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IBM putting social networking tools to the test

By , Network World
May 01, 2007 02:08 PM ET

Network World - IBM is putting its social-networking strategy to a live test with developers and partners by rolling out a set of social-networking tools those two groups can use to collaborate.

On Monday, IBM unveiled IBM developerWorks community spaces, a collection of 12 “communities” where developers can collaborate on topics such as software-as-a-service, SOA and mashups. In addition, the company launched IBM Lotus Connections for Partners, where partners can share company profile data, bookmarks, and collaborate on business plans.

Both platforms, which will be hosted by IBM, are based on Lotus Connections, an integrated bundle of social-networking tools introduced in January and slated to ship later this year.

The social-networking incubators are as much to test drive the technology as they are to introduce users to what IBM and others think is a new era of collaboration.

Microsoft is developing its own set of social-networking tools around its Office family of products.

“What we are doing is showing our business partners the richness of social software,” says Tim Kounadis, worldwide director of channels and SMB for IBM Lotus. “We think Lotus Connections will be one way to show companies how to use social software in a business setting.”

When Lotus Connections was introduced in January, observers said one of IBM’s challenges would be to show users the business value of the software and suggest to them how to inject it into their current work habits.

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