IBM is Platinum Sponsor of Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum! … and launches organizational network analysis tools

We’re very pleased to announce that IBM is Platinum Sponsor of the Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum. Given the breadth and maturity of IBM’s Web 2.0 offerings for large organizations, as well as its own experiences in using these tools internally, this makes a lot of sense and will bring a lot of value to the event.

I’ve written extensively about IBM’s initiatives in the space. In January IBM launched Lotus Connections, a suite of collaboration software which today brings much of IBM’s Web 2.0-style offerings, establishing a solid, coherent, credible offering to corporations. Just over two years ago now I blogged about how Lotus was embedding blogs and wikis into IBM’s platforms, in line with their vision that social networking tools were the future of collaboration. Over five years ago, in my book Living Networks, I wrote about how IBM’s alphaWorks provided a platform for user innovation and product development, while earlier this year I pointed to one of alphaWorks’ fantastic initiatives, ManyEyes, which is a participative site for people to upload and mash-up data sets and visualization techniques.

Just today the Lotus Connections suite has expanded further, with the launch of IBM Atlas, a set of social networking visualization and analysis tools. It has four components:

Net: Identify gaps or bottlenecks in organizational networks.

My Net: A similar tool to help individuals to analyze their personal networks and identify ways to achieve work objectives.

Reach: Rank expertise on specific topics across the organization, and show users the shortest social path to reach those experts.

Find: Customized search beyond office directories to include social data such as blogs and communities.

This is an extremely interesting move. At the University of Virginia’s Network Roundtable, where I am a research leader, there has been extensive work over the last years in building organizational network analysis tools both at the enterprise level, and also for individuals in uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of their personal networks. As I wrote recently when I spoke at the Network Roundtable in November, one of the areas that has been taken up the most is the application of these personal networks to leadership development.

Expertise location has long been one of the most important applications for large organizations, so that they can draw on and apply the best and most relevant resources inside the firm.

Embedding these kinds of applications into enterprise software is a big step forward in facilitating organizations in applying these powerful ways of tapping and enhancing organizational networks. This is far more than using Web 2.0 tools – it’s about enabling the networked organization.

So I’m delighted to have IBM participating in the Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum, and I’m sure many valuable insights will emerge for attendees from their involvement.