HCL Connections Review

It integrates with the existing infrastructure tools within the company.

What is most valuable?

The integration of all tools delivered by the platform itself is the most valuable feature of this product, in addition to its ability to integrate with already available default infrastructure tools within the company (like central directories (LDAP’s), load balancer infra or HTTP infra, which is already in place).

How has it helped my organization?

Projects we run within the company are more structured thanks to IBM Connections, our employees have really started to work more openly and projects run within the company are more transparent.

What needs improvement?

The administration part of the product could be increased. There are, for instance, lots of statistics available for the platform, but you really have to harvest them, as they are available on so many different parts of the product.

It lacks centralized product administration; you have to access different parts of the product. For some administration tasks, you need to be in the web interface of the product; for other administration tasks, you have to be on the command line of the operating system where the product is running, and so on.

Also, the different tools you have to use for day-to-day operations sometimes makes it hard to keep up with the work that needs to be done to keep the product running on a day-to-day basis.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it since the start of the product (January 2007).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is quite high. We have had some crash issues in the past, but IBM Support did a tremendous job for us at the time to find the issues which caused the platform to crash.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability within the product is one of the big plusses, because the underlying infra where the applications are running on is IBM WebSphere. It is one of the best application platforms, which can scale easily in a horizontal and vertical way.

How are customer service and technical support?

As indicated elsewhere. We haven’t had much interaction with IBM Support, but the times we had to, they really did a tremendous job finding the issues in our environment.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have used SharePoint in the past, but this product (IBM Connections) is much more a total solution out of the box than SharePoint can deliver, so we migrated all our content from SharePoint to IBM Connections.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite easy after we had defined the basic parameters the environment had to fulfill.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Regarding pricing, the product is far from the cheapest in the market, but I would advise to never pay the list price. There is a lot of negotiation room from the IBM side. So use that and defend your own position hard!

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We used the Gartner “Enterprise Social Platforms” reports to identify the leaders in this market. We used these “leaders” as a list to compare features that were important to use. And so we decided that IBM Connections would fulfill most of our needed functions. At the time we had to make our decision, these were the products in the leader quadrant:

What other advice do I have?

Be very specific on features your business expects form such a platform as this, and then be honest about which products fulfill them the most. Don’t let your IT department decide to buy the product; the business department in your company should make the decision as they are your end users.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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