In Search of IBM Lotus Connections…
[[Lotus Connections]] is IBM's social networking application for enterprise. With five components – Profiles, Activities, Blog, Communities and Dogears – the first release has only been around for seven months so far. A couple hundred companies have deployed the product, with roughly 50% being deployed in EMEA.
Profiles is a browser-accessible database of employee expertise and backgrounds. It is really about giving employees control over the corporate directory content, allowing simple things to be easily updated and search-able. This is an important step in enabling expertise searching, something that is a particularly important problem in large, distributed businesses where talented people collaborate far outside the organizational hierarchy. Sort of an intranet, 'linkedin.com'.
Blogging is a naturally social service. On the Internet, it has accelerated the collapse of the publishing industry and its online transformation. Just about anybody can be a blogger. In software companies, airlines and of course in media companies (like this one), the fundamental is sharing ideas and opinion and sometimes data. Blogs often put context around the links captured in Dogears.
Dogears is about logging bookmarks of cool sites. Years ago, one of the early revs of this site was a list of links. Linking is a highly desirable service since it stores in a familiar place urls of relevance and interest for future reference. Less engaging than blogging, linking is still an important service.
Activities is about tracking and concentrating work items and tasks required to achieve some event, goal or milestone. Useful in software development, marketing, product management, sales and other ad hoc workflows that involve groups of people in disparate locations or processes.
Communities assigns activities, dogears and blogs to groups of people.
In releaee 2 of Connections (targeted for 2Q08), IBM plans to release discussion forums.
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