From its inception, the HCL Connections collaboration suite was built around the central premise of openness and discoverability. This was specifically done to ensure that content and expertise needed to collaborate effectively with other team members is easily discoverable. Information silos, on the other hand, disrupt and slow down collaboration. Eighty percent of companies in a recent survey reported a moderate to high degree of information silos within the organizations. Silos impede employee efficiency and can negatively impact both the top line and the bottom line of a company’s financials.
Information silos separate employees and information
What causes information silos? Overlapping and disparate applications that don’t talk to each other or are only used in specific parts of an organization. Disconnected and dispersed content leads to document duplication, version control difficulty, and productivity loss as employees needlessly search for crucial information across multiple content repositories. These unintentional boundaries can have a profound impact on employee productivity, engagement and the ability to solve problems.
Breaking down information silos
Our most recent software release bridges the silo gap by bringing the benefits of Connections to the Microsoft Ecosystem, adding information-sharing capabilities to both Connections and Microsoft. Inside Connections, you can now start a conversation via Microsoft Teams Chat with any of your Connections contacts from their business card, profile page, or the Important to Me bar. You can also immediately share and start a conversation around any page in Connections by clicking the Teams icon that you’ll find on that page.
You can bring your SharePoint libraries into your Connections Communities, and users can round-trip edit their files in Office with changes automatically saved right back into Connections files – no need to upload an updated file each time.
Inside the Microsoft applications, you have one-click access to your Connections community applications — files, wikis, forums, activity feed, etc. — right inside your Teams chats and channels. You can also insert files or any recent content from Connections into your conversations simply by clicking on the Connections icon in the chat bar.
And lastly, we’ve introduced a brand-new Outlook add-in that lets you seamlessly shift content back and forth between Outlook and Connections, such as moving file attachments into or out of Connections or looking up details on meeting recipients from their profiles. These enhancements work on all Outlook clients — Windows, Mac, web, and mobile.
Tear down walls
Removing internal boundaries and information silos should be a priority given the tangible impact on improving employee productivity. Making work more seamless with built-in integration will not only improve productivity, but it will also amplify team communication and decision velocity. Productivity gains include reduced toggling between Connections and Microsoft applications by up to 50%. You can also share content with team members five times faster while at the same time reducing unnecessary searches. Add to this the 1-click collaboration with cross-functional team members capability, and it’s easy to understand the real benefits of integration. Integrating the value of your Connections people-powered communities and content into your Microsoft tools will leverage the best of Connections and Microsoft.
To see our integration capabilities in action, check out the video replay of our recent webinar.
Frequently asked questions about our integrations
Q: Are the integrations you have shown today directly available after upgrading to v7? Or are they still under development?
A: All of the integrations shown today between Connections and Teams, SharePoint, Outlook and Office are available today.
Q: Is there any integration between Activities and Outlook?
A: Yes, you can save an email or an attachment to an activity (e.g. as a To-Do)
Q: What about integration to other HCL products? Connection to Domino, Connections to Sametime, etc.?
A: Enhanced integration with the latest version of HCL Sametime is coming soon, and we will continue to update integrations with Domino and other parts of our portfolio.
Q: How are employees authenticated between Connections and Teams? Via Microsoft Active Directory? Or Domino LDAP or both?
A: Single sign-on is accomplished by setting up a trust relationship between the Connections server and Microsoft Azure using the WebSphere OpenID Connect Relying Party Trust Association Interceptor (OIDC Relying Party TAI). Check out additional details here.
Q: Do you have any best practice documents for where there is overlap in functionality between Connections and Microsoft 365 (e.g., managing files)?
A: Our recommendation would be to consolidate files in one place to make them all searchable and discoverable. Storing them all in Connections Files ensures they are accessible and discoverable all in one place. Integrating from there into Teams means you still have a single file store while making them accessible when collaborating in Teams.
Q: Teams Channel and Connections Communities seemed to be similar and can also lead to duplicate content? Any reason we should use one over the other?
A: There are a lot of capabilities and benefits that a Connections Community offers that Teams doesn’t provide. Communities enable structure and organization to a team or project, allowing you to use the right tool for the right job (e.g., wiki vs. forum vs. file share, etc.), and is open and discoverable across the organization.
Q: What type of the Teams tab do you use to integrate with Connections? Is it just a Web tab or some custom application?
A: Once the integration is deployed, you’ll find Connections as an option along with all the other Teams apps when you go to the Add Apps component in Teams. From there, it will walk you through selecting the community and the specific app within that community.
Q: Do you have a documentation how to deploy the Connections integration into a Teams?