I have been working in the area of integrating social capabilities with Portal as aggregation platform.
We are gradually working towards exposing extra-net and intranet based social capabilities of IBM Connections on Portal .. which will help enterprise as well as followers outside to be part of confluence which is business relevant.
First - Capabilities of the IBM Connections as a enterprise social platform can be better understood here :
In my last blog ; I touched upon and referenced the framework for organizations to be social and overview of IBM's social software offering - IBM Connections.
The framework I referred to talks about the compelling reasons for the organizations to adopt social or 'more social' business pattern i.e All employees , Customers and Partners can collaborate in one realm as against the current trend of Employees on Intranet and emails, Customers and Partners on Hosted sites and emails.
A summary theme of the frame work is :
Social business accelerates communication and collaboration across networks of employees, customers and partners
Enterprises may use social content to capture and share expertise and best practices, making ad hoc processes more efficient and transparent
Social business enables new business insights by analyzing social data to gain a better understanding of business situations and the decision-making process
With advent of social business paradigm, a enterprise can create a single platform for all the stakeholders to be collaborating seamlessly and also data so generated provides better information and faster decisions .... The visual below provides the compositional view of social business framework .....
This whole scenario mentioned above is also reflected in Exceptional Web experience suite IBM has announced -
Consider a scenario where enterprise Portal service provides all mailing / collaboration, intranet and extranet integration and the social aspect is covered by extending IBM Connections on to the IBM Portal....
IBM connections brings in powerful concept of communities(& Sub Communities) , Blogs, Wikis, Member directory, forums, Activities, bookmarks and tag cloud as OOTB capabilities on the Portal.
All of these services put together with Communities can provide dedicated channels for business i.e A enterprise portal could host a company intranet, a dedicated community
for the suppliers/vendors of the organizations, a community for the business partners of the organization and yet each one of them would be exclusive in terms of security and
access controls. A user of vendor community will not have access or visibility of the intranet or the community for the business partners and vice-versa.
To accomplish something similar without these offering (available & under development) - organizations today have to deploy Portal and write custom web applications which are
multi-man year(s) worth effort, incremental and also not effective/compelling in terms of integrating collaboration capabilities (email, blogging, forums etc).
IBM connections is providing necessary out of the box templates for making this happen. Effectively what we are talking about is :
Compelling Social Web Sites
Keep visitors and turn them into engaged participants
Exceptional Web Experience
Portal customers add Connections to make their sites social
Exceptional Work Experience
Connections customers add Portal to for interactive employee web sites
Take a look at what it means in terms of possibilities :
One of the key things demonstrated in the two demos above is integrating various categories of users i.e you could be a internal user (employee) of the organization or a
registered user with the organization (Vendor / supplier / business partner) or completely external (facebook etc ). With supporting open authentication standards all these
class of users can be collaborating for the business.
Finally - Another way to discuss the anatomy of such a web experience would be to look at what will be the composition such a offering :
WebSphere Portal as central entry point for external users (customers, partners, ...) into the organization‘s web site
Portal sits in front of Connections, all users go through the portal UI, no direct use of Connections native UIsConnections integrated into WebSphere Portal at multiple levels: Connections Portlets integrated individually into portal pages: Forum, Blog, Profiles/Members, Files/Media
Community Pages linked to Connections Commuinities service surface the larger social construct of a community in the web site, leveraging above Connections Portlets
Business Card linked to Connections Profiles service surface user profiles in the web site
In-Context Actions in the portal can trigger social sharing of respective portal content into Connections
Going forward we can delve deeper into various other scenarios supported by IBM exceptional experience suite and perhaps the emerging standards for the Exceptional Web experience.