Big Blue wants to put its enterprise social network platform to work with a new set of features designed to make it easier for employees to collaborate with each other. The latest version of the platform, IBM Connections, set to be released March 28, will also feature tools to help onboard new employees.

The updated IBM Connections also integrates with IBM Cloud Object Storage, providing companies the ability to scale their storage needs with their employees' usage while improving storage costs, the company said.

Business Social Network

IBM described the platform as a business social network that accelerates and encourages innovation within enterprises by making it easier for employees to share knowledge between themselves. "Connections can help you improve decision-making, increase productivity and accelerate time to market on a platform that is delivered on premises or as software as a service on IBM Cloud," the company said on the Connections Web page.

The latest version of the platform, IBM Connections 6.0, has been redesigned with an eye toward highlighting the most useful content from an employee's social network thanks to a new feature called Orient Me, the company said in a statement. Orient Me sports a new containerized, API-driven architecture to bring the most relevant information to a user's attention.

In addition, Big Blue said the new version of Connections will include a "Touchpoint" experience for new users. Touchpoint aims to make it easier for new employees to get up to speed in their new positions by offering them an easy login procedure as well as the ability to follow their colleagues' activities and join communities to begin working more efficiently. The company said it also makes community management easier for network administrators by copying designs from existing communities.

"As employees evolve how they communicate and what media they use, file distribution services need to evolve with the workforce," IBM said in a statement. "IBM Connections provides a simple to use interface and desktop sync for easy access to files. By providing large file uploads, rich text editor, new preview/editing features in File Viewer and search improvements, users can find and collaborate on files in an environment employees expect."

New Social Analytics Tools

The new update will also include tools to allow enterprises to leverage high-powered analytics across various channels on their employees' digital networks, including blogs, wikis and activity streams. It will also allow employees to connect with each other and collaborate on work products through a single interface, the company said.

"As data is exploding, companies are realizing it is critical to capture, store and analyze it efficiently for their current -- and future -- employees,” the company said. “IBM Cloud Object Storage delivers a solution for IBM Connections that stores ever-increasing workloads of social data and allows companies easy access to that information for analytics and new learning."