Thursday, December 27, 2012

IBM Connect 2013: The Can't Miss Social Business Conference of the Year !

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We are about 4 weeks away for IBM Connect 2013 to kick off!

#IBMConnect promises the conference to be at if you are in the midst of becoming a social business or have already become a social business and want to share your story.

I'm especially looking forward at the large amount of customer sessions that are scheduled during the conference. I personally find that customer sessions are the best since it gives everyone the opportunity to learn from each other. As I mentioned last week, I'll be presenting the roadmap for all things IBM Connections at the conference. Certainly, a can't miss session .

Also last week, Alistair Rennie also posted a video where he shares what he's looking forward to at the IBM Connect conference.f

Here's a preview of the technical content you will find at the conference from IBMers and partners.
Earlier today I booked my travel for the conference. So don't hesitate and register today!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Demo: Social CRM Powered by IBM Connections

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A successful social selling strategy takes advantage of converged collaboration, dynamic content, and analytics. IBM now offers an open standards-based, security-rich platform for social business that combines these capabilities.

The solution, built on IBM Connections, can help your sales organization to reach people, engage them, discover new insights, and act swiftly to capture value.

Until now, CRM and sales force automation solutions have focused on managers managing employees and data with little attention to selling. The solution provides sales teams with tools that enable them to focus on selling by combining traditional CRM with analytics and collaboration.

Socially enabling your sales processes helps you create a sales team that:

Check out this demo of Social CRM powered by IBM Connections:

To learn more, make sure you attend the Social CRM sessions at IBM Connect !

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

IBM Connect: Just 6 Weeks Left!

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We are less than 6 weeks away to start IBM Connect 2013, the premier social business conference. Earlier this morning I completed the registration process. My level of excitement is extremely high!!!! I can't wait to start 2013.

Most of the sessions and speakers have been announced here in the IBM Connect Session Preview Tool. At the conference there are going to be over 150 sessions related to IBM Connections !

For the first time I'll get the opportunity to present the roadmap for IBM Connections and talk about what we are delivering on-premises and on the cloud. If you are interested in learning and seeing what's coming in the world wide market leading social business platform, you can NOT miss this session. I'll also be covering updates to our IBM Connections SDK which we announced last week.

This week I'm in Boston working with the IBM Connections developers. This is my last trip until I see them again at IBM Connect. This week, it's all about creating the content for the big unveil at IBM Connect. If you want to stay up-to-date with what's happening a #ibmconnect stay tuned to our Social Media Aggregator:

If you haven't registered for IBM Connect 2013, what are you waiting for? Register today!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Announcing IBM Connections Hypervisor Edition

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Today, IBM announced the availability of IBM Connections on PureSystems. PureSystems allow Ability to maintain and update through a single console with zero downtime. The same capability was released for WebSphere Portal earlier in the year (to learn more click here ).

A social business recognizes that people do business with people and optimizes how people interact to accomplish organizational goals. IBM Connections empowers people to easily connect with employees, partners, and customers, helping businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, to optimize collaboration. The new IBM Connections pattern for use with PureSystems allow organizations to focus critical resources on value add activities by significantly reducing installation and configuration times.

If you are not familiar with PureSystems, check out this video to learn more:

WebSphere Portal has also been available for PureSystem since earlier this year. In this demo you can see how easy and fast it is to deploy Portal and now you have the same capability for IBM Connections:

Using IBM Connections Hypervisor Edition 4 can help enable better utilization of hardware and faster response to demands for newly deployed systems. This can help to reduce both hardware and software operation costs, and maintenance costs. By deploying virtual images, businesses can also leverage a known, stable, and tested configuration, which can help reduce the potential for errors and reduce time to deployment of a working system, whether for development, test, or production. By making the deployment easier, organizations can focus their investment on social business adoption.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IBM Releases 2012 Tech Trends Report

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Today, IBM has released the 2012 Tech Trends Report covering mobile, cloud, social and analytics. The 2012 Tech Trends Report is based on a survey of more than 1,200 professionals who make technology decisions for their organizations (22 percent IT managers, 53 percent IT practitioners and 25 percent business professionals). Our respondents come from 16 different industries and 13 countries, spanning both mature and growth markets.1 To better understand how technology trends are impacting future IT professionals, we also surveyed more than 250 academics and 450 students across these same countries.

Something that stands out from the report is a skill gap that may threaten progress by businesses to adopt these technology shifts. And the report doesn't just highlight these skill gaps, it actually gives concrete recommendations for business and IT leaders as well as for IT practitioners.

I also found interesting the rate of adoption. Globally, only 34% of companies have adopted Social Business. And as you can see from the Infographic below countries like Brazil , South African and Spain stand out since almost more than half of the companies have adopted social business, demonstrating a huge opportunity still worldwide.

Check out the info graphic below (hover over the different elements to learn more):

As part of the report, IBM has developed a set of videos that feature technology experts by topic area (analytics, cloud, mobile, social, security) offering their opinions on the skills gap, what types of skills students and professionals need, as well as prescriptive advice on how people can get skills in these specific technology areas. In this video, Doug Heintzman describes what people should think about when developing social business skills.

The video the other videos playlist is here. To download the report, click here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

IBM SmartCloud Now with IBM Docs and more IBM Connections Capabilities

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IBM Docs was deployed to the IBM SmartCloud this weekend. As you probably know, IBM Docs has been available now for about a year in Beta. As you can imagine, it's very exciting to finally take this out of beta and make it available to our customers.

So, on Saturday night, we updated our SmartCloud data centers around the world to deploy IBM Docs as well as added more capabilities to IBM Connections on the cloud. IBM SmartCloud Docs is simple yet powerful - you can get started quickly, but still have the advanced features that you need. Start new online documents, or view or edit Microsoft™ Office and IBM® Symphony™ files already stored in Files. IBM Docs lets you simultaneously edit a document with other contributors, greatly improving the simplicity and efficiency by which teams build documents.

  • Choose to work independently or co-edit with others in real time, seeing changes in the color that is assigned to each editor.
  • Leave a comment or reply to one in the context of the document
  • Publish and manage versions of the document in Files
  • View the contents of published documents online - no need to download
  • Download documents as Microsoft Office or .PDF format as needed
IBM Docs customers can easily create professional looking documents and share them with others. IBM SmartCloud Docs is available at no extra cost for SmartCloud Engage Advanced subscribers, and is available as an add-on for SmartCloud Engage and SmartCloud Connections subscribers. Check out the demo below:

Finally, IBM SmartCloud Connections subscribers now have the ability to use the new Ideation, Blogs, and Wikis capability in their communities for enhanced team collaboration.

As the product manager for IBM SmartCloud Connections, I'll be sharing the roadmap at IBM Connect. So if you haven't registered yet, go ahead and do it today!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Using IBM Connections Demos Now Available

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When IBM Connections 4.0 was released, I shared the IBM Connections 4.0 Overview demo. That's a great way to get your users excited for what's new in the 4.0 release. And as you know, I'm a big fan of videos and I think they are a great way to drive adoption.

Now as your users look for more in-depth demos of the capabilities of IBM Connections, you can use the following which are available in YouTube. And here's a tip! When you share these videos with your users, simply post them in a Wiki or a Blog in your Connections deployment to help spread the word.

Make sure you watch all these videos. I recommend the one for Search so you can see the new Trending widget that was added into IBM Connections 4.0. It's very cool!






Connections Mail




No video, but I did want to highlight this awesome document posted to And if you are interested in a video, then I can offer this one on how to customize existing reports that ship with IBM Connections 4.0.



Heads Up: New Update for Quickr Domino

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In early December, we'll be releasing an update to Quickr Domino. This would be the second big update this year after the release we did earlier this year, back in February.

One of the top requests that I've been getting from customers is support for Internet Explorer 9. As you probably know, we've been able to support Internet Explorer 9 since July of last year through some configuration changes documented here. The upcoming update for Quickr Domino will support Internet Explorer 9 out of the box.

The update also adds support for Domino 8.5.3, the latest Domino server in the market. That way you can take advantage of all the latest and greatest features provided by Domino to run your Quickr collaboration server. I've also asked the development team to focus on quality and performance so the Quickr update will contain updates in this area.

We are targeting the publication of the update by December 9th so stay tuned.

IBM Connections 4.0 Performance Tuning Guide Now Available

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A few hours ago, the IBM Connections 4.0 Performance Tuning Guide was posted to

For those of you running Connections on premises or in the private cloud, you may want to go through this document. This document provides recommendations for performance tuning of IBM Connections 4 based on the experience of the performance team. I'm glad to report, if you didn't know this already, that the performance of 4.0 has significantly improved over 3.0 (which was also a huge improvement over 2.5). And our goal is to keep improving each release.

As you look through the document do note that not all the values shown will be optimal for each deployment. But this is a great way to configure your system and gives you a great starting point to start tuning from.

I've embedded the document below:

To download the full report, go here:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Demo: Increasing Productivity with IBM Notes Social Edition

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Today, Ed Brill and team announced IBM Notes 9 Social Edition and the upcoming public beta to be released in a few weeks. If you missed it, check out Ed's blog for a link to the replay.

I've been using the internal beta for a few weeks now and really like the integration with IBM Connections, IBM's social collaboration platform.  Based on personal experience, IBM Connections makes everything social and improves the productivity of its users.  And the IBM Notes 9 Social Edition is a prime example of that.

The video below gives you a preview of some of the new integration points of IBM Connections, real-time communications powered by Sametime, and Notes all in one seamlessly integrated user experience.  The video also shows video conferencing both from Notes and from a community in IBM Connections.

I've already gotten some very good feedback on this video and I'm interested to know: What do you think about this video ?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Social Collaboration Increases Productivity

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As part of the IBM Connections 4.0 launch last quarter, I participated in the Virtual Enterprise 2.0 event. IBM Connections has become my primary collaboration platform (anyone surprised by that). It enables me to become more productive and effective which is very important to me. I am one of the many mobile workers at IBM. One of the challenges for mobile workers is staying up to date with what's happening in the office and of course, remain visible so that you don't miss out on important career opportunities.

IBM Connections provides a unique activity stream because items in the activity stream are actionable. Line of business applications can be surfaced within IBM Connections and I can interact with them directly from there. What's more, with the IBM Connections mobile app, these line of business apps are instantly mobilized with no additional development.

That's what I focused on when I built the presentation below. I wanted to show how all these different applications are not only aggregated in a single place, but allow me to take action on them!

And check out this video as well:

If you haven't yet, start leveraging activity streams to create a smarter workforce.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

VSee Releases New Real-Time Integration for IBM Connections

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VSee has just released new integration where they have brought their real-time collaboration capabilities into IBM Connections.

The integration allows companies that already use VSee to:

  • See a list of community members along with presence awareness
  • Click-to-chat
  • Instant video chat with community members
  • Instant screen share with community members

Check out a quick demo below:

For more information and to access this integration, you can access it from the IBM Connections App Catalog here. And for those of you who are using IBM Sametime, of course you can do the same things with IBM Sametime as described here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Announcing the IBM Connections 4.0 Plug-ins for Notes

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I'm pleased to announce that we have just released the latest IBM Connections 4.0 plug-ins for Notes.  Unlike previous releases, we've now combined all of the Notes plug-ins into a single install.

Here's a highlight of some of the new and enhanced features:

  • NEW: attach a file to a status update
  • NEW: like / unlike a status update
  • NEW: Activity stream integration allows to monitor updates for all Connections services
  • NEW: search by people and communities
  • NEW: Lock/unlock files
  • NEW: Connections 4.0 style UI (improved formatting and layout, enlarged images, additional content including like and comment counts).
  • View status updates for your colleagues, communities or organization (support for "Discover" view).
  • View your board or someone else's board.
  • NEW:  Microblogging within a community
  • NEW:  Post a file as attachment along with posting a Status Update.
  • Support for Linux desktops

I believe that these plug-ins are extremely important in helping drive the adoption of the IBM Social Business platform.  A lot of customers have been re-iterating how powerful these plug-ins are since they bring the power of social to the end user, instead of forcing the user to learn a new interface and collaborate in a different context.

If you haven't seen the plug-in in action yet, I'll be posting a demo movie later. For now, here's a screenshot that I took last year and will be sharing more later this week:

You can download the plug-ins from our App Catalog as usual here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

IBM Study on Big Data and Social Reveals Less Than Half of Organizations Monitor Social Media

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Today, IBM has released a new study on Big Data and Social. The study was done in conjunction with Oxford University and looks at organizations are leveraging (or planning to leverage) big data. The reports is based on a global survey of 1,144 business and IT professionals from 95 countries and 26 industries. It provides a global snapshot of how organizations today view big data, how they are building essential capabilities to tackle big data and to what extent they are currently engaged in using big data to benefit their business.

Reading the report, several things stood out for me:

  • Organizations across every industry – from retail and banking to healthcare and government – are trying to tackle big data to drive better business outcomes. And the research shows that the early adopters are gaining a competitive advantage.
  • Most big data efforts are focused on improving the customer experience but less than half of the organizations currently analyze data from social media sites. This means that companies are missing out on HUGE insights into their customers
  • A reason why social data is underutilized is because of a skills gap. For example, less than 25 percent of the survey respondents say they have the required capabilities to analyze highly unstructured data – a major inhibitor to getting the most value from big data

I definitely recommend reading this report to those involved in the analytics and social world.

To access the full report, visit: To learn more about what IBM is doing in Big Data, make sure you follow the Information On Demand conference next week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Benefits of Becoming a Social Business

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A quick video that was shared at the opening keynote of the Leadership Alliance conference two weeks back.

Are you ready to reap the benefits of becoming a social business ?

Go ahead and share and this video with your network.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

IBM Brings Social to Users with Updated IBM Connections Mobile Apps - Includes iPhone 5 Support

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Over the weekend, IBM updated the mobile apps for its social collaboration platform IBM Connections. The apps for Android and iOS mark the 4th release this year showing IBM's commitment and understanding of the importance of mobile in social collaboration. IBM Connections customers can download the update free of charge.

These releases round up a big week for IBM in mobile as IBM also released a new version of their instant messaging app for Android tablets.

The IBM Connections app for the iPad has become a powerful tool for me. As a remote worker, it's an essential tool to be productive and effective irrespective of where I am.

You can see the full list of new features and enhancements for the iOS app here. Here's my take of my favorite new features:

  • Support for iOS 6
  • Support for iPhone 5 (tall screen support)
  • Infinite scrolling
  • Support for IBM Connections 4.0 activity streams
  • Launch third party OpenSocial gadgets
  • Attach photos or videos to a status update
  • Include geolocation information in a status update
  • Offline access to forums you have viewed
  • Offline access to Community files and forums you have viewed
  • Remotely Wipe Connections app data
  • Share profile information using QRCode
  • Mobile Links in IBM Connection update emails now open in the app

I've also created a demo of the iPad app to showcase some of the new features:

The Android app for IBM Connections was also updated. To see a demo of the Android app, go here.

Download the apps now! You can get the free Android app from here and the free iOS app from here. Oh and keep those reviews coming!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

IBM positioned as a Leader in the 2012 Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace

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Today is my 2nd year anniversary as one of the Product Managers in IBM's Social Software team and have some great news to share. Analysts at Gartner have positioned IBM in the Leaders Quadrant of the 2012 Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace. IBM’s placement is based on its ability to execute and completeness of vision. Just a few weeks ago, IBM released IBM Connections 4.0 the core of the IBM Social Business Platform.

This new report adds to the recent analyst reports from Forrester and Aragon Research which also list IBM as a Leader in their respective research reports. IBM Connections has also been listed as the worldwide market share leader by IDC.

I'm extremely proud to be part of the IBM Connections team! If you want to learn more about IBM Connections, check out this quick 3 minute video created by my colleagueSuzanne Livingston:

Check out the other 9 videos that Suzanne has created. These are great "shorts" you can easily share with your colleagues and even embed directly in Connections to show users what's new in IBM Connections 4.0 and they cover the different components of Connections including Mobile.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Infographic: The ROI of Social Business with IBM Connections

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I stumbled upon this infographic on Twitter yesterday and since I'm a big fan of infographics, I wanted to share this one. Thanks to my colleague Pierre Fevrier for creating this one (and check out the others too!).

Make sure you also check out the other Infographics posted in Flickr:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Calling Developers - Build Apps For The Best Enterprise Social Platform

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A couple of weeks ago, Business Insider posted a story on how startups are ignoring a $500 Billion market. At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference Jim Goetz, a venture capitalist for Sequoia Capital was quoted as saying:

"It's shocking we don't see more engineers and entrepreneurs interested in enterprise,"

To that end, I'm happy to announce that IBM will be sponsoring a Social Business App Dev Workshop. The goal of the workshop is to get application developers, partners, and ISVs up to speed on how to develop apps for IBM's social business platform, currently the #1 in market share world wide.

I've shared before how to build apps for IBM Connections and with IBM now fully behind OpenSocial and we thought it would be a good idea to bring developers together and get them ramped up very quickly.  

We also published an article yesterday to help guide developers on how to create OpenSocial gadgets for IBM Connections 4.0. As a developer this presents a good opportunity as OpenSocial gadgets would run in multiple places, not just in IBM's OpenSocial container.

Here's a couple of highlights from the event:

  • Learn about the social platform using the common language of the web developer - HTML and JavaScript.
  • Hands-on lab exercises will cover such topics as IBM’s new SDK for web developers, ICS containers, and cloud integration.
  • Leave aware of how to tap the expertise of the community, and engage further to continue building skills with Social Application Development.
  • Learn how to build an embedded experience that integrates with IBM Connections 4 using OpenSocial gadgets.

So if you don't want to miss on a $500 Billion market, register for the workshop here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Social Collaboration Tools Help Eliminate the Guesswork

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Today, I wanted to share another demo video of IBM Connections 4.0. I'm hoping that you can pick and choose different videos based on the applicable use case.

This video focuses on our mobile capabilities and how you can form Communities to help employees eliminate the guesswork. Communities in IBM Connections 4.0 are extremely powerful and can solve most team collaboration needs. There's even a full reporting capability with over 100 reports to help community managers understand what's valuable inside the community. With IBM Connections, IBM's social business solution, you can now create vibrant networks and communities with powerful social analytics and metrics.

Your organization can now:

  • Uncover insights from social analytics to deepen relationships.

  • Drive positive and productive adoption using powerful out-of-the-box and customizable reporting capabilities.

  • Discover and leverage top contributors and top content within your business communities and networks.

  • Keep customers, partners and employees engaged, contributing and valued.

Check out the video below:

For other IBM Connections 4.0 demo videos, check out:


Friday, September 21, 2012

IBM Connections Product Managers Join the Taking Notes Podcast

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IBM Connections 4.0 turns 2 weeks old today. Most likely, you have probably already upgraded your environment or are in the middle of planning the upgrade.

It's also very likely that by now you've checked out some of the great videos that have been made available in YouTube:

If you haven't seen those videos, definitely go and check them out. There's many more videos that I haven't shared yet, but will share them in the coming days. Today, I wanted to call your attention to a recent podcast where all 4 IBM Connections Product Managers share their favorite features of IBM Connections 4.0.

The podcast was led by the good folks at the Taking Notes podcast: Bruce Elgort and Julian Robicheaux. To listen to the podcast, go here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New IBM Connections Desktop Plug-In Now Available

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With the release of IBM Connections 4.0, IBM is now updating its many extension points. Today, I wanted to share the news that the new IBM Connections Desktop Plug-Ins are now available for download. The plug-in, of course, remains free and is fully supported by IBM.

The Desktop plugin is a single install which brings IBM Connections into Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Windows Explorer (depending on what you have installed). Here's a list of some of the features you can use:

  • Upload local files to IBM Connections from Windows Explorer or from your desktop
  • Share uploaded files with people, communities, or folders in IBM Connections
  • Work on files locally and publish them to IBM Connections
  • View people's contact details and get in touch with them
  • Pin, follow, or like IBM Connections files and folders
  • View or contribute comments for a file
  • Lock a file when you are editing it to prevent file conflicts
  • View and restore files from IBM Connections Trash
  • Share folders with IBM Connections Communities

One of the things that really stands out is how all of the social features from IBM Connections Files are available directly from Windows Explorer. From Windows Explorer, I can like files, comment on them, share them and more without ever having to open a browser. How cool is that!!??!!

If you haven't seen this plug-in in action, then I recommend that you take a peek at the videos created by my colleague Ron Denham.

First, how it integrates with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel:

Next, how it integrates with Microsoft Outlook:

Finally, how it integrates directly into Windows Explorer to provide access to files whenever you want:

To download the free plug-in, download it from our App Catalog.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Social Streams Help Me Stay Focused and Productive

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At your job, you have access to a lot of information throughout many systems. That means that you are probably switching between many applications to get your job done: your email client, your intranet portal, your various line of business applications, etc, etc, etc.

Now, imagine if you had a single, social stream of updates from all the applications you worked with that enabled you to get your work done quickly and efficiently. Wouldn't that be awesome? Imagine if you could sign off on an expense report or submit your travel request or even get notified when your colleague finished a task all while you browse a single stream of status updates and more.

All of this you can do today with IBM Connections. Using open standards, enterprise applications can be surfaced into a social stream to enable people to work in one single place.

Next week I'm going to be participating in the Virtual Enterprise 2.0 Conference and I would like to invite you to attend. This will be a great opportunity for you to find out what types of processes you can socialize by leveraging the market leading social platform for major productivity gains

As a teaser for the virtual Enterprise 2.0 conference, we have prepared the following video:

To register and view the agenda, click here and you'll be entered to win a Kindle.

See you there!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Grow Revenue By Using the IBM Social Collaboration Platform [VIDEO]

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And the demo movies for IBM Connections v4.0 keep coming in.  Let me tell you a little about this one.

Before using IBM's Social Collaboration Platform, Greenwell's profits were not growing and they were losing market share.

Greenwell's marketing manager decided to leverage the IBM's Social Collaboration Platform and from that point on, the successes kept piling in.

Check out the success story:

The ROI of using IBM's Social Collaboration Platform is clear. Greenwell was able to:
  • Discover new opportunities
  • Rebuild brand recognition
  • Increase market share
  • Invigorate its customer base
Congrats to the team at Greenwell! (By the way, in case you didn't attend our conference earlier this year, Greenwell is a fictional company).

This is a great video that you can use to drive adoption and clearly understand the business value of using a Social Collaboration Platform powered by IBM Connections.

What do you think? If you are not using the IBM Social Collaboration Platform, you should start today!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Now Available - Replay of What is New In IBM Connections 4.0 Webcast

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Last week, I participated in the monthly community meeting for IBM Collaboration Solutions run by the famous Joyce Davis. In the webcast, I covered What's New in IBM Connections v4.0. For the most part, I tried to do a separate demo from the one that I shared on Wednesday of this week which was focused more on the highlights. For this webcast, I tried to get a bit more specific and show more of the new features and show them in action!

As Joyce mentioned in her blog entry earlier in the week, in the webcast Matt Tredinnick kicked things off by providing an overview of the IBM Social Business story and explained how IBM Connections fits into the strategy. Joyce tells me that this is one of the webcasts with highest turnouts!

Here's the replay of the webcast in case you missed it or want to see it again:

And this is the slide deck that I was going to use but it was decided by webcast attendees to skip these and focus more on demo. 93% wanted a demo and only 7% wanted slides; go figure!

For instructions on how to download these slides, see below:

Here's some additional links you might be interested in:
  • Download the slides from here (feel free to use these with your users)
  • Download the audio-only (mp3) replay from here
  • Q&A during the webcast can be seen here

Thursday, September 13, 2012

IBM Fully Behind OpenSocial and

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When OpenSocial 2.0 was shipped late last year it was declared ready for the enterprise and that's no surprise since a big push towards OpenSocial 2.0 was driven by companies such as IBM.

In the latest release of IBM's social collaboration platform, IBM Connections 4.0, IBM has included support for OpenSocial 2.0, OAuth2, and The latest release also features something called "Embedded Experiences" which was a concept invented by IBM and donated to the open source community. IBM is also currently the lead editor of the standard and is the top code contributor to Apache Shindig, an open source reference implementation of an OpenSocial container.

With IBM and other social collaboration vendors adopting OpenSocial it presents a prime opportunity for developers who want to build apps on top of these platforms. They build once and they can use anywhere!

Earlier this year, Dion Hinchcliffe blogged about the need for Enterprise Social Networks to leverage Open Standards. He not only outlines the benefits of open standards for developers, but also to the enterprise. Specifically, Dion says (emphasis mine):
[…] the business value of social media is best achieved when it's centered in the work that we do, not off to the side. This can only be achieved by connecting our systems of engagement (social business tools and platforms) with our systems of record (CRM, ERP, HRM, etc.)
Updated 13/Sept/2012 @ 9:15a - I was alerted that Dion Hinchcliffe joined the OpenSocial board earlier this year.

And you can see IBM fully understands this as part of their launch video for IBM Connections 4.0 shows integration with SAP through an OpenSocial gadget.

ISW, an IBM Business Partner, has created a gamification solution for IBM Connections and it uses the OpenSocial standard meaning that their solution could work in other platforms as well. To see it in action, see the video below (skip to 13:03):

AppFusions is also taking advantage of this integration point and even blogged about this earlier this week.

OpenSocial is definitely now ready for the enterprise! Oh and if you want to learn more about IBM Connections, don't forget to register for today's webcast From liking to Leading: The Success of your Business is Social (click the invite below to register):

Register now!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

IBM Connections 4.0 Overview and Demo [VIDEO]

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By now you have downloaded the IBM Connections 4.0 code and maybe even installed it over the weekend. The next step? It's time to show your users what's new in IBM Connections 4.0!

My colleague Fred Raguillat and myself have created this video to show an overview of IBM Connections 4.0. Notice that this video is not strictly focused on what's new and I also cover some features available in the platform. Therefore, this video can be used both as a What's New video and also a Top Features video.

To complement the video, if you are interested in the highlights of what is new in version 4.0, check out this page that I created and if you want the full list of 200+ features that are new in the release, then check this page out.

This is the same demo that I've been doing to current and prospective customers and have received some very positive feedback so far. One person told me I had to breathe more which was a luxury I couldn't take. There's just too much to cover and I wanted to keep it to about 6 minutes (let me know what you think in the comments) :

IBM is also announcing today new customers which continue to adopt IBM Connections. Today, more than 60 companies of the Fortune 100 have purchased IBM Connections.  As part of today's announcements, Primerica is the latest organization to adopt IBM Connections and will deploy it to their 90,000 sales reps to engage with their 2.3 million policy owners. Primerica will also be leveraging our Actiance Vantage solution to ensure they remain compliant with local laws.

To learn more about IBM Connections 4.0, don't forget to register and attend for tomorrow's webcast From liking to Leading: The Success of your Business is Social (click the invite below to register):

Register now!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Introducing the Top 4 Ways to use IBM Connections

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It's here! The Top 4 Ways to use IBM Connections based on tips from IBMers and IBM Champions. If you've ever been asked by peers how they can use IBM Connections, this is great resource for them.

The way the page has been structured is that it provides an overview first of what is Connections and then ways in which IBM Connections, as a social collaboration platform, can make you and your peers more effective and productive.

Quotes from two IBM Champions, Lisa Duke and Femke Goedhart, and two IBMers, Suzanne Livingston and Luis Suarez, show real examples of people who use Connections on a daily basis to make their job easier.

I really like the visual layout of the page and I hope you do too. The page also has links to download the free mobile apps for IBM Connections as well as all the desktop plug-ins (e.g. Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and much more)!

So what are the Top 4 Ways to use IBM Connections? You'll have to check out this new page to find out!.

Let me know what you think about the page in the comments.

Oh and if you want to learn more about IBM Connections, don't forget to register and attend for the webcast From liking to Leading: The Success of your Business is Social (click the invite below to register):

Register today!

Monday, September 10, 2012

CollaborationToday is now Live

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OpenNTF announced a few hours ago that it has now made CollaborationToday live.

As per OpenNTF:

The content you will find on Collaboration Today is a compilation of current and relevant news for IBM Collaboration Solutions professionals focussing on IBM products and technologies including IBM Connections, IBM Lotus Domino, IBM WebSphere Portal and IBM Sametime.

I'll be one of the moderators for content in CollaborationToday and will be adding content around social business (social collaboration tools, best practices, app dev, adoption strategies, etc) and IBM Connections as it becomes available.

There are various ways to subscribe to content so make sure you check it out today!

To learn more about IBM Connections 4.0, don't forget to register and attend for the webcast From liking to Leading: The Success of your Business is Social (click the invite below to register):

Register today!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Introducing IBM Connections Mail

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With the upcoming availability of IBM Connections 4.0 I would like to talk a bit more about IBM Connections Mail, one of the many new features of v4.0 and one of my favorite ones.

IBM Connections Mail brings mail and calendar into your social context by integrating key messaging and calendar views and functions into your social environment. As email turns 30, we know email is not going away any time soon. Thus, we've now given end users the ability to easily access and manage their Mail and Calendar content directly from IBM Connections. This allows user to process emails quickly (e.g. reply, forward, etc) as well as obtain a quick glance of their calendar. This feature supports Lotus Domino and Microsoft Exchange environments.

I've been using IBM Connections Mail now for a couple of months and I like it a lot. I find that I spend more and more time within IBM Connections since I don't have to switch to another app to work with my email. IBM Connections Mail was featured as one of the MUST-HAVE features all Enterprise Social Networks need according to InformationWeek.

Here's a screenshot of how it looks:

My personal email and calendar is always accessible from the top navigation bar by simply hovering over the mail and calendar icons. The great thing is that I can quickly reply, forward, and delete emails and process my inbox. Of course, I can also use this capability to send private messages to other users.

When reading an email, the business card is available when hovering over people's name. When sending an email, the system is even smart enough to allow me to "attach" files that already exist in my personal file share within Connections. Extremely powerful, right?

By far, however, my favorite feature is the embedded experience provided directly in emails. For example, say that someone posts a question in one of my files. In a typical platform, this usually means that I have to click on a link the email, go out to the social platform, log on, respond to the question and then come back to delete the email. This multi-step process is reduced to a single step. In IBM Connections Mail, the email contains a live page where not only I can see the question posted in the file, I can reply to it directly from there and once I'm done, I can get rid of the notification.

Feedback from people that have seen this and our beta customers has been extremely positive on this feature. So as soon as you get your hands on the code, make sure you install this capability!

To learn more about IBM Connections 4.0, register for the September 13th webcast: From Liking to Leading - The Success of your Business is Social.

Updated 20/Sept/2012 - To download IBM Connections Mail, click here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Value of the Social Media Economy is $1.3 Trillion

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The McKinsey Global Institute recently released a report titled: The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies. I stumbled upon this report on Friday and spent some time at nights reading it over the weekend.

What's impressive is how McKinsey has been able to quantify the value of what social technologies can add into the economy. The total? A massive $1.3 Trillion ! Yes, Trillion! 70% of organizations are already using social technologies and 90% of those report some benefit. And most companies see a 20-25% increase in knowledge worker productivity. I for one have shared how social tools make me productive. This report also reminded me how IBM and MIT scientifically proved the value of social networks at work.

In the McKinsey report, a familiar use case, among many others, was included: TD Bank who leverages IBM Connections as its social business platform. (coincidentally, IBM Connections 4.0 was announced today)

One of the things I liked about the report is that it includes a lot of examples from companies in a wide variety of industries: Financial Services, Consumer Packaged Goods, Professional Services, Manufacturing, and more. Therefore, irrespective of the industry you work on, you are likely to find a success example in the report.

Over the weekend, I also stumbled upon this quick video that (while an ad for another company) has some nice visuals to explain the power of social media for your business

Are you still considering becoming a social business? Or do you want to learn tips on how to become a social business ? Want to learn how other companies are getting value from becoming a social business? If so, then you *must* attend the following webcast next week:

Register today!!

To download the 184-page McKinsey report (for free) or even get a free eBook copy for your iPad, go here. I also recommend that you listen to the 10 minute audiocast embedded on that page with lead researcher Michael Chui.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Scan Documents Directly into IBM Connections with Cobra Image Router

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Do you work for an organization that it's very paper intensive? Would you like an easier way to get paper documents into IBM Connections? Well, here's the solution for you!

Cobra Image Router v6 is now available and integrates directly with IBM Connections. Cobra Image Router (CIR) 6 for IBM Connections enables capture of paper content using any network connected scanner or multifunction device - and intelligently delivers content to your IBM Connections Files environment.

CIR will :

  • deliver content directly from scanning device to your on-premise or cloud based Connections environment
  • allow the user to distribute content securely to any audience share - including specific Users, Folders or Communities
  • deliver a full-text-searchable PDF via OCR
  • allow point-of-scan data entry for profiling content with document title and description, even to add comments and tags!

Take a peek at the demo below:

To download a free trial of the app visit the IBM Connections App Catalog here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Webcast - What is New in IBM Connections Next

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On September 7th, I will join Joyce Davis' IBM Collaboration Solutions Webcast. This webcast is open to everyone so if you haven't seen what's coming in IBM Connections Next yet, this will be a great opportunity for that. I think a large number of people have already seen and experienced the newest release of IBM Connections in the Greenhouse.

I'm hoping to show you features (yes, via a demo!) that perhaps you haven't discovered yet so I would like to invite you to register and join the event.

Here's the description of the event:

For the 3rd year in a row, IDC ranked IBM number one in worldwide market share for enterprise social software. Also, in Forrester Wave™: Cloud Strategies of Online Collaboration Software Vendors, 3Q 2012, IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, built on IBM Connections, was cited as a leader. And recently, IBM Connections ranked as Leader in the Aragon Research Globe for Enterprise Social Software, 2012 report.

By now, you've probably been using now IBM Connections "Next" on Greenhouse for a few weeks. You think you may have used all the cool new features, but have you really seen them all? Join us as we take you through a tour of IBM Connections "Next" so that you can see first-hand, all the amazing new collaborative capabilities that are available in this new release!

To register for the webcast, click here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

IBM Ranked as Leader in the Aragon Research Globe for Enterprise Social Software, 2012

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And the great news keep piling up. On Tuesday, IBM was cited as a Leader in Forrester's Wave: Cloud Strategies of Online Collaboration Software Vendors.

Today, I've learned that IBM Connections has been ranked as Leader in the Aragon Research Globe for Enterprise Social Software, 2012. IBM Connections continues to be the market leader in enterprise social software !

According to their announcement, the report evaluates 22 social collaboration vendors against 3 dimensions: Strategy, Performance, and Reach. Based on the evaluation of each vendor, each vendor is placed in 1 of 4 spheres: Leader, Innovator, Specialist or Contender. Again, IBM was ranked as a Leader.

Aragon Research is the newest technology research and advisory firm. Aragon delivers high impact research and advisory services to provide enterprises the insight they need to help them make better technology and strategy decisions.

A great example of a customer reaping the benefits of becoming a social business with IBM Connections is Lowe's Home Improvement. Earlier in the year they shared this story:

Needless to say, I'm extremely excited to continue to see IBM Connections being validated by independent research firms as a leader. Exciting times ahead indeed!

If you want to read the report, you can get it from Aragon here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

IBM SmartCloud Cited as a Leader in Cloud Strategies of Online Collaboration Vendors

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Amazing news to share today! As you may have seen in Bethann Cregg's blog entry from today, IBM was among the vendors Forrester Research invited to participate in their latest Forrester Wave™: Cloud Strategies of Online Collaboration Software Vendors, 3Q 2012. In this report, IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, built on IBM Connections, was cited as a leader. W00t !

IBM SmartCloud for Social Business is IBM's premier cloud-based online collaboration platform. Several weeks back I worked with my peers as we prepared our documentation to send it over to Forrester. Needless to say, I'm extremely excited that Forrester considers IBM a leader in this Forrester Wave report!

The BrainYard earlier this week published an article that highlights the vendors that Forrester recognized as leaders. In it, you can see my colleague Ramsey,  who I worked with to get this done, quoted in the article.

More and more companies are looking at leveraging cloud-based collaboration solutions. A recent example is Ricoh who chose the IBM Connections platform on the cloud to better collaborate with its global employees. Check out the video that was recently shared by them:

Other media outlets have picked this up too:

Congrats to the entire team who worked on this. [Updated 30/Aug/2012] - to view the report now go here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

IBM Connections Mobile Apps Updated - Get Them Now

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IBM has just updated its mobile apps for IBM Connections on both Android and iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) to version 3.5. By now, you've most likely seen the demos of this apps. If not, I'm including the one for iPad here and you can see the others over here.

With today's update IBM SmartCloud Connections users can now access their files on the cloud directly from their mobile device and also store them offline (with full encryption security) in case you are going to that very important meeting where you won't have Wifi or 3G access.

As you can see above, the app is also pre-configured for SmartCloud so simply select that account type, enter your username and password and off you go. Very easy! Expect more updates as we enable more and more services on the mobile apps for SmartCloud.

As usual, the app remains free and can be downloaded immediately from the iTunes App Store or from Google Play. If you went to Lotusphere 2012, you'll remember that this was originally targeted towards the end of this year. I'm happy that the development team was able to accelerate this work and enable these capabilities for our SmartCloud users.

So go on and get it! And don't forget to rate the app and leave a comment!

From Liking to Leading - The Success of your Business is Social

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IBM and InformationWeek will host From Liking to Leading, a live broadcast Thursday, September 13 at 1:00 PM ET.   We will explore the changing face of business. Brian Gillooly, editor-in-chief of InformationWeek, will give his market perspective on business and the value of the social graph. Market-leading organizations will share the benefits they're realizing by being social. And IBM executives, Jeff Schick and Alistair Rennie, will discuss ways businesses can gain competitive advantage by enabling more employees to be innovators and more clients to be advocates.

In this webcast you'll have the opportunity to learn from other organizations ways you can harness these unique capabilities NOW to gain competitive advantage:
  • Create a smarter workforce that is socially empowered to attract and connect the right people to the information and expertise they need, whenever and wherever they need it
  • Create exceptional customer experiences that are socially engaged, across all channels, and can anticipate and meet individual needs before they ask
To view the invite and learn more, click on the image below:

Register today!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Office Space's TPS Reports (May) Go Social At SXSW 2013

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Earlier this week, Suzanne Livingston shared that SXSW voting is now open for the 2013 conference. I had a great time attending the SXSW 2012 conference and would love to speak again at the conference.

Suzanne and I have submitted our abstracts so let me tell you about them.

First, I think is one that is going to be loved by all fans of the movie Office Space. If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend that you check it out (it's in Netflix right now). A funny scene in the movie is when an employee is reprimanded when not formatting their "TPS" report properly. So at SXSW we want to talk about how you can make that TPS report social! You can watch the scene below:
Second, we are proposing a panel so attendees can learn how companies have transformed their cultures to create a more engaged workforce, accelerate innovation, and lead in social business. With only 8% of organizations leveraging social collaboration tools across the entire enterprise, I truly believe that we need to do more to get this going and starting by transforming the corporate culture is key.

Would you like these to be part of the SXSW 2013 agenda? So do I!!! So here's how you can help out.

Please comment and vote on the following two abstracts. (Note: to vote, you need to be signed in):
1) Yes, that TPS report can be social, too -
2) Corporate Culture shock: when strategy isn't enough -

Discussions on the abstracts are highly important, so don't forget to comment. Also, while you are in the PanelPicker site, you may want to check out the other sessions submitted by other IBMers:
Thanks for voting and commenting!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Exciting Times Ahead: The Case for How Social Media Can Boost Employee Productivity

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With the upcoming launch of IBM's newest Connections release, I can't help but get excited as to what's about to happen. And of course, when I see the product that I work on as the Cover Story of the USA Today, that gets me even more excited! As you probably saw in Ed Brill's blog yesterday, the USA Today ran a piece on how companies are seeing employee productivity increase with the use of social collaboration tools, such as IBM Connections. The article highlights Newly Weds Foods which uses IBM Connnections for its 2,700 employees to help them share sauces, batters, breadings, and more. To see a video of Newly Weds Foods testimonial, check this out. Also, check out the picture I took of the paper's cover story:

So the next question is, how big is the opportunity for social collaboration tools ? Well, another interesting piece that I ran into yesterday was the 2012 Digital Workplace Trends Report. In it, only 8% of enterprises surveyed claim to have a social business platform rolled out enterprise wide. The number at first seemed very small to me, but when you compare that with 33% of organizations that say they have sporadic deployments, it makes sense. However, it concerns me that companies are still taking a silo'ed approach instead of taking an approach where silos are destroyed.

What's very encouraging, and validates IDC prediction that spending will continue to increase in this area, is that the report found that 47% of organizations are planning to increase their investment in social collaboration tools.

Exciting times ahead!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Oh Yeah - IBM Connections Next Beta Now in Greenhouse

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Let's get straight to it. A beta version of IBM Connections "Next" has now been loaded up in the Greenhouse. Check it out here:

Ok so I still am not allowed to show you this externally so the only way to check out this beta of IBM Connections "Next" is to go to Greenhouse. If you are not part of the beta, go check it out now! And if you don't have a Greenhouse account yet, you can get one here!

Please go out to Greenhouse and feel free to post comments there about what you see. And also invite your friends to check out IBM Connections "Next" in the Greenhouse by sending them a link to this blog (or the short URL above).

I look forward to the comments you post in Greenhouse.