At the Social Business event in the Netherlands today, IBM announced the new IBM Connections Suite.
The Convergence of Social, Unified Communications, and Content Management
Including IBM Connections, IBM Connections Community document libraries, IBM Sametime Advanced and IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite, this new solution is designed to provide an organisation will all the tools to offer its users a cohesive suite of social collaboration tools. I’m sure that you will hear more from Luis Benitez and others as the day goes on in terms of details – I know that there are some great video demos to look out for too.
From our perspective, this new bundle provides a single part number for a really cohesive bundle of tools: instant messaging, VoIP, microblogging, communities, social profiles, document libraries, instant polls, forums, media galleries and so on. When you compare the breadth of the solution with anything from Jive, Socialtext, Microsoft or SalesForce.com, it all stacks up tremendously well. Like for like, there really is no comparison in ‘bang for the buck’. IBM has done a super job of pulling it all together into one product.
As always though, Social Business is not really about the technology. It is an enabler to help an organisation and individuals working within it to get to a culture where sharing carries less friction, where information and resources are easier to find and where the organisation is flattened to a point where it becomes about the ‘wirearchy‘ rather than the ‘hierarchy‘…
The Connections Suite will absolutely provide an organisation with the bundle of tools it needs in its’ kit bag. The next challenge is how to implement them in a way that supports the organisation’s goals and direction. That’s where IBM’s partners (and internal services team) need to step in, to remove the complexity from this bundle of products, make it into a really cohesive single solution and then to layer ‘the interesting stuff’ (user adoption, customisation, business process alignment, community management etc.) on top. We can’t wait!