While there are many benefits involved with social media, there are also a lot of potential risks, especially for regulated industries. Businesses that want the easy way out choose not become involved in social media, which is often to the disappointment of consumers.
Rene Schimmer, the Offering Manager for Social Software for IBM Collaboration Solutions, told us that shunning social media might not be a long-term option.
"Avoiding it is not going to be an option for much longer," he said. "We [IBM] see these tools as a fundamental instrument to work."
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It is completely understandable that businesses are concerned about the risks, but, as Schimmer said, social media is becoming fundamental in just about everything. People today that are hired are not going to be able to abandon all their social media practices and rely solely on telephones and email.
IBM is very aware of these potential risks, as well as the benefits, and recently expanded its social software portfolio in an effort to better meet business needs. The platform is called IBM Connections and is an offering for social collaboration within a business.
The main focus of this platform is to help businesses with compliance concerns. For this reason, IBM partnered with Actiance, to bring logging and archiving to the offering. Together, the companies provide a social networking platform with real-time compliance capabilities.
For example, if someone comments on a wiki, the action is logged. If that same person goes back 5 minutes later and deletes the comment, that action is also logged. In other words, there is always a trace, which is very beneficial when it comes to auditing.
Schimmer told us that platforms such as this help businesses feel comfortable about using social media. Every business knows there are risks involved, but having a way to manage those risks is comforting.
"If we can provide a solution that allows organizations to know that their employees cannot circumvent the system, either by intent or just not knowing how to do it properly, that creates that comfort level, so they are able to roll out social systems and work with them," he said.