(Lotus) Connecting the dots…finally…

Mimickr 2.0?

Well, it hasn’t been exactly quick, but IBM Lotus has just released Lotus Connections, that aims to mimic the success wrought by social networking sites and web 2.0 based project management tools.

At first glance the new Lotus Connections software seems to be an assortment of  of web 2.0 imitations. Here’s the rundown:

The IBM package includes five applications: profiles, where employees post information about their expertise and interests; communities, which are formed and managed by people with common interests; activities, which are used to manage group projects; bookmarks, where people share documents and Web sites with others; and blogs, where people post ongoing commentaries – Source: Business Week review

A smattering of Del.ic.ious, MySpace, WordPress, Facebook, and Basecamp; Lotus Connections has left no web 2.0 success unturned in the package’s new avatar, but will it be successful is the million $ question, asked by Stowe Boyd.

Me vs. Us

Stowe Boyd wrote a well-written critique on 90s “corporate theory of groups” vs. the current “centrality of me” concept espoused by Facebook and the likes. Here’s his take:

I could go on, but these principal points are enough for now. So, in the classical enterprise collaboration model people are, first and foremost, members of groups, and these groups define people: what their rights are, what their purpose and goals are, and so on.

But in the social, me-first model (contrasting it with group-first models) people’s relationships are potentially asymmetric: for example, I may be on your buddy list, but you aren’t on mine. And in the me-first model, I possess what I make and I opt to share it with specific individuals (or not).

Some may agree, but some don’t.

Where do you stand on the spectrum? 

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  1. Mario Sundar

    I think Stowe’s comparative model (Me vs. You) can be ambiguous. I can see your point-of-view as to how the “Me” model may not work for the enterprise.

    To me, I’m fine w/ the group model, because we do end up w/ teams, but there are so many teams that it may be more effective to sort info around the individual team member. The closest approximation I can think of is unlike a structured folder approach (as in outlook); how about tags built around email conversations (as in gmail) that will permit greater number of group conversations. Does that make sense?

  2. Gavin Heaton

    I certainly don’t agree with the me-first model in terms of “ownership”. Once it is out there on the web, an idea, a topic etc is fair game. It can be taken up, adopted, adapted and transformed by anyone.

    Having worked at IBM and been an early adopter of some of the Lotus collaborative tools, I can honestly say that they were a fantastic way of enabling structured virtual teamwork. The thing is, IBM develops these applications primarily to achieve enterprise wide efficiency and to harvest innovation … so before the products reach market, they have already been tested by teams working under pressure. Sure they may not be perfect — and they may not be first — but they will do the job nicely … and allow non-tech types to master it easily.

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