HCL Connections Review

It changes the way knowledge is shared.

What is most valuable?

IBM Connections Profiles are the heart and soul of IBM Connections. It changes the way knowledge is shared and found by allowing users to identify subject matter experts in their organizations, from there they can either look at the knowledge and content the expert is sharing, reach out and engage with the expert directly, or even reach communities of experts to find the answers they are looking for. It helps the organization to be more productive, reduces the time lost when searching for information, and allows employees to build their own brand inside the organization, resulting in better talent retention and employee engagement.

IBM Connections Activities provides a platform for getting things done by allowing teams of people to collaborate and share to do’s and feedback on tasks quickly and transparently, keeping everyone informed and on the same page without the need for frequent meetings and reviews. Once an activity is successfully completed, it can be used as a “blue print” for similar activities in the future, which saves time and allows teams to have more predictable results.

IBM Connections Mobile application and plugins provide users with the ability to collaborate and share information easily from anywhere – their mobile phone, tablet, or their favourite applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

Important information, like policies, procedures, and corporate templates, has become easy to find and has reduced wasted time and user frustration. Distribution of business reports by sharing them in IBM Connections has not only yielded the obvious result of reduced mail traffic and storage, but also allows users to engage and collaborate more effectively on these reports.

Integration with business functions and processes like internal audits has resulted in better collaboration with external parties (like auditors) and better efficiency in addressing audit findings due to open and transparent collaboration and sharing of documents and feedback (no more missed or lost emails).

What needs improvement?

Various plugins are available for Microsoft Windows desktops and this adds tremendously to the user experience.

Mac users currently only have File Sync support and no plugins are available for Linux desktop users, leaving these users heavily dependent of the web user interface. Although the web user interface works great and is constantly being improved, the plugins create a more seamless experience.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

IBM provides good support, and in most cases support is available world-wide through IBM’s network of Business Partners.

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

IBM Connections has replaced a variety of solutions, including File Shares (shared drives), the company intranet, and the corporate directory. IT also reduced the need for various custom-developed ad-hoc solutions due to its rich set of features.

IBM Connections provides a single solution that offers profiles, communities, file sharing, wikis, blogs, surveys, activities, bookmarks, forums, ideation, activity streams and events. The product is mature, has a very strong business focus, and can be integrated with other business solutions.

Using IBM Connections and all the capabilities it offers, provides users with a single place to go for all their collaboration and knowledge sharing requirements.

How was the initial setup?

Initial installation and setup of the on-premises version of IBM Connections requires specific technical skills. Once the product is installed and configured it is easy to use and users have many options to easily control their user experience.

The IBM Connections Cloud offering provides a quick and easy way to get up and running with Enterprise Social Networking without the need for technical skills and expertise.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated SharePoint and Yammer.

What other advice do I have?

Work with an IBM Business Partner who has skills and expertise, not only in the installation and configuration of the IBM Connections Suite of products, but also in the implementation and adoption of Enterprise Social Networking and Social Business.

The deployment of IBM Connections has a much lower focus on technical skills when compared with other business solutions. The success of your IBM Connections project will depend heavily on successful integration with everyday business processes and activities and user adoption.

Becoming a successful business using IBM Connections is a journey which requires careful planning and guidance, but the rewards are absolutely worth the effort.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an IBM Business Partner. I am also one of 123 IBM Champions for Collaboration Solutions.
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