What is most valuable?
The most valuable features of Connections would be that it opens up communication silos that previously existed in the company. Instead of everybody working in this little box, it opens it up across the enterprise so that people have the opportunity to discover talents and interests in other areas that may not pertain to their normal job function.
How has it helped my organization?
The benefits are, first and foremost, we get to find out exactly what other business units are doing in the company. You work for a company for a long time, but you don't know what everybody else does. You get to find out, "Oh, these are other things that are happening," and it happens in real time. Once someone in a business unit posts something, you get to find out about it if you follow them. Another benefit is that it exposes you to people with other talents and disciplines that are not their normal job function. That's not what they were hired for, but they have that skill set that you can call into play, either as a reference or as a resource.
What needs improvement?
They seem to be implementing some of what we want in the upcoming versions, like an onboarding wizard. Having an easier way to integrate with other third-party tools would be really helpful. Right now, depending on the tool, it's easier or harder to integrate than it could be. That's probably one of the bigger things.
Support has got to know what they're doing. They got to have a good product, and the product has to work. We've dealt with a number of vendors for products that integrate with Connections. They advertise one thing, and it just doesn't work as advertised. It seems like everyone's in a rush to get something to market without being thorough in their testing and QA. They release a product, and that's something else that IBM is kind of bad about. They release a product that's not quite ready for prime time just so they can say, "Okay, we hit a deadline. We released it on this date." I guess in the backrooms they're thinking, "Well, we'll fix it in the next two quarters." We see the same thing with some third-party vendors.
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using it now for, probably, three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
So far, it's very stable, depending on your implementation of it. We've been at it now for, probably, three years. The stability and the capability is getting better with every version.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It seems to be capable of scaling. We haven't had to scale it that much, because we did a mass rollout all at once, and our company is not growing that fast. I see where the potential for scalability is very good, because of how we built it.
How are customer service and technical support?
Support needs improvement. The product seems to be released with a lot of bugs. Of course, IBM has multiple layers of technical support. The lower levels of technical support are somewhat clueless about how to support this product, so it takes a lot longer to get to somebody who does know what they are doing than I think it should. That's probably the most frustrating aspect about supporting a product so far. Hopefully they're going to improve that. We've been told that they're implementing different training programs within the infrastructure. It remains to be seen.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We didn't previously have anything else. Through marketing material, we saw what the capabilities are. Management had the foresight to recognize, "Okay, this could change the way that we do business or we do work," and it has.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We didn’t consider any other tools for the connection solution in general.
What other advice do I have?
Do your research. Don't skimp on marketing within the company, in terms of adoption. Invest heavily in adoption strategy, because you can put it out there and it will be great for a week because it's new and shiny. But unless you have a serious plan for adoption, your utilization is going to drop off like a cliff if you don't have a staged plan of keeping adoption rates high and incentivizing people.