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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