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IBM Announces Improvements to Its Connections Solution
The new features seek to improve collaboration and the mobile experience.
Posted Feb 1, 2016
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Today, IBM announced a range of new capabilities for its business social networking platform, IBM Connections. The platform, which can be delivered on premises or as software-as-a-service via the IBM Cloud, aims to improve internal business communications by enabling companies to more efficiently gather and analyze data from internal social networks and easily share that information throughout the organization.

The update consists of three major new capabilities, the first of which is the ability to customize communities by role or function. Companies can establish specialized communities for line-of-business users in marketing, HR, sales, and other departments, and customize these communities with new page layouts, movable widgets, and rich content. According to IBM, these communities assist businesses in promoting collaboration.

Luis Benitez, manager of Enterprise Social Solutions at IBM Analytics, says that this solution is "giving businesses easy-to-use and flexible capabilities where they can build a way to send mass communications or have mass collaborations among groups." Benitez notes that users can establish communities based on marketing, sales, and other important areas to promote collaboration.  

Second is the ability to manage files more easily. One of the goals of Connections is to increase productivity, and now the system provides personal sub-folders that enable users to preview files prior to downloading and move information from Connections to their desktops more easily. These new features are intended to promote organization and efficiency—especially for on-the-go users.

“Email is not very efficient,” Benitez says. “We streamlined the whole document review collaboration process—you can easily share a link with somebody, they can review it online without having to download it, and…in real time, you can co-edit your document in the cloud, on premises, wherever, and your changes are all kept in track.” This real-time editing capability is powered by IBM Docs 2.0, which has been incorporated into Connections.

Finally, IBM has introduced key mobile enhancements for Connections. Polls and surveys are now accessible on mobile devices, and users can also securely edit documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Furthermore, administrators can secure the Connections app with an application-level password, as opposed to using other information. These features are essential for promoting security and keeping users connected in a mobile-first world.

“The same editing capabilities that are available on our Web browser experience, we have now brought them directly to mobile,” Benitez says. He notes that with many file-sharing services, users often have to download files and work on them with third-party editors, possibly compromising the security of their documents. "[With Connections], you have full secure capabilities to take documents offline, edit them offline, and do it on your favorite mobile device," he says.

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