Monday, October 31, 2011

GreenMonk: IBM Have This Stuff Mastered

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Over the weekend, I stumbled upon a keynote given by Tom Raftery at the SAP for Utilities conference in San Antonio. For those that don't know, Tom works for GreenMonk the Energy and Sustainability practice of industry analyst firm RedMonk.

The keynote is interesting as it talks about the aging workforce which affects a lot of companies in the utilities industry. Tom mentions a a statistic from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics which says that in 10 years 30 to 40% of the utility workers are going to retire.

Tom also mentions another company which expects 50% of its workforce to retire in 5 years leading to a huge loss of knowledge. Mr. Raftery recommends deploying an internal social network and cites the work that IBM is doing in this area. To my surprise, as he is talking about this, a screenshot of my blog appears in the screen.

I wondered how he got access to our blogging system behind the firewall. Then quickly remembered that my colleague Luis Suarez had asked for a screenshot of our blogging system a while back. I was also very happy that Tom had very good things to say about IBM's use of social media, specially our recommendations engine:

The blogger there is guy called Luis Benitez. One of the things to notice is, you see the little red circle up there, I’ve got that circling a way of recommending the blog post, if you are on the internal IBM blog and you read that blog and you go, “that’s a good blog post, I got a lot out of that”. You can click on that little green button and it gets an extra star.

So it’s a rating mechanism for a blog posts on that internal platform, the IBM internal blog platform. IBM has got 18,000 blogs on their internal blog platform, 18,000 individual blogs and that’s a huge sea of information. And as people blog and I say put up posts they’re either recommended if they’re good or they’re not and they get lost if not good. You can see as well they’re on this platform on the right hand side, you’ve got similar blogs listed, so this is the one you find particularly, interesting you see similar bloggers there and that’s automatically generated based from the content.

On the left hand side you got a what’s called tag cloud, clicking an any of those words from the tag cloud get’s you related content. So, it’s an incredible way of getting information spread out through the organization and collate it back in again. And as I say there is 18,000 of them there, this other blog, it’s a friend of mine, a guy called Andy Piper. Andy Piper celebrating in this blog post his sixth anniversary as an internal blogger on the IBM blogging platform, so he he’s been out there six years, in fact the blogging platform, the internal blogging platform IBM has, has been going strong for eight years now.

So IBM have this stuff mastered and they’re not the only ones there is lots of other companies doing, but it’s a great way of capturing information and sharing it throughout the organization

Here's a video recording of the full keynote (you can skip to 12:00 to see where IBM is mentioned):

Here's the full transcript of the video: Potent Social Media Strategies

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Bundle Available: Connections & FileNet

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Today, IBM announced a new bundle where customers can buy IBM Connections + FileNet for a significant discount.

You may remember that one of the new features that was introduced in IBM Connections 3.0.1 was integration with FileNet. The integration brings the power, security, and scalability of an Enterprise Content Manager (ECM). With this integration you can use folders, check-in/check-out, workflow, document types and even round-trip editing natively within Connections (the last feature being my favorite ).

Why are we doing this?

Today's business environment is information and knowledge intensive. Today's social tools are designed to help you to leverage this exponential growth of information. Reliable content is essential, and connecting the right subject matter experts with the right content gives businesses real-time information in context - helping contribute to better business decisions made more efficiently. IBM Connections Content Edition V3 integrates IBM Connections' best-in-class social software with the IBM industry-leading Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform in a single affordable offering. This offering enables you to extend ECM services and function to a broad audience of business professionals using social software to help achieve their business goals.

Here's a demo of the integration (or you can view it full screen here):










And here's another one in HTML5 just in case you can't see the one above:

The new offering is called IBM® Connections Content Edition V3 and you can find the official announcement letter is here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

10 Social Business Myths - Busted!

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Today, a colleague shared this video which was posted to YouTube a couple of hours ago as well. The video features Louis Richardson while doing a keynote in Denmark. I blogged about Richardson's presentation last week where he shows how to increase the value of email by embracing social software.

Richardson follows the format of the famous TV Show MythBusters. For those of you who haven't seen the show (which by the way is one of my favorite shows, always on my TiVo and one of my dream jobs!), 2 Hollywood special effects experts take myths for a test and prove whether or not they are real (or plausible). For example, the MythBusters once demonstrated that it doesn't make sense to run in rain as you'll get wetter that way. But I digress.

In the video, Richardson talks about the following myths:

  1. Social is "new"
  2. Social is a waste of time
  3. Social will get out of control
  4. You can prove social during a pilot
  5. People love to share all they know
  6. Social will replace email completely
  7. Microblogging is useless
  8. You know what your people want in a social solution
  9. Social is just noise
  10. Adoption is the measure of success

Here's the 30 minute keynote. The talk is about 24 minutes and there's about 8 minutes of questions towards the end. This video is a MUST watch:

Is there a myth that you've heard that wasn't addressed here?

Some Notes on Functionality Changes from Quickr 8.2 to 8.5.1

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This is a quick post to highlight a recently published article. Some of the notes that I've been receiving lately are related to how functionality changed between Quickr Domino 8.2 and the latest release which is Quickr Domino 8.5.1.1.


I've been working with the team to compile a list of the Frequently Asked Questions and came up with a table summarizing these.   

I hope this document helps you as you plan your upgrade from 8.2 to 8.5.1. The document is here. If there's another way in which I can help, please let me know.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Email Driving Your Business Crazy? Embrace Social Software!

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A lot of my colleagues express amusement when I tell them that I've been able to reduce my inbox from 100+ emails/day to ~20 emails/day. The first question they always ask is: "How did you do it?"
It wasn't easy and it has taken time, but I was motivated by Luis Suarez. Luis was was interviewed by Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur in their Net@Night show last year and is living the dream: a world without email. It was one of Luis' webinars that introduced me to the concept of moving away from email and embracing social software.
After seeing a significant reduction in my email, I decided it was time to get others to "see the light". I found, however, that a lot of people love their email and it's not always easy to get them to move away from it.
Today, I ran into a presentation from Louis Richardson that he posted in Slideshare. In the presentation, he encourages business users to get their "heads out of the inbox". I really liked the simplicity of the presentation and its style and wanted to share it with others.
Richardson summarizes why a business should embrace social software and properly use email:
  • Open the conversation, leverage the wisdom of the crowds
  • Use networks and communities to target the conversation
  • Easily capture intellectual capital and avoid re-inventing the wheel
  • And most of all: It's Easy. Low Impact. High Value!
Towards the end of the presentation, Richardson re-emphasizes that it's not easy and the change won't happen overnight. However, the benefits are definitely worth it!
Here's the presentation:

Updated on 24/Oct/2011: Here's the recording:

What do you think? Are you ready to embrace social software in your organization?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Social Business Tools Can Help In Disaster Situations

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Remember how last week I mentioned that IBM is actively looking at documenting success stories of organizations that are embracing social software ? Well, here's another one that I wanted to highlight. This is a great story of how social business tools can help in disaster situations such as the earthquake that occurred last year in Haiti. I think it's also a great example of how non-profit organizations can leverage social business platforms.

Colleagues in Care turned to IBM's social business in the cloud capabilities to build a social network of doctors, where each doctor could highlight their skills. That way doctors could be matched to the needs of a particular situation, thereby getting the most value out of the available resources.

This is where LotusLive comes into play. Take a peek at this 4 minute video and let me know what you think.

Great story, right? Go ahead and share it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

IBM Connections Trade Up Now Available

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Earlier today, IBM announced the availability of a new trade up for IBM Lotus Notes customers. You may remember that earlier this month IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.3 customers were entitled to IBM Connections Profiles and Files.


With this new trade up, customers that were entitled to only IBM Connections Profiles and Files are now able to upgrade to the entire Connections suite for a special price to obtain all the benefits of the platform such as:

  • Access from your mobile device
  • Manage your projects
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Aggregated news feed
  • Bookmarks
  • Communities
  • Ideation
  • Media Gallery
  • and more… all from a single platform!

So for all those Notes 8.5.3 customers that are now starting to fall in love with IBM Connections, you have a great way to get all the other components of the platform!

For more information, you can read the announcement is here. Contact your IBM representative or business partner for more details.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How To Access your IBM Connections Files Offline from your iOS Device

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Last week I attended a conference in Cambridge, MA where I got to see Andrew McAfee give the keynote. I never get tired of listening to Andy. He does a great job on stage keeping everyone engaged, he's funny, and definitely very passionate about this whole Enterprise 2.0 space (of course, since he coined the term! ).

Updated 24/Sept/2012: As of June 2012, the native IBM Connections mobile apps allow you to take files offline without depending on a 3rd party tool. For more info check this blog entry out.

That was my first trip in 9 weeks and it was a good reminder of how many people are still offline for most of their work days. Previous to my current role, I used to be part of the sales organization where I would only have access to the network about 20% of the time any given week.

While I was in one of my meetings I needed to access one of my files stored in IBM Connections and the connectivity was not that great. Luckily, I had an offline copy of the file which I could still use and show to my peers.

I figured this could be a tip I could share with many of the IBM Connections users out there so I created a quick video showing how to do this. The trick is to use a free app that you can find on the iTunes App Store called Fresh Docs. The app is made by Zia Consulting and works over CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services). As you may remember, IBM Connections introduced support for CMIS back in 2010. And this opens the door for many providers to integrate with Connections, such as this free app:

Download the app and feel free to test it against our own test environment called Greenhouse. Here are the settings you'll need:

Hostname: greenhouse.lotus.com

HTTPS: On

Port: 443

Service Document: /files/basic/cmis/my/servicedoc

Company Home: On

That should do it! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Social Business ROI ? Here's Yet Another Example!

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As you know, I'm one of the product managers for IBM Connections and one of my responsibilities is for our solution running in the cloud. I truly believe that one of the best ways to help organizations understand the value of becoming a Social Business is to learn from the successes of others. And at IBM we are actively documenting and highlighting the success stories of our customers.

One recent example is Newly Weds Foods, a Chicago based, global leader in food technology, needed an effective collaboration tool to bring its geographically dispersed team together, without the capital expense and staff needed to run an in-house solution.

With 27 plants all over the world, including the Philippines, China and Thailand, moving to the cloud made perfect sense. Newly Weds Foods chose IBM's LotusLive social collaboration cloud services to enable its culinary team to share information and ideas quickly and easily regardless of the time or location.

Culinary chefs use Profiles from IBM Connections to find and connect with other chefs around the world. They use Files and Communities within IBM Connections to share information from recipes to demos. They use Web meetings to share presentations and ideas with colleagues and clients, who range from retail stores, to mom and pop eateries to large national chain account restaurants.

The result? They are now saving 4-5 days per month in travel time, approximately 10% on airfare and travel expenses and they have sped communication response rate from days to hours. Working in different time zones is no longer a barrier to productivity and LotusLive's unique "guest account" model provides no cost access to clients so they can collaborate more easily on recipe ideas.

I truly believe that one of our differentiators is the "guest account" model and it's definitely something that our customers love. Who doesn't love free access ?

Check out this video with more information:



What are you waiting for ! Are you on your road to become a social business ?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Demo: IBM Connections and Notes 8.5.3 Integration

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In the weeks prior the release of Notes 8.5.3 I helped a colleague create this video which shows the various integration points between IBM Connections and Notes 8.5.3. As a refresher, Notes 8.5.3 entitles users to free use of IBM Connections micro-blogging, profiles, and file sharing.

In the past 2 days alone, the video has amassed close to 1,000 views. The demo shows the importance of Social Everywhere and how critical it is to drive adoption of a social business platform. Here are the integration points that are shown:

  • Search for colleagues and files directly from Notes
  • Invite colleagues to your network directly from Notes
  • Update your status and participate in micro-blogging directly from Notes
  • Share files with colleagues from Notes (without using email!)
  • Drag-n-Drop email attachments into Files
  • Drag-n-Drop files into emails without actually attaching to the email
  • View your colleagues files

Here's the 6 minute overview.

As a reminder, you can get the free Files and Status Updates plugins from our Lotus app catalog.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Notes Customers Now Entitled to IBM Connections Profiles and Files

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As you may have seen by now in Ed Brill's blog, today IBM is announcing a new entitlement option for existing Notes customers. With Notes 8.5.3, customers are now entitled to use IBM Connections Profiles and Files.

Seems like most people are excited with this announcement, as they should be! To me, the biggest benefit will be seen by the Notes users who will now be able to leverage Connections directly from their Notes client thanks to all the awesome (free!!) Connections plugins we have in our app catalog. For example, Notes users that didn't have Connections before, now will have the ability to:
Of course, there are other plugins for Notes (e.g. for Activities and Bookmarks) so when a customer trades-up to the full IBM Connections offering, they'll even get more value from their Notes client. I've seen several questions come up as to how to install Connections (for those that have never done it). A tech note has been published which explains how to install only Profiles and Files with Notes 8.5.3.

As the entitlement states, Homepage is not entitled so here's how you would disable Homepage once everything has been installed:

1) Check out the LotusConnections-config.xml with the command LCConfigService.checkOutConfig("C:/temp","foo01Cell01") as documented here: http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/lcwiki.nsf/dx/Editing_configuration_files_ic301

2) Open the file with your favorite text editor

3) Find the text listed below (it'll be similar to this):

 

/homepage





3) Set the enabled and ssl_enabled parameters to false, for example:

enabled="false" serviceName="homepage" ssl_enabled="false">

/homepage





4) Check the file back in

5) Restart IBM Connections.

Homepage is now hidden from end users. I'm anxious to see even more users on Connections now with this entitlement!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Forward

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Last year, it was officially signed on IBM paper that I would be moving to the IBM Social Software product management team (even though the move was actually back in September 2010). Thus, I figured I would share a bit about the last year and what I'm looking forward to see in the next year.

The past year has been a tremendously fun one. Travel has been significantly reduced (so I can spend more time with the family) and I've learned a lot about how the IBM business runs. When I joined the team, I took the reins for IBM Lotus Quickr Domino and today I also co-manage LotusLive Connections and IBM Connections (Files and Wikis).


During the past year I've had a lot of opportunities, such as:

This week I'm presenting the latest roadmap for Quickr Domino and I'll talk about the next two releases of the product. The roadmap will be presented to our internal sales folks as well as to our business partners at the same time. Once this happens, I'm expecting they'll start helping me spread the word with all of our current and prospective customers. Additionally, I'll be flying to New York to talk about some of the new announcements that will come out this week (more on that later this week)

Next week, I'll be participating at the IBM Leadership Alliance conference (something I didn't get a chance to participate on last year since I joined the team at about the same time). Looking forward to talk to some of our key customers and get even more content ready for Lotusphere 2012.