There's no doubt that there's business value in social networking. The problem is that most of it is intangible.
IBM, however, wants to change that with the launch today of version 3.0 of Lotus Connections, its social networking offering for the enterprise that now comes with a built-in text analytics capability.
According to Heidi Votaw-Ambler, IBM program director for social software, IBM is trying to bring a touch of knowledge management to social networking. The basic idea is that there is a lot of intellectual capital tied up in both internal and external social networking sites. Companies need an efficient way to discover that information so IBM is now adding a text analytics engine to the platform.
As more inexpensive processing power becomes widely available, the practicality of embedding analytics into every application increases. Social networking is one of the more obvious places to apply the concept. But text and other forms of analytic applications can be applied to virtually any Web 2.0 application.
With this new release, IBM is also extending Lotus Connection out to the Apple iPad and Google Android platform as part of the general trend of extending social networking software out to as many mobile computing platforms as possible.