When companies roll out IBM Connections, it can initially be met with the usual collective resistance any change tends to garner, but it doesn’t take long before resistance is replaced with excitement. Why? Connections brings to the table a long list of end user features that are actually useful! Absent is the usual mantra of "that's not a bug, it an 'undocumented feature'!" What becomes present is people telling each other about the cool thing they found they can do! It seems that IBM Connections is really living up to the hype of a social collaborative platform that is actually useful and effective. So what are some of these features?
First, this is not going to be an exhaustive treatise on every feature. IBM and their business partners have written hundreds of pages on all that, and some specifics will differ based on what version you are using. And if you are using Connections, you likely know of features that will not be in my brief list. What I will do is provide some of the key features with a bit of explanation about them.
One of the best, most visible features is the concept of Communities. This is a collection of features around any sort of organizational topic or basis you choose. Communities can contain forums, shared files, wiki or blog type sharing, and more.
You can control access to a community, and what role individual members fill, allowing granularity of control on add / change / delete functions of content. And one of the newer features allows the movement of entire communities to match changes to your organizational structure.
Search - now with prioritization.
When you need to find something, you can simply search for it.
Easy, right? Of course!
But searching in Connections takes things to a new level. Search one or more communities...email...shared files...contacts...even attachments to forum topics. Searching is seamless and fluid, and you can prioritize your own personal content in the results.
Reading an email or a forum entry, you can easily see if others in the conversation are online in case you need to touch base right away. Beyond that, you can organize an ad-hoc instant online meeting if that's how you roll. Everything from a conventional chat session to a multi-user file-sharing conference call meeting with a few clicks. Of course you can be more formal and schedule your meetings as well, but if you operate in a more flexible environment, Connections social networking can meet your needs.
The options for additional features is truly endless since Connections has a published API allowing VAR's to integrate other programs and implement custom features. So when you talk about end user features in Connections, there really can be no comprehensive or complete list!
The good part is that IBM Connections does a lot of the "heavy lifting" to establish a framework for social collaboration, but you are not limited to, or locked into, only using Connections the IBM way. It’s a robust foundation you can take in any direction you need it to go!
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