10 Key Features of IBM Connections Cloud Office Productivity Platform

10 Key Features of IBM Connections Cloud Office Productivity Platform
The Core Function: Email Integration
A Full Documents Platform
Get Social and Collaborate
IBM Loves Its Chatting
Online Meetings in High Definition
IBM Gives the IT Side Control
Full Compliance Support With Archiving
IBM Goes Mobile
What About Security?
An Eye on Pricing
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10 Key Features of IBM Connections Cloud Office Productivity Platform

With IBM Connections Cloud, Big Blue uses its cloud platform to deliver an online workspace for employees to be productive and collaborative.

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The Core Function: Email Integration

A key feature in IBM's productivity suite is its email integration. The feature provides users with full online email and calendaring and includes support for all of the other platforms in the productivity suite. IBM's email comes with all the familiar features, including spam protection, encryption and more. It also has a slick, intuitive interface.

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A Full Documents Platform

Companies that want a replacement for Office can find it with IBM Docs. The cloud-based feature built into Connections allows users to collaborate in real time on documents. The service also includes support for spreadsheets and presentations. One could argue that Microsoft is still offering the most powerful Office solutions, but IBM's offering is just fine for simpler needs.

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Get Social and Collaborate

The social and collaboration features built into Connections are everywhere. For instance, users can sync and share files through the platform. Companies can also form Communities for groups of employees to communicate. An Activities tab helps companies track tasks and ensure work gets done. The Connections cloud platform is all about collaboration.

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IBM Loves Its Chatting

IBM has long had a presence in the instant-messaging space, so it's perhaps no surprise that it has built that function into Connections. Employees can engage in real-time, text-based encrypted communications during the day and keep track of each other. In addition, the service includes voice and video support, and keeps a log of conversations so companies can reference them in the future.

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Online Meetings in High Definition

Online meetings have become one of the more desirable ways for people to communicate; so IBM has integrated that into its service. Users can host online meetings through the platform, host events and share audio. In addition, the online meeting function includes desktop sharing, chat and question-and-answer functions. There's even a polling feature.

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IBM Gives the IT Side Control

What the IT side wants more than anything is the ability to fully control how employees use the platforms they're given. IBM allows for that, providing a centralized tool to manage users, the groups they're in and what they can access. IBM also offers an application development framework for companies that want to integrate certain features into their applications.

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Full Compliance Support With Archiving

Archiving is a critical feature for companies that are worried about compliance support. IBM offers SmartCloud Archive Essentials, which retains data based on IT-set rules and allows for end-user access to recovery lost data. There's also a search function to make it easier to find historical information, like emails.

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IBM Goes Mobile

Mobile applications have become a necessity in the world of productivity, and IBM knows it. The company's applications for Android, iOS and BlackBerry all support its email, meetings, files and instant-messaging features. Mobile users, in other words, can stay on track and keep working even when they only have their smartphones at their disposal.

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What About Security?

Security is obviously a major concern for companies, so IBM has gone out of its way to say it delivers. The company uses ISO 27001-27002 industry standards and provides enterprise-grade control over privacy, shared assets, auditing and more. IBM says its data-protection efforts are "independently validated through a SAS70/SSAE 16 audit."

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An Eye on Pricing

Pricing for IBM's Cloud platform depends on the plan customers choose. The company's Cloud S2, which includes collaboration and instant messaging, among other features, goes for $8 per user per month. IBM Connects Cloud S1, which includes all of the features in Cloud S2 but adds in email and calendar capabilities, among some other options, is available for $10 per user per month. That's about in-line with similar competing services, but it's also worth noting that those who want stand-alone options, such as instant messaging or meetings, can buy those separately.

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