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HCL Connections
Original author(s)IBM
Developer(s)HCL Technologies
Stable release
7.0 / April 12, 2020; 3 years ago (2020-04-12)
TypeEnterprise social software, Web 2.0

HCL Connections is a Web 2.0 enterprise social software application developed originally by IBM and acquired by HCL Technologies in July 2019. Connections is an enterprise-collaboration platform which aims to helps teams work more efficiently. Connections is part of HCL collaboration suite which also includes Notes / Domino, Sametime, Portal and Connections.[1]


Connections was announced at Lotusphere 2007, and Version 1.0 shipped on June 27 that year.

Version Release date Major release points
v1.0 29 June 2007 First release.
v1.02 6 November 2007 New plugins for Microsoft Windows Explorer, PowerPoint, Word, and Excel.
v2.0 June 2008 Widget based extensibility for Homepage, Profiles, and Communities.
v2.5 28 August 2009 Added functionality: Wikis, Files, Microblogging, and social search / analytics.
v3.0 24 November 2010 Added "wizards" for database creation and profile population, cluster functionality installed out of the box.
v3.0.1 5 April 2011 Name change from IBM Lotus Connections to IBM Connections, Media library functionality, Ideation, Enterprise Content Manager (ECM) integration and advanced mobility possibilities.
v3.0.1.1 17 March 2012 Forums content can be added by non-forum member. Forums question can be filtered on.
v3.0.1.1CR1 16 May 2012 Bug fixes.
v4.0 15 September 2012 Activity Stream, Embedded Experience, Integrated Mail and Calendar, Social Analytics, Mobility.
v4.5 12 March 2013 Content Manager, @-mentions in mobile, two factor authentication in mobile, enhanced ideation, enhanced rich text editing, Microsoft Outlook Sidebar Plug-in, Activity Stream, Embedded Experience, Integrated Mail and Calendar, Social Analytics, Mobility.
v4.5. CR1 26 June 2013 Bug fixes.
v4.5. CR3 30 November 2013 Bug fixes.
v4.5. CR4 10 April 2014 Bug fixes.
v5.0 26 June 2014 File sync, ability to share content with external users from inside the firewall, smart expertise type ahead search, attention management indicators, updated user experience/look-n-feel, push notifications to mobile, redesigned mobile experience, activity stream search, enhanced file viewing and management, community landing, page, new Gallery app for Communities, wiki macros, @-mentions everywhere, copy/paste everywhere.
v5.5 18 December 2015 New Verse-based theme, type ahead search, rich content app, nested folders, attachment search, improved editors.
v5.5 CR1 17 May 2016 Bug fixes.
v5.5 CR2 10 November 2016 Bug fixes.
v6.0 31 March 2017 New Homepage (first "Pink" element), Communities modernized, Introduction of the Component Pack (containerized apps)
v6.5 12 February 2019 First release from HCL
v7.0 12 April 2020 Tailored Experience, Teams and Outlook integration, PDF Export
v8.0 2022[needs update] Completely redesigned and unified user interface

HCL Connections has the following components:

At Lotusphere 2010, IBM previewed features being planned for future releases,[2][3] including:

HCL Connections uses open standards including ATOM and RSS to integrate with other applications, and provides a REST-like API for developers.[4] Widgets can be added into HCL Connections, including those from Google Gadgets and other services as well as custom developed ones.[5]

HCL Connections has been described as the leading product in enterprise social software market[6][7][8][9] and IDC named it the worldwide leader in market share in 2011.


The ten HCL Connections components are built on a set of services according to the service-oriented architecture concept. These components take the form of J2EE applications which are hosted on IBM WebSphere Application Server. This design allows the components to be hosted independently of each other and to support very large scale deployments.


The Homepage serves as a portal for user's social collaboration. Out of the box HCL Connections provides 20 widgets[10] which can be customized by the user.

IT administrators can add new widgets and Open social gadgets for use by users.

The Homepage module also includes a 'recent updates' display which shows changes such as new content posts and status updates which are relevant to the user. A system to update the users status via microblogging is also provided.


Profiles provides an online directory of people within an organization. People can be located by criteria such as keywords, names, responsibilities, interests, projects they are part of, expertise, business relationships, tags, or their location.[10]

A person's profile typically contains their name, job role, base location, reporting chain and details about the IBM Connection bookmarks, activities, communities and blogs in which they participate. Profiles can be customized and new fields added.[11]


Bookmarks is a social bookmarking service which allows people to bookmark web-content, tag it, and share it. Bookmarks can be located via keyword, tags and the person who created the bookmark.

In addition to simple searching, Bookmarks can dynamically refine search results with the user identifying users or other tags of interest to them.

Bookmarks can output bookmarks via standard feeds and provides an API so that third-party tools can integrate with it.[12] As of Connections 2.0.1, the API can be used for:


Activities is a task management system which enables groups of people to easily collaborate on a task. Activities are structured in a nested tree hierarchy where entries, to-do items and sections branch off from the root activity.

Any non-section entity in an activity can contain rich-text and custom fields for files, links, text, people and dates. To-Do items can also have a due date and a person the To-Do is assigned to.


Wikis are a new capability added to IBM Connections 2.5 which facilitate the collaborative creation of web content. Wikis are collections of pages about a particular subject. Wiki members can edit or comment on the pages, or add their own pages. Teams can use wikis to create a central place to collaborate on a project.[10]


Files is a personal file-sharing service that is part of IBM Connections 2.5, used to upload, share, tag, recommend, and comment on files.[10]


Communities enable ad hoc and planned collaboration around a project or area of interest. A Connections Community can have its own media gallery, event calendar, ideation, microblogging, blog, forums, bookmarks, activities, feeds,[13] member list, Wiki and Files.


Blogs provide blogging functionality for groups and individuals.


Forums is used for discussions. It was added as a component in 3.0, and was previously part of the Communities component.


HCL Connections integrates into existing applications via plug-ins. Out-of-the-box, the following plugins are available, most included as part of the license:

Other integration with Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Office Communications Server has also been done.

ISVs have also integrated into the IBM Connections platform, such as Trilogy Group to add Social Project Management for complex projects, ISW & Bunchball to add a gamification layer, Blogs which serves as a native iPad blogging app for IBM Connections.


  1. ^ "What is HCL Connections?". Retrieved 2024-02-28.
  2. ^ "IBM's Social Strategy Includes Support for CMIS, User Generated Content and Compliance". CMSWire. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  3. ^ "IBM Lotus Connections Adding Social Analytics, Moderation". eWeek. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  4. ^ "IBM Docs". Archived from the original on 2012-07-15.
  5. ^ "Adding widgets to the Home page". Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  6. ^ Sid Burgess (25 January 2009). "IBM Lotus Connections 2.5: Twitter-type micro-blogging tool!". Archived from the original on February 5, 2009.
  7. ^ "BlackBerry – Press Release". 2008-05-14. Archived from the original on 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  8. ^ "MySpace Gets a Corporate Makeover" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  9. ^[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ a b c d "IBM United States Software Announcement 209-210" (PDF). IBM. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  11. ^ "Customizing Profiles". Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  12. ^ "Dogear API". Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  13. ^ "IBM Connections". 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  14. ^ Microsoft Windows Explorer