What users are saying about

Airtable

212 Ratings

IBM Connections

43 Ratings

Airtable

212 Ratings
Score 9.1 out of 101

IBM Connections

43 Ratings
Score 7.3 out of 101

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Likelihood to Recommend

Airtable

Any sort of database--keeping records of all of our volunteers, recipients, organizations, etc
Juliet Sternberg profile photo

IBM Connections

IBM Connections is well suited for larger organizations that need an internal social networking tool and are willing to deal with IBM and the complexity of the software. It is less appropriate for smaller organizations and those who don't want to deal with the complexity, or IBM's awful customer service and prices.
Jeremiah Miller profile photo

Feature Rating Comparison

Project Management

Airtable
7.8
IBM Connections
7.5
Task Management
Airtable
8.0
IBM Connections
5.9
Resource Management
Airtable
8.2
IBM Connections
Gantt Charts
Airtable
7.5
IBM Connections
Scheduling
Airtable
7.5
IBM Connections
7.9
Workflow Automation
Airtable
7.7
IBM Connections
8.0
Team Collaboration
Airtable
8.7
IBM Connections
Support for Agile Methodology
Airtable
7.9
IBM Connections
Support for Waterfall Methodology
Airtable
7.7
IBM Connections
Document Management
Airtable
7.8
IBM Connections
Email integration
Airtable
7.2
IBM Connections
Mobile Access
Airtable
7.5
IBM Connections
7.7
Timesheet Tracking
Airtable
7.9
IBM Connections
Change request and Case Management
Airtable
8.0
IBM Connections
Budget and Expense Management
Airtable
8.1
IBM Connections
Search
Airtable
IBM Connections
6.6
Visual planning tools
Airtable
IBM Connections
8.9

Communication

Airtable
IBM Connections
7.8
Chat
Airtable
IBM Connections
7.5
Notifications
Airtable
IBM Connections
8.2
Discussions
Airtable
IBM Connections
8.5
Surveys
Airtable
IBM Connections
6.9
Internal knowledgebase
Airtable
IBM Connections
8.0
Integrates with GoToMeeting
Airtable
IBM Connections
9.5
Integrates with Gmail and Google Hangouts
Airtable
IBM Connections
10.0
Integrates with Outlook
Airtable
IBM Connections
4.0

File Sharing & Management

Airtable
IBM Connections
8.3
Versioning
Airtable
IBM Connections
8.6
Video files
Airtable
IBM Connections
8.5
Audio files
Airtable
IBM Connections
8.5
Document collaboration
Airtable
IBM Connections
8.0
Access control
Airtable
IBM Connections
8.8
Advanced security features
Airtable
IBM Connections
5.8
Integrates with Google Drive
Airtable
IBM Connections
10.0
Device sync
Airtable
IBM Connections
8.2

Pros

  • It's very easy to use. I was able to start from scratch and get a pretty complex workflow set up in just a couple hours.
  • The ability to create one "master table" with every piece of possible information is good for the "deep dive" members of the team, but then it's easy to create views and calendars based on just a few pieces of data that are better for one specific use or person.
  • Being able to store draft content on the system as attachments means that the review copy/image can be included in the workflow rather than as a separate email or in another tracking system.
  • The ability to quickly group, sort and filter on the master table make it easy for the power-users to work with the full set of information, but still find a specific project quickly.
Andy Havens profile photo
  • The web UI is very easy for most users to get around. The mobile app UI is even better, especially for Blogs and Files. It’s clear IBM has done a lot of work around the usability of Connections. Most users immediately felt at home regardless of which social network(s) they’ve used. Technically savvy users quickly discovered how to customize a Community for their own purposes. After the initial introduction, most users could use the Connections web UI and mobile app easily without IT intervention.
  • Ideation Blogs are a great way to brainstorm and share ideas, then vote on those ideas. The concept is great, and hopefully as time goes on IBM refines it with additional administrative control.
  • Early test groups loved the mobile app immediately with its super easy file sync capabilities and associated document editing app (even though we did not have IBM Docs).
  • Profiles were a big hit right away, making it easy to find, tag (recommend), and follow other people that might not otherwise be connected with in the organization.
  • The ability to Tag, #hashtag and Follow virtually anything in Connections provides users easy ways to connect with people and content.
  • External collaboration, even though we never specifically tested this, appears to be very clear in Connections, providing customers etc. a secure way to share information with internal teams.
  • Search functionality is very good.
No photo available

Cons

  • It would be great to have multi-tiered selection options. So if I check a box-like, "Does this need social support?" I could then pick from a multi-select drop-down based on the choice.
  • It would be good if we could have a kanban view built off a selection from a multi-select since some projects might be part of multiple strategic initiatives.
  • It would be cool if forms could have some basic if/then functionality. As it is, we need to create different forms for different media requests that share 75% of the same data.
Andy Havens profile photo
  • The lack of a note-taking tool became a bigger and bigger issue as time went on. Our pilot users felt Connections was a natural place to take and share meeting notes – including photos, drawings, recorded audio, etc. – and were always frustrated that there was no easy, organized way to do that. We tried using a Blog, Wiki, etc. but nothing really resonated as a good solution for this.
  • The Wiki tool is weak, providing rigid structure but with few options. A Community can only have a single Wiki, for instance. Wikis are weak in the mobile app as well; they’re not even easy to navigate. Users ended up ignoring Wikis completely despite our efforts to get them to convert documents like guidelines, policies, procedures, handbooks, etc. into Wiki form.
  • The Windows Explorer plug-in was useful but required a lot of manual intervention to setup. For instance, once a user joins a Community in Connections, the Community also has to be manually added to the Explorer plug-in so the user can find, open and edit files with it. We felt this process should be much more automated.
  • Tagging is only relevant in the web UI and, to a lesser extent, in the mobile app. However, in the Windows Explorer plug-in, Tags are not usable at all making it difficult to find things that were easy to find in the web UI.
  • IBM Docs was not included in the on-premises deployment; it was an additional license so we did not test it. Documents, mainly Microsoft Office files, are still the single most common way our user community creates, shares, edits and presents information. That proved to be a major gap for our users, and slowed user adoption considerably. We considered testing it, but IBM Docs would only work for about half of our users so we found ourselves wondering if we really wanted to support two document editing platforms. IBM Docs also offers no way to work offline as far as we could tell. This also meant we would need to keep licensing Microsoft Office which is not cheap.
  • Consulting costs are high because the back-end environment is complex. Installing, administrating and even patching Connections is a fairly complex process. We needed to hire consultants to install our test environment and any major upgrades would’ve required additional consulting fees. Any 3rd party add-ons we looked at were highly technical in nature meaning…you guessed it, more consulting costs.
  • Administrating IBM Connections requires editing XML files in a specific, secure way that is typically done in a console. I love consoles as much as the next admin, but when you only use a console once every 2 months it means looking up all the documentation and re-educating yourself. A single change could take me 2 hours to implement. 3rd party admin dashboards do exist, at an additional cost, but IBM really should provide a much easier way to manage the environment.
  • The lack of in-person or online training courses, materials, videos, etc. really discouraged a lot of users. The only decent training we could find (marketing videos aside) was a single video series on Lynda.com which, of course, was an additional cost. In the end that video didn’t really help our users much beyond introductory concepts.
  • IBM includes reporting, but it’s a massive Cognos system requiring some serious hardware and Cognos expertise. We had neither, and would have ultimately opted for a 3rd party add-on for reporting and statistics.
  • An often overlooked concern is eDiscovery. Our contracted eDiscovery service extensively works with various ECMs, but had no idea how they would handle Connections data. The cloud version of Connections offers an add-on for eDiscovery, but as far as we could tell IBM offered nothing for on-premises deployments.
No photo available

Likelihood to Renew

Airtable9.1
Based on 1 answer
compared to other products it is just fabulous.
Andrej Vrsansky profile photo
IBM Connections7.7
Based on 7 answers
I would renew it to keep the communications between departments and colleagues open and for the accessibility of documents and information
Kiera Stallings profile photo

Usability

Airtable9.0
Based on 5 answers
Airtable has a plethora of features that suit our needs, although there are little things that could be improved to make it perfect. I believe Airtable is actively working to improve their product so I have every confidence that Airtable is the perfect choice for our purposes.
Stephanie Etchie profile photo
IBM Connections9.0
Based on 3 answers
Connections combines all the most useful abilities from various social networks. This makes it useful of course, but it also reduces user adoption time initially by allowing users to get comfortable with basic features. Once they are comfortable, it's easy for users to start exploring. They find new people in the organization to contact, new sources of information, etc. Before you know it, about half of the users are contributing back in some form -- and all with little or no training needed by IT.
No photo available

Reliability and Availability

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic
IBM Connections10.0
Based on 1 answer
Once Connections was installed, patched, etc. it was ALWAYS up. We only had to bring it down for OS updates to the servers. That seems to be typical of anything that runs on WebSphere; it's bulletproof and could probably run for months and years if the underlying OS didn't require constant patching.
No photo available

Performance

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic
IBM Connections9.0
Based on 1 answer
IBM Connections web UI, mobile app (data sync to / from the device), and file transfer speeds were almost always very fast. It was rare for a slow-down of any kind, even when doing searches.
No photo available

Support

Airtable7.3
Based on 1 answer
Sometimes, I have to wait a bit longer but I'm on a low priced option so I understand why. Generally, they're able to provide me solutions to my problems as long as I'm not in a rush.
Malcolm Colman-Shearer profile photo
IBM Connections8.9
Based on 3 answers
IBM Support has ALWAYS been quick to respond, regardless of the product. Even first level techs seldom provide "canned" responses and they really try to help. If they can't help, they don't wallow around but engage the right person immediately. It's very rare that the first level tech needs to escalate, and even more rare when they do escalate and the next person engaged cannot solve it. We have been more than satisfied with IBM support's quick and professional responses to our issues.
No photo available

Implementation

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic
IBM Connections7.3
Based on 1 answer
Try to understand you will never find a product which suites all your end user for 100%. IBM Connections is the best of all breeds but if you go look on each functionality on its own there are better example out there. But as IBM COnnections delivers it all in just one platform makes it the best example about integration of different functionality into one platform.
No photo available

Alternatives Considered

We do use Social Studio and Sharepoint for other tasks, but for project planning across a wide variety of deliverables, there wasn't enough flexibility all the time. Asana was harder to use and get into and didn't provide an easy way to adjust views/sorts.
Andy Havens profile photo
We have not yet evaluated any particular products in depth; we had fully expected to move forward with Connections on-premises. However, we have briefly looked at SmartCloud / Connections Cloud which is, of course, very similar but maintained and updated by IBM. We have also briefly looked into Office 365 which has several advantages, being (A) Microsoft Office, (B) broadly available training (live, video, etc.) and (C) enthusiastic support from most of IT and many end users. However, Office 365 is much more expensive.
No photo available

Scalability

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic
IBM Connections7.0
Based on 2 answers
Scaling UP is never an issue with IBM's core technologies like WebSphere, DB2, etc. as long as you have or can find the technical resources to implement it. Where IBM seems to fail is scaling DOWN for smaller organizations. Connections 5.0 on-premises would have required us to create 7 servers -- yes, they would be virtualized, but still that's 7 OS licenses, 40 virtual CPU cores, 80GB RAM, and a few TB of hard disk space. All to replace Quick which runs on 1 server with 1 OS license, 4 cores, 8GB RAM and 600GB of disk. Granted, there are major differences in capabilities between the two, but how do you get a CFO understand why features like a mobile app, file sync, and social sharing require 10x the back-end resources?
No photo available

Return on Investment

  • It's too soon to have conclusive evidence of ROI, but I suspect our improved ability to manage our partner and donor relationships will improve, thus leading to positive ROI in the future.
Dana Luco profile photo
  • IBM Connections 5.0 on-premises provided our pilot groups with better overall communications. Communities sprang up around projects, teams, departments, and even topics like new technologies. As the groups expanded their usage, they found posting Status updates, new or updated Files, and so forth really helped everyone keep up.
  • Throughout our pilot we kept noticing that despite the availability of tools like Blogs, Wikis, etc., our users tended to primarily use Microsoft Office documents instead. Even "millennials" coming in expected full, native support to view and edit Microsoft Office files from the web UI. IBM Docs appears to be a suitable replacement but adds cost to the solution overall.
  • Most of the admins, developers and technical support staff at our organization are heavily Microsoft-centric and find IBM software difficult to integrate, support and find training for.
  • The Connections on-premises server environment is a complex one, requiring either extensive in-house skill with IBM technologies or costly consulting. SMBs should look to the cloud version instead.
No photo available

Screenshots

IBM Connections

Pricing Details

Airtable

General
Free Trial
Yes
Free/Freemium Version
Yes
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Additional Pricing Details

IBM Connections

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
Additional Pricing Details