According to TechCrunch, IBM announced it will extend the social media features of its IBM Connections, the company’s social network for work environments. The system, which I’ve never heard of, has apparently been around since 2007. The new offering delivers integration with Microsoft Outlook via a partnership with Israel-based start-up Harmon.ie. Not the first time an email client is getting into the social game, and being a Mac Mail user, it’s of little interest to me. Still I can’t help but be intrigued with the idea of such integration really grabbing hold. It really goes to show how customer and colleague communication has changed over the past few years. And, how social networking will ultimately change the way we conduct business.
Users of Outlook will see IBM Connections appear as a sidebar which will give them access to work tools such as SharePoint and also act as a sort of instant messenger while remaining in the email application. TechCruch describes it as “Facebook offering a desktop messaging app to use when you’re not directly on its site.”
When companies like IBM get in the social networking game (and, full-disclosure, IBM is a customer of Kaon’s) you know this “social email” thing is not just a fad. TechCrunch reported Jeffrey Schick, VP of social software for IBM as saying, “Just because a company chooses to use another email platform does not mean they should miss out on becoming a social business.”
The article goes on to say that Harmon.ie and IBM would not say how many users are on the IBM Connections network, but that Harmon.ie already has a million users of its social email product. Regardless of whether or not IBM Connections becomes the next big thing, email and social media have met, and they’ve decided they like each other.