Erika Varga


Create shared understanding for IBMers to collaborate around a client




UX Designer

Apr 2013 – Aug 2015

In 2012, 26 IBM leaders were brought together by Ginny Rometty, the IBM CEO, to be part of an initiative focused on accelerating IBM’s leadership in social business. The leadership team engaged in extensive data gathering, including interviews with clients, business partners, and employees, to understand social business at its best, while also radically changing how we work within IBM.

My team was tasked with creating a way for IBM sellers to collaborate together around their clients, by bringing together all the people, resources, and knowledge needed to work with a client into a single place.

User Needs

Our primary personas are the seller/brand specialist, community leader, and managing director, which we discovered through discussion with stakeholders and potential users.

Our users need…

  1. •  Greater understanding of IBM clients
  2.   Increased sharing and dissemination of client knowledge
  3.   Client interaction history for further insights
  4.   Access to deal info and progression to IBM's extended team
  5.   Tailored solutions to client's specific needs
  6. •  Experts and expertise who are discoverable and accessible
  7.   Faster proposal turn around with less IBM internal interactions


Our objective was to encourage creation of IBMer-to-IBMer connections, sharing and interacting through social networks designed with the client at the center, and to deliver end-to-end project management workflow.

I was brought onto the team at a time when it was already decided that we'd build an internal, client specific, and shared Connections-based workspace where all IBMers capture, share, and persist information about the client, their projects, and interactions. The workspace would be integrated with CRM opportunity management tools.

I collaborated with my colleague, Joe R., on initial lo-fi user stories of the intended user experience. We iterated on the design together over several sprints and worked closely with product managers and developers through out the process to come up with a realistic and feasible design.

Early lo-fi sketch of a CollaborationHUB

After we created the lo-fi user stories we created prototypes of the design in IBM Connections to test out the information architecture, visual design, and usability.

Early CollaborationHUB prototype in IBM Connections

As the project progressed, I continued to make improvements to the CollaborationHUB user experience. Our team held regular “Playbacks” with IBM users and stakeholders to update them on the project and create a shared sense of understanding. I often shared design stories and updates to get feedback.

Several slides from an early playback I presented to IBM users and stakeholders to share design progress:

Kudos from the development lead after one of my many Playbacks to IBMers and stakeholders:


The CollaborationHUB design was updated regularly over the two years I was on the project. Here are a few snapshots of the CollaborationHUB’s evolution.

CollaborationHUB community

Template for sellers to work on sales opportunities, including brand new SalesConnect integration

Another version of the CollaborationHUB community