HCL Connections Review

Gives us access to platform resources from all over the world. There is an inconsistency of the editing interface between the various components.


What is most valuable?

  • Access to platform resources from all over the world
  • Blogs
  • Fast search of employees/groups/ communities/employees’ profiles
  • Each file entered into the system has a label with the time and the name of the person who uploaded the file
  • Document download is registered and visible to the system users who downloaded the file, time when it was downloaded. After updating the document, a new version is created, but previous versions are not deleted.
  • List of activities to do
  • Private communities with access management
  • Integration with IBM Notes, Sametime.

All the features above improve collaboration among employees.

How has it helped my organization?

The most noticeable improvement was in the communication between the R&D department and the service department, who until now had no communication tools, despite having an email.

Employees from these departments work on different shifts, so the communication between them was difficult. The improvement in the area of cooperation has also been noticed by trade office workers who have easier access to needed and up-to-date documentation such as KRS, NIP, and REGON marketing materials.

The implemented system was very well used by the HR department. They provided training for staff from various companies among the group, set up communities with access only for training participants, where materials from the workshop and additional information was provided.

The system also helped during the setting up of a company in China. Employees engaged from different locations in Poland and China opened a community where they exchanged documentation and had discussions. This tool has certainly improved the opening of the company in China. The documentation was in one place and was available from anywhere in the world.

What needs improvement?

We suggested over 40 improvement of the system in 2014, but nothing has changed in the 4.5 version.

After a few months of using the solution, we have prepared document with the biggest failures and features to improve in the system. We have suggested over 40 improvement of the system, we have made PMR in the system:

  • Movies with high resolution after uploaded in the community had bad quality, were unreadable, or we couldn’t upload files in AVI or WMV.
  • The inconsistency of the editing interface between the various components (different ways of adding images to a wiki page, to a blog, or to a community description)
  • Writing in the editor was treated as a lack of user activity. That means that when editing of content in a text editor for a long time, such as editing a wiki page, the session loses its validity during that time and redirects to the login screen. The previously entered content is lost.
  • We couldn’t have created subfolders in Files component (after one year we bought Library component, which has possibility to create subfolders). I’m writing about the 4.5 version we had.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this since 11.2013.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support should be improved. We made a PMR in the system. Afterwards, a person from technical support sent us an email and asked the same questions. Sometimes a few different people asked the same questions about the same PMR.

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

We tested Yammer for half a year. We switched into IBM Connections mostly because of Connections’ features:

  • Own server
  • server proxy
  • Privacy access layer
  • Recommendations and comments function
  • Idea management functions, such as monitors channels for idea capture, customer categorization of requests, idea voting, classified idea capture, and request status notes.
  • Each file entered into the system has a label with time and person who uploaded the file
  • Document download is registered and visible to the system users: Who downloaded the file and when it was downloaded.
  • After updating the document, a new version is created, but previous versions are not deleted.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was more complex than straightforward.

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

I advise only buying a few licenses and test different solutions among a group of employees from different departments with different experience for at least half a year. Then make a list of features they like and don’t like and ask them in what situations the solution will help them with their daily work. After getting the pros and cons of the solution, the decision should be made buying the license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing the solution, we considered Yammer.

What other advice do I have?

It is very important to set the proper goal for such an implementation and to verify the goal in the organization.

The next step is to test a few similar solutions by selected employees: Those specialized in different areas of the company, not just IT, but also communication, marketing, HR, finance, and manufacturing.

Then examine the pros and cons of each solution and decide which solution will help in achieving a goal.

I suggest at least three months for testing for each solution. An important issue is to choose the best project management methodology and the communication and project management knowledge of employees responsible for implementation.

The experience of people implementing such solutions in the organization is very helpful during the entire implementation process. In order to function effectively, people, not only those from the IT department, are necessary and need this knowledge.

The key, if not the most important role in this case, is the community manager. He or she:

  • Promotes this tool within the organization
  • Organizes trainings
  • Presents functions
  • Present examples of their use
  • Promotes good practices regarding the use of this tool in the organization.

After implementation, in each company’s department should appoint one person who will be responsible for departmental data updates.

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