HCL Connections Review

The Activity Stream shows us what has happened in our network.


What is most valuable?

  • Activity: Because this app offers a lot of possibilities. Our users use this a lot for meetings and do their work in it (Getting Things Done principle and other methods for doing your work such as lean management/agile stuff).
  • Communities: To work together with good collaboration. It offers lots of possibilities to collaborate.
  • Activity Stream: See what has happened in our network in a short overview, without having to open up all of the tools you are using in collaboration. You don't need mail notifications anymore!
  • Wiki: This is a very useful tool for information and means having fewer documents. We use wikis a lot for our intranet (WebSphere portal) and in the communities to inform people about themes and work.
  • File sharing: There is no need to mail documents, but rather we can share them in Connections. The possibility to share individual documents with anyone you choose is a great feature in comparison with home and shared drives.
  • Forum: For all questions and discussions is great.

Having all features and tools together in one environment is great and gives the users a lot of possibilities to work in the way that want to. We see a great variety of use with these tools.

How has it helped my organization?

We collaborate in a different, more effective way, with less mail and less physical meeting time. It supports the new way of working a lot. This solution makes it possible to work in a different way. In other words, working in a more social way with more collaboration.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see a better UI and more user-friendly user interfaces. I would like to see them make the tool easier and more intuitive.

We hear complaints from our users that Connections, and other IBM products, are not intuitive.

The users find it difficult to find content. The menu and action buttons are not that simple. It is not easy to understand how to use the solution and what action to take.

Not all the apps work the same way with the same buttons for the same actions. An example is the tag cloud. It is not active or looks the same in each location. Sometimes there is a tag cloud in one app, but it isn't there in another app.

It does not have a very visual look and feel. There is a lot of text and many types of menus and menu columns. The locations can be one at the top, one on the left, one on the right, and each one might have a different look and feel.

Every app has its own way of working and makes it hard to understand why it all works in a different way.

It's hard to explain for me, because I've been using it for many years now. It is very familiar to me now and I'm fully used to it. But first-time users experience lots of confusion about what to use for which purpose, and how to use it.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were a few stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were scalability issues. Maximum volume of activity creates a lot of problems. We need more storage.

How is customer service and technical support?

I did not have contact with support. Our administrators worked with them. We have had different issues and lots of trouble with technical support in the past.

How was the initial setup?

It took us a lot time to upgrade to new versions. A whole new installation is needed to upgrade. That is a big problem.

It takes a lot of money and time, and that is a great loss. Companies are not willing to do upgrades frequently and are often a year or two behind the new versions. Because of this, they are missing a lot of new features.

What other advice do I have?

Be aware that this is a whole new way of working. The product needs an adoption process to help all users. And you need a goal for the solution. Otherwise, you face the risk that only a few users will learn how to use it.

Start with understanding why you want to use it. Be aware that you need the CEO and the rest of management to embrace it to be successful.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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