It's surprising to me that people are not aware of how important social media is to business communication. I mentioned how important social business was to the Lotus brand to a bunch of email guys. Their jaws just dropped.
I recently heard a podcast where Connections was called the flagship product for Lotus. I'm not sure what my take on that statement is but it is definitely a strong indicator of sentiment.
The SWAT team is dedicated to embracing this. They have been taking on the challenge of doing their business in a social fashion which in itself is a huge undertaking. The question is invariably the same as it was 4 years ago. How do you communicate with people that aren't used to communicating that way previously?
Social media is a new paradigm now in the way that email used to be a new paradigm. Back in the early 90's when email was starting to really take hold, it was a requirement to directly communicate with people. The key word there being "direct". Using tools like Connections is a great way to indirectly communicate with a greater audience. The goal is to reach people that weren't or are not immediately available. Social is about leveraging those next tier relationships where you get value that you didn't know was there. I think what you are going to start to see is more and more social integration until we reach a tipping point and the paradigm shifts.
Right now, there are a bunch of different players in this space and I believe it's still evolving. A fairly recent Gartner report shows Connections in a close race with Jive and Microsoft. But having seen the others, I have to think that Connections has hands down more to offer. IBM has the most impressive stack of social business applications and integration. When you are talking depth and breadth of a product, I'm still trying to wrap my head around how Connections isn't blowing everyone away. Perhaps that's just because I'm an IBM'er.