Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Going to Lotusphere? Tune in to the Lotusphere podcast

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If you are going to Lotusphere on January 17-21, 2010 you MUST subscribe and listen to the Lotusphere podcast. Currently, there have been 6 episodes posted. In each episode, Stuart McIntyre interviews guests and gets them to share their tips and stories on attending Lotusphere.


In episode 5, I join Stuart to share my own view of Lotusphere. Want to know my favorite parts of Lotusphere? My tips on what to do? And what's worth waking up at 6am on Thursday for? Then go on and listen to the podcast now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Microblogging plugin for Lotus Notes and Lotus Connections

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It's finally here! Super awesome IBMer Jessica Wu Ramirez created a Lotus Notes plugin that basically allows you to update your status and follow conversations that are happening in Lotus Connections directly from your Lotus Notes client. Jessica created this within 24 hours of Lotus Connections 2.5 being out and has been continuously updating the client making it better in every iteration.


The client also lets you update your status in Twitter. And even if Lotus Notes is minimized (or you are not using it at the moment), you can update your status directly through a system tray icon.

So go ahead and download and install this free plugin.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Updating your Lotus Connections microblog programmatically

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This post is very techie. It comes as a reader recently asked me to share the code that I use to programmatically update my microblog (or status) in Lotus Connections. The following code is using Java and Abdera, but should be easily portable to other platforms like Adobe AIR. The Lotus Connections Profiles API documentation was helpful when I was trying to figure this out.

  1. Initialize the Abdera library
    // Initialize the Atom Client to update the status in Connections
    Abdera abdera = new Abdera();
    AbderaClient client = new AbderaClient(abdera);
    AbderaClient.registerTrustManager();
    try
    {
    client.addCredentials("http://connections.tap.ibm.com", null, null, new UsernamePasswordCredentials(username, password));
    }
    catch (URISyntaxException e)
    {
    e.printStackTrace();
    }
    
  2. Create the Atom entry to post to Lotus Connections


    Parser parser = abdera.getParser();
    String urlText = "https://connections.tap.ibm.com/profiles/atom/mv/thebuzz/entry/status.do?email=" + username;
    // Create the Atom entry with the new status message
    Entry status = abdera.newEntry();
    status.addCategory("http://www.ibm.com/xmlns/prod/sn/type", "entry", null);
    status.addCategory("http://www.ibm.com/xmlns/prod/sn/message-type", "status", null);
    message = StringEscapeUtils.escapeHtml(message);
    status.setContent(message);


  3. Post the Atom entry
    // Send the new status message to Connections
    ClientResponse response = client.put(urlText, status);
    
  4. Check the return code
    if (response.getType() == ResponseType.SUCCESS)
    {
    // yipee
    System.out.println("woo hoo");
    }
    else
    {
    // WTH?
    System.out.println("oh no!");
    }
    

Hope this helps.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tri-State LUG: Extending Lotus Connections to Domino with TDI

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As I mentioned last week, on Monday I participated in my first LUG: Lotus User Group. I was cordially invited to participate in the Tri-State Lotus User Group meeting. I could only stay for the morning. I got to enjoy Bob Picciano's keynote before my session. You can find a summary of Bob's keynote in Chris' blog.

My presentation was about using Tivoli Directory Integrator (TDI) with Lotus Connections and Domino. TDI is a free piece of software that's included with both Lotus Connections and Domino v8+. It's a great toolkit to easily move data from/to Domino to/from Lotus Connections. I used the following presentation to introduce my demo.

While I don't have a formal recording, I do have other blog entries with recordings that show how to use TDI to quickly import data to Lotus Connections. The videos are: How To Load Users from a Spreadsheet and How To Load Photos from LDAP.

To the first person who asked me a question, I gave away a copy of Web 2.0 and Social Networking for the Enterprise, Joey Bernal's new book which includes a foreword by Jeff Schick, VP of Social Software at IBM. I was one of the technical editors so got two copies and decided to give away my extra one .


Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

IT Superstar of 2009: Luis Benitez

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Thank you all for your support!

If you want to nominate someone else as the IT Superstart of 2009, go here: http://www.ibm.com/vrm/itsuper_etp_recipient_2250IN/LBenitez194164846

Friday, October 30, 2009

Live in NY, NJ, or CT ? Join us on Nov 9th for the Tri-State LUG

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On November 9th, I'lll be in New York visiting one of our customers and will also get a chance to speak at the Tri-State Lotus User Group (LUG). I've never been to the a LUG before, let alone speak at one. Needless to say, I'm a bit nervous about the event.

The keynote speaker for the event is Bob Picciano and my session is right after his, which of course adds to the pressure. Looking at the agenda, I noticed that my time slot also puts me going head-to-head against John Head. Luckily, I'm going to Enterprise 2.0 in San Francisco next week so I hope to pick up some good tips on new stuff (and perhaps how to present).

My session is going to be about extending Lotus Connections with Tivoli Directory Integrator (TDI) by importing data from existing Domino databases. This is actually something that I had to do for the customer that I visited this week in Toronto. I'm going to give a brief introduction of what TDI is and what a powerful tool it is. Then walk through the process of creating an 'assembly line' to connect to Domino, retrieve some data, and import it to Connections.

To register for the event on the 9th, fill out this registration form (and space is limited so register today)!  See you there!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Opening bookmarks in a new window

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Today I got to enjoy Toronto again. I was here 3 weeks ago setting up an environment for a potential customer. Last time I was here, they didn't have a Notes 8.5.1 which was released just 16 days ago. It's interesting to see the customer's perception of Connections with Notes 8.5.1. They are completely loving the integrated suite of products all working together in harmony. The 4 hours that I was there, they just wouldn't stop congratulating me for the work that we've done integrating Notes, Sametime and Connections together.

I, of course, don't get any credit for this. All credit goes to the development team for their great work. Not sure if the development team will see this (they are probably heads down now getting ready for Lotusphere), but your work is appreciated.

Anyway, there was one customization that customer wanted: open bookmarks in a new window. Here's the customization that I made in case you would like to do the same in your environment.

  1. Go to the Lotus Connections server
  2. Go to the following directory: <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>/installedApps\<cellname>\Dogear.ear\dogear.webui.war\h3\jsp\main
  3. Save a backup of bookmark.jspf, currentBookmark.jspf
  4. Open the files with your favorite text editor
  5. Look for this:
    <a id="bmlink_${link.id}" onmouseover....
    
  6. Add target="_blank" before id so that it looks like this:
    <a target="_blank"id="bmlink_${link.id}" onmouseover
    
  7. Save and close the files
  8. "Touch" h3.jsp
  9. Delete the directory: <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\temp\*
  10. Clear browser cache
  11. Reload Bookmarks

Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Collecting usage metrics in Lotus Connections 2.5

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Last year, I posted a blog with sample reports & metrics collected by Lotus Connections v2. Since that's one of the areas that was improved in 2.5, I've been getting a lot of questions as to how these reports look like.

Here, I've included a couple sample screenshots. Do note that most reports are longer than 1 page and thus don't fit in one page screenshot. If you would like to learn more, let me know.

Activities


Blogs


Bookmarks


Communities


Files


Homepage


Profiles


Wikis


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pre-Order: Planning and Implementing Social Software for your Enterprise with Lotus Connections 2.5

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Amazon has just posted the 2nd edition to the Lotus Connections 2.5 book. You can pre-order it today from Amazon.


Table of contents:

  • Assessing the potential value of social networking to your business
  • Building dynamic networks of coworkers, partners, and customers that promote innovation and business agility
  • Understanding the core services Lotus Connections 2.5 provides and the unique way in which they integrate
  • Leveraging Lotus Connections’ consistent multitiered architecture
  • Successfully planning for technical infrastructure and organizational change
  • Walking through a best-practice installation and configuration process
  • Building effective communities for employees with shared interests
  • Using blogs to improve communications and overcome organizational silos or time zone differences
  • Helping individuals and groups organize their work through Activities
  • Performing administrative tasks such as customizing look-and-feel, collecting statistics, and troubleshooting
  • Using plug-ins to integrate with Lotus Notes®, Microsoft® Office®, Outlook®, Windows® Explorer, Lotus Sametime®, and WebSphere® Portal
  • Displaying useful, up-to-the-minute information with prebuilt widgets
  • Utilizing Lotus Connections’ REST-based API to create new integration points and build custom applications

Enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cool new plugin for Lotus Connections

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For some time now, we've had a plugin available internally that enhances the navigation experience within Lotus Connections. It actually requires Firefox, so if you are still using Internet Explorer, well, don't. It's an archaic browser and all it does is reduce your productivity.

Ok back to topic. The developer of the plugin, Brett Johnson, has decided to make it available via userscripts.org. What does it do? Well, the plugin injects a drop-down menu in the top navigation bar. The menu 'discovers' what's behind those links and then dynamically presents you a sub-menu with available options. That way, if you know where you are going, you can get there in 1 click, instead of 3-4.

I strongly recommend that you all download and install this plugin, but be aware that it may make Lotus Connections even more addictive. To download and install the plugin, go here.

Updated 10/Oct/2009 - Note: As pointed out by Mitch: if you are using outside of IBM you need to change the scripts config from *ibm.com/profiles to *domainname/profiles etc. etc. for each feature.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October is the month for Lotus Knows Bus Tour

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It's almost October and that means it's tour time! Here's a map of the cities that the Lotus Knows Tour Bus will be visiting during this month. It looks like I'll get to see it first when it goes to the LA area which is the same week I'll be at the Portal conference in nearby San Diego.


View Lotus Knows bus in a larger map

Shortly after I get to check out the bus in Los Angeles, the bus heads to the Las Vegas. And as Bilal points out, it looks like it's going to show up at the Sharepoint conference. That sounds fun!!! Can't wait to see/hear the reaction from the crowds there.

So plan now and set a date with the Lotus Knows Tour Bus. For a complete listing of cities and dates, click here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Lotus Connections 2.5 Plug-Ins Available for Free Download

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Today, new plug-ins were made available in the Lotus Connections Solution Catalog for Lotus Connections 2.5+. As just announced by Mac Guidera, some are updates to previous plugins, and some are new like the Sharepoint plugin. As before, they are free so go ahead and download them:

Enjoy!

Virgin Atlantic Commercial: Lotus Knows how you travel

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If you are not following Ed Brill, well you should, but also, that means that you missed this link that he posted. It's a new commercial that's being shown in-flight Virgin Atlantic flights. I thought it's pretty cool.

Enjoy! (and yes, I've been posting a lot of videos lately, but that's because Lotus Knows I Like Videos.)

The adventures of Molly discovering Social Software @ IBM

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A great video that was published today, inspired by "The Man Who Should Have Used Lotus Connections":

Enjoy!

What's the best rating system for social content?

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Some time ago (probably over 2 years ago), our internal blogging system changed their rating mechanism. Now, instead of giving 1-5 stars to a particular entry, you could only give it a star or not. In other words, we went from having 6 choices, to two choices (to give or not to give a star).

At the time the decision was explained with some internal metrics.. basically, a "big majority" of people were rating content with 5 stars or none at all. It was mostly a binary decision.

More and more this decision has been validated by other social networking providers like Facebook and YouTube. Several months ago, Facebook added the ability to 'Like' a post, thus giving users a binary decision.. Either you like it or not.

Now, it looks like YouTube is looking to abandon this 5-star rating system. As posted in their blog:

Great videos prompt action; anything less prompts indifference.

I think that's how I feel most of the time. It's not whether or not I like the content. It's whether the content is really worth recommending to others or it was so good that it deserved "a reward". Plus having a 5-star rating system gives me too many choices (specially if you can do stuff like 3.5, 4.5, etc). It really requires some thinking to decide between a 4, 4.5 or 5. That's why I like the "binary" rating systems better. It's easy. It's fast.

Still, I see a lot of Enterprise 2.0 RFPs asking for a 5-star rating system. I wonder if that's a hard requirement or just based on what the RFP writers see out there. And wonder if this requirement will soon start disappearing.

How about you? Do you like 5-star rating systems? Or do you prefer binary rating systems? Or perhaps trinary rating systems such as Digg/Bury/No action, Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down/No Action? Does it matter if it's inside the firewall vs outside?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Demo: Sametime's Broadcast Chat and Communities

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Here's a nice demo of the Sametime Broadcast Chat capabilities. Broadcast Chat capabilities are part of Sametime Advanced and integrate very nicely with Lotus Connections Communities. I think the video does a very good job demoing the need for real-time collaboration, which is often missed by the social tools. That's one reason I like this functionality so much. It adds a sense of real-time communications to existing social software platforms.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Checking for viruses in Lotus Connections

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I'm working with a customer right now that wants to deploy Lotus Connections externally (i.e. outside of the firewall). I got an interesting question for them and didn't see the answer documented in the InfoCenter. Therefore, I decided to post it here in case I need to reference it later (or in case it's valuable to you).

The question was around viruses in file uploads. Since this will be available in the internet they were concerned about users who may inadvertently (or knowingly) upload a file. Out of the box, Lotus Connections supports antivirus services that work on ICAP (Internet Content Adaptation Protocol) 1.0 such as McAfee Web Security Appliance and Symantec Scan Engine. How to configure the antivirus for Lotus Connections is documented in the InfoCenter.

However, it's not clear what happens when an infected file is uploaded. Is it automatically deleted? Is the admin notified? Is the user notified? etc. Therefore, I asked one of our developers and got the answer. Action on the file actually depends on how the antivirus system itself is configured. If the antivirus system is configured to clean the files, then the files will be cleaned and then saved normally. If the antivirus is configured to delete infected files, then the file is never saved by Lotus Connections. Regardless, the user is notified of an error while uploading their file.

Now you know

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lotus Connections 2.5 Overview Presentation

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Here's a nice presentation that my good friend Stuart McIntyre told me about recently. It goes through at a high level the new features that were added last month in Lotus Connections 2.5. Additionally, it contains some great customer quotes based on their experience with the software in this short period of time.

Additionally, you'll get to see our customers' new favorite features. Take a quick peek; I'm sure you'll like it.

Enterprise Social Software from IBM

View more presentations from chrissparshott.

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lotus Knows I Like Videos

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One of the tools that I love to use with my customers is video. Specially videos that tell a story about the business value of social software. Yo may remember that in the past 2 weeks I've posted two videos on the business value of blogs and Lotus Connections. Yesterday, Lotus launched their Lotus Knows campaign.

There are a bunch of videos available. Some are specific to Lotus products. Some encompass two or more Lotus technologies. This is one of the videos that I liked:

Lotus Connections gives you a bird’s eye view of what your colleagues are working on. So you can quickly assess synergy with your own work.

You can view more videos like this here. What's your favorite one?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Microblogging Goes To Work By Delphine Remy

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A colleague, Delphine Remy, put togethers this wonderful presentation that explains the business value of microblogging both inside and outside of the firewall. It starts by talking a bit about Twitter and its importance in external communications.

One of the things that I liked about the presentation is that it actually provides 5 different ways to use microblogging. Additionally, it provides examples of how IBM is using tools like Twitter and Lotus Connections and how we are embracing microblogging to improve our business processes.

This presentation was delivered last week at the Digital Media event in Barcelona.

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Social Software and the Government

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I'm going to be speaking at the IBM Federal Mashup Day Event on October 22, 2009. The topic? Social Software inside the Government.

Below is some information on the event. If you are near the Washington, DC area, I strongly encourage you to register and attend this event.


Unlock data sources, transform information and assemble mashups.

Learn how to unlock and easily view a wide range of information from multiple sources. In just minutes you can simply point-and-click, using a visual, browser-based tool, and assemble new applications, including feeds and widgets. Improve employee productivity by empowering self-service application development to address daily work challenges. Attend our half-day seminar and learn from the experts about the value of mashups for federal government.

Join us at:

Hyatt Regency Reston
Reston, VA
October 22, 2009

Register today!

IBM Federal Mashup Day 2009 Agenda

Why Government Mashups Matter

Mashup Development Cycle

Customer Case Study

Learn From a customer's real-world experience

Mashup Technical Session

Social Software for Government

  • Vibrant Communities: Wikis, forums, files and activities
  • Expertise Location: Profiles, microblogging and social networking tools
  • Content Sharing: Personal file sharing, blogging and shared bookmarks

To register for this free event, click here. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lotus Connections and SuccessFactors Webcast

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Earlier this year IBM announced a partnership with SuccessFactors to combine social-software (i.e. Lotus Connections) with SuccessFactors' talent management solutions. The Lotus Greenhouse is going to host a webcast on October 1st to show how these two solutions work together. Here's some information on the event:


Drive top results in Talent Management with SuccessFactors Business Execution Software and IBM Lotus Connections

IBM and SuccessFactors have joined forces to provide a unique talent management and social software solution that helps boost productivity and drive top-line results. Attend this live webcast to learn more and see a live demonstration showing the integration of SuccessFactors and IBM Lotus Connections. You will see how the combination of social data with talent management helps people discover the skills they need for critical projects as well as helping executives align the organization's skills with their strategy.


For dial-in and web conference information, please visit this page in the Greenhouse. See you there!

Are you ready to Jam ?

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Lotus is currently running the Smart Work Jam as part of IBM's Smarter Planet Initiative. The business climate is changing rapidly, and the onus is on you and your organizations to respond quickly and effectively. To optimize business performance you can't work harder or spend more on resources. You need to work smarter. Smart Work is about creating a collaborative and connected business environment that empowers your people, embraces change and ultimately increases productivity. Please join us and register today for the WorldWide Videocast and the Global Jam to learn more and participate in the conversation.

See you there!

Looking for some unofficial feedback on Lotus Collaboration

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A colleague of mine is looking for some unofficial feedback from our customers. If you are a Lotus Collaboration customer, I'm sure he would appreciate if you could take 5-7 minutes of your time to answer the following survey:

https://greenhouse.lotus.com/turbo/open/route/view/start?formName=eJ1nkYHOLi3y1tKh1252849601321

Thanks!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Story: The Enterprise Value of Internal Blogs

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This is another great story from Jean-Francois Chenier on the business value of internal blogs for an enterprise.

If you missed Jean-Francois' first video, you can find it here. I think these videos with real use-cases are essential for promoting adoption of social software in the enterprise. Therefore, feel free to use them as you plan your roll-outs of Enterprise 2.0 tools in your organization.

I wonder who Jean-Francois meant as the "guy who knows about cool things" ?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Great Week with Lotus Connections 2.5

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This week I had the pleasure to set up 3 different Lotus Connections 2.5 environments, and assist in a migration of a 4th.

The most interesting install was at a customer site where they wanted to integrate Windows Authentication with Lotus Connections (a.k.a SPNEGO/Kerberos). The idea is that each morning an employee logs on to their Windows desktop and authenticates against an NT domain. Then a user launches Connections and magically they are automatically signed on!

I hadn't done a SPNEGO / Lotus Connections installation in a while, but read the documentation and it seemed pretty straightforward. To enable SPNEGO authentication with Lotus Connections, I followed the steps documented in the Lotus Connections InfoCenter.

The actual setup is not that bad. One part must be done by the Active Directory administrator and another part is just some WebSphere configuration. The WebSphere configuration took about 10-15 minutes. One thing I wished the InfoCenter had was screenshots. However, as we were getting ready to do this deployment, we used Lotus Connections internally to find an expert in this topic. And we found Purvi Tivedi who wrote this awesome article, step-by-step & complete with screenshots. Of course, now I have tagged Purvi and bookmarked her document so I can find them later.

After restarting the server, SPNEGO didn't work. We actually spent 2-3 hours troubleshooting it. We noticed that there were a couple of technotes on the topic, but they didn't seem to apply. Finally, the light bulb went on. Our setup was against the customer's QAACME domain, and the user had logged on to their desktop under the ACME NT domain. We logged out the user, logged back in under the right Windows NT domain, opened a browser to Connections and it worked!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Microblogging client for *both* Twitter and Lotus Connections

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Have Twitter? Have Lotus Connections? Want to microblog in both at the same time from one single place ? Starting today, you can!

You may remember that I gave a preview of this client back in June. At that point, Lotus Connections 2.5 was still in beta. Now that Lotus Connections 2.5 is officially available, Bluto, has been released to the world. Yes, even non-IBMers can download and use it with their own Lotus Connections server.

I don't want to make this blog post long, so I'll just share a quick screenshot and a link to where you can download it!


For instructions and a link to download the code, go to Jason Feinstein's site. Jason is the original developer of Bluto who did 99.9% of the code and I did the other .1% work (i.e. enable support for Lotus Connections). That's right, he did such an awesome job architecting his original microblogging client that it was a piece of cake to add Lotus Connections support for it. Of course, it also helps that Lotus Connections has a pretty powerful microblogging API.

So, make sure you send Jason a quick Tweet to express your gratitude for this phenomenal piece of work.

Note: This is just something we did for fun, and it's not officially supported by us.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lotus Connections Easily Trumps Other Vendors

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Through the magic of Twitter and Google's BlogSearch, I stumbled upon a blog entry from a company that uses Lotus Connections and why they chose Lotus Connections over other Enterprise 2.0 platforms such as Microsoft Sharepoint. The key differentiator? Here's what they had to say:

One of the big advantages of Connections is that it is people centered and not document centered, like Microsoft Sharepoint. You can tag about everything, including people so that it becomes very easy to find experts.

In the blog entry, the organization includes a screenshot of their implementation. One of the things that I like is that you can't really tell that it's Lotus Connections since the look-n-feel has changed significantly. Additionally, they created a custom widget to show people a 'percentage complete' for their profiles. (I'm hoping that this widget is available soon in the official Lotus Connections widget catalog).


Here's the entire blog entry written by VeeJay Burns: Team Park and Lotus Connections 2.5.

Lotus Connections 2.5 Is Now Available For Download

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It's now been 3-4 months since the last version of Lotus Connections was released. And now, as in, right now, Lotus Connections v2.5 is available for download and accessible to all customers and business partners. The momentum behind the product is incredible, and even while the product was in beta, it was so good that we were able to win head-to-head competitions against other Enterprise 2.0 vendors. In fact, I've also talked recently to vendor-neutral Enterprise 2.0 consultants and their feedback is just amazing. I'm pumped!

Some time ago, I had blogged about the new features in Lotus Connections 2.5. With incredible timing, Lotus yesterday published this video of What's New in Lotus Connections 2.5. It's a bit long, but that's because the team has done a fantastic job packing over 100 new features into this release.

Watch Ron Sebastian give you a tour through this new Enteprise 2.0 system available right now!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Take your social bookmarks offline

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With Lotus Connections 2.5 only 3 days away and Apple trying to steal our thunder, I've learned some good news for mobile workers who depend very much on their bookmarks. The OpenNTF consortium has just published a new plugin for Lotus Connections Bookmarks created by Hanspeter Jochmann. The plugin allows Lotus Notes users to view their bookmarks directly from Notes and take them offline so that they are accessible while on the go! You can also create bookmarks later and synchronize them later (or just keep them local).

Here's a video that shows that functionality.


The plugin is available for free and can be downloaded from here.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lotus Connections 2.5 Release Date Announced

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The wait is over. If you are subscribed to Mac Guidera's blog, you probably know that this morning the annoucement letter for Lotus Connections 2.5 was made public in ibm.com.

A description of all the features is included in the announcement letter. So that I don't spoil the surprise, I'm not going to include the release date here, however, here's an excerpt of some of the new features:

Files: A new personal file sharing service

  • Upload files and securely share them with others
  • Tag files so they can be found more quickly
  • Add recommendations and comments to files

Wikis: A new wiki service allows you to collaboratively edit content

  • Create wikis that are standalone or associated with a community
  • Create wiki pages; enter and edit content
  • Compare wiki page versions to see what was changed

Profiles: Quickly find the people and expertise you need

  • Post a status message informing your network of what you are doing
  • Locate people and expertise using a tag cloud
  • Post messages for your colleagues on their profile page

Home page: Remain informed of social data updates from across the Lotus Connections services

  • Stay up-to-date by scanning the new list format for displaying updates from across your professional network
  • Subscribe to people or tags in the watchlist to focus on the updates that are most important to you

For more details, click here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Get Smart with Hot Technologies, Cool Solutions: Social Software

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On September 9th IBM's VP of Social Software Development will be hosting a conference titled: Get Smart with Hot Technologies, Cool Solutions: Social Software. Here are the session details:

Speaker: Jeff Schick, VP, Social Software, Lotus Software

IBM Lotus Connections social software is designed specifically for business. Lotus Connections can help an organization’s people better access the expertise and knowledge they need to accomplish their business goals by providing a forum for building dynamic networks of coworkers, partners and customers to foster community-based innovation.

Join this webinar to hear how Lotus is leading the charge and setting the pace in bringing social software to the enterprise. To register for free, click here. Judging by the success of the previous webcast, you definitely don't want to miss this one.

We can't talk yet, but we know what things are...

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Here's the latest baby update at 17 months:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Enterprise 2.0: We Need More Execs Like Bob Picciano

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One of the things that I really regret is not attending the Blogger Q&A that was put together for Enterprise 2.0 conference attendees. I had a customer meeting during the conference that I just couldn't get out of. And I wasn't sure of how much I had missed until I read the latest highlight from the conference written up by "the other Luis", Luis Suarez.

In the blog entry, Luis tells us how Bob Picciano, General Manager of IBM Lotus, uses the different social software tools to more effectively collaborate with his peers and customers. For example, Bob uses LotusLive to reach out to customers and business partners, and internally use Lotus Connections to, as Luis says, "change the center of gravity so that it speeds up the process of reaching out to executives".

I've been following Bob's microblogging activity internally and love it. I specially like it when I microblog internally and he actually responds to my messages!. And if you are following me on Twitter, you would probably remember this tweet:


That tweet was specifically referring to a funny comment Bob Picciano had done internally. Luis concludes his summary with:

Yes, indeed, we need more Bob Piccianos in the corporate world! And the sooner, the better! For all of us.

And I couldn't agree more. To read the entire blog entry from Luis Suarez, go here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lotus Knows Idea Generator -- Register Now!

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logo_top.gifOn August 19th, the Lotus Knows IdeaJam will launch and run for 72 hours.

It's the precursor to a bold, new advertising campaign from Lotus called Lotus knows.

The jam is designed to capture some of the great ideas IBMers and our external Lotus communities in four key areas:

  • Lotus knows working smarter depends on great technology…” - Cool features of Lotus technology that you can't live without or aren't widely known.
  • Lotus knows marketing is key to technology adoption…”  - Ideas on how you would build awareness and evangelism in our market
  • Lotus knows technology is only great with client success…” Customer success stories (roll out strategy, communications, education, etc.)
  • Lotus knows the world is getting smaller, flatter and smarter...” - Ideas about how end-users are benefitting from Lotus offerings around the world.

During the Lotus Knows IdeaJam, participants will be able to vote and promote ideas to identify hot topics. After the Jam, the top ideas of each theme will be collected and evaluated for potential use during the campaign.

Pre-registration is now open at http://lotusknows.ideajam.net/register .

After the simple registration process, you will receive an email confirmation that details all of the logistical information that you need to participate in the IdeaJam.

Lotus Connections Communities get some Ruby love

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Sacha Chua, one of IBM's Enterprise 2.0 Evangelist, recently blogged how she used Lotus Connections Communities to award members. Specifically, she wanted a quick way to recognize people's voluntary contributions to community discussions. She took a two step approach.

First, she used Ruby and the Communities API to extract all the members with email addresses and number of posts (along with information on their first line manager).

Next, she created her own Lotus Notes Mail Merge app from Excel to Notes. That way, with a click of a button she can quickly send an email to all those top contributors participating in the community she's moderating. Very nice! Now if we could simplify this process somehow that would be great.

For all the technical details, you can find more info in Sacha's blog entry.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Facebook Plugin for Lotus Connections

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A while ago, two developers took on the task of creating a new plugin for Lotus Connections for Facebook. I've heard a lot of interest of simplifying the process of getting and staying up-to-date with all social network updates. You may remember that a while ago I blogged on how to integrate Lotus Connections and Facebook in less than 25 seconds. That's a pretty nifty integration point for the Lotus Connections Homepage.

Others wanted to see more integration with someone's profile.To that end, Ansgar Schmidt and Thomas Fankhauser got together and created an amazing plugin that brings Facebook data directly into Lotus Connections Profiles.

  

Perhaps you are now asking yourself how this looks in the system. I figured I would include a couple of screenshots. As you can see, the Facebook profile is brought directly into the Lotus Connections profile which makes extremely easy to manage multiple social profiles from one site. Additionally, you can consume status updates from both Facebook and Lotus Connections from one site.



So how do you get it? I believe it only works with Lotus Connections 2.5 and above. Therefore, if you don't have 2.5 right now, you can use it with the Lotus Greenhouse which has been recently upgraded to 2.5 Beta 2. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Install Greasemonkey on your Firefox browser.
  2. Restart Firefox
  3. Click here for the Facebook Stream plugin
  4. Click here for the Profile plugin
  5. Enjoy!

Note: If you are outside of IBM, you'll need to modify the URL's for your Connections server. To do this, go to Firefox -> Tools -> Greasemonkey -> Manage User Scripts... -> select the script -> click on Edit under Included Pages

Friday, July 31, 2009

And Now We Have An Official Widget Catalog!

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The Lotus Greenhouse team recently announced the availability of a new widget catalog. This catalog will contain widgets for both Lotus Notes as well as iWidgets that you can add to Lotus Connections and Portal. Some have even called it an App Store for Lotus Connections.


As you may know, I have already created iWidgets for Lotus Connections that let you easily integrate with MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, Flickr, iNotes, and others. These iWidgets will now be hosted inside of Greenhouse which will hopefully accomplish various things:

  1. provide more visibility to these iWidgets
  2. easier tracking of widget downloads
  3. you can tag widgets
  4. you can comment on widgets
  5. you can test them directly on the Greenhouse!

If you are interested, the widget catalog is available here and the Lotus Connections specific widgets can be accessed from here. While all the widgets that are there right now are mine, you are encouraged to upload your own widgets and share them with the community.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CNBC's Squawk on the Street Features IBM Lotus Social Software

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IBM Lotus Social Software was just featured in CNBC during this week's series on Social Networking. Irene Grief, IBM Fellow, talks one on one about the benefits of enterprise social software. And our super awesome Suzanne Minassian makes a cameo as well.

CNBC starts the clip by saying that "in business there's nothing more important than relationships, but now say goodbye to face-to-face networking". There are two things that I want to highlight there. First, the value of relationships. As I blogged earlier, IBM was able to scientifically calculate the value of a relationship at $900+. Thus, one great reason to improve networking by using social networking software (a.k.a social software) in the enterprise (a.k.a Enterprise 2.0). The more relationships you can have, the more money you can generate.

Second, hmm.. did CNBC read my blog post from last week where IBM predicts that in less than 2 years social networking will be more popular than face-to-face collaboration?

And I really don't want to talk about it, but CNBC hints at the ROI of social software. In the clip, you'll hear how IBM invested $80,000 in a virtual conference to save over $350,000 in travel and productivity costs. ROI? 400%+

Here's the clip:

Enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Elguji launches IQJam

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Elguji Software, the creators of IdeaJam have just launched IQJam a new social space where users can ask, answer, tag, and rate questions. IQJam is a nice tool for those that want to capitalize on the knowledge of their employees. The concept is amazingly simple - people ask questions and other people answer them (think of streamlined, lightweight forums)

IQJam, built on the new XPages technology in Domino, lists questions and their answers can be voted up or down. Voting allows the IQJam community to identify questions that they would like to see answered. Voting on answers helps identify the correct answer as well as eliminate ones that may be incorrect. Once the correct answer has been entered, it is marked by the user as being "answered". As people rate and mark questions answered, the respondents get to build their reputation.

Here are some screenshots of their creation:

3759289832_367c1fa014.jpg


The Lotus community will have its own IQJam space later this year when Domino Server v8.5.1 ships and will be accessible at: http://iqjam.net . An IQJam iWidget for Lotus Connections is also ready for use.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kevin Spacey tries to explain Twitter to David Letterman

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I caught this on Twitter earlier today and I immediately shared it with the rest of the Twitter crowd. In case you missed it, I wanted to share it here as well. This video was originally posted in George Dearing's blog.

This video reminds me of another video where Jon Stewart tries to explain Twitter.

Enjoy!

IBM: By 2011 Social Networking will be More Popular than Face-to-Face Collaboration

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I'm not really sure how I missed this one, but 2 months ago, the following IBM video appeared on YouTube. The video itself contains various business statistics such as the one highlighted in the title of this blog post: By 2011, Social Networking will be more popular than face-to-face collaboration. Interesting, right ? And just think that 2011 is only 2 years away. Social networking is no longer fad, but here to stay.

The video positions social networking as a great way to improve productivity and effectiveness, especially in today's business environment where it's esitmated that employees spend 25% of their time looking for information, and 42% of employees use the wrong information to make decisions... ouch!

This video is part of IBM's Smarter Planet strategy, which you may remember I recently presented at a local event for it. I'll let the video talk for itself.

So in 2 years, social networking is set to take over face-to-face collaboration. Is your organization ready for this revolution?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'll be at the Portal Conference... as a speaker!

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Today, I got a note telling me that I've been selected as one of the speakers for this year's Portal Conference in San Diego. The conference takes place October 12-15 and it will be my first time in San Diego. If there are any San Diegoans (not sure if that's how you say it, but I think that's how "they" said it in Anchorman) out there, I would love to get a couple of recommendations as to what to do.

So what will I be talking about? Well, I'm actually going to partner with my colleague David Rosenfeld and our session is titled: Making the Right Connections: Value, Methods & Best Practices for integrating Lotus Connections 2.5 and WebSphere Portal 6.1. Here's a preview of the session abstract:

This session will first look at the incredible value of teaming Lotus Connections and WebSphere Portal. We will follow with the various out-of-box technologies for integrating LC and WP, including portlets, iWidgets, REST calls, files access and integrated search. We will discuss what IS and IS NOT available, some best practices, and what is planned for the future. Finally we will look at ways to customize the integration, using Portlet Factory, and other development tools.

If you haven't yet, sign up and register for the Portal Conference today! See ya there!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Update your status in Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn and others from Lotus Connections via ping.fm

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Back in May, I told you about how I had created a custom plugin to update your Lotus Connections status from ping.fm. After reading your comments and the ones left in my internal blog, I decided there had to be a different approach. That's when I modified an existing Adobe AIR application to microblog both in Twitter and Lotus Connections from the same place. That microblogging application has taken off inside IBM and I can see a LOT of IBMers are using it.. (I can tell because I see RT's from Twitter in Lotus Connections and vice versa).

Talking to one of my favorite customers, they still had a need to just update their status in multiple sites from a single place. Brainstorming some more with them we agreed that a good approach would be create a widget that simply pushes the status update to Lotus Connections and ping.fm at the same time.

So off I went and created a new iWidget for Lotus Connections.


When placed in the Lotus Connections homepage (or wherever an iWidget can live), end users can very easily update their status in Lotus Connections and in ping.fm, which would in turn update the status in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and all the other sites that the end user has configured.


Very cool, huh? The widget can be installed just like any other widget. The only extra step that you need to do is configure the AJAX proxy:

  1. Go to: <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>/config\cells\<cellname>\LotusConnections-config
  2. Save a copy of proxy-config.tpl
  3. Open proxy-config.tpl with your favorite text editor
  4. Look for the following line: <!-- BEGIN CUSTOMIZATIONS HERE -->
  5. Just after that line insert the following code

    <proxy:policy url="http://api.ping.fm/*" acf="none">
     <proxy:actions>
      <proxy:method>GET</proxy:method>
      <proxy:method>POST</proxy:method>
     </proxy:actions>
     <proxy:headers>
      <proxy:header>User-Agent</proxy:header>
      <proxy:header>Accept.*</proxy:header>
      <proxy:header>Content.*</proxy:header>
      <proxy:header>Authorization.*</proxy:header>
     </proxy:headers>
     <proxy:cookies>
      <proxy:cookie>JSESSIONID</proxy:cookie>
     </proxy:cookies>
    </proxy:policy>
    


  6. Save and close the file
  7. Restart the Lotus Connections homepage

And that's it! The widget URL is http://blog.lbenitez.com/widgets/ping.fm/pingFmWidget.xml or if you want to download it and host it locally on your server, you can do so from here.

Enjoy!
PS. I've only tested the widget in the Lotus Connections 2.5 homepage.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Using Social Software to Market Yourself Inside and Outside the Firewall

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I recently found this presentation created and shared internally by my colleague Ian McNairn, Program Director Web Innovation & Technology. In this "short" 45-slide presentation, Ian walks through why we need to use social tools (hint: partly in part to low trust in advertising), problems and risks of social software, and best practices for marketing 2.0.

Ian also shares some stats on IBM social software adoption inside of the firewall. I truly believe one of the business value for Enterprise 2.0 is the ability to easily re-use intellectual capital (and reduce costs from reinventing the wheel). Therefore, I actually used parts of this presentation recently as part of my presentation to the local SMB organization on how to use Twitter and Blogs to generate more revenue.

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Embracing Social Media To Win Customer "Mindshare"

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A colleague sent me a link yesterday to a report recently released by Social Media Academy titled: Mindshare Report. The report, generated by students of the Academy, used publicly available data available on the social web to analyze the social media status of global enterprises such as: Dow Chemical, New York Life, Toyota, and Vodafone.

The report outlines how social media is used by businesses in all industries, but also that it poses a significant threat to companies who do not understand how publicly available information can be used by their competitors to create devastating effects. Specifically, it demonstrates how a couple of social media savvy consultants can compromise a global enterprise based on publicly available data. For example, it highlights how a Twitter user commented recently: "Yes, we are moving to 21 acre farm and looking for a tractor. A used John Deere would be ideal I think. What do you think?". This is a great opportunity to service these users, otherwise, the competition surely will.

You may remember my blog entry When I Use Twitter, IBM Wins... where I told my story on how I use Twitter to pick out prospective customers and provide some customer support for existing ones. I believe this is something that all companies must do, or they risk losing customers.

Go ahead and read the Mindshare Report from the Social Media Academy. If your company is not engaged yet on the social web, take a peek at the IBM Social Computing Guidelines, which outline the rules that all IBMers must abide by when using social software (in and outside of IBM).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

GigaOM ranks Lotus Connections #1

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Last month a blog entry from one of the vendors in the social media space came into my feed reader because I subscribe to everything the world is saying about Lotus Connections. In it, Lotus Connections is called the "Big Daddy of enterprise collaboration software". And being the Red Sox fan that I am, I don't mind being called Big Papi..

But the blog entry was really about a report recently released report by GigaOM called Social Media in the Enterprise. The report is authored by Rachel Happe, Principal & Co-founder of The Community Roundtable. According to the blog entry, Lotus Connections is ranked #1 in Strategic Potential for Enterprise Social Software and KickApps is ranked #2.

Rachel adds in the blog entry:

Even within the leaderboard, solution providers in this market have some pronounced differences, and depending on the model and needs of a particular customer, their short list will look different, despite having similar end-user feature sets.

The Social Media in the Enterprise report is available for download. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Rachel at the Enterprise 2.0 conference last week in Boston, but hopefully next time (actually there was a LOT of people that I didn't get to meet, and those that I did, I barely spent 5-10 minutes talking to them... but I digress)

Congratulations to the Lotus Connections team and I'm looking forward to more analyst reports (specially given all the cool new things that we are working on... shhh!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lotus Connections 2.5 Demo on Enterprise2.0 TV

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Suzanne Minassian was interviewed earlier today at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. In this 16 minute interview she tells us about IBM research and goes through a demo of Lotus Connections 2.5 (already running internally at IBM). Here's a preview of what Suzanne walks through:

As you watch the interview and see the demo, you'll see my name in various places. Points to whoever can count the number of times I come up .

Quantcast

Bluto was not shown during the demo, but Suzanne briefly talks about the Twitter and Lotus Connections integration.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Alias and Anonymous Comments in Blogs

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Recently, I was at a customer who wanted to implement our blogging solution for their internal knowledge workers. They had some interesting requirements in terms of how users could comment and moderate blog entries.

The use case required the system to allow a central group to moderate blog entries before they get formally published. Additionally, blog authors could have the power to specify whether or not comments would be forced to anonymous. If comments were not forced to be anonymous, then users could comment using their real name or an alias.

Here's how the proposed solution looks like:

I am bit concerned with all this moderation and 'secret identities', especially around adoption. And it makes me wonder... how many organizations have deployed an internal blogging solution that allow interacting with the solution with secret identities ?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pre-Order: Planning and Implementing Social Software for your Enterprise

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Thinking about turning your enterprise into Enterprise 2.0 ? Amazon.com has already listed the new book coming from IBM Press titled: Planning and Implementing Social Software for your Enterprise. The book was co-authored by many of my colleagues:

  • Stephen Hardison, an IBM Certified I/T Specialist with IBM Software Services for Lotus, designs, implements, operates, and assesses large collaborative Lotus Connections solutions.
  • David Brooks is a key contributor to the IBM Lotus Connections Technical Leadership team.
  • David Byrd, an IBM Senior Certified Executive IT Architect with IBM Software Services for Lotus.
  • Gary Wood, Field Support Engineer with Lotus Field Support Services (FSS), has been responsible for troubleshooting some of the world's largest Notes/Domino environments.
  • Saurabh Calla, Advisory IT Specialist with IBM Software Services, builds applications for Lotus Connections.
  • Tim Speed is an IBM Certified Systems Architect with IBM Software Services for Lotus (ISSL) and is responsible for designing, implementing, and supporting various client engagements.
  • Michael Martin is a certified Senior Managing Consultant in the Messaging & Collaboration Practice for IBM's Software Services for Lotus (ISSL) group focusing on organizational development, change management and social software adoption.
  • Suzanne O Minassian has held a variety of roles within software development, including development, design, user research, and is currently the product manager for Lotus Connections.

I was one of the Technical Reviewers for the book, so if you like it, I get all the credit. If you don't, then bring it up with the authors!

Kidding aside, I think this book is pretty complete and covers both business and technical issues, and present IBM's proven, best-practices methodology for successful implementation. Here's an excerpt from Amazon's description:

The authors begin by helping managers and technical professionals identify opportunities to use social networking for competitive advantage -- and by explaining how Lotus Connections places full-fledged social networking tools at their fingertips. IBM Lotus Connections carefully describes each component of the product - including profiles, activities, blogs, communities, easy "dogear" bookmarking, personal home pages, and more. The book contains practical coverage of administering Lotus Connections, as well as detailed guidance of integrating and extending Lotus Connections - including a full chapter on plug-ins and widgets, and another on Lotus Connections' REST-based API, which provides full, secure access to Lotus Connections features and data.

Amazon is also offering a 13% discount if you pre-order now.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This Is Why It's So Hard To Calculate Social Software ROI

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Captain's log... June 16th: It was a hot night outside in the Dallas/Fort Worth area; I was working diligently in my hotel room. I was doing a dry run for a very important demo that I had to do in 9 hours. I wanted to verify everything was set. As I prepared my laptop bag, I noticed the unthinkable. The VGA adapter that I need to use to project from my MacBook Pro was not there. I had left it at home, 2100 miles away.

I scrambled. I sent text messages, emails, and BlackBerry Instant Messages to some colleagues that lived in the area and I knew had Macs. Only 1 responded but didn't have the adapter with them. It was now 1am, and with no solution in sight, I renounced and just figured that the customer would have to gather around me and watch the demo in my laptop. Very unprofessional.

Because I was so nervous, I woke up at 5am, 4 hours before my demo. I took a chance and posted a new discussion thread in the Mac@IBM community to see whether anybody in the DFW area had a VGA adapter I could borrow. Here's the timeline:

  • 5am: Discussion topic posted in the Mac@IBM community's forum
  • 5:45am: IBMer working out in the local Y gets a notification in his BB (I didn't know this until after the fact)
  • 7:10am: I go down to get breakfast in hotel lobby -- heart pounding: "we are going to lose this deal because of me"
  • 7:18am: I get an email saying I have a response to my discussion topic. It's from a colleague who has the adapter and lives 4 miles away from the customer and gives me his cell phone number, and home address.
  • 7:20am: I leave the hotel to go to my colleague's house.
  • 7:48am: Arrive at colleague's house and pick up VGA adapter
  • 8:00am: Arrive at customer site
  • 9-11am: I successfully delivered my custom demo to the customer. Overwhelmingly positive feedback from customer.
  • 11:30am: I returned adapter to colleague
  • 12:00pm: Arrived DFW for my flight back to SJU

The great thing about this, was that this is a colleague that I had collaborated with in the past via email and instant messages. So we knew each other. Yet, we had never met in person and I had no idea that he (1) lived in the DFW area and (2) had a MacBook Pro.

Honestly, I'm still in awe. Social software came to the rescue even when all the other traditional methods had failed. If I hadn't posted that discussion topic, the 13 people that were in the conference room where I presented would have had to gather around my laptop to watch the demo.

When I told this story to my wife, all she said was: "You lucky ......".

How do you calculate the ROI of this scenario???