IBM Delivers the Next Wave of Business Social Networking: IBM Lotus Connections & IBM Atlas
Introducing “Friending” and “People Tagging” for Business
BOSTON, MA - Jun 2008: Enterprise 2.0 -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the next wave of social networking tools for business. Lotus Connections 2.0 and IBM Atlas for Lotus Connections feature a mix of new capabilities that blend IBM’s expertise in business software with the Web 2.0 capabilities popular in consumer social networking Web sites.
The newest version of IBM Lotus Connections -- successor to the fastest growing new IBM software product -- is taking a cue from public social networks. Now people can quickly grow their professional network of contacts by adding colleagues. This business equivalent of “friending” helps people effectively manage their network and find expertise.
The new home page streams feeds from various components of Lotus Connections and shows people what is happening within their network. Widgets let people customize the main page and add links to external communities such as Facebook or custom business applications used within the organization.
Drawing on its experience in enterprise collaboration, IBM is expanding the tagging abilities of Lotus Connections to include people tagging. With the latest version, people can tag themselves or others based on a key topic or area of expertise. This allows individuals to instantly identify and retrieve live intellect on any given topic and tap into the collective wisdom of a larger group or pinpoint rare, niche expertise from the general population. Tag clouds are displayed on a person’s profile and throughout communities, making it easy to associate people with areas of expertise.
Additional new features in Lotus Connections include the ability to send or receive notifications to others about interesting social bookmarks, discussion forums and integration with wiki providers Atlassian and Social Text.
“Social networking is the new frontier in business collaboration,” said Jeff Schick, vice president of social software, IBM. “From the business-minded projects of IBM Researchers, to our expertise in Web 2.0, Lotus Connections is the perfect blend of business-ready tools and Web 2.0 innovations.”
For Lotus Connections beta program participant Imerys, the need to improve operation efficiencies by bringing together teams to support 250 locations in 45 countries was critical. As a recognized leader for their process and product innovations, Imerys needed collaboration technology that would build on this tradition of excellence.
Turning to IBM Business Partner Optimus Solutions, Imerys selected the rich feature set and ease of use of Lotus Connections to help meet the challenge of the geographically dispersed teams across multiple business functions.
“We needed a social networking solution that was built with business-grade collaboration and security features,” said Dave Bailey, Sr. Manager: Collaboration Services and Integration for Imerys. “Connections was easy to get up and running and we didn’t experience any down time. No other vendor could provide that blend of features and stability that integrated so well with our existing global collaboration platform.”
With more than 20,000 students and employees, Saxion is a university of applied sciences based in the Netherlands. As part of its mission to be the leader in quality education, Saxion wants to create an environment where students can learn based on their own preferences and in context to their location, time and objectives.
Saxion is implementing Lotus Connections to improve student satisfaction, increase graduation levels, drive new students to the university and give people a better way to connect within the organization. Lotus Connections will support students in finding experts via profiles and social bookmarking. They will form communities around knowledge subjects and allow students a podium for their thoughts, ideas and discussions using blogs. Activities are also being used to coordinate group learning.
As a complementary offering to Lotus Connections, Atlas is a corporate social networking visualization and analysis tool. Atlas has four Web 2.0-based components -- My Net, Find, Reach and Net. These components help users spot the important connections and the relationships between various groups and navigate their personal and corporate networks.
The latest version includes several new features that help people find the right experts, while being able to quickly get a sense of activity within their network. New Atlas widgets can be added to a person’s home page to show them how they are linked to someone, or suggest communities or blogs that people like them are participating in. This discovery process helps foster the exchange of ideas that leads to the creation of new products and services for customers.
Lotus Connections version 2.0 is now available in twenty-three different languages. The list price of Lotus Connections is $110 per user for a one-time perpetual license. Businesses can purchase the profiles or activities component of Lotus Connections at a list price of $55 per user for a perpetual license.
Atlas version 2.0 is expected to be available via services engagements through IBM Software Services for Lotus at the end of June.
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