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by Mike Zazaian October 3, 2006 - 9:27am, 1 Comment

A Community Tools interface

IBM is building social networking into upcoming versions of business collaboration tools, modeling software largely after consumer-oriented sites like MySpace.

A program called IBM Community Tools will allow Lotus Notes users to share information in much the same way that they would on sites like MySpace or Facebook. The software will be built into IBM’s existing business collaboration suite, including Notes client software, Sametime instant messaging, and Web portal software.

Later versions of the software will include a social bookmarking program dubbed IBM Dogear, which functions very much like the consumer social bookmarking site Del.ico.us. Dogear, like Del.icio.us, will allow users to prioritize relevant sites in order for others to easily find the information. Michael Rodin, general Manager of IBM’s Lotus Notes division, is very enthusiastic about the upcoming changes:

Instead of making users go to a specific tool to get something done, they are making the interfaces to (social networking services) more open and integrated, so users can work from their preferred tool.

While IBM will market the Community Tools suite to other businesses, the company is already using the software itself. One of the star features of the software allows an employee to submit a question to the internal community, then allows others to answer through an instant messaging program. If more than 10 users respond to the inquiry, Community tools automatically launches a community-wide chat on the subject.

In the past communication in the Lotus notes suite would be done through e-mail. A user would start-up a document or presentation, and would circulate the document to colleagues, who would in turn edit the document and put it back into circulation. The new tools allow direct access to the knowledge of others, bring the best of Web 2.0 from the consumer side to the business side.

Despite the fact that IBM is already using the software, there’s no set date as to when it will be available to other business. Rodin did say, however, that Lotus notes will feature Collaboration Tools, in the near future.

[via cnet]