IBM Connections alternatives

IBM Connections
IBM Connections is social software for business that lets you access everyone in your professional network, including your colleagues, customers, and partners.
IBM Connections alternatives are:
SharePoint, Yammer, Jive, Lotus Quickr, Confluence
Here are the latest news about IBM Connections:

2013 IBM embed Email into Connections to drive users out of Email

For a long time collaboration vendors are trying to lead users from using e-mail. They trying to convince us that sharing files (or other information) - is more convenient than sending them by Email. But users will don't want to give up the technology, that has proven its effectiveness for many years, and still Inbox remains the main workspace for most information workers. But IBM has invented the new way to drive people from email to social tools - it integrated email to their social intranet IBM Connections. Now, emails, contacts and calendar (stored in the mail server Lotus Domino or Microsoft Exchange) can be accessed right in the Connections interface.

Thus, user has a choice - to share or to send an email. And it's no need to switch between applications. Also, if he still chooses to "send email" - he can select files from IBM Connections Files storage. In this case the system doesn't attach files, but inserts links to the message and automatically share these files with recipients.

It's evident that IBM wants to make Connections the center of its collaboration suite (just like SharePoint in Microsoft's suite). IBM's suite is even named IBM SmartCloud for Social Business. See, the name is long, but they still use the word "Social".

2012 IBM LotusLive becomes SmartCloud for Social Business

IBM's SaaS collaboration services under the LotusLive umbrella received a lot of good reviews and always presented in the analyst top product lists. Nevertheless they haven't been very successful in sales (compared to the competitors). "What's the problem?" - IBMers tried to figure out - "Maybe the problem in the name? Or in marketing?". And they decided to copy the model of Salesforce and to see what will happen. They decided to remove the word "Lotus", which many people associate with the heavy software from the past. And instead, wherever it's possible, they put the words "Cloud" and especially "Social". In result, LotusLive becomes SmartCloud for Social Business. In its description you'll find such words as Social, Social and Social. And on the US television the new SmartCloud cartoon commercial (reminding Salesforce Chatter ads) has appeared (watch the video).

IBM SmartCloud is now positioned as a complete set of cloud services for business - IaaS, PaaS and SaaS (like Companies and third-party developers can build their apps on the top of this platform. And the heart of its SaaS-component (SmartCloud for Social Business) is now IBM Connections - the social network, based on activity streams (like Salesforce Chatter). It integrates all other applications, including e-mail, calendars, Web conferencing and recently introduced IBM Docs. The new IBM Connections' killer-feature is social analytics, that filters signals from co-workers and apps and provides only important and personalized information.

2010 Lotus Connections 3.0 gets social recommendations

Lotus Connections
Enterprise social software developers continue to copy Facebook features. The new version of IBM's enterprise social networking software Lotus Connections 3.0 features widgets with social recommendations. First is a list of "recommended friends," that user sees when logging into Lotus Connections. The fact is that Lotus Connections also includes "friends" feature - social connections. You become a "friend" when subscribe to collegue updates (microblog). So now, basing on your existing friends, your interests and expertise and your previous actions - the system provides a list of users that you are interested in "making friends" with. Besides, when visiting other user profiles, you now can see the social path that links you to this person and things that you have in common (such as a list of the communities that both belong to). And on the communities page you can see the widget with a list communities that you might be interested in.

While all this sounds quite simple and funny, in fact, building social connections and communities - is one of the main goals of enterprise social software. These connections allow to unite all employees into the team and keep valuable employees from leaving the company. That's why IBM is investing its vast experience in creating Business Intelligence (BI) solutions into Lotus Connections.

In addition to building social connections, IBM offers another application of Business Intelligence in the enterprise social software - noise filtering. After all, along with valuable signals, the social tools also distract users with unimportant messages. Now, on the Lotus Connections home page you can see a widget with recommended content - the most important messages and alerts from microblogs chosen by the analytical engine.

Lotus Connections
We also note two others interesting features in Lotus Connections 3.0. First, the new mobile apps for Android and iPad (to add to the existing support for BlackBerry, Nokia and iPhone). Second - the integration with the main competitor - Microsoft Sharepoint, which complements Sharepoint with microblogging, pop-up user cards, social bookmarking and communities.

2010 Gartner tries to sort out the Enterprise Social Software market

Social Software
Gartner has published the Magic Quadrant for enterprise Social Software market 2010. In the previous similar report in 2009 the MQ reminded the Brownian movement of molecules because of the large number of vendors and approaches to the enterprise social tools. That's why Gartner decided to clarify its approach. At first, they split the Social Software for internal and external. The external was defined as Social CRM - and moved to the separate report. And this Magic Quadrant is focused only on internal social tools, designed for collaboration within enterprise. Additionally in order to mute the noise, Gartner introduced several restrictions. First, each vendor should have at least 100,000 end users. Second, each product should include the following social tools:

- user management
- user profiles
- roles and access control
- configurable group, project, team or community areas
- document sharing
- discussion forums
- blogs
- wikis

Besides, Gartner has introduced one more strange criteria: each product should provide the on-premise version. Because of this, the report doesn't include pure SaaS products: Salesforce Chatter, Yammer and PBWorks, which should be among the market leaders.

Like in the previous year report, the leaders are Microsoft (Sharepoint), IBM (Lotus Connections, WebSphere Portal, LotusLive) and Jive (Jive SBS). Jive - is an absolute champion. Jive is the leader in Gartner's latest Social CRM report and Jive is the leader in Social Software reports from other analytical companies: Forrester and Info-Tech.

Google, which quickly entered the social software market in the past year, has quickly disappeared from it. Google Wave - is to be closed, and Google Buzz hasn't got much popularity.

We note also the appearance of SuccessFactors near the leading group. This talent management solution with the acquisition of CubeTree entered social software and collaboration market and is ready to compete with Sharepoint and Salesforce Chatter.

2010 Project Vulcan - the future of IBM Lotus

Project Vulcan
The geek-developer dream comes true: a full-on collaboration environment with an open API and a name right out of Star Trek. Today at the Lotushpere conference IBM unveiled Project Vulcan - the new cloud platform for collaboration and social tools, that is already compared to Google Wave. But unlike Google Wave, Vulcan - is not a separate application, but an integrated environment for all future and existing Lotus apps, including Lotus Notes and LotusLive. Vulcan will be available to developers in the second half of 2010, and meanwhile it will be available to LotusLive Labs team, which has already shown 4 new projects for LotusLive:

- Concord - an online word processor and spreadsheets for LotusLive with collaborative features
- Slide Library - a tool for creating and sharing online presentations
- Collaborative Recorded Meetings - a tool that records web-conferences and transcripts voice to text
- Composer - tool for creating Mashups on LotusLive

Lotus Mobile
In addition, IBM has opened LotusLive API for all developers (previously it was only available for a few, such as Skype and Salesforce), announced a new version of the email-service LotusLive iNotes (with improved support for mobile devices and offline access), and announced a joint project with RIM (now IBM will be selling the Blackberry smartphones with installed Lotus applications: Sametime, Connections and Quickr).