Extending IBM Connections 3.0.1

Integrating IBM Connections with other tools and software

Learn how to use IBM Connections 3.0.1 and the integration capabilities of IBM Lotus Notes, Sametime, Lotus Quickr, and other products from different vendors.

Share:

Luis A. Guirigay (lguirigay@psclistens.com), Senior IT Architect, PSC Group, LLC

Luis Guirigay photoLuis Guirigay is a senior IT architect focused on administration, high availability/disaster recovery, performance tuning, and support. He has been working with IBM products for more than 14 years and is an IBM Certified Administrator for virtually all versions of IBM Connections, WebSphere Portal, Domino, Sametime, and Quickr as well as an IBM Certified Developer in Domino and IBM Lotus Workflow. He has deep experience with WebSphere Application Server, DB2, Tivoli, and ILWWCM. Luis has published multiple IBM Redbooks related to Domino, Workplace, DB2, and System i, and his speaking engagements include IamLug and Midwest Lotus User Group conferences, Lotusphere, Chicago Lotus User Group, and multiple IBM PoT and IBM workshops in the United States. You can follow Luis on Twitter @Lguiriga.



28 August 2012

Also available in Russian Portuguese

The previous articles in this series introduced IBM Connections 3.0.1, guided you through its installation process, showed you how to customize it and make it suit your organization's look and theme, and demonstrated how to work with and extend the Profiles features to add custom, relevant information unique to your business. This article shows you all the additional integrations capabilities IBM Connections 3.0.1 can bring to your organization.

IBM Connections 3.0.1 integrates and works seamlessly with multiple products. This article, however, focuses on IBM and Microsoft products, as they are more commonly used in organizations out there today. It will also show you Apple iOS and Google Android integration, as being connected via mobile devices becomes an increasingly greater benefit to many users.

Integrating IBM Connections 3.0.1 with other IBM products

IBM Connections 3.0.1 allows you to extend your IBM collaboration platform and make it social. That way, users and teams can work together and share information more efficiently and accurately.

Integration with Lotus Notes

IBM Lotus Notes® perhaps allows the greatest integration by adding activities, profiles, files, bookmarks, searches, and more to the Lotus Notes user experience. These areas of integration are possible via the installation of plug-ins that you can download from the IBM Solutions Catalog (see Resources for more information) and via the built-in integration that you can configure as part of the client by selecting the IBM Connections 3.0.1 component during Lotus Notes client installation (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Installing Lotus Notes with IBM Connections
Image showing installation of Lotus Notes with IBM Connections

Using the IBM Connections 3.0.1 component, you can collaborate on multiple projects via the Activities sidebar, search across all IBM Connections 3.0.1 applications, bookmark Lotus Notes documents, and look at business cards of individuals from your Lotus Notes client, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Business cards in Lotus Notes
Viewing business cards in Lotus Notes

The Status Updates plug-in allows you to update status, view the status of colleagues in your network, make comments, and even forward an update by email—all from your Lotus Notes client.

Lotus Notes requirements

The Files and Status Updates plug-ins require IBM Lotus Notes version 8.5.1 or later.

The Files plug-in allows you to search, share, upload, and download files from your Lotus Notes client. You can also drag files not only within the Lotus Notes client but also from your desktop and Windows® folders. Figure 3 shows you both the Files and Status Updates plug-ins working together.

Figure 3. IBM Connections plug-ins in Lotus Notes
Image showing the IBM Connections plug-ins in Lotus Notes

Click to see larger image

Figure 3. IBM Connections plug-ins in Lotus Notes

Image showing the IBM Connections plug-ins in Lotus Notes

Integration with IBM Sametime

Bring the powerful social networking applications of IBM Connections 3.0.1 into the IBM Sametime® client. The IBM Connections plug-in for IBM Sametime permits users to save chats to activities (as shown in Figure 4), open related activities, save chats to a community room, and display contact information about other IBM Sametime users that is pulled from the IBM Connections Profiles application. When you install IBM Connections 3.0.1 integration within Lotus Notes, IBM Sametime plug-ins are installed, as well.

Figure 4. Add chat to activities
Image showing how to add chat to activities

Integration with Lotus Symphony

IBM Lotus Symphony® is an office productivity suite (documents, spreadsheets, and presentations) based on the open source OpenOffice.org and provided at no charge by IBM. You can install Lotus Symphony as a stand-alone product or as part of Lotus Notes, but no matter how you install it, it provides a great solution for any organization—it is free, robust, fast, and open source; supports multiple files formats; and can be integrated into IBM Connections (among other products).

The integration between Lotus Symphony and IBM Connections is provided by a plug-in that you can download from the Lotus Symphony Plug-ins Catalog (see Resources for details about download and installation instructions). As shown in Figure 5, users can search Profiles, open and share files, publish documents into activities, view wikis, read blogs, add bookmarks, and more.

Figure 5. Integrating Lotus Symphony and IBM Connections
Image showing Lotus Symphony integration with IBM Connections

Click to see larger image

Figure 5. Integrating Lotus Symphony and IBM Connections

Image showing Lotus Symphony integration with IBM Connections

Integration with Lotus Quickr

If your organization is also using IBM Lotus Quickr®, users will be able to associate IBM Connections Communities with Lotus Quickr team places, where they will be able to store and collaborate around documents via all the Lotus Quickr features. All updates are published on the IBM Connections Community overview page, which makes it easier for other team members to know about the latest changes to any given document.

Integration with IBM WebSphere Portal

IBM WebSphere® Portal is the ultimate portal solution on the market. It brings you web content and applications in an integrated, differentiated, and personalized web experience, and now—thanks to the IBM Connections Portlets for WebSphere Portal (see Figure 6)—it also allows you to take your WebSphere Portal implementation to a new level.

Figure 6. IBM Connections Portlets for WebSphere Portal
Image showing IBM Connections Portlets for WebSphere Portal

Click to see larger image

Figure 6. IBM Connections Portlets for WebSphere Portal

Image showing IBM Connections Portlets for WebSphere Portal

WebSphere Portal allows users to integrate with the IBM Connections Activities, Blogs, Bookmarks, Communities, Forums, Profiles, Wiki, and Tag Cloud applications. WebSphere Portal users are able to view and contribute to discussion topics using the Forums portlet and set prioritization and activity status for their activities. They can also add and read IBM Connections Blogs entries and comments as well as contribute to Ideation Blogs.

Wiki members can use the Wikis portlet to view and edit pages or add their own pages. Users can fully interact with Bookmarks in IBM Connections that others users with related interests have added and incorporate tags to find associated content and filter the items in other IBM Connections portlets.


Integrating IBM Connections with other products

As mentioned earlier, you can extend the social capabilities of IBM Connections to other products your organization is using. This section covers IBM Connections 3.0.1 integration with Windows, Microsoft® Office—including Microsoft Office Outlook®—and Microsoft SharePoint® Server.

Integration with Windows

IBM Connections can be easily integrated with the Windows operating system by installing the IBM Connections Desktop Plug-ins for Microsoft Windows from the IBM Solutions Catalog (see Resources). Windows users will be able to drag files from their desktop to IBM Connections Files or Communities, share these files with other users, manage file versioning, add comments, and mark files as favorites for quick access.

Figure 7 shows a great example of how users can employ the Desktop plug-in to connect to their IBM Connections implementation and be able to work with files across all IBM Connection components.

Figure 7. Windows Explorer with the Desktop plug-in
Image showing Windows Explorer with the Desktop plug-in

Click to see larger image

Figure 7. Windows Explorer with the Desktop plug-in

Image showing Windows Explorer with the Desktop plug-in

Integration with Microsoft Office

No matter whether you use Lotus Notes or Outlook as your mail client or whether you use Microsoft Office as your office productivity suite (instead of Lotus Symphony), IBM Connections 3.0.1 has got you covered. The IBM Connections 3.0.1 Plug-in for Microsoft Outlook (shown in Figure 8) takes this mail client to a new level by allowing users to integrate with IBM Connections. Users can see all content that has been published (and you have access to) in IBM Connections by other Outlook users just by selecting one of this person's email messages. This plug-in also allows users to add emails to Activities or To Dos, invite other users to their networks, and see their business cards.

Figure 8. IBM Connections and Outlook
Image showing IBM Connections integration with Outlook

Click to see larger image

Figure 8. IBM Connections and Outlook

Image showing IBM Connections integration with Outlook

The IBM Connections 3.0.1 Plug-in for Microsoft Office (shown in Figure 9) delivers features such as adding Microsoft Office Word documents to Blogs, Wikis, and Activities; adding Bookmarks to Word; posting Microsoft Office Excel® and PowerPoint® files to IBM Connections Activities; importing Profile information into Word; and more.

Figure 9. Integrating IBM Connections with Microsoft Office
Image showing IBM Connections integration with Microsoft Office

Integration with SharePoint Server

IBM Connections can also serve as the social layer for a SharePoint Server site by providing business cards, activity streams, and community integration. Widgets are available for surfacing IBM Connections data on SharePoint Server pages and for displaying SharePoint Server document libraries in IBM Connections Communities pages.

The IBM Connections Plug-in for Microsoft SharePoint provides the following features:

  • SharePoint Server users can show other users' business cards, send emails and instant messages, open their blog and Profiles, and access Bookmarks.
  • Profiles are fully integrated with the Microsoft SharePoint Directory, which allows users to add users to groups and sites.
  • IBM Connections' tagging functionality can also be added to SharePoint Server sites, where it can be used to find relevant data based on the tag clicked. This functionality allows users to perform full searches against all IBM Connection applications.

The IBM Connections Widget for Microsoft SharePoint provides the following features:

  • Add the widget for IBM Connections community owners to set up and customize.
  • Easily add documents from SharePoint Server sites to your communities.
  • View and edit SharePoint Server folder and document properties.
  • Download and check out SharePoint Server documents for editing, then upload them to share changes with the community.

Mobile access to IBM Connections

Are you a business user who does not always have access to your computer while on the road? Do you like to attend meetings with nothing else but your tablet? Do you like to travel light but still be able to interact with your colleagues and access your project's information? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you need to install the IBM Connections mobile application on your phone or tablet.

The IBM Connections mobile application extends your social experience no matter where you are or how you are connected. For both Apple® iOS and Android™ devices, it brings you a full set of features, such as the ability to securely edit and drop documents and presentations while on the road; find experts in your organization and build a social network with Profiles; track your project's progress to success with Activities; and share news, links, and status across your network at any time.

Covering all you can do with IBM Connections mobile might take an entire article, but the highlights, shown in Figure 10, are that the new IBM Connections mobile app gives you access to all features from a single interface and lets you connect to multiple IBM Connection environments from the same device.

Figure 10. IBM Connections mobile app for Apple iPad
Images showing the IBM Connections mobile app for iPad

Click to see larger image

Figure 10. IBM Connections mobile app for Apple iPad

Images showing the IBM Connections mobile app for iPad

Figure 11 shows the same interface on an Android phone. Because of screen size considerations, Android cannot show everything the iPad version of the app does, but the capabilities are the same.

Figure 11. IBM Connections mobile app for Android
Images showing the IBM Connections mobile app on Android

Click to see larger image

Figure 11. IBM Connections mobile app for Android

Images showing the IBM Connections mobile app on Android

Conclusion

This article showed you some of the additional products that you can integrate with your IBM Connections implementation as well as how you can make the entire user experience more collaborative and social. This is the last article in this learning series: Be sure to keep an eye on new integration plug-ins being published in the IBM Solutions Catalog, new articles on the IBM Connections wiki, developerWorks and popular blogs that focus and IBM Connections and collaboration solutions (all in the Resources section).

Resources

Learn

Get products and technologies

Discuss

Comments

developerWorks: Sign in

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).


Need an IBM ID?
Forgot your IBM ID?


Forgot your password?
Change your password

By clicking Submit, you agree to the developerWorks terms of use.

 


The first time you sign into developerWorks, a profile is created for you. Information in your profile (your name, country/region, and company name) is displayed to the public and will accompany any content you post, unless you opt to hide your company name. You may update your IBM account at any time.

All information submitted is secure.

Choose your display name



The first time you sign in to developerWorks, a profile is created for you, so you need to choose a display name. Your display name accompanies the content you post on developerWorks.

Please choose a display name between 3-31 characters. Your display name must be unique in the developerWorks community and should not be your email address for privacy reasons.

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

(Must be between 3 – 31 characters.)

By clicking Submit, you agree to the developerWorks terms of use.

 


All information submitted is secure.

Dig deeper into IBM collaboration and social software on developerWorks


static.content.url=http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/js/artrating/
SITE_ID=1
Zone=Lotus
ArticleID=828251
ArticleTitle=Extending IBM Connections 3.0.1
publish-date=08282012