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Blogging for companies

by Nikola Strahija on July 16th, 2005 IBM announced two blogging tools this week, taking advantage of a practice increasingly prevalent in the enterprise. The firm concludes that blogging is easier that e-mailing or talking to co-workers directly.

Weblog Preview, available as a trial download from IBM's AlphaWorks developer site, works with the Workplace collaboration platform, and will ultimately be integrated into the platform as a core component. IBM is also releasing a blog development component with Workplace Designer 2.5 in August.

IBM sees blogging as a key way for companies to promote information sharing. -In an enterprise, corporate knowledge is in employees' heads most of the time. We are providing tools that help to capture that knowledge and share it through the organisation, said Ed Brill, business unit executive for Lotus and Domino sales at IBM.

Blogs have certain advantages over e-mail, such as helping employees to find information when they're not quite sure who to ask, Brill said. IBM published a blogging policy for its own employees about eight weeks ago and now has several thousand internal blogs, along with the several hundred existing IBM blogs available on the Internet, he said.

The Weblog Preview test release works with Workplace 2.5 and Workplace Collaboration Services 2.5, and is integrated with other Workplace features, including security, integrated search and presence. The Workplace blog can be administered centrally.

The tool also integrates the usual blogging components found on personal blogs, including a public list of favourite Weblogs linking to internal or external blogs, support for Atom and RSS syndication, commenting, archiving, permalinks, a rich text editor for posts, and full-text search for posts and comments.

Tools like Google-owned Blogger may be fine for external blogs, but internally the tools need to be integrated with the rest of a company's infrastructure, Brill said. IBM's own employees have taken up the blog idea in large numbers recently, showing that the concept can work, he said. -The inhibitors don't exist as much when you're only talking to colleagues, he said.

Blogs have continued to gain popularity, and indeed are now one of the driving forces of Internet growth, according to analysts.

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