Shiny Social Tools Meet Practicality At Lotusphere

Enterprise success with next-generation collaborative software, built around social networks, will require the same attention to deployment, development, and administration that Lotus Notes did.
Modernized Notes/Domino applications built around XPages also become good candidates for integration with IBM Connections. Because IBM's social platform is embracing OpenSocial 2.0, XPages can be embedded as HTML iFrames and use Oauth to authenticate themselves and gain information about the social context of the user. The XPages Social Enabler, available through the XPages extension library, simplifies that process.

Although Notes might no longer be the fair-haired child of the collaboration world, many of IBM's leading social visionaries are Lotus alumni such as Irene Greif, director of the Center for Social Business, which had an impressive showcase of innovations from the labs on display.

Meanwhile, some Lotusphere attendees got away from the social buzz long enough to worry about what Olaf Boerner, CEO of the German software and consulting firm BCC, calls "the daily dirty work" of administering a Notes system. In a well-attended "birds of a feather" session at the end of the day Tuesday, he led a discussion on automating Notes processes. Participants discussed techniques such as self-service provisioning of new online collaboration groups and setting dates after which groups will expire if they are no longer being used. They talked about best practices such as making sure every group has two owners with administrative rights and ensuring that when a group administrator leaves, someone else is assigned to take over that role.

Social collaboration administrators will have to tackle all the same challenges of application maintenance, particularly as platforms such as IBM Connections accumulate more history and content and layers of architectural complexity, Boerner said.

In comparison to the mundane details of Notes administration, the social business vision sounds a little blue sky, Boerner agreed. "But you need that blue sky," he said. "They are creating a vision, and it's much more appealing than it was five years ago."

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

The Enterprise Connect conference program covers the full range of platforms, services, and applications that comprise modern communications and collaboration systems. It happens March 25-29 in Orlando, Fla. Find out more.