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 .


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


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 ? 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???

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Upcoming Talk: Using Twitter and Blogs To Generate More Revenue

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I was recently invited by the Small Business Association of Puerto Rico (Asociación de Pequeñas Y Medianas Empresas / ASOPYMES) to give a talk on Using Twitter and Blogs To Generate More Revenue. I believe I'm very passionate with this topic, and I am very excited to get this opportunity to share some of my success stories with the local community. Here are the details for the event:

What: Using Twitter and Blogs To Generate More Revenue

Where: Universidad del Este - Carolina

When: June 18th, 6-8pm

Why: To share with the SMB community how they can use Social Media as an effective marketing tool that could eventually help them increase revenue.

How: Lucilla Feliciano and (yours truly) Luis Benitez will be moderating

As you may know, I use Twitter and Blogs about 95% for business. I'm going to rely on a previous blog entry for most of my content: Business Value of Social Software for SMB. Additionally, I'm also going to share how to effectively use Twitter to be more innovative and tend to the needs of your customers. And of course, I'll share the very powerful story of how IBM wins when I use Twitter.

So if you are in the area, mark your calendars and I hope to see you and meet you there.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New Quickr Desktop Application for Windows/Linux/Mac

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This is way cool! Rob Novak, aka Lotus Rock Star, just released a new Adobe AIR-based app for you to easily access all Quickr places from your desktop without ever needing to open a browser (well, except to download Rob's new app ). I've been using the app now for about a week and I really like it a lot (specially since I'm on a Mac and I didn't have a "Quickr connector" available to me).

And you know me.. anything that lets me use my applications without a browser, gets my love.

So go ahead and download your PandaBear now and accelerate your collaboration speed! Now I'm just hoping that this can be updated to work with the personal file sharing component of Lotus Connections. Have a great weekend!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Collaboration Matters Podcast - The Twins Go At It!

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And now for the English version (a spanish version of the podcast review is available here)! A while back, I participated in a podcast recording with my 'twin brother' Luis Suarez , and Stuart McIntyre and Neil Burston, IBM business partners who run the Collaboration Matters blog. In this podcast we tackle our favorite topic social software and enterprise 2.0.

Here's a quick timeline of the podcast:

1:00 - Welcome

1:20 - Review of Connectr session (stuartmcintyre)

4:50 - Microsoft spies and integration (lbenitez)

7:50 - Status of social software in the enterprise (elsua)

10:50 - Nurturing internal communities (elsua)

14;25 - Embedding social software into existing processes (elsua)

18:20 - Who drives social software adoption in an organization? (elsua)

20:30 - Social Software only requires viral adoption ? (lbenitez)

22:00 - "If one fails, we all fail" - (elsua)

24:30 - Integrating one off solutions (lbenitez)

26:50 - Lessons learned (stuartmcintyre)

28:55 - Closing

You can download the podcast directly from this blog entry, or better yet, subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes by clicking here.

Los Gemelos Atacan - Podcast de Collaboration Matters

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Hace un tiempo grabé un podcast con Luis Suarez (mi 'gemelo' dentro de IBM desde Gran Canaria) y Stuart McIntyre y Neil Burston que son business partners y corren el blog el llamado Collaboration Matters. En este podcast tomamos nuestro tema favorito: el software social! Hablamos un poco de como el software social nos ayuda a colaborar desde Puerto Rico hasta Gran Canarias. Además, discustimos como estas herramientas de software social hacen que la colaboración presencial fluya mucho mejor ya que se ha desarrollado un nivel de confianza.

Aqui hay un resumen de la

1:00 - Bienvenida

1:50 - Actividades destacadas de Lotus conference (elsua)

4:50 - Adopción de software social dentro de las empresas (elsua)

7:40 - Actividades destacadas (lbenitez)

9:40 - Retos de software social y Enterprise 2.0 para el 2009 (lbenitez)

11:20 - Ya social software es 'mainstream' dentro de las empresas (lbenitez)

11:50 - Un año sin e-mail, ¿como te ha ido? (elsua)

14:30 - ¿Qué haríamos sin Twitter? (elsua)

19:40 - ¿Cómo construir comunidades virtuales? (lbenitez)

24:10 - Cierre

Para saber quien es 'elsua', busquen el acento español y para saber quien soy yo, busquen el acento puertorriqueño. El podcast lo pueden bajar directamente desde este blog. Y si están interesados en subscribirse al podcast, lo pueden hacer aquí.

Al final del podcast escuchan referencia a otro podcast que hicimos en inglés. Para mas información, de ese podcast, pueden ir aquí (o vean mi próximo blog).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

IBM Sessions at Enterprise 2.0 Conference

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The Enterprise 2.0 conference is just around the corner (2 weeks away) and I thought it might be a good time to share with you IBM's plans for this year's conference. This blog owes a majority of its readership to the Enterprise 2.0 conference last year. After I reported on the Microsoft / IBM face-off, I got a lot of new readers and subscribers.

This year IBM is a Diamond sponsor for the conference, and that means that they'll be everywhere! Very timely, Stephen Londergan just published a summary of all the sessions and events where IBM will be participating during the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston in The Collaboration Soapbox blog.

In Steve's blog entry, you'll find not only a summary of all the sessions where IBM will be at, but also, all the Twitter hashtags that you can use to follow live the comments from the audience. For example, if you want to follow the live Twitter stream during Jeff Schick's session, subscribe to this feed:

I counted a total of 13 sessions. I would like to know, which one are you attending? Or which one do you recommend ?

Again, if you are going, hope you can make them all. Here's the list of sessions to attend.


Recap from IBM's Smarter Planet Event in Puerto Rico

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As I announced two weeks ago, yesterday was the local IBM Smarter Planet event in Puerto Rico. The attendance at the activity was very good and it included business partners, (potential) customers, and representatives from the government of Puerto Rico. In fact, Juan Eugenio Rodriguez de Hostos, the newly appointed CIO for the government of Puerto Rico, was one of the speakers there. He talked about Puerto Rico's effort to move towards Government 2.0. The new CIO office (created just 5 months ago) has the following goals:

  1. Create an electronic Puerto Rico with virtual education and tele health
  2. Make more gov services avail to our citizens 24/7/365 via any interface: phone, web, mobile, face-2-face, etc
  3. Deploy systems to improve cost efficiency of intra government transactions
  4. Ensure privacy and protection of citizen information by relying on digital signatures and security standards

IBM's Chief Economist, Dr. Philip Swan, was also at the event. He talked about the current state of the economy and showed us a bunch of data that he says scientifically prove that the economy is about to turn around within a month or so. I sure hope so!

At the event, I was tasked to present on Smarter Work: Collaboration Approaches for a Connected World. I don't have much slideware to share since it was mostly a demo and my own personal stories of collaboration successes. I find that a demo is often more effective than conceptual slideware that don't show anything.

I think the presentation was well received by the attendees. I constantly saw heads nodding (hopefully in agreement, maybe because they wanted me to speed up and get it over with.. ). One attendee said it was the best session, and another said that I can't hide the passion that I have for this stuff. That caught me by surprise... I guess I like this stuff too much.

One thing that I still need to figure out is how to compress an effective demo in 20-25 minutes. Right now, I'm wishing that every time I demo our collaboration solutions I would have 3 hours to show all the cool stuff we have.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Puerto Rico Startup Weekend

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This past weekend was the first Puerto Rico Startup Weekend. You may have caught my live tweets from the event. I had never been to one of those events before and it was great to meet other forward thinkers from the area. I was actually impressed by the number of awesome programmers that turned out for the event. 4-5 ideas were generated from the event and I actually joined one of the teams.

The idea of Startup Weekend is to try and launch a company during the weekend. While I don't think any company decided to incorporate, the team I joined already has a website set up to help us gather some data. In fact, now that you are reading this we are looking for fluent English and/or Spanish speakers to help us rate some words. I would really appreciate it if you could spend some time rating some words once you are finished here. I can't tell you much yet about the purpose of it, but you'll know soon (and no, it's nothing that competes against IBM ).

One of my biggest challenges was getting up to speed with the code. All the developers were PHP/MySQL gurus. That's an area that I'm just learning. Being a huge Eclipse fan, I installed a plugin and set up my PHP development environment on Eclipse on the Mac (BTW, 75-80% of the computers at the event were Macs AND 50% of the PCs crashed at the event, while only 15% of the Macs crashed).

I also set up a MySQL development environment on my Mac following these instructions. The networking that I got to do at the event was great too. It's been a while since I've done some face-to-face "social networking". Oh, and I also got to talk about Lotus Connections and developing rich client applications on the Eclipse/Expeditor framework and get some people excited about that.

In my opinion, the event was great given that it was the first one here. Looking forward to next year's (and stay tuned here to learn more about what we are coding on our free time). More pictures from the event are here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Microblogging in Lotus Connections with Adobe AIR

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Remember how I blogged about microblogging in Lotus Connections from 2-3 weeks ago? Well, I decided to take a different approach and instead develop a microblogging client for Lotus Connections that lets you cross post to various services.

Now, I want to emphasize that this is something that I developed in my own time and is not something officially supported by IBM. In fact, most of the code already existed and all I did was enable it to work with Lotus Connections using its microblogging APIs. Jason Feinstein is the super awesome developer who originally developed Bluto inside IBM. Because I like coding so much, I asked him if it would be possible to get access to the source code with the goal of modifying it to work with Lotus Connections.

He said the source had already been, well, open-sourced and gave me the URL to the IBM internal open source repository. When I got the code, I then had to figure out how to actually code an Adobe AIR application. Turns out that Flex development is very similar to Java so it was a snap to get started. I was disappointed, however, that the SDK for Eclipse actually costs money after 60 days. Thankfully, I was able to make my changes in 2-3 weeks worth .

Anywho, you ready for a demo?

Content Requires Flash Player

Get Adobe Flash player

My goal is to make this available to the public as soon as Lotus Connections 2.5 out (IBMers check my internal blog for instructions on how to download). What do you think? Do you like it ?


Advising Your Clients on Web 2.0: International, Privacy & Security Considerations

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Seems like June is the month of the briefings. You may remember that last week I mentioned I'll be doing a collaboration with social software one in Puerto Rico. Yesterday, I told you about Jeff Schick's briefing in New York. Today, I learned about a new briefing that's coming up in a couple of weeks called: Advising Your Clients on Web 2.0: International, Privacy & Security Considerations.

Regardless of you talk about web 2.0, enterprise 2.0, social software, etc, these capabilities are changing the way organizations and individuals communicate, collaborate and promote themselves. Whether you embrace it or simply monitor it, clients need informed legal advice in this fast-changing area.

Speakers from IBM, Kodak, and Bristows will discuss privacy issues around social software, and Enterprise 2.0. I thinks this audiocast will be extremely valuable for those international organizations with presence in Europe. Additionally, it will be of great value for those who:

  1. must provide counsel to clients on the risks of internal or external use of social media, or
  2. have to draft organizational policies to protect intellectual capital (like IBM's Social Computing Guidelines)

Here's an excerpt of the agenda:

Topics to be addressed include:

  • Legal issues for organizations who operate or market outside of the United States

  • Special focus on how international data protection regulations apply to social media

  • Case study: Governance and risk management by leading global brands that have embraced social media  

To register for the audio cast, and view more details on the event, go here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June 10th Briefing in NY with Jeff Schick

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If you are in the New York area on June 10th, you should definitely go to a briefing that's happening next week with Jeff Schick, VP of IBM Social Software. Gemini Systems is hosting this briefing called: Real Customers, Real Impact with Lotus Social Software. Key customers will be participating and sharing their story. If you are still in the fence about Enteprise 2.0 and the benefits of social software inside the firewall, come learn how real businesses are finding tangible benefits from their Social Software and Web 2.0 solutions.

Here's an excerpt from the invitation:

You've heard the hype - now see the real business benefits and find out how Lotus Social Software is making a significant impact.

With IBM Social Software for Business, your organization can empower employees, partners and customers to connect and collaborate. Realize professional and business benefits through faster task implementation and confident decision-making based on vetted expert opinion. Form invaluable global relationships, spurring the creation of innovative products and services that will drive growth for you business.

To register, visit the event's page here. You can also see the full invite here. If you know of others that may benefit from this, spread the word!

And if you are not in New York that week, but perhaps are in Puerto Rico, don't forget to register for my briefing.