Speedy Communications and Collaboration in XML-based Environments

February 26, 2009

One of my favorite aspects of working at IBM is the fact that I am a mobile employee. In other words, I primarily work from home. At this stage in my life, with a young and growing family, working from home has many benefits.

I must admit that when I first joined IBM, I was skeptical about the effectiveness of a “virtual office”. I could not imagine a distributed team operating in an effective and efficient manner. There certainly is a “tax” involved in distributed operations—it does require extra coordination and communication. However, I have been genuinely surprised at how effective and efficient the virtual teams are at IBM. In my opinion, one of the primary reasons for this effectiveness is Lotus Sametime—the communications and collaboration software we use.

Lotus Sametime is impressive technology. I am not saying that just because it is software from IBM. The levels of collaboration that it facilitates across teams distributed around the world are remarkable. The integration of global employee profiles, up-to-date location information, instantaneous availability information, up-to-date calendar information, instant messaging, instant meetings, file sharing, and more is impressive. But when it operates flawlessly and instantaneous for almost 400,000 employees spread around the world you get to understand why it is impressive technology. (Also, I think that the user interface design is a big factor in its success.)

After this introduction, you can imagine why my interest was piqued when I came across an article about integrating the native XML storage capability in DB2 with Lotus Sametime. In this article, Susan Malaika and Christian Pichler provide a plug-in for this integration and then go on to demonstrate how it can be used to improve information sharing in a healthcare environment that uses the HL7 industry format. Of course, this integration could be leveraged to facilitate speedy collaboration and communications in any environment that has XML data.

The article is available at Lotus Sametime and DB2 pureXML supporting healthcare collaboration.

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