Collaboration and social networking tools are growing by leaps and bounds, moving beyond social applications and into the business world. Mainsoft’s Social Connector product, announced June 7th in Orlando, brings many of the social networking functions to the enterprise by “connecting” IBM Rational Team Concert and IBM Lotus Connections.
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I spoke to Yaacov Cohen, CEO of Mainsoft, and Dekel Cohen, Director of R&D at Mainsoft, who gave me a demo of Social Connector. “It leverages the power of social software in a business context and it speeds up the learning curve of people joining a new project, making people more collaborative and more efficient,” said Yaacov.
Dekel gave us a demo showing how a community can be formed around a project. Features of Social Connector allow for searching for blogs, experts, bookmarks and other resources that might be useful on a project. I asked Cohen about security. I was unclear whether or not these communities were extended beyond the enterprise. Cohen answered that “the primary clients are IBM customers who are using both Rational and Lotus connections. But we also want to give a feel to all Rational developers. Even if they don’t have Lotus connections within the enterprise, they can open an account on My developerWorks for free and then they have access to wikis, communities and activities without making any up-front investment.” I asked if that would be a security concern. “You can open a private community so you’re not necessarily exposed,” Dekel answered.
Yaacov and Dekel demoed various integration points between Rational and Lotus. One example is the ability to publish Rational Team Concert work items as Lotus Connections Activities. Status updates will be published to the project community, allowing for easier communication and collaboration between all stakeholders.
I asked whether Social Connector would be packaged with the IBM offerings. Yaacov described the software as a “joint venture…This is done with a very tight partnership with IBM,” he said.
More about Mainsoft along with a demo of Social Connectior can be found here.