Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Take on Building the Enterprise Social Graph

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On Monday, Forbes published an article called Building the Enterprise Social Graph with the subtitle In the next decade, we will learn how to build a social graph inside our businesses. What will it mean?

The subtitle surprised because it talks about the next decade. Sure, there are still a lot of enterprises that haven't adopted Enterprise 2.0 methodologies to transform their business, but are we really a decade away? Maybe I'm spoiled because we've had our internal social graph available for years now as part of Atlas. But I thought I'd also seen some stats that claim a lot of Fortune 100 companies have deployed some sort of social software behind the firewall (but couldn't find them).

Anyway, I do like how the author, however, points out how quickly starts stating that:

The internal social graph inside companies will be quite different and far more useful than existing public counterparts

And this resonates very well with me. Out of my typical 8 hour day, I spent probably 6.5 hours using our social platform inside our firewall. That's where I search for people and content. That's where I discover new experts to follow. That's where I collaborate with other colleagues all over the world. I barely spend any time on my personal social network within Facebook.

The Forbes article also presents an interview with IBM's VP of Social Software, Jeff Schick. Here's a demo of IBM's enterprise social graph tool which mines data to map relationships:

To read the full article, click here. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Happy 2nd Birthday: IBM Center for Social Software / Enterprise 2.0

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This month we celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the IBM Center for Social Software. The IBM Center for Social Software was launched in September 2008.

The center has been very active these past two years as evidenced by all the publications they have created. There you will find 61 research papers covering everything from microblogging in the enterprise to enterprise file sharing to social search and people recommendations.

And what are we doing with these findings? Some of the research findings have even been incorporated into IBM's Social Software / Enterprise 2.0 Platform.

If you live in the Boston area, you may be interested in attending the first talk of the Fall 2010 Speaker Series. S. Craig Watkins will be at the IBM Center for Social Software (right next to MIT) on October 11. Here are the logistics:

Register at Eventbrite (it's FREE)
When: Monday, Oct 11, 2010. 3:30pm - 5:00pm; refreshments served.
Where: IBM Research, 1 Rogers St, Cambridge MA 02142
Parking: Galleria Mall, next to IBM. Bring parking ticket for validation.

To follow the news from the IBM Center for Social Software, you can find them at:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Check Out New Videos for Quickr 8.5

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You may be aware that 2 weeks ago IBM released the latest and greatest release of Quickr 8.5 for Domino. There's been tons of buzz around this release. For example,

  • This Week in Lotus Episode 16 - What's New in Quickr 8.5 (with my new colleague David Kajmo)
  • Taking Notes Podcast Episode 120 - Everything you wanted to know about Quickr 8.5 and more
  • IdoNotes Episode 81 - Quickr 8.5, Collaboration University and FREE plug-ins

I won't repeat all the new features since there's just too many and others have covered it widely. However, I wanted to make you aware that tomorrow, Wednesday September 29th, there will be a webcast to talk about What's New And Improved in Lotus Quickr 8.5 at 10am EDT. For more information, click here.

Let me focus, however, on something you may have not seen. As you may know, I'm a big fan of videos. To my delight, a new page has been created to demonstrate some of the new features. You can embed these videos directly in your deployment (like I've done in my blog here) or you can download them and play them from your internal site.

Here's a video of one of my favorite new features: Calendar overlay and iCal support which lets you view your team calendar directly in Microsoft Outlook / Lotus Notes. And since Google Calendar supports iCal, my next to-do is see if I can overlay my Lotus Quickr team calendar with Google Calendar:

To view the other videos, go here.


Monday, September 27, 2010

How To Hide Start Blog Buttons in Lotus Connections

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Here's another tip which I thought would be useful to a lot of you. While working with a customer last week, they asked me how to configure Blogs for a very specific use case. Specifically, they were looking to do the following:

  • The Blogs module should be enabled
  • Anyone can comment on blogs
  • Anyone can rate blogs
  • Only two people can create blogs / blog entries

I figured the easiest way to do this was to hide the "Start A Blog" and "Create Blog Entry" buttons. The magic happens in this file:


Comment out the two <span> tags (one is for 'Start a Blog', the other is for 'New Entry')


Once you edit the .vm file, you'll need to restart the Blogs server for the changes to go into effect.


Friday, September 24, 2010

How To Create Notes Widget to Search Lotus Connections Profiles

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Recently, I was asked how to create a Lotus Notes Widget so that as you are viewing any document and you hover over a name, email or phone number, you can automatically search for that text to learn more about the person in Lotus Connections Profiles.

  1. On the "My Widgets" plugin in the Notes sidebar, click on the pull-down
  2. Click on Configure a Widget from...
  3. Select Web Page
  4. Select Web Page by URL and enter the url: http://<your-url>/profiles/html/
  5. Select option for This web page .. (HTTP GET)
  6. Verify the page loads correctly
  7. Basic tab, give your widget a name
  8. On the Advanced tab, click checkbox next to "Configure searchFor" and the checkbox for "Require"
  9. Click Finish
  10. Back in the My Widgets sidebar, right-click on the widget you just created and select Configure a new action
  11. Change recognizer from Address to Person
  12. Change content type property to
  13. Under "Where do users see the results of this action?", change to Tab
  14. Click OK

After following these steps, you will have a widget that will recognize names in your emails and other Notes documents. You will then be able to highlight these names and view their entire profile information from Lotus Connections.

If you would like to do this but based on email addresses or phone numbers, you will need to change the URL in step 4 and choose the right option in step 12.

Once you have the widget, you can easily share it with your colleagues so they can benefit from this as well and potentially help drive adoption to your Enterprise 2.0 deployment.

Here's a quick video that shows how to do this:


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why IBM Could Be Bigger than Facebook in Social Media

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I know I'm late to this party, but there have been so many good news this week, that I'm just getting to this one. Turns out that on Monday Fast Company published an article: Why IBM Could Be Bigger than Facebook in Social Media.

As you may be aware, IBM announced the release of the IBM Customer Experience Suite, an integrated and configurable offering to provide highly engaging and personalized web experiences which combine mobile, social, commerce, real-time communication, and web content management capabilities. Of course, media and analyst representatives were invited to the event. You can catch all the commentary following the #ibmexperience tag in Twitter.

Fast Company got a chance to sit down with IBM's VP of Social Software, Jeff Schick (and my new 2nd line manager) to talk about what IBM is doing in the social space. I think the article does a good job, though I may be biased, in telling IBM's story in its adventure into social media, especially behind the firewall (a.k.a Enterprise 2.0). IBM has been using some sort of social software inside the firewall for more than a decade and has a consistently over millions of search and visits.

The article also ends with a big bang!

Regardless of your business size, IBM's big move into social software should be a clear indication that every business needs a broad-reaching social strategy not just a Facebook fan page! This strategy needs to address the needs of your customers and your employees, ensuring optimal collaboration between them anytime and anywhere.

To read the full article, click here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My First Job Interview

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By now you are probably aware that I'm taking a new position which becomes official on IBM's paper on October 1st. Yay, just several more days! I can't wait! Can you tell how excited I am!?

So the title of this blog post may be a bit confusing. I woke up today at 3am after my 2 year old woke me up in an attempt to take him to visit his grandparents. I told him that it was way too early to visit his grandparents and try as I might, I couldn't put him to sleep. Therefore, I'm a bit tired.

Anyway, once my new position was announced, Suzanne Livingston (one of the existing Product Managers for Social Software at IBM and pictured above) interviewed me and posted the transcript in the team's blog. Thus, that was my first interview in my new job.

Luckily, Suzanne wasn't too harsh on me . I know a lot of you have been asking me what some of my new responsibilities are going to be. You'll be happy to see that that's one of the questions Suzanne asked me.

To read the transcript of the interview, go here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How To Promote Adoption of Social Software Behind Firewall

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Last Friday, I was invited to join the super awesome Taking Notes Podcast for the first time. To say the least, I was very excited to join this podcast for the first time. The podcast is hosted by Bruce Elgort and Julian Robichaux.

In this podcast, I join my colleague Sacha Chua and we bounce ideas and discuss what it takes to be an Enterprise 2.0 Evangelist and talk about our own experiences in promoting social software behind IBM's firewall. At one point during the podcast (I won't give it away to keep you all in suspense) Sacha and I also talk to about the ROI of social media behind the firewall. I think you'll like the outcome.

Sacha and I also chat about some of the work that we've done together and that I shared with you recently. It's worth noting that while Sacha and I collaborate together a lot, it wouldn't be possible without social software behind the firewall. That's how we met, and that's what we use to collaborate (especially since she's based out of Toronto and I'm in Puerto Rico).

To listen to the podcast and/or subscribe via iTunes, click here. The episode runs a bit less than 40 minutes and it's very easy to listen to. Thanks again Bruce and Julian for hosting me!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Download Now: Lotus Connections iPhone App

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Update 23/Jul/2014: The latest iOS app for IBM Connections is available in the App Store here.


Last Wednesday IBM released its first native iPhone app for the Lotus Connections instance of myDeveloperWorks. And there's tons of things you can do in it. I haven't been able to figure out how to effectively capture a movie/demo from my iPhone, so here's what you can do today with this iPhone app:
  • View the public and your personal activity stream
  • View your activity stream which includes:
    • New blog entries
    • New blog comments
    • New Downloads
    • Profile updates
    • Forum posts
    • Wiki updates
    • Shared files
    • Group/Community activity
    • Board updates
  • The activity stream can be filtered by module (e.g. only show updates from Wikis).
  • Navigate someone's profile view their status updates and interest/skills
  • Search for people, content
  • Search using name, keyword, tags
  • Edit your Profile
  • View saved items
  • View your status
  • View your network
I would say that this is a pretty nice v1 release. It's been out in the wild for 5 days and I'm hearing some very positive feedback!

To download the free application (which is supported on iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad), click here and to stay up-to-date with all news around myDeveloperWorks subscribe to Bob Leah's blog (The Social Strategist) here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How Microblogging Drives Business Value To Organizations

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For the past year, I've really enjoyed microblogging inside the firewall. Novel concept, huh? While many people may microblog outside of the firewall using Twitter and Facebook's status updates, I really like doing it inside the firewall.

Let me quickly define microblogging, or better yet, offer Wikipedia's current definition:

Microblogging is a passive broadcast medium in the form of blogging. A microblog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically much smaller, in both actual size and aggregate file size. A microblog entry could consist of nothing but a short sentence fragment, an image or embedded video.

Twitter does microblogging very well. In fact, I would say it's all it does. Facebook also allows for some sort of microblogging through its status update feature where users can share what they are doing, and get responses from their friends.

If you have used any of these systems, you probably have seen a bit part of its value: instantly reaching out to your network and getting recommendations for everything from nannies, barbershops, restaurants, wines, parks, schools, things to do with your children, etc.

Now take that power and apply it to the business. Imagine if you could instantly get your answer to any question you have in order to get your job done. That's what happened to me yesterday. I was collaborating with a customer and was asked who manages Lotus Connections on I didn't know so I reached out:


That's right! ONE MINUTE to get my answer! An answer that I didn't have an idea who had or where even to begin looking for it. One minute was all it took. And not only did I get an answer from a colleague, I got an answer form an IBM VP. A Vice President who I've never worked with and had no idea she would know the answer! How long would this have taken me otherwise? Who knows! Maybe 1/2 day? A whole day? 2-3 days? Nope! ONE MINUTE.

You have to admit, that's pretty amazing!

I'm grateful that we have these tools available internally. Don't have microblogging yet inside your organization? What are you waiting for, start today!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Apple features Lotus Traveler for iPad on their Homepage

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Apple has created a series in their homepage called iPad for Business. In the series, they highlight how various corporations have adopted the iPad to really empower their employees. Currently, they are showcasing how Hyatt hotels have enhanced guest services globally with iPad.

As part of empowering their employees for business with iPad, Hyatt mentioned how they used Lotus Traveler to give employees access to their email, calendar, and contacts:

We use Lotus Traveler as the core platform to integrate with our messaging collaboration system, Lotus Notes — and users have full access to our VPN infrastructure,” says Prusnick. “Through the Exchange ActiveSync technology enabled within iPad, we’re able to get instant synchronization of mail, contacts, and calendars without any IT involvement.”

Once the employee has set up their VPN and access to email, calendar, etc, they are free to customize the iPad anyway they want to by downloading apps from the AppStore. I thought this was interesting; I would have expected perhaps IT would have more control on this. But Hyatt explains why they did this:

Once the devices are activated, users can expand the capabilities of their iPads by downloading business apps such as Keynote, Documents To Go, and Dropbox from the App Store. “With the App Store and the iOS platform, users can find and implement their own solutions without IT intervention,” says Prusnick.

Here's a video highlighting this success story:


Monday, September 13, 2010

Want to Get Rid of Email? Use Enterprise 2.0 Software!

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Were you on vacation last week? That's fine. But I wanted to bring you up to speed on something very exciting that happened last week.

One of my IBM colleagues at IBM, Luis Suarez, made it to the Mashable home page in an article called: A World Without E-mail: One Man's Vision of a Social Workplace. The article has been tweeted 2300+ times, shared on Facebook 600+ times and talked about in Google Buzz 275 times!

The key to getting rid of email? Use Enterprise 2.0 software (or social software behind the firewall). Leo Laporte also invited Luis to join him in his net@night podcast. In the podcast, Luis talks about how he uses his favorite Enterprise 2.0 platform, IBM's Connections, to get rid of email. Here's a video of the podcast. Listen in at 18:00 and at 28:00.

Very inspiring, right? I have personally been motivated by Luis and I can say that his methods do work. In fact, recently I blogged about how I was away from work for 3 weeks and I only got 53 emails! That works out to 3.5 emails per day! Isn't that amazing? Just 2.5 years ago I was getting 100+ emails a day! W00t!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

CEMEX deploys Lotus Connections - Nominated for Forrester Groundswell Award

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Two years ago I told you about a visit I made to México to pitch the business value of social software and talk about the adoption of social software inside the enterprise.

That trip was for CEMEX, the world's largest building materials supplier. Not only I'm excited to hear how successful they've been, I'm also excited because they've been nominated for a Forrester Groundswell Award.

As I read their nomination for the award, I noticed a screenshot of the homepage of their internal social collaboration platform, codenamed Shift. And as I looked at the screenshot I noticed how it's all built on Lotus Connections. So what is Shift? Here's how CEMEX describes it:

The core elements of Shift as a collaboration platform are: messaging (calendaring and scheduling, and contacts), team collaboration (file synchronization, discussion forums, ideas and notes in form of a wiki, task management, full-text search, brainstorming sessions), real-time collaboration and communication (e.g., presence, instant messaging, Web conferencing, application/desktop sharing, voice, audio and video conferencing), Social Computing tools (e.g., profile status posts to see what employees are working on, networking, blogs, wikis, tags, RSS, shared bookmarks and videos).

Shift has been deployed to 20 countries worldwide and there are currently 200 communities to address challenges such as product improvement, government regulation, and even discuss strategic topics such as Low Carbon Sustainable strategy. This quote also grabbed my attention:

The implementation of Shift has reshaped the entire organization and is changing CEMEX's corporate culture towards more openness and authenticity in the way employees interact with each other.

I think they key to CEMEX's success with deploying social software inside of their enterprise is that they've made the platform a central and essential place for collaboration. It's not a silo where employees are asked to go to for certain interactions, it's where everything happens!

So congratulations to CEMEX for their nomination into Forrester's Groundswell Awards. To vote for them and learn more about their use of social tools in the enterprise, go here.

Update (10/18/10): CEMEX has created a page on their homepage to describe Shift.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

This Week In Lotus: IBM is Market Leader in Enterprise 2.0 Platforms

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Shortly before I left on paternity leave a great podcast kicked off for all things Lotus. I'm currently returning from a trip to New Jersey and catching up on this wonderful podcast: This Week In Lotus. One of the things that I've come to like about the podcast is the interaction from the participants **and** the actual participants. Each episode has representation from IBM, business partners and even customers for a complete 360 degree perspective.

I'm currently listening to episode 8, where the crew discusses the IDC report where IBM is named the Market Leader in Enterprise 2.0 Platforms. I highly recommend this episode to anyone interested in evaluating Enterprise 2.0 platforms and those interested in IBM's Enterprise 2.0 offerings. In this episode you will hear:

  • IBM's response to IDC's report
  • Lotus Connections vs Microsoft Sharepoint (which IDC doesn't consider a social platform)
  • Adoption of Lotus Connections
  • Business Partners offerings along Lotus Connections
  • A preview of new things to come in the next release of Lotus Connections

Another thing I like about this podcast is how each episode ends with a random tip from each of the participants.

For more information on this podcast click here and to subscribe in iTunes click here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Moving Lotus Connections to New Hardware

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Recently, I was asked what it would take to move a Lotus Connections deployment to new hardware. Not sure if this is valuable to anyone else, but I figured I would document it here just in case anyone else needs it.

Note: The awesome people at ISSL put this together, and with their permission, I'm including here.

The estimated duration will depend on several factors. Regardless, you will have to perform a full install of an empty system in the new environment to prepare for the migration. Other estimates are dependent on how the different environments are configured:

Pilot Version to Production Version: If the source environment is Lotus Connections Pilot Version, you will need to follow the detailed instructions in the information center to perform the data migration:

I have done this migration with one customer - it took about a day or two to complete, then there were a couple of days of setting up administration/product configuration specific to the new environment

Production Version to Production Version, same DB type, same LDAP: This is the simplest migration possible, which basically involved copying the shared file system and performing a native DB restore of the Connections databases, which should take a few hours. if there are any administrative or product configuration differences, they may take a couple of days to complete.

Production Version to Production Version, different DB type, same LDAP: A bit of a blend of the two migrations listed above - instead of using native database restored, you would either use the DB Wizard or manual scripts and migration utilities to move from the source DB type (ex.: Oracle) to the destination DB type (ex.: DB2). This type of database migration ay add a couple of days to the overall effort - and you have to be especially careful to validate that the scripts/utilities complete successfully

Production Version to Production Version, same DB type, different LDAP: This is a very complex migration if there is pre-existing data. There is no supported way to migrate data from one LDAP type to another and retain all of the non-Profiles user data. If they want to take this approach, it could take several weeks to design, develop and test the raw SQL scripts to perform the data conversion

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Moving On To A New Job

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Effective September 1st, I've started to transition to a new job. While I won't take the new job until October 1st, I've started the transition to get used to my new responsibilities.

When I first joined IBM more than 8 years ago, I joined as a developer in the Lotus Development organization. 2.5 years ago, I left Lotus Development to become one of the evangelists for social software and Enterprise 2.0 at IBM. That was a very rewarding experience and I truly enjoyed working with so many customers and helping them be successful with their Enterprise 2.0 deployment.

In the past 2.5 years, I've gotten to learn a lot about the industry, our competitors, the needs from our customers, how they use our products, how they would like to use our products, and more. When possible, I've created solutions and got my hands "dirty" to ensure the success of our customers. I've also collaborated heavily with many business partners. It's been a blast!

I still have to figure out, with my new manager, what blogging activity will be acceptable, but I hope I can continue to engage with you virtually as I've been doing in the past.

So with that, I'm hoping that I can take everything that I've learned and apply it in my new job because I'm re-joining the Lotus Development organization again, this time as a Product Manager for Social Software at IBM.