'Atlas' tools extend Lotus Connections

IBM extends Lotus Connections with new data-visualization tools.

BOSTON (12/18/2007) - IBM on Tuesday released Atlas, a software toolset that provides advanced search and analysis functions for its enterprise social networking product, Lotus Connections.

"Atlas looks at the data within Connections and does some visualizations of the information," said Chris Lamb, senior product manager. "The main point is that it is a way to visualize the social data from a line-of-business perspective and a personal level."

The Atlas suite contains four components dubbed My Net, Find, Reach and Net.

The Net component provides a view of groups that have formed within an organization due to work on similar projects, IBM said. The point is to help users find ways to improve communications among various nodes throughout the company. My Net provides a similar view, but focuses on a user's personal network.

Atlas also includes Reach, a dashboard-like tool that helps users "navigate the six degrees of separation that divide them from a colleague," as an IBM statement describes. The purpose is to help workers more quickly connect with people in the organization who have a particular skill set or area of knowledge.

The last component is Find, which can provide search results that leverage social networking-related data, such as blogs and reporting structures, according to IBM.

Atlas and Lotus Connections fit into an ambitious push by IBM around social collaboration in enterprises.

A growing number of people use multiple networks and would like to easily move their profile data between them. Without providing specifics, Lamb said IBM is moving to address the problem.

"That's something that we're looking at, how we aggregate that," he said. "There will be some announcements around the Lotusphere time frame." Lotusphere is scheduled for Jan. 20-24 in Orlando, Florida.

IBM is selling Atlas through its Software Services for Lotus group. Lamb declined to provide specific pricing information.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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