IBM Gets Social With McDonald’s

It’s an odd mix — computers and fast food — but IBM (NYSE:IBM) and McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) are making arrangements to see one of the tech giant’s networking services running in the food giant’s many restaurants.

In what could be one of IBM’s biggest and most lucrative deals lately, the computer company has snagged the interested of McDonald’s Corp. with its social-networking service. Of course, the service is not for employees to just chat away and make friends like on Facebook. Instead it will offer internal networks for the company, allowing employees to communicate and arrange business matters.

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While McDonald’s may be IBM’s highest-profile client for the network service, it won’t be implemented everywhere. This recent deal will only see the service set up in McDonald’s South Africa division — at least, for now.

The service will reach some 8,000 McDonald’s employees in South Africa, which still makes it a significant deal for both companies, but doesn’t compare to the enormity of a deal that would implement the service in the U.S.

IBM’s arrangement with McDonald’s does serve as a stepping stone for bigger and bigger clients. If all goes well in South Africa, McDonald’s may even consider implementing the service on a larger scale. So, the opportunity for IBM seems great, and could put it one step closer to reaching the $16 billion the company said it would make from business analytics by 2015.

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