Hi folks,

after our latest presentation for IMPRISIS CA, our integration tool for Adobe Sites and IBM Connections, we received an interesting question from the audience. Why would I use IBM Connections to build a social intranet with Adobe Sites and not the Adobe Social Components ?

We thought that the answer to this question might be of interest to a larger audience, so here goes.

1st Aspect - the cheapers in features and functions

For me, there are two major features missing in the Adobe offering for social components:
  • Activities/ToDos:
    Managing ToDos in a community/project space is a huge deal for me
  • File Sharing
    Let's be realistic - even today, we mostly produce files in our daily business life. Not being able to share my personal files and to share files in a community or with my colleagues is a huge drawback. You miss out 70+ percent of your users content and knowledge.

2nd Aspect - User Generated Content (UGC) and reverse replication

IBM Connections is built to deal with huge amounts of user generated content. That's what it is designed for, it's its DNA. Adobe Sites - not so much. Even with the enhancements in AEM 6.x and the database replication options, it's still not a piece of cake to replicate large amounts of UGC around in a large clustered environment. IMRPISIS CA does not cache much data but gets it live from the IBM Connections system so barely any replication efforts are involved and interactions are always immediately available. Does this put too much load on IBM Connections ? Not really. We use the same APIs that the Connections API uses to generate the UI for the user. We only grab the data, the presentation is loaded off to Adobe Sites so one can argue that our calls are even cheaper for IBM Connections than going through the IBM Connections UI. Currently, we don't see more load on an IBM Connections system than normal using IMPRISIS CA.

Most important aspect - components vs social network

The Social Components are exactly what Adobe says they are - components only. A couple of them can work together, but they don't create a social network within your enterprise. What do I mean by that ? Well, IBM Connections accumulates content that the user creates into the social profile of each and every user. By tagging, liking, mentioning, following and recommending and collaborating in communities and using activities, the users create a true social network within the organization - and the social profile for each user keeps growing.
Also, by accumulating data and peoples relations, a knowledge tree is generated inside of the organization. With that, information retrieval from projects, communities and files is possible. And on top of that by combining the data with the social profiles of the users, expertise can be located within the organization. This builds up over time more or less automatically. Combined with social analytics functionality, which is also part of IBM Connections, a long-term social network within the organization is created that allows to generate corporate knowledge in an easy and hazzle free way by just doing your work. With that, the whole is more than the sum of the parts (components). That's why true social intranets are in for the long haul. Data will most likely not be deleted from it but stays to be retrieved, even when the users might already have left the organization or moved on. Their work results and their relationships to others in the organization live on. If you buy into this idea, you want a specialized solution for this - that's why I call IBM Connections a "social business middleware".

So basically as always, it's about what you want to achieve. If you buy into the idea of social business, you need a tool like IBM Connections or Jive. If you just need a specific functionality on your website and you're not looking at the whole picture, the social components are good enough for you. Adobe Sites is great for presenting streamlined content on the glass. IMPRISIS CA leverages the excellence of both approaches - build your social intranet with the high UI standards you are used to in Adobe Sites but leave the hard work to a specialist - IBM Connections. With this approach, you get the best of both worlds !

Just my two cents,

Heiko Voigt   |   21 September 2015 10:00:00   |     |  
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