Vendor Profile: IBM Connections
The Intranetizen team are often asked advice about intranet vendors that supply software and hardware solutions to run your intranet. Whilst we have 35 years of blue-chip intranet experience between us, in common with many intranet practitioners, we have relatively limited experience of the 200+ software systems that companies use.
To help you, to help us and to help the vendors themselves, we’re running a series of posts of over this coming week showcasing 5 intranet companies. We’ve supplied them with the same standard set of questions and will publish their answers in their own words to ensure equity! All the images have been supplied by the company themselves and are reproduced with permission.
Today, we showcase IBM Connections.
In a brief paragraph, who are you?
International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, is an multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. Main website: www.ibm.com
Briefly describe your product’s history? Why did you start it, where does it come from?
IBM Connections is now in its 6th year in market and version 4 was released in Q3 of 2012 delivering major enhancements and new functionality. IBM Connections is the market (See IDC, Forester, Gartner) leading social software platform that enables organisations to engage the right people, drive innovation, and deliver results.
Leading companies are choosing IBM Connections, an integrated and secure platform that helps people engage with networks of experts in the context of critical business processes in order to act with confidence, and to anticipate and respond to emerging opportunities.
- Make everything social and bring your brand to every experience – the social platform that can integrate social into your business processes across your entire employee experience.
- Eliminate the guesswork – provides powerful social analytics and metrics to foster vital networks and communities.
- Unlock creativity everywhere – the social platform that is ready to be delivered to any mobile device, including tablets.
- Deploy with choice and confidence – The social business solution that offers the choice to deploy in the cloud, on premise and hybrid options.
Describe your typical customer – what kind of company, what size, what are the kinds of problems they need to solve
IBM has customers ranging in size from under 50 employees to the largest corporations in the world. These customers range across all industries and geographies e.g. Cardiff University, Salvation Army, Bayer, BASF, Leaseplan, China Telecom to name a few.
See customer testimonial videos at: http://www.ibm.com/social-
Integration into customers business and collaboration application landscape, open standards and architecture, analytics, leading functionality e.g. “Activities”, analytics. IBM focusses on business outcomes by applying Social Collaboration to business domains and processes to improve them e.g. Marketing, Customer Service, HR, IT etc.
|Activity Stream||A list of recent, relevant social and integrated business process activities occurring in your personal network or community.||View and take action quickly on content and events in context, without navigating to another process or application.|
|Embedded Experience||Work in a single, familiar environment, reducing time and making users more effective.||Provides access to business critical actions from a wide variety of applications, including 3rd party applications.|
|Integrated email and calendar||Access both IBM Lotus Domino and Microsoft ® Exchange messaging services.||Brings mail and calendar into your social context by integrating key messaging and calendar views and functions into your social environment.|
|Information about additional integration possibilities can be found in the section below.|
|Social Analytics||Access a comprehensive set of analytics for Connections components in the form of reports and recommendations.||Eliminate guesswork by discovering trends in content, social activity and expertise for better decision-making.|
|Mobility||Access all of your Connections data from mobile browsers and free native apps.||Unlock creative everywhere with anytime access to your professional network and communities.|
Which feature(s) of your product do you feel are most under-used?
IBM’s customers use all of the features/functions in different roles.
IBM Connections provides out the box functionality so that on day one you can get value from the platform. Having said this it is also built on open standards and is completely extensible. Leveraging the Open Social Activity Stream customers can also take advantage of “Embedded Experiences” and surface 3rd party applications directly in the Activity Stream e.g. SAP, CRM etc.
Customer can easily customise the look and feel of the platform to deliver a corporate branded look and feel.
What advice would you give a company planning to invest in a new intranet platform? / what are the three most important factors to consider?
Companies planning to invest in a new Intranet Platform need to look at how it can deliver a consistent experience and integration into the companies existing business and collaboration tools and the ability for users to interact with it from any device (including all mobile platforms e.g. iOS, Android, Blackberry etc.). The 3 most important factors are, Open Standards, Integration capability, Mobile platform support.
What’s your cost model? Free; one-off; per seat per month charging; something else?
IBM offers the Connections platform in a variety of licensing options to suit the customers budget and preference. On Premise per seat/per Server Capacity and SaaS per user per month models.
Jive, Microsoft (Yammer)
What do you need from *your* customers to deliver intranet success?
Engagement with lines of business around defining the business user cases that Social can be applied to. A clear understanding of the organisations goals and culture, the use of engaging experiences e.g. gamification to drive adoption, adoption is key.
What does the future have in store for your product?
IBM Connections will be totally embedded into the fabric of business i.e. applications, collaboration tools, processes and via any mode of access.
What does intranet 2015 look like?
Completely integrated experience, consistent across all modes of access
Who should intranetizen readers speak with to find out more about your product?
What question should we have asked? And if we had, what would the answer have been?
What is the core design principle of your product/platform? Answer: IBM’s design philosophy is Social = People Centric therefore Connections is designed around the human profile with all social content/data/collaboration pivoting off that profile.