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