Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Social Software and Internal Communications - A Perfect Match!

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It recently came to my attention an article that was posted on how IBM Internal communications at shifting from creation to curation. The article describes how IBM employees have adopted social software inside the firewall (blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, file-sharing, etc) and overwhelm the content created by the professional communicators.

As you may know, IBM has taken a de-centralized approach for participation in external social media. That's why you don't see a single @IBM account over at Twitter, instead there are thousands of employees tweeting on IBM's behalf and driving the conversations. As mentioned in the IBM Social Computing Guidelines, this model is not about mass communications, but rather masses of communicators. And this model works according to this article from the Social Media Examiner.

This de-centralized model is also used inside the firewall. IBM's internal communications staff leverages the content produced in IBM's internal social software platform (which happens to be Lotus Connections). And this has brought the company closer together -- more connected. Metrics show that general articles intended for companywide consumption get little traffic because they lack relevance. And who knows what's relevant? The employees, of course. That's one reason traffic is up on IBM's intranet thanks to all the employee-created content.

Here's a video that shows IBM's Vice President of Digital Strategy and Development, Ben Edwards, on this topic. I did find it interesting that they showcase the majority of intranets as putting people last... the anti-social intranet, if you will:

Hear more from Ben Edwards on IBM's intranet and the role of content curation.

So if you manage your company's intranet, have you thought of socializing it to drive more traffic to it? As I work with various customers in all types of industries, I hear often that they've spent a lot of money in building an intranet, but are having tons of challenges getting employees to visit the intranet. CEMEX, for example, had that problem and they recently decided to socialize their intranet and provoke a shift in their employee culture.

When I talk to customers I also hear that the concept of socializing the intranet, however, often brings a fear to the internal communicators of losing control... or even losing importance. As a person who manages the intranet, you may fear your job becomes less important, less significant. I like and agree how Ben Edwards think it's the contrary. Your job shifts into becoming the adviser to others, the go-to SME (subject matter expert). You also become a sort of museum curator where you pick the best of the best. And this is huge, because employees could be overwhelmed with all the content that's being created. The internal communications professional can curate the content and pick the content that would be most relevant to others, thereby significantly adding value to the intranet.

Do you agree?

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Lotus Connections 3.0 Plugins Are Now Available

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For all of you celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Personally, I ate a lot of stuffing, turkey, and pumpkin pie/flan (though the pie was my favorite). My two year old woke up on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and the first thing he asked for each day was turkey. And he didn't even want it reheated. It had to be cold. Check out the picture here.

This week I'm in Littleton, MA getting to know the new team and working on the planning for next year's stuff. I'm excited to be here and even see some of my past teammates when I used to be a developer.

Anyway, I wanted to make you aware of the new plugins that are now freely available from our App Catalog for download:

There are also other plugins and widgets available, so make sure to visit the catalog often: http://catalog.lotus.com.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lotus Connections 3.0 Available for Download

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For those of you in the U.S.A.: Happy Thanksgiving! I'm personally looking forward to eating some turkey and pumpkin pie tomorrow as well as hanging out with my family.

Lotus Connections 3.0 is now ready for download which means that I'm going to take a rest for a couple of days and let you all play with it. The documentation in the new InfoCenter format is here and here's an Installation Worksheet to make sure you have everything you need before diving in.

In case you've been off the past few days, I would also encourage you to go through my blog to catch up. Additionally, the information development team has put together an awesome page with all the consolidated resources that you might need to get started with Lotus Connections: Getting Started with Lotus Connections 3.0. There you will find:

  • Getting started videos
  • Reviewer's Guide
  • Printable Reference Card for Mobile

Stuart McIntyre also shared a technical view of what's new in Connections 3.0:

Thanks to everyone who made this happen: development, support, information development, tech sales, ISSL, business partners, beta testers, and everyone else. I'll catch up on Monday when I'll be switching gears and focusing on Lotusphere.

You can download Lotus Connections 3.0 from here. Go at it!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are You Ready To Be a Social Business? Prove it!

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In less than 24 hours, you will be able to download Lotus Connections 3.0 (which is really our 9th release since 2007).

If you've listened to the This Week in Lotus podcast, you'll know that part of my job is to figure out how social software can meet specific needs of various industries as part of our Collaboration Agenda strategy announced earlier this year at Lotusphere 2010.

So where am I going with this? You may recall that when I first talked about the announcement of 3.0, I asked the question: Are You Ready?

To that end, and to make sure that you are ready to be transformed into a Social Business, IBM has created the Collaboration Assessment Tool. The idea is that it'll ask you several questions on your company's existing collaboration practices, strategy and capabilities. Then it will compare your answers with those from companies that have shown best-in-class performance (i.e. top performers in your same industry).


The tool is available for free and not only does it help you assess your current collaboration practices, it will hep you define the business benefits of a social software platform to help you drive new revenue opportunities. The data is based on 3rd party research conducted by the Aberdeen Group.

To take the assessment, click here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Download Now: Files Connector for Lotus Connections 3.0

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One of the new capabilities in Lotus Connections 3.0 is the support for CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services). CMIS is a standard API for managing files and one of the cool things about adding this support is all the free plugins out there that already work with CMIS.

Thank to the CMIS support you can now interact with the Files capability from:

  • Android connector via this app (Added on 11/23/2010 7:30AM ET -- Thanks to Matt B for this new one!!)
  • Microsoft SharePoint via their connector
  • Firefox via this connector
  • Joomla as documented here
  • WordPress via this plugin

and many more as listed here. There's even a couple of iPhone applications that can do CMIS. I've tried them all and they don't seem to work. I get the impression that they have something hardcoded and that's why they don't work. But how cool would it be to have mobile access to your files if these iPhone developers could fix their apps?

Regardless, there's two desktop connectors (written on Adobe AIR) that I downloaded and tested and I'm happy to report that they do work very well with Lotus Connections.

In the following video I demonstrate both connectors and tell you which one is my favorite:

What did you think? Pretty cool, huh? The two connectors shown above were:

  • CMIS Explorer - Very raw, seems to be good at validating that the CMIS API works. Download here
  • CMIS Spaces - A lot prettier. Provides search, versioning, and offline support. Download here

To view the entire list of CMIS connectors, go here.

Enjoy!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Download and Install the Free Lotus Connections Learning Widget

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On Tuesday, I did a guest blog entry in the Synch.rono.us blog (you are subscribed to that blog, aren't you?). In it, I interviewed the team behind the Learning Widget for Lotus Connections. In case you haven't heard of this widget before, the Lotus Connections Learning Widget allows you to view and filter learning materials on your Home page in Lotus Connections. You can use the widget to access demos, videos, tours, online courses, and reference cards related to Lotus Connections.

I think it's a great way to distribute learning content to your end users as you plan and continue to drive adoption to your new Enterprise 2.0 platform. Here's what you'll find inside the widget:

  • Demos, videos, and tours: Demos are short product simulations that show you how to complete a task in Lotus Connections. Videos and guided tours are longer product simulations that provide an overview of a Lotus Connections component, such as Using Blogs.
  • Online courses: Online courses are self-paced e-learning courses that are comparable to material covered in an instructor-led classroom-based course, but can be taken online at your own pace. Online courses can include conceptual information, task "how to" information, and sample files for completing exercises on your own.
  • Reference Cards: Reference cards are a printable quick deskside reference to quickly find how to perform the most common tasks in a product.

To install the widget, it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. And, as mentioned in the blog entry over at Synch.rono.us, the widget will automatically update itself to display the new Lotus Connections 3.0 content once it's available. How's that for ease of use?

Here's a quick video that shows the Learning Widget in action:

The Camtasia Studio video content presented here requires a more recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. If you are you using a browser with JavaScript disabled please enable it now. Otherwise, please update your version of the free Flash Player by downloading here.

For instructions on how to download and install this widget, click here. Business partners and consultants: Make sure that you install this widget for all of your customers!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SlideShare Launches Company Networks and IBM is first!

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SlideShare announced a couple of hours ago that they have launched what they call Company Networks. Reading through SlideShare's announcement, this caught my eye:

A few months ago, I met Adam Christensen of IBM Social Media and found out that there were even more IBMers on SlideShare than I had realized. Some of the most popular presentations were from IBMers

To be honest, I didn't know so many IBMers used SlideShare either. And of course, I didn't know that the most popular presentations where from IBM either! Pretty cool, huh? The challenge, of course, was figuring out a way to aggregate all this great content into a single channel.

IBM and SlideShare worked together to create a Company Network where all members of a company would share the same look-n-feel (branding), content could be curated through a single place, and the employees still get their own individual place where they can upload their content. If the company likes, it can feature it in their homepage. You can see IBM's channel here: http://www.slideshare.net/IBM or in this screenshot from TechCrunch.


(can you spot someone in the screenshot? :) )

From IBM's perspective, Adam led the way and he shares his thoughts as to the value of this program for IBM. Most notably:

For IBM, the value is clear. We are a knowledge-based B2B company that differentiates itself through the expertise of its employees. This program allows us to turn the most common activity of our thought leaders – creating and delivering presentations – into social objects with reach across the Web.

Now it's time for me to update some of my content in SlideShare and upload some of my presentations and documents. Is there anything specifically you would like to see?

Recap of Twitter Chat with infoBOOM

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Yesterday, I was invited to participate in a Twitter chat hosted by infoBOOM. In case you haven't heard, infoboom is the IBM community created for business leaders who want to share their opinions and validate strategic thinking with like-minded peers.

.

My colleague, Luis Suarez participated in this Twitter chat about a month ago. Yesterday, we talked about the latest release of Lotus Connections, what Enterprise 2.0 means to me, millenials in the enterprise, organizations that block YouTube and other social media sites, and more.

You can see the full conversation by looking at #ibmsocial or I've made it easy for you by using Storify and aggregating all the tweets in to a single place:

Or you can see it here: Twitter Chat with infoBOOM on 16-Nov-2010 in case your browser doesn't load the tweets above..

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How To Get Push Notifications for Lotus Connections Status Updates on your iPhone

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I'm a big fan of status updates and being alerted when something around me happens. Case in point, I created a plugin that will alert you anytime one of your colleagues does something in Lotus Connections. The plugin is also available for download from our app store/catalog site. From my external social network, I also wanted to get notifications. Luckily, the Twitter client that I use, Nambu, gives me notifications every time I get a mention or a direct message.

And these solutions are great, but only when I'm at my desk. What about when I'm mobile? Well, about 3-4 months ago I discovered Boxcar. Boxcar gives you Push Notifications on your iOS device (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad). This was a great discovery because until then I would only get text messages only when someone wrote a direct message to me on Twitter. cool, because every time I was mobile I would be notified when someone re-tweeted my messages, mentioned me, favorited one of my messages, etc.

So where am I going with this? The iPhone app for Lotus Connections doesn't have push notifications yet. On the other hand, It turns out that yesterday Boxcar updated their application to support much more than just Twitter. You can now get push notifications from Google Buzz, Facebook (which the Facebook app already does, so not sure what the value is here), Twitter Lists, Google Voice, App Recommendations, and RSS/Atom Feeds. Now that I could point to any Atom feed, it was time to put it to the test.

I went on to BleedYellow (from my iPhone) and got my feed for status updates from my network (it's the feed that shows up in the bottom of the screen) and added it to the Boxcar app.


Then I got Cali to update her status and a couple of seconds later here's what I saw:


and when I unlocked:


Pretty cool, huh? This should work with any Lotus Connections server. I think, however, that the feed retrieval happens from the Boxcar servers per se (not from the mobile device). Therefore, if your Lotus Connections server is behind the firewall, I don't think the Boxcar servers will be able to retrieve the feed. You should be able to make it work with Greenhouse, ibm.com, myDevWorks, etc. Here are the feeds for those (you'll need to replace with your key):

https://www-950.ibm.com/profiles/atom/mv/theboard/entries/related.do?key=6bf09e5d-d022-4ee5-b079-ff6f61ccf619&messageTypes=status&comments=all&sortBy=lastMod&sortOrder=desc&lang=en

https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/profiles/atom/mv/theboard/entries/related.do?key=cf0bf955-848f-4daa-a35f-fcddd434d9a9&messageTypes=status&comments=all&sortBy=lastMod&sortOrder=desc&lang=en

https://greenhouse.lotus.com/profiles/atom/mv/theboard/entries/related.do?key=5a428441-dcac-4278-916e-aa28d5323eca&messageTypes=status&comments=all&sortBy=lastMod&sortOrder=desc&lang=en

I do see an option, however, to have your Growl notifications pushed over to your iPhone, but I haven't been able to play with this. This could be a way to get push notifications from internal status updates.

You also don't get to see who posted the status update, but I'm playing around to see if there's another feed that provides that info. I'll let you know if I find it.

You can download Boxcar from here.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two Podcasts You Should Listen To

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I wanted to start the week by sharing two podcasts episodes that I think most of you would get value out of and will be a great way to start your week. I know I enjoyed listening to them.

First, is a podcast that comes from the myDeveloperWorks team. You may recall that last week I mentioned how Forrester named myDeveloperWorks as one of the Groundswell Award Winners. To that end, Josh Bernoff who is the Senior Vice President of Idea Development at Forrester, joins the podcasts hosts to explain why IBM was selected as the winner of the Groundswell Award. Josh also talks about how social technologies are changing business, how to use these technologies effectively and what it means to IT.

Last week, myDeveloperWorks also won an award for SMB Social Media Marketing from AMI Partners. So congratulations to the entire myDeveloperWorks team!

To download and subscribe to the myDeveloperWorks podcast, click here. You can listen to the podcast right here (it runs 11 minutes):

Another podcast that was recently released was This Week In Lotus Episode #26. With last week's news of the Lotus Connections 3.0 Launch, can you guess what the hosts talk about? The hosts are joined by two of the Lotus Connections Product Managers: Mac Guidera and Suzanne Livingston. They'll take you through some of the new features, how CEMEX and Bayer are using Lotus Connections, and our Social Everywhere strategy (which was incidentally validated by Gartner recently, where they predict that Social will be Everywhere by 2016).

You can listen to the podcast right here (it runs for about 1 hour):

Enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Lotus Connections 3.0 Reviewer's Guide is Ready for Download

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With the impending release of Lotus Connections 3.0, there are tons of educational materials being released. Yesterday, I showed you all the new videos that have been made available. These videos are geared towards the end user and those are what they are going to see the first time they enter the platform.

Also this week, as you may have seen in the Connections Blog and Synch.rono.us, the Lotus Connections 3.0 Reviewer's Guide was released. This Reviewer's Guide provides an extensive overview of Lotus Connections 3.0 and its nine modules: Home, Profiles, Activities, Blogs, Bookmarks, Communities, Files, Forums, and Wikis. In addition, this guide explains how to extend the features and functions of Lotus Connections to your existing applications (for example Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, etc). If you ever have a question about how a particular feature works, you can find the answer here.

You can read it here, download, print, or even view it in full screen!

Lotus Connections 3 Reviewers Guide

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Lotus Connections 3.0 "How To" Videos

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With Lotus Connections 3.0 almost out the door (you are counting the hours to download it, aren't you), you can be sure that the next blog posts are going to be about the release.

As you may have seen in the demo I shared on Monday, there's now a getting started wizard which will introduce users to the various capabilities of the platform. I decided to embed the video about Forums since that's one of the components that has been thoroughly updated in this release. And I even learned a new capability by watching the video (the ability to lock forums).

Here's the video:

The Camtasia Studio video content presented here requires a more recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. If you are you using a browser with JavaScript disabled please enable it now. Otherwise, please update your version of the free Flash Player by downloading here.

To watch the other videos, follow these links:

Activities

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/dw/lotus/connections30/demos/activities/activities_demo.html

Bookmarks

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/dw/lotus/connections30/demos/bookmarks/bookmarks_demo.html

Blogs

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/dw/lotus/connections30/demos/blogs/blogs_demo.html

Files

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/dw/lotus/connections30/demos/files/files_demo.html

Communities

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/dw/lotus/connections30/demos/communities/communities_demo.html

Home Page

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/dw/lotus/connections30/demos/homepage/homepage_demo.html

Forums

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/dw/lotus/connections30/demos/forums/forums_demo.html

Wikis

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/dw/lotus/connections30/demos/wikis/wikis_demo.html

Profiles

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/dw/lotus/connections30/demos/profiles/profiles_demo.html

Search

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/dw/lotus/connections30/demos/search/search_demo.html

What's your favorite video?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

IBM's Social Platform Powers Two Forrester Groundswell Award Winners

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Remember how I told you that CEMEX was nominated for a Forrester Groundswell Award? You may have already heard, but CEMEX was selected as a winner of a Forrester Groundswell Award in the Collaboration category. The news also spread like fire on Monday as part of the Lotus Connections 3.0 launch.

CEMEX was faced with the challenge of a globally distributed workforce, multiple languages, and multiple timezones. In the video below you'll see Gilberto García, Director of Innovation at CEMEX, talk about how they started to look at their internal culture and ask the question: "How can we change the culture of our company?"

To become more agile, CEMEX created Project Shift, where not only they deployed an internal social network, but their social collaboration platform is now their intranet!

"

I was pretty impressed by their adoption rate:

  • They started with 2000 employees and has grown to over 17,000 users
  • 400 communities grew organically
  • In a particular community, they got over 600 community participants
  • Lotus Connections was used to drive the creation of a new product and bring it to market

I also liked his last quote: "It can make a big company feel like a small company". That's definitely my feeling as I use Lotus Connections internally every day at a company with over 400,000 employees.

In the B2B Category for Supporting, Forrester named IBM the winner for its implementation of Lotus Connections over at developerWorks. My developerWorks has calculated an ROI of over $100 M in annual savings by leveraging the Lotus Connections platform as its core for supporting over 8 million users worldwide. The site currently receives 1 million visitors / month.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Live Stream - IBM's Keynote at Enterprise 2.0 Conference

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Today, IBM will be on stage delivering a keynote at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference taking place this week at Santa Clara, CA. Larry Bowden will take the stage at 10:20am PT (1:20pm ET). Larry will of course be talking about the Lotus Connections 3.0 Launch.

If you want to watch the IBM keynote and the rest of the keynotes, go to TV site for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference.

So mark your calendars and come back at 10:20am PT and then let me know what you thought.

Recap of the Lotus Connections 3.0 Launch

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Yesterday's announcement of Lotus Connections 3.0 was received very well. People seemed to be very excited and tons of news outlets picked up the news.

Using Storify (thanks to a recommendation from Mitch Cohen) I was able to compile some of the tweets. I want to emphasize "some"! There were tons and tons of tweets and RT's. What I've done is compiled the tweets up on the top and then links to the various news sites where the story was published down at the bottom.

This is my first time using Storify. What do you think? Very cool, huh?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lotus Connections 3.0 Announced - Are You Ready?

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In time for today's kick-off for the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, CA, IBM today officially announced Lotus Connections 3.0. The announcement letter also contains the Hardware and Software Requirements so you can start planning your upgrade and/or installation of Lotus Connections 3.0.

Additionally, IBM social collaboration has a new homepage: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/socialcollaboration/ . Within this homepage, you'll find the list of What's New in Lotus Connections 3.0. You'll find a huge list of new capabilities that are coming, and I must warn you, it's not a complete list! We just didn't have space to fit all the new things that we added.

Now, if we compare that page to what the team actually promised at Lotusphere 2010, you'll see a HUGE difference. Not only did the team deliver on all of its promises, it delivered even more!

Here's a video recorded by my colleague Suzanne Livingston so you can take a peek at what's coming in an awesome demo she put together (and recorded on a Mac!):



Here's a collection of links from those who have picked up today's news:



Many of my team members are going to be at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, so feel free to reach out and ask for more information.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

IBM Software Helps Build the Chevy Volt

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Have you seen the Chevy Volt? Like it ? Here's a quick video that shows how IBM Software helped build the Chevy Volt.

In the video you'll see GM talk about their use of the Rational platform and how it was critical to the success of this car.

As you may know, I'm a pilot and I was impressed by the fact given in the video that an F35 fighter takes 6 million lines of code to run. The Chevy Volt takes 10 million lines of code!

And did you know that Rational Team Concert integrates very nicely with Lotus Connections? Social is Everywhere!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Invitación: Colaboración en las Nubes

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Están cordialmente invitados:

IBM Puerto Rico Collaboration User Group

"Drinks in the Clouds"

Cloud Computing and Collaboration Services for Business

Noviembre 4th ~ 6pm -8pm @ Pizzeria Uno's

Caparra Hills Galeria San Patricio

B-5 Tabonuco Street Guaynabo

Guest Speakers - Christian Barnes, IBM & Glidden Martinez, Activo

RSVP tebentle@us.ibm.com – Tracy Bentley Jagiello, IBM


Ven y comparte con nosotros para que aprendas de la collección de servicios de colaboración y 'social networking' que tu negocio puede usar.


La colaboración es esencial para tu negocio y simplifican y facilitan las interacciones diarias con tus clientes y colegas.


Y todo esto se puede hacer de una manera costo efectiva utilizando los sistemas que están en las nubes para minimizar costos de hardware y de administración. Además, ya el ambiente está totalmente configurado para que puedas trabajar con personas dentro y fuera de tu compañía. El ambiente es fácil de usar y está diseñado y administrado por la compañía de más experiencia dando servicios en la nube para darte paz mental.

Do You Know How To Pick Your Experts for Every Project? Lotus Knows!

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Lotus Knows I like videos and I liked this one: "Do you know how to hand pick the experts for every project ?" IBM's Enterprise 2.0 Platform knows!!

I wish it had some audio, though. Who's going to download it and add some voice over ? :-)

Enjoy!