Darren Duke, Technical Lead for Simplified Technology Solutions, has just completed a week's worth of hands-on IBM training for two new products, Quickr and Lotus Connections.
Quickr is a web-based file sharing tool to allow teams within an organization to share documents, track projects, and work together more effectively. Documents can be checked in and out from the Microsoft Office suite, file explorer, and over the web, allowing for better version control. Many more plug ins are expected as IBM have release the specification, so expect to see OpenOffice and Outlook connectors soon. As with most Lotus products, security and access control are built in from the ground up, so files and discussions can only be seen by authorized users. "We've been using Quickr internally to track projects and externally to work with our graphic designer and other advisors on collateral," Duke said, "but the formal training is always a good compliment to what we've learned by setting it up and using it ourselves."
The other topic of the training was Lotus Connections, which is a social networking tool for Enterprise. "Imagine you are a recent college graduate who has been hired by the Human Resources department of a big company. Your job is to modify and enhance their employee self-service portal. You know there are other people using that portal software in the company, but you aren't sure who they are or where they work, and you don't want to interrupt them with questions. With Lotus Connections, you can post queries and receive responses, and you can look at what links the experts have marked as helpful. Most importantly, if that senior resource leaves, the company still has access to all that intellectual capital. It's a great solution for companies with distributed workforces or retiring senior level people to leverage the information they have in house," Duke explained. Indeed, 20% of the current workforce is expected to retire over the next 5 years. This is even more pronounced in the IT sector, as outlined in this Information Week article.
Lotus Connections can also foster innovation from within the enterprise. In the 2006 IBM Global CEO Survey CEOs said "their employees were the most significant source for innovative ideas". Lotus Connections is product that allows such innovation to take place and thrive on feedback that has become the cornerstone of the Web 2.0 era. "Get process, product, and service ideas from the very people talking to your customers. Most Customer Service professionals can recommend at least two to three products or services that your customers are asking for on a regular basis. Imagine being able to harness this knowledge and being able to make business decisions that give you and advantage and a differentiator over your competitors," Duke said, "or connect your R&D department to your Sales and Marketing folks. The possibilities are business altering, and for those early adopters the rewards could be immense."
If you have Quickr or Lotus Connections questions, don't hesitate to contact us today!