IBM Lotus Connections Gets Social Analytics

IBM Nov. 8 will roll out a new version of Lotus Connections with social analytics geared to cut out the social media noise.

IBM Nov. 8 plans to roll out a new version of Lotus Connections with social analytics, making good on a promise the company made at Lotusphere last January.

The computing giant also said it plans to unveil a new services unit intended to help organizations adopt social networking software in the enterprise.

Lotus Connections Next includes all of the usual software components of the three-year-old enterprise social collaboration platform, including apps for employee profiles, blogging, bookmarks and community and activities.

Lotus Connection Next adds recommendations to the existing ratings, rankings and reputations capabilities in the platform. The platform also features better utilities for moderating user-generated content and new compliance and auditing capabilities.

For this launch, IBM has listened to the complaints of enterprise workers that the glut of status updates and other socially generated messages have made it difficult for users to discern valuable signals from noise.

To improve the signal-to-noise ratio, the company has added analytics capabilities to help users discover other people in a corporate network and "understand the connections that are taking place between themselves and their colleagues."

These tools will be applied across the myriad recommendations, ratings, rankings and reputations capabilities in Lotus Connections Next.

"With the cultural embrace of social media and social networking, employees are demanding similar tools in the work place to help them be more effective, responsive and innovative within the context of the work they do," the company added in a statement sent to eWEEK.

The platform will put IBM on more equal footing with rivals such as Jive Software, Socialcast, Lithium Technologies, Attensity and several makers of software that cuts out the chatter to find more relevant contacts and content.

The launch of IBM Lotus Connections Next comes almost 10 months after IBM officials said at Lotusphere the new platform would launch in the second half of 2010.

In an interview at Lotusphere 2010, Jeff Schick, vice president of social software for IBM, told eWEEK:

"Connections will provide the backbone for collaboration for all data analytics, performance management and business intelligence from IBM, and you'll see the plugability into Connections such that if you had a large social network supporting your brand awareness or customer loyalty programs in an externally-facing fashion, you could use our data analytics technologies to garner any sort of insight and plug that in."

IBM's Lotus Connections Next will form the backbone of Big Blue's Project Vulcan, a sort of super collaboration platform that brings enterprise applications into the current mix.