HCL Connections Review

Provides the ability to sync files offline and share them with colleagues or external people.

What is most valuable?

The ability to sync my files offline and to share them with colleagues or external people is one of the more important functions. Communities are a popular way of combining blogs, wikis, files, and activities centered on a common objective or subject which proves popular and increases collaboration across people/teams. Recently, the ability to collaborate with external people such as vendors, customers, and third-parties was introduced, which allows us to collaborate outside of network in a secure way.

How has it helped my organization?

We are an IBM business partner with circa 80 employees in the UK, India, and home workers. I've found that it increases communication between these dispersed people. Also, I find that I can assist others when help has not been asked for or expected by means of seeing other people's interactions. For example, on a number of occasions, sales people have been pitching to customers whom I have dealt with or had conversations with years before. I have been able to add valuable input, because I have been following the sales people, the tags, or the community where the content was discussed.

What needs improvement?

  • Easier way to add external users
  • Easier UI customization

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for over five years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There are often deployment challenges, but often these tend to be with the integration points such as LDAP, network, single-sign-on, etc. These tend to be issues that need to be worked out together with other teams

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If IBM Connections is properly tuned with the environment and load in mind, it tends to be stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The WebSphere middleware allows the number of nodes running the applications to be scaled horizontally and vertically with relative ease. WebSphere has been doing this for many years and is doing it very well.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Raising PMRs with IBM tends to be a little hit and miss. I personally have had good service. If you are well versed with the application and its components, then troubleshooting is much easier. Many companies see real value enlisting the services of an IBM business partner who knows the applications, the databases, and is the first port of call for problems.

Technical Support:

From IBM, I would rate technical service as very good.

How was the initial setup?

Deployment can be a little complex, but a lot of this relates to the network, corporate LDAP, and security requirements. These can have an effect on the deployment of any application. IBM Connections is a mature product and the deployment path is well trodden and more importantly, it is well documented.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented our internal deployment myself and I also deployed it for customers.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I work for an IBM business partner, www.chooseportal.com
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