question of course – did they learn the lessons they needed?
According to one blogger I found, the Intranet Experience Suite “aims to help chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) construct the intranet of the future. It’s what IBM is calling the socially enabled Intranet because it packages social and analytics capabilities for CIOs to help their organizations improve internal operations and communications.”
I get it – IBM wants to merge the data and functionality that’s valued by the marketing and IT teams while providing a user-interface that helps engage employees.
There’s one big problem with IBM’s approach to this: it’s a mash-up of other core IBM services that can’t be used out of the box and requires millions of dollars of IBM-certified consultant fees to get up and running.
Many CIOs, even at companies with less capital to spend on such projects, are willing to dish out for consultant fees on CRM and ERP solutions because they are so directly related to the bottom line – the consultants add direct value, thus increasing the ROI of the initial investments.
While most intranet solutions require some level of customization, there are so many great ones out there that don’t require nearly the level of any IBM-installs and unless the IBM alternative can deliver massive additional ROI, their only clients are really existing IBM customers who they can try to up-sell.
That seems like a weak business model, but perhaps a needed reaction to complaints from customers for lack of a better alternative. For those that have gone big blue, this might be a welcome opportunity, but it’s no great addition to the social/collaboration sphere.