"The big impact is that customers can see that the early adopters may get ahead of them, creating a corporate digital divide," Wang says.
With Lotusphere, and the launch of its first coinciding business-oriented IBM Connect conference, the company has leveraged growing consumer social media use at the right time, directing employees' naturally developed skills in this field toward a more productive outlet in the enterprise, Wang says.
"The big difference [at this year's event] is that consumerization of IT is in full effect," Wang says. "Customers have seen social in their personal lives and can relate to how this can apply to business. Last year, IBM was forward marketing. This year the products are catching up to the marketing and customers are more receptive."
If IBM can keep the momentum going from its strong first step into the social business field, it may find itself competing in a fast-growing and potentially lucrative market. According to Forrester Research, the social business market is expected to reach $6.4 billion by 2016, up from $600 million in 2011.
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