IBM is rethinking how its employees interact with each other and their customers. E-mail, company reps say, is "anti-social," and that, of course, goes against the very grain of social media. So, the conglomerate is promoting a social business model that uses digital work tools so employees can "do great work together."
Sure, IBM has cash at the ready to throw at the program. But this idea can work at the small business level, thanks to open source collaborative platforms. First of all, open source means cheap, or even free. With open source, you've got a group of volunteer software programmers who are always making tweaks. And because of this robust community of developers, you don't need that large IT department. (An important note: Any open source program worth its salt will have a governing committee to keep bad apples from slipping through).
These online collaborative platforms (Redmine, dotProject, Manymoon via LinkedIn, to name a few) get everyone in your company on the same page, regardless of employees' locations. Users can easily work together with a virtual online program that allows them to manage documents, share files, create charts, facilitate communication, and the like. There are open source platforms for CRM, too, whether it's for record keeping, sales integration, support, or troubleshooting.
Social media is all about collaboration, and so is business. It makes sense, then, to use social media software to improve business development and CRM programs. And the best part? You don't need to have an IBM budget to do it.