IBM is set today to make a big push into the Web 2.0 world by unveiling a team collaboration product, social computing software and a suite of tools for building Web mashups.
As part of a new "Web 2.0 Goes to Work" initiative, the IBM tools will bring popular consumer Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, wikis and social networks to the enterprise, said Rod Smith, IBM's vice president of emerging technologies. The new software should help companies more easily brainstorm and collaborate with partners and customers about business content, he said.
"[Enterprises] would like to get closer to customers ... to be able to collaborate with them on ideas and projects," Smith said. "We've now figured out the suites that need to be integrated so people can unlock their information and use it in ways they couldn't before."
The new Lotus Quickr 8 team collaboration tool helps companies use blogs, wikis and team space templates to share business documents and access libraries through plug-ins, IBM said. Quickr 8 will be available June 29
Quickr software features include the following:
- AJAX technology for building Web-based user interfaces, and to let users publish and consume news feeds, publish team blogs and use wikis.
- Business application templates that support common business processes like project management and dynamic surveys.
- Support for Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007, Windows Explorer on Windows XP and Vista, IBM Lotus Notes 7 and 8 and Lotus Sametime 7.5.
- Support for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari browsers.
- Tutorial wizards to guide users.
In addition, the company announced plans to add a beta plug-in to support Microsoft Outlook for Lotus users this summer.
IBM today also announced that Lotus Connections is now available.
The Connections tool includes Web 2.0 components like bookmarking and support for social communities, the company said. For example, a user can begin a chat session from within a community or a blog and share the information with others by adding a transcript of the chat that can be accessed by other Lotus applications, IBM said.
In addition, IBM introduced Info 2.0, a new suite of tools for customizing and linking Web and enterprise data into mashups, which are applications created by linking different data sources, such as Google Maps and weather reports. For many companies, mashups are seen as the "last mile" in building a service-oriented architecture (SOA), Smith said.
Mashups can be used to help personnel in a company's lines of business more easily link different Web-services-enabled pieces of a business process in order to more quickly build an application, he added.
IBM is in essence "flipping" much of its traditional marketing around SOA, which began with using Web services for back-end integration and eventually reusing the services to build new applications, Smith said.
This change was prompted by users saying, " 'Build the applications for me,' and people see how they want to continue using SOA to expand out and integrate with their infrastructure," he said.