IBM’s Lotus Connections 3.0 Aims to Make Businesses More Social


You may not realize it, but IBM (s ibm) has actually been a player in the enterprise social networking space for quite some time. Lotus Connections, the company’s corporate social software suite, was originally released way back in June 2007. At the Enterprise 2.0 conference today, the company announced that the next major version of the app, Connections 3.0, will include new social analytics features to help users discover people with whom they might wish to connect and content that might be relevant to them. It also supports a wider variety of mobile devices and integrates with other software to help further IBM’s vision of “social everywhere:” the idea that social networks are more useful if users can access them any time, anywhere.

Social Analytics

The new social analytics features allow users to discover people who share common interests and find content that they are likely to find interesting, based on their own profiles and interactions with the tool. Social analytics powers a range of widgets, including:

  • Do You Know recommends people for users to add to their network based on your existing connections, tags, organizational relationships, and actions that they have taken.
  • Things in Common helps users identify what they have in common with others — such as a list of the communities that both belong to, or a list of the tags that they both use.
  • Who Connects Us shows the social path that links a user to a person.

Particularly in larger organizations, where it’s impossible to know everyone or keep up-to-date with everything that might be relevantant, this type of social discovery (similar to that found in many consumer social networking apps, like Facebook and LinkedIn) should be very handy.

Social Everywhere

To help users access their social network at any time from anywhere, Connections 3.0 is supported on a wider range of mobile devices, with support on Android (s goog) and iPad (s aapl) to add to the existing support for BlackBerry (s rimm), Nokia (s nok) and iPhone. There’s no additional cost for the mobile clients.

Additionally, Connections is also being integrated with other software to enable social features within those tools. As you might expect, Connections plays nicely with IBM’s other tools, such as Lotus Notes and Sametime, but new in 3.0 is integration with Microsoft Sharepoint (s msft).

Connnections 3.0 also includes a raft of other new features and updates to the existing applications, at-a-glance details can be found here. The new version will be available on Nov. 24.

Do you use Connections? Let us know what you think of it below.

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Damra Muminovic

Delighted to see IBM continue thought leadership social software for businesses. I especially appreciate entry of Social Analytics, described above, using valuable, well known and popular mechanisms in consumer oriented social networks.

Another great feutare showing of thought leadership is aknowledging importance of access to corporate social platforms in mobile devices/smart phones. That was a very well needed step. Corporate users have the same expectiations at work as in private life.

IBM shows off real understanding of business needs for a mature corporate user of social collaboration platforms, bringing consumer technologies to businesses.

Lotus Connections is a great move forward!

Stuart McIntyre

As a keen user, consultant and evangelist for Lotus Connections, I can only endorse the other comments on this story. Connections has been leading the way for enterprise social software since its release in mid-2007, focusing on bringing together people, knowledge and communities in a way that other products in this space cannot touch. Version brings in a number of very important improvements, not least the new social analytics piece and a massive improvement to communities functionality.

Year on year, IBM has been updating and improving Connections to give organisations more of what they need to embrace the cultural change toward being more social.

If the mention of ‘Lotus’ makes you take a deep breath and remember software from the 90s, its time to take a fresh look. Connections is definitely not your father’s Lotus software!

Bilal Jaffery

As an IBMer, this makes me proud. The vision of a truly social enterprise that is agile, hungry and ‘hip’ becomes real everyday.

Bilal Jaffery

Simon Vaughan

Great to read this and finally see a release date for Connections 3! The new version is a great step forward with a vastly improved user interface, social analytics and a host of functional / non functional improvements that will increase the adoption rate within an enterprise. The team @Lotus have listened to what we customers have been asking for and I for one am really looking fwd to the official launch on the 24th Nov… Well done to all involved !

Mitch Cohen

I have been using Lotus Connections since the pre 1.0 release, I am amazed at the huge improvements, and new features that IBM manages to pack in to each new release. 3.0 is another tremendous step forward. For those who adopted early the payback is huge as the new Social Analytics engine will leverage all the existing content to provide recommendations to individuals adding yet more value to the tools.

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