IBM Announces First-Ever Integrated Social Software Platform For Businesses
Integrated Tagging, Blogging and Professional Networking Tools Bring the Power of Web 2.0 from the Consumer Realm to the Enterprise
ORLANDO, FL - 22 Jan 2007: At Lotusphere today, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced Lotus Connections, the industry’s first platform for business-grade social computing. Lotus Connections facilitates the gathering and exchange of information through professional networks, provides a dashboard-like view of current projects and connects users to like-minded communities. In addition, Lotus Connections removes the need for multiple social software applications, providing businesses with a single destination for building professional communities.
Lotus Connections has five Web 2.0-based components -- Activities, Communities, Dogear, Profiles and Blogs -- that help business people quickly connect and build new relationships based on their individual needs. These components help users save time by making information previously qualified by others easily accessible. The pace of learning increases as users easily find and exchange ideas with experts across their organization. Since they have access to the experience of others, users can avoid making mistakes and duplicating tasks, saving time and improving the quality of their work.
According to the industry analyst firm Forrester, social software tools will become so much a part of the fabric of an enterprise’s collaborative environment that it will be like air -- enterprises won’t be able to imagine life without it. Further, according to Forrester, the demand for social software tools is growing with usage rates of social software services almost doubling between 2005 and 2006.(1)
Lotus Connections speeds growth and unlocks the collective knowledge base within an organization. Through an integrated set of social software components, Lotus Connections delivers critical new capabilities to users while helping enterprises become more productive.
Lotus Connections helps organizations foster a sense of community, especially among geographically dispersed teams, helping employees come together to share their knowledge and collaborate on a project. “The Film Foundation works to preserve and restore a broad range of films including studio and independent features, avant-garde works, documentaries, newsreels, home movies, and films from the silent era,” said Jennifer Ahn, managing director, The Film Foundation. “The Activities component of Lotus Connections will enable more timely and efficient collaboration on educational projects -- helping us to expand our Story of Movies program, which is developed by a team of people located all over the country. And it will be invaluable in our efforts to preserve more of our cinematic treasures.”
All kinds of employees can benefit from Lotus Connections. For example, an investment banker requiring information about growth in the technology sector could conduct a keyword search of Profiles that would immediately produce a list of experts in the field. Within seconds, the banker would also have access to relevant bookmarks, blogs, activities and communities created by colleagues and partners from around the world with the same expertise. The banker then could join the company’s “Investing in Technology” Community and by doing so, discovers a group of colleagues able to instantly share the knowledge it would typically take weeks to obtain alone. With a click of a mouse, they engage in an instant messaging chat session and brainstorm ideas. From there, the group creates an activity so they can work together to reach their goals quickly and efficiently.
The product helps businesses:
* Quickly find the right people and expand contact networks based on topics and areas of expertise: With the Profiles component of Lotus Connections, users can search for people by name, expertise or keyword. Search results provide standard name, contact information and reporting structure details, along with links to the blogs, communities, activities and bookmarks associated with the person begin searched.
* Access and share information that is deemed important by others and discover new people and resources with similar interests: Dogear, the bookmarking component of Lotus Connections, enables users to tag and share bookmarks. Pre-qualified information can then be found using key word searches or by subscribing to an expert’s bookmarks, enabling users to find the information they need faster and to discover social networks regardless of organizational reporting structures.
* Bring people together with common interests and assignments: With Communities, users can work together with colleagues across their organization that share common interests or work objectives. Community members discuss relevant issues, conduct polls to gather information and share resources. Anyone with the organization or selected partners from outside of an organization, such as customers, can join and participate in a Community.
* Organize the work and interactions associated with an activity: With Activities, users have a Web-based dashboard for managing and completing tasks with their professional network of colleagues. Within Activities, users can easily organize, share and collaborate on all files, instant messaging chats, email messages and Web links associated with a given task. This enables employees to better track to do lists and manage deadlines, while incorporating best practices and knowledge from across their organization.
* Create an interactive community with external and internal audiences, sharing knowledge and opinions: With the blogging tools in Lotus Connections, creating and posting blogs is fast and easy. Searching for information on blogs is simplified with integrated blog searching tools. In addition, users can automatically track posts from key blogs through Atom syndicated format (ATOM) feeds.
“Tapping the wealth of knowledge and expertise of individuals within an organization is paramount to the pace of growth and productivity in the enterprise,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at RIM. “Lotus Connections represents a major step forward in the evolution of enterprise collaboration and RIM is pleased to be working with IBM to mobilize the benefits of social software in the enterprise through the BlackBerry platform.”
Lotus Connections integrates across the Lotus portfolio, combining the strength of the industry’s leading real-time, messaging and portal capabilities with the power of social software. For example, with Lotus Notes version 8 and Lotus Connections, customers will be able to access Activities on the side bar from their Lotus Notes inbox and drag and drop email messages directly into an activity. Websphere Portal and Lotus Connections customers can leverage the light weight portlets to display new Dogear bookmarks, recent blogs entries and search Profiles to locate an expert.
The combination of Lotus Sametime and Lotus Connections makes instant communication from within the social network fast and simple. With Lotus Sametime 7.5 and Lotus Connections, users can easily access the Activities that they share with a contact and save a chat transcript to an Activity within the context of the chat window.
Lotus Connections also integrates with Microsoft Active Directories. With support for open standards such as ATOM and REST, Lotus Connections makes it easy for enterprises to integrate social software into their existing IT infrastructures and their day-to-day tools.
Lotus Connections is expected to be available in the first half of 2007. Pricing will be provided closer to availability.
For more information on IBM’s activities at Lotusphere 2007, please access the company’s online press kit at: www.ibm.com/press/lotusphere2007
1 (1) Source: Social Computing: Tapping Into The Power Of Connected Customers, Forrester Research, Inc., October 2006.
IBM, Lotus, Connections, Sametime, Notes and Domino are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both.
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