Not flashy, but it gets the job done
December 07, 2017

Not flashy, but it gets the job done

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with IBM Connections

My organization has primarily been utilizing IBM Connections as a means to communicate with staff. We have an All Staff community in which we post pertinent information for all employees and communities for each individual department. We also have communities for work-related projects. In this way, we use Connections to organize our information for easier consumption. We are in the process of migrating our policy wiki to our department communities. In addition to the above, my department (HR) uses the MS Office plugin for sharing and editing documents. All in all, IBM Connections has been very beneficial to the organization as a provides some much-needed structure in terms of where information goes, when it is updated and how it is presented.
  • The plugin for MS Office/Explorer has made saving and sharing working documents extremely convenient for me and my close colleagues
  • The newsfeed feature conveniently aggregates updates from the communities/people you follow. It's nice not to have to jump from community to community to see what's going on in the organization
  • The various apps can be used for several purposes. A little creativity goes a long way when establishing what type of information the apps can be useful for communicating
  • Navigating Connections is tedious and time-consuming. More times than not I find it easier to simply search for what I'm looking for rather than trying to find what I need through other means
  • While file uploading and sharing files is useful enough, the browser lacks the seamless nature of Google Docs and the plugin can't hold a candle to Sharepoint. It works, but I find it clunky
  • We sorely miss our one-stop homepage (The Hub) that has been replaced by IBM Connections. There is no "jump-off" page to provide ease of navigation. It would really nice to be able to provide bookmarks and/or some form of directory in the side tabs of the newsfeed.
  • I can't speak to monetary ROI, but it is an effective tool for communicating and has stimulated more open communication about special projects
  • The cloud integration with email and profile boosts the appeal and usefulness of using the web-based browser (rather than Notes) -- however, I am not sold on Verse and dread the day everything gets moved over to that platform
  • Though there's much to be desired, the wiki feature has allowed us to slowly phase out outdated resources
IBM Connections is similar to the tools provided in collegiate settings (like Blackboard), but with more emphasis on the social media model and less focused (sometimes too many options/features is a bad thing). I find the file sharing and collaboration pieces to be the most useful, because my role happens to emphasize those tasks. These features are effective, but do have a bit of a learning curve (particularly with the MS Office plugin). However, as I mentioned in a previous response, Connections is nowhere near as dependable or convenient as MS SharePoint and/or Google Docs. File syncing is very touchy, collaboration tools are clunky and the open sourced office software integrated with the web browser can render documents awkward or impossible to read.
Ex) We recently gathered a committee to discuss the redesign of a product. All members in the committee were added to a community focused on the redesign. We recorded meeting agendas and minutes in the activities app, uploaded test redesigns for comment in files, and brainstormed potential improvements in the forum

Ex) The status feature is essentially useless without following the person posting the status. We do not follow individual staff members because it leads to a cluttered newsfeed with information irrelevant to other departments. We still use our phone chat client to communicate statuses.

HCL Connections (formerly from IBM) Feature Ratings

Using IBM Connections

85 - Every employee uses IBM Connections to some extent, as it is our primary source of all staff communication. Our production-based employees utilize it for deadline and goal tracking, our HR department provides messages to staff, our Evaluation department uses it as a knowledge center and collaborative tool and leadership provides policy information.
5 - There are several members of the IT department and HR involved in supporting IBM Connections. The IT department uses website development to improve features so they work more seamlessly. The HR department provides support for feedback and simple questions regarding usability of functions. There is also a committee for the specific purpose of guiding the development of Connections, which includes members from IT, HR, Evaluation and Customer Service for broader insight.
  • Uploading and sharing documents, with the added feature of collaborative functions
  • Communities specifically for shorter term projects to better communicate and store the information that may otherwise be lost in the shared drive down the line
  • Communicating notices or announcements to all staff in a central location
  • I did not expect to be able to upload and sync files from explorer or MS office. It is more convenient than the web browser and provides all the metadata available in the browser.
  • Using the activities feature to track agendas and minutes is nice for storing meeting notes.
  • I like that my manager can be updated on our progress without having to send her a notice or email. We already communicate several times on a daily basis, so it's convenient that we can cut out some unneeded correspondence from time to time.
  • It would be great to be able to integrate our time-off schedule with Connections. We currently use a spreadsheet because we have leadership who are very particular about how the information is presented.
  • We plan to integrate our phone and chat tech with Connections, but I'm not sure where that initiative stands at the moment.
  • While we already use the wiki for policy information, an improved method of structuring the information would go a long way in making the wiki a functional standard operations manual. At this time, there is much to be desired on that front.
It's not up to me, but I would continue to use IBM Connections unless a better product presents itself. With all it's features, it has the potential to be extremely useful with the right people administrating it. While it is essentially plug and play, there are some headscratchers, particularly within the realm of organization and relevancy of certain features.

Evaluating IBM Connections and Competitors

  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Existing Relationship with the Vendor
I can't speak to leadership decisions, but I believe the main factor in using IBM Connections is simply that it is there. We have used IBM products for years so it seems like the obvious solution. Our organization is taking steps to streamline our technological foothold, so I believe it comes down to convenience and necessity.
I was not a part of the selection process and am not aware of the steps that were taken to vet products with similar features. As a stated previously, IBM Connections was like chosen out of convenience and due to prior use of IBM products, such as email and cloud storage.