IBM gets swept by blogging mania

Riding on the popularity of blogging in the workplace, IBM said it plans to introduce blogging capabilities to the next version of its Workplace collaboration and development software.

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By  Caroline Denslow Published  July 19, 2005

Riding on the popularity of blogging in the workplace, IBM said it plans to introduce blogging capabilities to the next version of its Workplace collaboration and development software. The blogging software, which is available as a trial download — Weblog Preview — from IBM’s AlphaWorks developer site, will be integrated into Workplace 2.5 and Workplace Designer 2.5 offerings, due for release this August. IBM perceives blogging as an effective tool for information sharing. Employees make use of blogs to share details of projects they are working on, it said. By adding blog tools to Workplace, IBM is providing another communication platform for corporate workers to use. According to Ed Brill, business unit executive for Lotus and Domino sales at IBM, there are situations when blogging is more effective than e-mail. For instance, it can help employees find information especially when they are not quite sure who to ask. The Weblog Preview test offers a single management console to maintain multiple blogs. It integrates with other Workplace features, including security, integrated search and presence, along with predefined user roles and templates. It also incorporates components commonly found on personal blogs, such as “blogroll” — a public list of favourite web pages linking to internal or external blogs — support for Atom and RSS syndication, commenting, archiving, permalinks, a rich text editor for posts, forwarding specific documents to other people, and full-text search for posts and comments. In the Workplace Designer package, IBM’ designed the blogging tools with IT professionals specifically in mind. This means that the features included are aimed at promoting software development issues such as bug tracking and project workflow. The Designer 2.5 system will also provide templates for common types of blogs used in the development process. Blogging, which many businesses see as an external marketing or PR tool used to create conversations and relationships with people outside the organisation, is being considered by the likes of IBM and Microsoft as a valuable internal knowledge-sharing tool. In fact, knowledge management solutions are now among the most important strategic technologies for large companies, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, knowledge management can present a challenge, since knowledge reside in employees’ heads and can easily be lost. The current age demographics and high turnover rates in some professional areas are a threat to the expertise that underpins many businesses. However, by using a corporate blog as an internal tool, companies would be able to capture that knowledge and share it throughout the organisation. “Unfortunately very few companies realize the potential of friction-free, personal publishing for enterprise use,” said Bill French, co-founder of Myst Technology partners, the company that developed Blogsite.

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