Helper Suite for IBM Connections by CONET

With the CONET Helper Suite for IBM Connections CONET has developed a toolkit of small and smart extension solutions on the basis of its project experience and solution competence which complements the performance of IBM Connections for special challenges.

Image: CONET Helper Suite for IBM Connections

With the use of collaboration tools and social software enterprises want to utilize the advantages of modern IT and communication to become enterprises 2.0 in terms of a social business.

The most important user advantages are to always and everywhere provide knowledge and experience for all employees, to speed up decisions, business processes and simultaneously innovation and to link separately working teams closer with each other.


IBM Connections and CONET Helper Suite

With Connections IBM offers social software for enterprises which enables the employees to accomplish their tasks faster and to increase the innovative strength as well as the quality of the work results by a closer and more effective cooperation within the networks of colleagues, partners and customers.

With the CONET Helper Suite for IBM Connections CONET has developed a tool kit of small and smart extension solutions on the basis of its project experience and solution competence which complements the performance of IBM Connections for special challenges.

This includes for example:

  • Extensive experts search
  • Using the organisation's knowledge more effectively
  • Extended standard search for easy location of topics and entries
  • Simplified selection of suitable tags with a recommendation function
  • Enhancement of workflows and mailings for the idea management
  • Import and export of WIKIs
  • Easy integration in portals and intranets


The User Experience Tools of CONET Helper Suite

Trust CONET’s collaboration expertise: The Hennef-based IT system consultants has established a technology and inter-divisional competence team especially devoted to cooperation and social business in its various facets. In addition to the consulting and the operational support this includes the special development and advancement of suitable solutions.

Use Cases, Modules and Solutions of the Helper Suite

The problem is well known: An expert is needed for current questions. You’re sure that in your organization there is just the one expert which could answer the questions quickly. But to find this expert without having to write an e-mail to all division leaders within your organization will be a most difficult endeavor.

Such a search is possible with IBM Connections, but the results of all possible experts or commentators are listed without any structure at all. This will give you a first hint for your search, but to find the right expert you will need to sift through several result pages or even further subordinated documents or entries in most cases.

Expert Search with the CONET Helper Suite means

  • To find the correct contact quickly
  • To comprehensively include social activities and external sources


With the CONET Helper Suite Expert Search your search routine becomes faster and more informative: Among others the solution considers the social activities regarding the topic in question of an expert within IBM Connections, in order to build up a ranking and a prioritization of found persons. With only little expenditure other external data sources can be integrated into the search routine.

The quality of the search results will be improved enormously through these measures and the users will find the suitable expert in the shortest time!

CONET Helper Suite - Expert Search - standalone

The expert search in the CONET Helper Suite for IBM Connections as a stand-alone-solution

CONET Helper Suite - Expert Search in SAP NetWeaver Portal

The expert search in the CONET Helper Suite for IBM Connections in the SAP NetWeaver Portal

The know-how assembled in IBM Connections is huge – which is really good. But often new users or users who are accustomed to the classic one-to-one communication do not quite feel at home with IBM Connections.

You have a special question about a certain topic but due to the numerous communities and forums in IBM Connections you are doubtful where exactly to post your question.

Precise questions with the CONET Helper Suite

  • Find the right platform for your own questions
  • Address contacts and experts directly

The CONET Helper Suite offers a simple way to address the user’s questions purposefully without having to know or to learn about IBM Connections’ network structures.

With the help of assigned tags, the module brings together the questions with the suitable experts in the appropriate IBM Connections forum. Thus, questions can be answered more quickly and effectively without delaying the work on the core tasks with complicated search routines.

CONET Helper Suite - Special Questions

How to pose special questions with the CONET Helper Suite for IBM Connections

To collect knowledge at a central point and to encourage efficient collaboration is far easier said than done. Due to the simultaneous and parallel work on information and structures, the consistency of the shared resources is preserved, but the general overview might get lost if communities and networks make progress independently from each other. Questions regarding the storing place of existing knowledge resources or the suitable storing place for new information very often remain insufficiently answered.

Only a powerful search which reliably delivers the really relevant information can help with this.  The IBM Connections’ standard search, however, solves this problem insufficiently because it lists too many irrelevant hits in an inadequately structured form.

Extended search with the CONET Helper Suite

  • Arranged and categorized results according to their relevance
  • Finding information fast - creating new content where it belong


With the CONET Helper Suite searching becomes purposeful finding! With an extension of the standard search the user gets a better overview about his interests or other tags. Additionally, the extended search sorts the results according to category and relevance.

The solution ensures that the user creates new entries in a suitable section, thus simultaneously increasing the quality of the information structure. With its optimized arrangement of results the search increases the user satisfaction as well as the efficiency of the search for information and resources.

CONET Helper Suite - Extended Search

The extended search of the CONET Helper Suite for IBM Connections

The trans-departmental collaboration on modern platforms like IBM Connections integrates knowledge resources at one central point. Simultaneously, it replaces the classical hierarchic and departmental filing of documents and information.

The focal point is the tagging of all contents which helps to find the needed information quickly even in a seemingly unordered filing e.g. in many communities or forums. The assigning of the suitable tags very often is time-consuming and inconsistent which raises a lot of questions: Which tags are relevant? How many should be assigned? Which describe a document or a personal profile best?

Effective tagging with the CONET Helper Suite

  • Automated display of recommended tags
  • Simple and consistent assignment of tags


The CONET Helper Suite supports the consistent tagging in IBM Connections with the help of an automatic recommendation feature both for contributions and resources as well as for user profiles.

According to the words used in the content or the information the user has already posted, the recommendation tool automatically creates a list of suitable or frequently used tags. These can comfortably be chosen from the so-called Tag Cloud and be assigned to your own contribution or profile.

This not only makes appropriate tagging much easier for the user – at the same time the homogeneity of the tags used and therefore the quality of the search results of tag-based queries are significantly increased.

CONET Helper Suite - Tagging Posts

Recommendation feature for the tagging of posts with the CONET Helper Suite for IBM Connections

CONET Helper Suite - Tagging Profiles

Recommendation feature for the tagging of profiles with the CONET Helper Suite for IBM Connections


A successful internal suggestions system can contribute significantly to innovative strength and increased efficiency as well as employees’ satisfaction. And those employees who work daily with internal processes, applications and systems know best where there is potential for optimization. Many leading enterprises are already successfully using their ideas as a basis for a continuous improvement process.

An idea management can only produce real benefits if it is efficient and comprehensible. In most cases the implementation is deficient and ideas are not consequently followed up, evaluated and implemented. Thus, the idea management is non-effective and the idea providers will soon stop suggesting due to frustration.


Workflows for idea management with the CONET Helper Suite

  • Extension of the IBM Connections Ideation Blog
  • Flexible workflows to depict individual suggestion processes


With its so-called „Ideation Blog“, IBM Connections already has a basic feature for the idea management. However, its background process is too inflexible for many scenarios and cannot be extended with components like additional workflow steps e.g. to further evaluate or adapt ideas.

The CONET Helper Suite offers an extension tool to depict the idea management within the Ideation Blog of IBM Connections. From the registration via the classification and allocation of activities up to final evaluation, approval and implementation of ideas, all needed process steps within the suggestion system including automated messaging can simply be implemented.

The suggestion system thus always follows a determined best practice process and the idea providers are kept up-to-date and informed about the status of their ideas.

CONET Helper Suite - Idea Management Process


One of the central demands towards collaboration and social business is the simplified work and the use of a central platform for communications and co-working. This also implies that the working environment grows less complex because the employee does not have to switch constantly between a multitude of applications and systems.

IBM Connections offers comprehensive functions for an efficient communication and collaboration. However, these functions can only prevail and remain effective if the collaboration is optimally integrated into the existing application environment and does not merely run alongside other applications.

Simple portal and intranet integration of IBM Connections with the integration framework of the CONET Helper Suite

  • Clearly arranged depiction of status updates, activities, information from e.g. communities or forums within the portal
  • Simplified use and increased acceptance

The Connections Integrations Framework (CONNI) enables the integration of IBM Connections content into other portal systems – for example employees’ portals on the basis of a content management system or classic portal software like the SAP NetWeaver Portal. Thus, for example, important news, status updates and new forum entries can already be displayed on the start page of the portal. User data can be loaded directly from the IBM connections profile into the intranet.

The JEE-based application (or servlet) enables a simplified and flexible integration of content from IBM Connections.

The integrated layout and template framework helps to embed „ready-made“ HTML-fragments into already existing web pages. Alternatively, data can be provided in JSON format.

Should several different IBM connections components need to be depicted or embedded on one portal page alongside each other, the Ajax Multiplexer Framework offers just the needed feature to aggregate the many different requests to a single one, thus achieving a performance advantage and a significant relief for the transmission lines.

With a central portal login, the work with all the collaboration and communication systems will become much easier to handle. The users work with one single desktop interface, making work more efficient and more user-friendly.

The following illustration depicts a rough architecture overview:

CONET Helper Suite - Integrations-Framework - Architecture

Architecture overview of the connections integrations framework of the CONET Helper Suite

CONET Helper Suite - Integration Framework CONNI Start

Exemplary portal starting page with connections integration via the integration framework of the CONET Helper Suite for IBM Connections

The Integration Tools of the CONET Helper Suite


Foto: Senior Account Manager Dominic KerstingXing