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IBM and SJSU Collaborate to Advance Social Business Skills

ARMONK, NY – 11 Jan 2012: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and San Jose State University (SJSU) today announced they are collaborating to help students turn their social networking savvy into business ready skills to prepare for the jobs of the future.

This new academic program provides students with the opportunity to deepen technical and business skills in the emerging arena of social business, while learning to adapt their knowledge to real-world business challenges. According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016, reaching $6.4 billion, compared with $600 million last year.*

Under the direction of the Department of Management Information Systems and the Department of Organization and Management, SJSU students assess the social networking capabilities of an IBM Business Partner organization as a way of learning about the characteristics of a social business while helping to apply social networking technologies to business operations for more efficient collaboration and faster innovation. As part of their coursework, the students are mentored by IBM experts and learn about internal and external use of social business solutions.

As the program develops, students learn that through the use of social software and an open, supportive culture, organizations can activate networks of people – employees, clients, business partners – to apply relevant content and expertise to improve and accelerate how work gets done. Students also learn about the value social business generates for organizations when every department, from HR to marketing, to product development to customer service to sales, integrates social networking tools into their work flow and business processes.

“Today’s students are already social savvy in their personal lives,” said Professor Larry Gee, College of Business, San Jose State University. “However it’s vital for them to be able to apply these skills to business and differentiate themselves as they enter a tough job market. Through the use of IBM technology and experienced mentors, our students will join the corporate world prepared to compete.”

By bringing together IBM’s experts with SJSU’s students, the program seeks to educate, enlighten and advocate the key role of social business as a driver for a Smarter Planet. The goals of the partnership are to help students:

  • understand the tenets of a smarter Social Business through the use of social networking software;
  • build business skills and real-world experience by assessing the social business capabilities and business challenges of an IBM partner organization;
  • develop teamwork and collaboration skills;
  • better understand how to use IBM social networking technologies;
  • deepen relationships between faculty, students, IBM, and IBM business partners.

“IBM and San Jose State University have a long-standing relationship, founded on our deep commitment to preparing students with the skills needed to become successful business leaders,” said Jim Corgel, General Manager, Academic Programs, IBM. “There’s no disputing that social business has become a necessary component in today’s business strategy and the skills that go along with social business are in high demand. With SJSU, we are taking the next step in ensuring students are prepared to use social business technology to create business value, and solve complex business challenges quickly and efficiently.”

The program is part of IBM’s “The Great Mind Challenge,” a global academic initiative focused on providing students with an opportunity to develop their collaboration and problem-solving skills while working on real-world business challenges submitted by global corporations, entrepreneurs, community leaders and nonprofit organizations.

This program is also part of IBM’s work with universities around the world to help students prepare for jobs of the future. IBM’s Academic Initiative offers a wide range of technology education benefits to meet the goals of colleges and universities. As a member of this initiative, participating schools receive no-charge access to IBM software, discounted hardware, course materials, training and curriculum development. Over 6,000 universities and 30,000 faculty members worldwide have joined IBM’s Academic Initiative.

For more information about IBM’s social business initiative follow #IBMSocialBiz on Twitter.

*”Social Enterprise Apps Redefine Collaboration,” Forrester Research, Inc., November 30, 2011.