Back in November 2010 I blogged about the release of IBM Lotus Connections 3. Hot on it’s heels (just four months later) comes version 3.0.1 – looking at the version number, you’d think that’s not much more than a fix pack for version 3.0, but you’d be wrong. One other thing of note is that Connections has lost its ‘Lotus’ brand… it’s now IBM Connections. I thought this would raise a few eyebrows and spark a few debates, but the reaction to that particular news item has been muted.

Anyway, let’s have a look at what’s new, and why this isn’t just a fix pack.

Ideation blog – what? What’s an ideation blog? Quite simply this gives members of a community the ability to post an idea, and comment and vote on ideas. Popular ideas can then be ‘graduated’ – this will create an activity to allow the community to take the idea forward. Behind the scenes the community manager has a lot of control over the ideation blogs – time limits on comments, moderation controls, setting a voting limit, author access rights and – most importantly – allowing the use of emoticons. Click on the image below to see an ideation blog in progress with voting and comments.

Community moderation – community owners can perform moderation on content and comments before or after it’s been posted. Perfect for community owners like me who don’t like their members posting off-topic content. And control freaks.

Media gallery – good news. I’ve seen a number of customer-requirement documents containing the words “YouTube-like media library”. And here we are. The media gallery allows you to upload movies and images, tag them, add a description and display them in a… what’s the word I’m looking for…? Ah yes… gallery. And then you can see the number of downloads and the comments. The perfect capability for adding some education media for a group of people. Click on the image for the gallery view.

Integration with Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions – a capability added to Quickr a while ago now comes to Connections. A custom library can be created within a community and can surface content stored within a supported ECM solution. Any new or edited content will honour the ECM solution’s requirement for metadata, and you can do the usual document management stuff like check-in and check-out.

IBM Connections 3.0.1 is available now, and Lotus Greenhouse members can take it for a test-drive.

0