Bayer Workers Get Social with IBM Software

Bayer MaterialScience (BMS), a Bayer Group company headquartered in Germany, has 30 production sites around the world and is among the world’s leading polymer companies.

As it was facing the challenge to enhance collaboration among its employees, it decided to deploy IBM social software to help foster greater collaboration and information sharing among its 14,300 employees worldwide.

The company’s business activities focus on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials, high-performance plastics and the development of solutions for products used in many areas of daily life for the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries.

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IBM has been working aggressively to develop its businesses around the emerging social networking domains.

Of late, the tech company introduced new software that combines the business analytics and optimization capabilities for today’s evolving workforce.

For the first time, it says, its new offerings combine social networking and collaboration capabilities for the burgeoning mobile workforce, expected to reach more than 1.19 billion by 2013. (Read: How IBM Plans to Help Mobile Workforce)

Other market players are also targeting corporate workers by offering social connectivity solutions.

The recent Nokia C7 smartphone, for example, aims to attract design-conscious social networker. The second Nokia smartphone based on the new Symbian platform, the Nokia C7 follows hot on the heels of the company’s entertainment product, the Nokia N8. (Read: Smartphone for the Stylish Social Networker)

Major networking service providers are trying to woo even the would-be workers. Targeting college students, professional network LinkedIn has launched Career Explorer in collaboration with PwC US. The new tool aims to provide students with data-driven insights to help them build their careers.

Career Explorer enables college students to chart potential career paths, build a professional network and gather insights into the careers they are interested in pursuing, says consulting firm PwC. (Read: How to Build Career Using LinkedIn)

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According to IBM, BMS chose IBM Lotus Connections to improve the way employees communicate, collaborate and process information globally, in line with a Bayer Group-wide initiative, called the Personalized WorkPlace (PWP) program.

The program aims to update Bayer’s current office and collaboration environment. With Lotus Connections, Bayer employees can now more readily find experts that specialize in specific areas of the business, and can easily collaborate on projects with coworkers that are located at different areas of the globe.

“The power of Connections is that the knowledge sharing process is totally embedded in the tool,” said Kurt De Ruwe, chief information officer at BMS.

“When a person adds a piece of information it is automatically linked to other information available in communities, wikis or blogs. Lotus Connections 3.0 has even increased these capabilities.”

Lotus Connections provides social collaborative tools including blogs, wikis, profiles, bookmarks, communities, forums, file sharing, and activities.

These tools are supposed to help business professionals develop, nurture, and remain in contact with a network of colleagues, respond quickly to business opportunities and discuss and refine ideas.

Employees at BMS are using Lotus Connections to create a “community” that pulls together groups of individuals based on a mutual collaborative focus or business need or interest.

In one community, a BMS employee used a combination of blogs, wikis and activities to share media reports on the use of polyurethane in buildings with global counterparts, for example.

In another community, a BMS employee used a chain of live discussions in order to reach a critical global decision faster, instead of having to comb through long email chains.

BMS also has plans to develop a global intranet, which would promote unity and a greater collaboration between business units across regions.

IBM informs that Lotus Connections is an integral part of the future office environment at BMS.

It is the entry point for all collaboration and communication and is one of the corner stones of the new global intranet that will be rolled out early next year.

The announcement was made by IBM today, Nov. 8.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman