IBM's SmartCloud social business product has been updated with social, email and mobile features, and several of the suite and stand alone offerings such as Engage, Connections and Notes are included.
SmartCloud Connections + Engage
Like is competitors, IBM often tries to be all things to all its customers, and its push into the cloud is a direct result of those customers' desire to not be tied down to comprehensive SLAs. SmartCloud is the company's social business system, and it comes in several different flavors. Connections and Engage are two different packages companies can buy from IBM, and Notes is a standalone feature.
There are also several add ons for available, and the whole thing makes for a more or less product menu organizations can choose from to fit their needs. SmartCloud offers tons of collaboration, meetings, email and calender, document and mobile tools for a variety of situations, and this update affects many of them.
SmartCloud Connections is the baseline social business suite, and it offers collaboration tools and mobile access to files and contacts. SmartCloud Engage is the souped up version of Connections, and it includes all of the above listed features, not just collaboration and mobile features. Both of these products now have dashboards that have been updated with the ability to share and view status updates, and view and act directly on comments and content.
Furthermore, content can be monitored and worked on in a single view across cloud and on premises deployments. On the mobile side, iPads now have collaborative editing capabilities, and there are some minor tweaks to syncing files, and uploading and sharing images and video.
IBM SmartCloud Notes
SmartCloud Notes is a stand alone email service, and there are several updates here as well. In addition to an augmented interface, there is added support for the To Do app for Notes Traveller subscribers. Traveler is an add on that provides mobile access to Notes email and calender from Android, Apple, Nokia and Windows Mobile devices. There's a separate Add On for BlackBerry devices.
As an aside, Notes is only available to SmartCloud Engage Advanced users, not to Connections or Engage Standard users. If this all seems a bit complex, well, that's the world of enterprise apps.
Alan Lepofsky lamented the confusion via this tweet:
— Alan Lepofsky (@alanlepo) August 27, 2013
Despite the confusion, IBM Connections recently won high praise in the Forrester Wave for File Sync and Share. IBM was named a leader in the segment, and Forrester praised its document collaboration offerings. Of course, some of those document collaboration features are only available via an Add On.
Here's the rest of what's been added to Notes in this update:
- support for customized browsers
- enhanced administrative user control provisioning
- added management settings with optional delivery of spam to the junk folder
- Web passwords updates synchronize with the service for use by Notes client user
SmartCloud Connections customers have some pretty handy collaboration features with this system, and one of the only real drawbacks cited in the Forrester Wave was that it makes it hard to collaborate with non Connections users, and across disparate content sources.
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