Lotus announces Atlas for Lotus Connections but didn’t check their compass

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Numerous sites are reporting the release of Atlas for Lotus Connections.  I will link those below.  My thoughts first.

While this is a step in the right direction for giving users a visual tool to extract and work with data that is contained inside of Lotus Connections, why the heck is this an IBM Software Services Asset that must be purchased as a consulting agreement?  That is ludicrous considering the amount of free social networking sites that offer this type of capability inside of their free products.  Lotus Connections is not a cheap purchase and is an investment in the growing world of social networking in the enterprise, this is a toolset that should be available now and included in how you work with Connections.  Staring at web pages all day with no dashboard or visualization makes the product dry.  I have seen many products that were Lotus assets stop dead in their tracks.  Too many places are trying for a piece of the corporate social network pie.  Lotus has to make strides to be far ahead of the competition to keep a hold on this emerging market.

For example, check out the simple site Spokeo for a dashboard across multiple social networks.  I have a podcast with them coming out in a few days, look for it to describe how to make a dashboard and soon to provide some better management of the data you receive.

From Infoworld:

"Atlas looks at the data within Connections and does some visualizations of the information," said Chris Lamb, senior product manager. "The main point is that it is a way to visualize the social data from a line-of-business perspective and a personal level."

The Atlas suite contains four components dubbed My Net, Find, Reach, and Net.

IBM is selling Atlas through its Software Services for Lotus group. Lamb declined to provide specific pricing information.

Good idea and having multiple parts of the product makes it expansible.  Reach is the dashboard tool to navigate the six-degrees of separation and to find expertise.  Find, well it finds things.  How it differs from search is not clear.  Net somehow builds on the ideas of communities, not sure how yet.

The actual IBM webpage on the topic gives some basic description while pointing you to IBM Software Services (ISS) to make a project out of installing, defining, piloting and then deploying Atlas and Connections.  The blog also has the announcement

The Money on CNN page also had another variance on the announcement.