Top 4 IBM Connections alternatives
Last updated: March 22, 2013
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IBM Connections is social software for business that lets you access everyone in your professional network, including your colleagues, customers, and partners. Unlike alternatives IBM Connections plays well with other IBM software.
Latest news about IBM Connections
2013. IBM kills Lotus. Microsoft kills SharePoint
Perhaps the two most famous brands in the history of enterprise software, Lotus and SharePoint, will soon disappear. We mean brands, not specific products. Because by renaming their products, vendors try to erase the association with outdated technologies in customer brain. For example, Lotus appeared back in the 80-s years of last century. In 1995 IBM acquired Lotus Development and began selling their products Lotus Notes/Domino. In the following years most IBM collaboration systems moved under the Lotus umbrella. But last year the revolution occurred. The last child of the Lotus family - SaaS suite LotusLive was renamed to SmartCloud for Social Business. And then the name Lotus was removed from other products. The final nail was the recent launch of Notes/Domino 9.0 Social Edition (without Lotus). Regarding, Microsoft SharePoint - Office born this product and Office will kill it. SharePoint Team Services first appeared in 2000, as a package of web extensions for MS Office. For a long time SharePoint was a part of MS Office, but then due to its outstanding popularity and rapid development, it has been separated as an independent server product and became not just a collaboration tool but the platform on which the whole IT infrastructure is built. But now, when SaaS products become more important for Microsoft, it doesn't need to sell the platform (because the platform works on the side of SaaS provider). And SharePoint quietly dissolves into the new office suite Office 365. The word SharePoint is almost never used in it. Instead, we see Sites, People, Newsfeed or the new brands SkyDrive and Yammer.
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 Force.com). 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
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. 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.