Overall Satisfaction with IBM Connections
IBM Connections is being used throughout the whole organization (34,000+ end users) as a social addition to the statically delivered intranet. The main business problem and why this organizations has decided to choose for IBM Connections is in fact that it pushed out to the end users to work more closely together on projects and in day to day work situations. IBM Connections fulfills in that completely. With the mobility part of IBM Connections the circle was completely round as this was one of the biggest issue's we had with the current intranet which was too much statically build and not developed for mobile clients (not build with a responsive web design). We have just introduced the CCM part of IBM Connections which will replace overtime to all current file-shares which are being delivered via OLD fashioned way of serving files via a FileServer model. All this together is for us a major improvement on the next step of our journey in the intranet world.
- The Mobile consummation of IBM Connections is very good and is rapidly improving over time. Every month a new version of the Mobile app for IBM Connections is being delivered which fixes bugs but also adds new functionality over time.
- Stability is very high of the product as it runs on IBM WebSphere (which has proved itself already in the MidMarket segment completely) and is very important for us as a customer because this keeps the day to day management costs for the environment very low.
- The open design of the product. It's fairly easy to extend the product but also the end user working and feeling is open. What I mean by that is that the product supports self serviceability so no costs at the IT department regarding of creating FileShares and so on.
- Out of the box IBM Connections delivers a complete solution which can be used as a base to extend on. Connections to already existing LDAP/SAP/Domiono or other HR systems can easily be build via the delivered license of IBM Security Directory Integrator product with IBM Connections which is almost limitless in connecting different resources together.
- The UI of the activities component really needs a redesign. Currently this component was there already from the beginning of IBM Connections and never got a UI overhaul. Currently the functionality is working exceptionally good but the UI is too much based on Text instead of a graphical UI.
- Better integration with PIM (Personal Information Manager like (domino and/or exchange)) environments.
- Currently for the admin side of IBM Connections a lot is done on the command line. It would be a improvement if we get a special designed ADMIN UI. Where 95% of the management of the product can be handled.
- On the customer service part - one of the positive sides of IBM Connections is the openness. Thanks to that openness people started to help each other when they posted problems regarding company issues instead and they followed the officially designed business processes. In the end this made our company much more cost effective.
- Because of the mobility functionality of IBM Connections we really saw a big jump in the employee efficiency corner. They could access their documents faster and wherever they where around the globe.
Because of the open design of the product but also because of the main support for http://activitystrea.ms/ which was a huge jump in end user news retrieval of the environment. The overall cost of the product was so much lower than comparing products as out of the box IBM Connections already delivered lots where other products we reviewed needed add-on tools with their license fees as well.
Using IBM Connections
35000 - Mainly as a knowldege management hub within the company but also it is currently serving us as the next step for file sharing. Within a very soon to see time we will completely switch off file shares for our end user and we expect that all content currently on file shares will be offered and driven by IBM Connections.
4 - The skills of these people need to be very broad, as we talk about so many environments where IBM Connections is used. IBM WebSphere/SDI/DB2/HTTPServer/LoadBalancers/OperatingSystems and so on. So it needs to be well skilled people who need to maintain these kind of environments.
- Better collaboration of business users of different departments
- 24/7 availability of content and knowledge
- Mobility support from IBM
- Self serviceability of end users (business users).
- Much more helpful to each other if they see from each other they struggle with the same day to day problems.
- Content/ Documents are reused more instead of reinvented now that people can find their content.
- Extend the reach of the platform to other platforms to get that UI/content inside connections as well.
- Get a more steering management layer within the organization than a leading management (which is currently the situation within the organization)
- Connect the current business process more and more to this collaboration platform.
Evaluating IBM Connections and Competitors
- Product Features
- Product Usability
- Product Reputation
- Vendor Reputation
- Existing Relationship with the Vendor
- Analyst Reports
The openness of the product which gave us the possibility to adapt to our current organization rules and compliances. But also the vendor reputation was a big decision maker. In this fast evolving IT market you need from a business standpoint, stability and product support for the future.
To be honest regarding the selection process, I think we would do it exactly the same again. This has proved us to be quite successful still. The only thing we would change a bit is finding the right people inside the business acting as the ambassadors for the environment. I would align that much more in a day to day business situation instead of classes and we did it right now.
IBM Connections Implementation
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.
- Implemented in-house
- Professional services company
Ilionx which is a IT Services company and also an IBM Business Partner.
Yes - We first have built a PoC environment where the stakeholders of the project could investigate how the product could assist in their day to day operations. Then we have built a development environment and finally we have built a production environment. As this platform didn't really phase out another product, we have decided to let the new collaboration platform spread it itself within the company and within 6 months we have reached throughout all employees (we could see that form the login statistics of the end users).
Change management was a small part of the implementation and was well-handled - When you try to deliver a new environment everybody has an opninon on how things should look and work. So try to keep the team who implements the environment as small as possible. Make rapid decission about how things should look and work and change behavior over time when the environment is in production and afterall you see end users complaining about certain functionalities. Don't try to build everything at once but do it over time !
- Deciding how the environment had to be called within the organization.
- Lack of knowledge within the company about the product (in the end this was covered by hiring external people) to keep the project going.
- Network infrastructre wasn't prepared on how we wanted to adapt the network infrastructure to our needs.
IBM Connections Support
The support team for IBM Connections could be much better in proactive support issues by sending us the information they experienced with other customers.
Kept well informed
Immediate help available
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Yes - Because it allows us to reach further in the support organization from IBM than otherwise would have been the case. This gives us certain advantages which makes it easier (and cheaper) than not doing so.
Yes - Yes we have reported many bugs and all of them were resolved to satisfaction. Some of them need some more time and persuasion from our side to get what we want :-) but in the end we always got what we needed to leave us with a satisfied feeling.
During a migration weekend we had some issues with database migration scripts. We called IBM Support and within 30 minutes they found us a real DB2 expert which led us in the right direction regarding how things could be solved (in the end it seemed a 2 play problem where some kind of configuration setting (which we had of course) triggered a bug within DB2) so after we found out about this we disabled the config setting ran the migration scripts and enabled the config setting again. In the end everybody was happy :-)
Using IBM Connections
Overall seen the useabilty of IBM Connections is fairly easy. The ramp UP time speed is quite low for end users to understand how they can use it in their day to day business environment.
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
- The homepage functionality is very elegant to use.
- Creating of communities and their functions is very easy to do.
- Connections the Mobile client is straight forward.
- The rich text editor of IBM Connections could get some improvements of copy/paste actions.
- Getting an insight within the platform on the items you do follow and the items yo do not follow is quite cumbersome.