Friday, September 12, 2008

Sharepoint Web Part Builder for Lotus Connections

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prodBannermagnolia.pngBy now, you are aware of some of the cool integration points between Lotus Connections and Microsoft Sharepoint. Mainly:

  • Expose Dogears in Sharepoint
  • Expose Blogs in Sharepoint
  • Expose PersonCard in Sharepoint (documented in my article)
  • Link to Profiles (instead of the Sharepoint user info page) when clicking on a user's name in Sharepoint (documented in developwerWorks my article)
  • Use Communities as an access control into Sharepoint sites
  • Adding a 'Dogear this' button to Sharepoint pages
  • Add a widget to the Lotus Connections Homepage with 'My Sharepoint Sites' (similar to the Quickr porlet: My Places)
  • Add 'My Sites' as a link in the PersonCard which takes someone to a user's list of Sharepoint

And, of course, you are also aware of how Lotus Connections doesn't really compete with Sharepoint (mostly a portal/document management system). Instead, Lotus Connections adds value to an existing Sharepoint deployment.

Today, that's even more true than ever. The Lotus Connections development team has just made me aware of a new plugin available for Sharepoint built entirely by a 3rd party!! And not just any 3rd party. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner!! Even Microsoft business partners see the value of Lotus Connections; enough to build web parts for the Sharepoint portal.

CorasWorks Corporation, a company that bills itself as the leader in Workplace Software for Sharepoint, has built a Data Integration Toolkit which, after you buy it, allows you import and "play" with Lotus Connections data from Sharepoint without writing custom code! Here's the information provided by CorasWorks:

The CorasWorks Data Integration Toolset for Lotus Connections provides integration between Microsoft SharePoint and IBM® Lotus Connections. It allows organizations to build modular applications in SharePoint that leverage the social computing capabilities of IBM Lotus Connections without requiring custom code development.

The CorasWorks Data Integration Toolset provides a robust, modular application development toolset for SharePoint. This core product has been extended with functionality to integrate with IBM Lotus Connections to build integrated solutions without the need for custom code development. Thus, organizations are able to build applications in SharePoint that leverage the powerful social computing capabilities of IBM Lotus Connections.

An example of an integrated application is a Work Order Approval Process. It is used to process work orders with SharePoint with appropriate approvals, workflows and document control. However, the work orders require robust collaboration. Using the DI Toolset, you are able to extend each work order item to leverage the Activities application of Lotus Connections. You can now have robust Activities collaboration around each work order. This integration enables the document centric world of SharePoint to integrate with the activity centric world of Lotus Connections. The result is that you get solutions that combine the best of both worlds without having to build the integration.

The plugin has been announced in the Lotus Connections Catalog and can be found here! According to CorasWorks, the product will be GA next week.

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