IBM Offers Smarter, More Analytical Lotus Connections Release


Topping the list of new features in Lotus Connections 3.0 are new analytical capabilities that make it easier for users to find the people and content they are seeking, said Heidi Ambler, IBM social software program director. "We believe this is a real game-changer," she said in a phone interview.

The advanced analytic capabilities gives recommendations of who a user should connect with based on prior connections and similar interests. The system also recommends content users might be interested in based on their activities such as commenting on a blog post or tagging a Website.

"We believe that if you can find the right person, you can find the right content," Ambler said. Lotus Connections 3.0 also helps users identify online communities and "sub-communities" a user might want to join. The analytics technology built into the application was developed in IBM's social software research laboratory in Haifa, Israel.

The new release also provides a programming interface that makes it possible for an organization to pull content into systems used to manage regulatory compliance, Ambler said. IBM also has expanded the number of ways users can access Lotus Connections from mobile devices such as Apple's iPad and iPhone, Android-based systems and Nokia S60 phones.

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IBM offers Lotus Connections 3.0 as an on-premise application, as well as hosted by IBM and IBM channel partners. Components of Lotus Connections are also available through IBM's LotusLive cloud-based application suite. While some channel partners resell Lotus Connections, many provide related services such as hosting the application and integrating it with other systems, Ambler said.

The new offerings from IBM Global Business Services include consulting services to help businesses develop a social networking strategy, assess the potential benefits and return on investment, and implement the technology. Other services will cover leadership and skills development for a social workplace, policy and privacy management, and social business training.