Friday, August 29, 2008

Old school applications go social!

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If you are following me on Twitter, you know that I just spent a whole week in Chicago presenting on Lotus Connections and social software. It was a great chance to see some of my fellow co-workers and finally meet in person those that I've met through my blog. Before I got going, I thought it would be a good experiment to see how many of the 80 people knew me (I would say that I knew about 10-15). Since there's a general user trend that not a lot of people comment on blogs, I figured some people may know me through my blog, but never took the extra step to comment.

Social Software works

To my surprise, when I asked the audience who knew me, about 90% of the audience raised their hands way up high! I was in shock! It kinda put more pressure on me. "This people know me, but I don't know them. I hope I don't let them down", I thought. I continued the experiment by asking who knew me through my blog and who knew me as the IBM community leader for the Lotus Social Software community. The results? Most people knew me through my blog.

I had the spotlight for 1.5 days and the idea was not only to train our resources on Lotus Connections, but to also give them the skills to:

  • Install and configure Lotus Connections against a customer's LDAP
  • Deploy Google Gadgets to the Lotus Connections Home page
  • Configure Blogs
  • Configure Profiles (reorder fields, change fields to editable, add fields, reorder widgets, etc)
  • Brand Lotus Connections (modify the header, footer, and changing the logo)

Additionally, I talked about REST, the Lotus Connections Atom APIs, and integration options, mostly using the content from this blog entry. Of course, I talked about the person card and how easy it is to add to existing applications.

Talk about immediate value add

Once I finished my session, I was approached by Erasmus, one of the session attendees. He wanted me to see something that he had done based on the presentation that I had just given. What I saw was simply amazing! You see, Erasmus is one of our experts with HATS (Host Access Transformation Services). At this point, all you need to know is that HATS is a framework that IBM provides so that organizations can web-ify Mainframe (i.e. green screen) applications.

So, what had he done? He added the Lotus Connections Profiles' Person Card to a sample mainframe application! "Whoa!!", I thought, since I was speechless. This scenario had never occurred to me. I mean, green screen applications are probably the most anti-social applications ever! And now, because the Profiles component of Lotus Connections provides this person card service that can pretty much be integrated into anything, we socialized a mainframe application.

And it gets better! Since the person card has instant messaging awareness embedded into it, we basically integrated Instant Messaging and a mainframe application!

And it gets better! Since the person card can provide links to Quickr and Sharepoint, we basically integrated Quickr/Sharepoint with a mainframe application!

When I was finally able to speak again, I asked him how long it had taken him to do this. He replied: "Oh, not even 5 minutes".

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Now that's very cool. I never thought mainframe applications would go social! Isn't SOA beautiful?? Erasmus will be presenting at the upcoming Portal Technical Conference, so stay tuned for details!

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