Lotus Connections 2.5 borrows the Twitter-like microblogging tool from IBM's Beehive social network research project and allows users to post status updates to share what they are doing or working on with colleagues and contacts in their professional network. Lotus Connections 2.5 also provides a new Web-based file sharing library, where users can upload presentations, YouTube videos and documents to share with colleagues, partners and customers. Users can tag, rate, recommend and comment on uploaded files to provide feedback for fellow collaborators.
IBM released Lotus
2.5 Sept. 22, bringing the promised microblogging capability
into the application's profiles tool, file sharing and a customizable widgets
for the communities pages.
Lotus Connections is IBM's foray into
social software for the enterprise and features profile, blog, activity, social
bookmarking and community tools that help business workers connect with
colleagues. The suite competes with collaboration offerings from Microsoft,
Socialtext, Jive Software, MindTouch and other specialists.
Lotus Connections 2.5 borrows the Twitter-like microblogging tool from IBM's Beehive social network research project
users to post status updates to share what they are doing or working on with
colleagues and contacts in their professional network. Accompanying that tool
is a new message board feature on users' profile pages that lets colleagues
post messages and comment on status updates.
Bob Picciano, general manager of IBM's
Lotus Software Group, said that while he doesn't have time to broadcast
thoughts to his team via full-length blogs, he is constantly sending status
updates with this feature to communicate with them.
"I can watch what people are doing, what customer briefings are
happening, what analyst or press briefings are happening, view feedback and
answer questions immediately," Picciano said, summarizing his use case
with the feature in Connections 2.5.
File sharing has become table stakes among customers considering
collaboration platforms, which is why Lotus Connections 2.5 also provides a new
Web-based file-sharing library. In this repository, users upload presentations,
YouTube videos and documents to share with colleagues.
However, this file-share repository isn't just a dumb container. Users can
tag, rate, recommend and comment on uploaded files to provide feedback for
fellow collaborators. Picciano said Sogeti, a Capgemini subsidiary that
specializes in technology services; Colgate Palmolive; and NEC Electronics GmbH
in Europe are using this capability in Connections to
let their employees share content.
While Connections' community owners have long been able to incorporate
bookmarks, feeds and forums into their pages, these proprietors can now add
activities, blogs, wikis and file sharing. This feature boosts the
collaboration quotient of Connections and underscores the way the Lotus team is
making the Connections features interoperate with one another.
In a minor user interface change, the community discussion forum now
displays user profile photos, and a statistics feature highlights the most
popular discussion topics in a community. Discussion topics can be
"pinned" at the top of the forum.
A revamped new wiki service lets Connections users create, view, edit and
contribute to content that is uploaded to the intranet. This wiki now has
automatic versioning and a "show changes" view so that users can
easily view the latest versions and edits.
Finally, Connections 2.5, which is available now in 25 languages, also lets
corporate road warriors access their profiles, activities and blog services
from Apple iPhones and Nokia S60 devices.
The Lotus Connections 2.5 launch corresponds with the one-year anniversary
of IBM's Center for Social Software, which
company officials celebrated in a symposium at the center in Cambridge,
The launch is fitting as Lotus Connections developed under the aegis of IBM
Research and harbors many of the kinds of technologies IBM
expects to cultivate in the Center for Social Software.
Looking ahead, Picciano said IBM expects
to bring many of the features existing today in Connections 2.5 to IBM's
Web browser-based Lotus Live Connections
application, which the
company hosts on its servers. Currently, the app is fairly bare bones, offering
only profiles, activities, file sharing and Web conferencing.