UPDATE! Last week a friend of mine asked me if I could try and find out where the IBM Connections plugin for Microsoft Outlook had gone. It was no longer available as a download in the IBM Collaboration Solutions Catalog. Turns out it has been pulled!
UPDATED 29.01.2018: IBM has confirmed that the product will be completely discontinued from December 31st 2019.
I was very surprised to learn this, as there had been no announcement of its withdrawal. The plugin makes it possible to work with files in IBM Connections, directly from Outlook. You can drag files between Outlook and Connections, you can interact with communities and people in Connections without leaving Outlook and you can edit documents that’s uploaded into Connections.
I knew that after the latest upgrades of Outlook, the plugin had become broken. It still worked, but there were some curious bugs and some features were missing.
Before last weekend I asked in the product manager space in the slack community for IBM Champions about this. And last night I got the following answer:
“The Outlook plugin has moved to a support-only model for 2019, and so it was removed from the catalog. Existing customers can still get the plugin from support if needed. We will have a communication out with the details shortly.”
I wonder what those details are. That the plugin is history? A new version is on the way? Has Microsoft put a spanner in the works? Or is it that IBM don’t want to spend time and resources to fix the bugs after the last Outlook updates since they are selling the entire portfolio in to HCL?
Once again, IBM just pulls a product without warning. Instead a customer has to discover it by accident and ask around. Then the rumors can start flying and after a while you get a reply from IBM saying that they will announce it later. How about announcing it first and then pull the product?
If you’re already using the plugin, you will get support for it. But I will have one argument less for new customers on Outlook who are considering Connections, instead of Teams.