Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the MWLUG event in Atlanta. It was a very well-run event and a great opportunity to catch up with some friends and colleagues. Unfortunately, I was slotted in a Friday morning time up against some very popular topics (looking at you, Tony Holder!), and only a handful of the attendees were able to join the discussion. It might also be a mis-match, in that many of the MWLUG attendees are there for technical content vs business content. At any rate, the slides are posted on Slideshare, and I was able to use the same content for an internal presentation to 500+ people just after I left MWLUG anyway.

In this update, I cover our social business journey at IBM--focused on a culture of participation and driving business outcomes--and then move into a retrospective on how we've been doing with the rollout of IBM Verse within IBM. As of this post on August 27, we have moved 160,000 of our employee mailboxes to the cloud and IBM Verse. Whole countries are complete (Australia and Korea are notable examples) and others are closing in fast. Since we started rollout in April, we have learned a lot about how to effectively scale - both in terms of the tools used to move mailboxes and in the change management and documentation used to assist end-users with the transition.

The project is going well overall. Adoption of the Verse UI itself is about 40% - which is a good solid start after just a few months. We never expected every IBMer to change to using Verse full-time - I myself can't since I travel so much and am often offline. We'll get there. IBMers have expressed a lot of positives around the overall UI and dashboard look, the waiting for/needs action capability, the scrolling calendar bar, and faceted search. The typical user is converting from premises to cloud in a time window of 15-30 minutes, and we have better than a 90% boarding rate (no errors, no helpdesk calls). In some geographies, we are seeing a 98% success rate, which I consider very impressive considering the scale of the company overall. I often remind my team that at 150K users moved, most companies would be done with the conversion process by now. We are making good progress.

The slides tell the story of the communications side - we are living the social dream, supporting this rollout in Connections and providing full-time community manager support. We learn about issues through wisdom of the crowds first, helpdesk second. We are iterating with the product team around how to improve Verse through "out in the open" discussions of feature enhancements and functional improvements.

Starting next month, we are opening Connections Cloud usage to all of IBM. We've provisioned the accounts, turned on the features, and are ready to go. This enabled us to turn on the team analytics in Verse, part of my commitment to ensuring that IBMers have access to the same out of the box shipping product as our commercial clients. We are excited about new features that are coming into Verse and Connections Cloud at the end of this month, and iteratively in the weeks and months ahead. It's much faster than we ever got new features in premises-based rollouts.

We are still on track to move all IBMers to Verse by end of 2015. There is a lot more to be done, but using an agile approach we have been able to accomplish this significant project at scale, and continue to learn and adjust and explore. I hope to be sharing an updated version of this presentation - under a checked finish line flag - at IBM Connect 2016.

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