My friends at IBM were kind enough to give me a heads up that Version 3.0 of IBM Lotus Connections was being released today. I have been very impressed with their efforts in this space and this release continues to raise the bar on the competition.
IBM’s Research Team provides a strategic advantage that IBM continues to build upon. Other companies have brilliant researchers but IBM is a leader in converting this research into product enhancements. One of the main challenges that was focused upon in this release was that of social noise. It is easy to be overwhelmed by status updates, tweets, emails, and text messages and IBM is working to help filter the quality information from the noise.
When you login to connections, content and people recommendations are displayed on your home screen. These recommendations are, as you would expect, personalized based upon who you are connected to and the content you view. See this sample home screen picture (look at bottom left):
Unlike many applications, Connections tells you why recommendations are being made. This is critical as you can use this information to determine if the software is making recommendations based upon what really matters to you. For example, it may recommend a piece of content based upon your connection to another employee. If you do not want this connection to weigh into your recommendations you can tell Connections to ignore this relationship in its recommendations.
Recommendations continue to improve as you interact with the system. Also, as you would hope, your most recent activity weighs into the recommendations more heavily than older activity. This is important as your interest six months ago may not reflect your interest today.
IBM Lotus Connections 3.0 has done a nice job providing a mobile-friendly web interface for its users. It went with mobile web vs. mobile applications first as it is the most cost-effective approach to building robust, cross-platform, cross-device, solutions. IBM MAY build device-specific applications in time if there are compelling reasons to do so, but for now this solution enables them to satisfy the largest set of customers.
IBM has also done a nice job of working with its closest customers. Sogeti, one of the world’s leading providers of professional technology services with 20,000 experts located in 15 countries worldwide, is using Lotus Connections to connect all employees across fields and borders. Sogeti has been using an integration between Connections and Microsoft SharePoint for some time. In earlier versions this connection had simply been a push of Connections data into SharePoint. With 3.0, based upon request from Sogeti, Connections now supports pulling SharePoint content into Connections. Listen to your customers.
Look for a continued focus on key integrations, richer analytics, and even more mobile improvements. These are key focus areas for businesses of all sizes and IBM is looking to meet these needs.
Originally posted on Government in Action.