Wednesday, March 21, 2012

IBM Connections Plug-In for Windows Explorer Now Available

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Stop what you are doing immediately! If you've been heads down in the past 2 days, then you've probably missed some amazing news. First, over the weekend, IBM released IBM Connections Immediately after on Monday, IBM released the brand new Desktop Plug-In for Microsoft Windows Explorer.

Check out everything that the plug-in can do:

  • Upload files for personal use or to share with others
  • Upload files to a community or attach them to an Activity
  • Share existing Connections files with other users or with a community
  • Drag and drop files from your desktop to Connections Files or to a community
  • View and manage versions of your files
  • Add comments to files or recommend files
  • Edit and publish local drafts to Connections
  • Pin or follow folders and files for easier tracking
  • View business cards for people and invite them to your network
  • Easily access all Connections features via browser links

This is huge!!! All of this, as usual, is available at no additional cost from the IBM Connections App Catalog.

As I've mentioned before, I believe that one of the things that helps rapidly gain adoption for a social business platform is bringing social to the end user. Just like in real-estate where location, location, location is critical, I believe that in social is all about integration, integration, integration. If you can bring social to the end user, they use it seamlessly and don't have to learn a new way to collaborate and don't even have to think about it. And, of course, this is all great especially when you can achieve all this integration for free.

Want to see it in action? Check out this video that I recorded (play it in full screen for HD viewing) (oh and yes, you have to watch the whole video as my favorite feature is towards the end of the video):

Download it today and enjoy!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

IBM Connections Now Available

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Over the weekend IBM released IBM Connections I don't intend to cover all the new stuff here, but I figured I would highlight a few things.

First, the release adds new support for Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 9. Second, there's now integration with IBM Sametime 8.5.2 for presence awareness. Just as before with Sametime 8.5.1, users can see who is online in Connections without installing any additional software on their desktops. This is very cool because it rapidly speeds adoption and eliminates barriers to collaboration. If you are looking for the instructions on how to do that, you can find it here.

Third, administrators who like to run their servers on the latest release of RedHat, they'll be happy to know that RedHat EL 6.1 is now supported as well.

There's also several new controls available to specify how to sort and filter forums (e.g. by answered status), who can respond to community forums (e.g. members-only or everyone), and the ability to specify the default view for forums. I don't intend to cover all the new stuff here, but you can find the fix list for this release is here.

Ready to get started? Good! Here are the installation instructions to upgrade and you can download the actual fix pack from here.

Check Out These Video Interviews at SXSW Interactive 2012

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Now that things are starting to get back to normal I wanted to share some videos that the IBM developerWorks team recorded while at South by Southwest Interactive 2012. Thanks to Todd Watson and Scott Laningham for putting these videos together.

First, Omar Divina from Badgeville talks about gamification and how it can help companies measure and influence user behavior. Omar offers his definition of what gamification. If you are looking to learn how gamification could be used at your company, you'll definitely want to watch this. :

Next, Stowe Boyd who is part of the SXSW board and presented a panel called the Connected Company at SXSWi 2012. Stowe talks to Todd and Scott on how companies are adopting digital and how critical it is to do so. Stowe also talks about his upcoming eBook which talks about why businesses should become more social, how to do so, and some of the tool available out there such as IBM Connections . He calls these work media tools which have the fastest adoption rate as a business tool ever:

Next is an interview with IBM's VP of Social Business Evangelism and Sales, Sandy Carter. Sandy talks about 5 surprises we are seeing in the market with more and more companies becoming a social business. I don't want to give them away, so you'll have to watch:

Next, Don Tapscott, author of Macrowikinomics talks about the new generation entering now the workforce and how connected they are, how different they think, and how they "overshare". Take a peek:

Next, Tim "Washtub" Washer Social Media Lead at Cisco and who previously wrote for David Letterman and The Onion. Given his background you can tell that this is going to be a funny video. Tim also talks about the value of humor in corporate communication.

Here's a recording that Heidi Ambler and I did where we talk about our session at SXSW on the 5 Enterprise Social Media Trends:

The developerWorks team does a wrap-up on the final day of SXSWi :

To see more videos recorded at SXSWi, check them out here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Recap of Day 5 at SXSW Interactive

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Happy Pi Day !!! And here we come… to the end of my first SXSW Interactive. After a long week of sessions, meetings, meet ups, tweet ups, and the like, it's time to return to reality. Today is a travel day, so as I can, I'll be posting and sharing more insights on what I learned at SXSW Interactive.

Yesterday, Tuesday, was the fifth and last day of SXSW Interactive. Now, it's time for the music part of the festival. I started the day by doing a sales talk with Suzanne Livingston where we talked about how to use communities to meet various use cases and needs that most customers have.

After the sales talk was done, I headed over to the OMNI hotel to start the day of SXSW sessions. I was only able to make it to 2 sessions. Both of them were directed at community managers. The first was a panel of various community managers were they talked about lessons learned as part of their roles. My favorite panelist was @annabelleblue who offered some tremendous advice and one-liners! What I really like about these sessions is the tips and lessons learned being shared. Often we forget about some common sense behaviors that are reinforced here. For example, if you are representing a luxury brand, don't use "4" as an abbreviation of the word "for". As usual, I find that the best way to summarize the session is to highlight the most notable tweets. Here are the tidbits I liked the most in that session:

The second session was also for community managers, only this tam it was focused on those providing customer service via Facebook. My favorite comment on this session was near the beginning as one of the panelists described Content is Queen and Customer Service is King. He continued metaphor and explained: "In Chess, the Queen is the most powerful piece and can move and do whatever. However, you lose the King, you lose the game" ! Love it!!! Here are some notable tweets from that session:

And here are some notable tweets as captured by the moderator:

Something that I found interesting is that in none of the panels / sessions that I attended over the week was there any mention of leveraging your employees to be your brand voice. For example, a while ago the Social Media Examiner talked about how at IBM social media management is not centralized. Instead, it's decentralized. Instead of having a team of 10 (or so) people as our social media managers, IBM encourages its employees to be the voice of IBM (following a set of guidelines, of course). As such, there are thousands of IBMers in Twitter and thousands of external bloggers as well.

What do you think about that approach? Is it good to let employees be the voice of your product/brand/company?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Recap of Day 4 at SXSWi

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Another beautiful day at Austin. Today was a day with a lot of meetings and interviews so I only attended three sessions.

First, I went to Sandy Carter's session where she was talking about her recently published book Get Bold: Using Social Media to create a new type of Social Business. The room was packed and it was standing room only. As a fellow IBMer, I decided to stand in the back and give my seat to other people. Sandy covered some interesting facts about social media and also talked about some powerful customer success stories, further validating that social media is not a fad anymore. Here are some of the notable tweets from her session:

After Sandy's session I had a meeting so I couldn't make my next session, and thus waited until the noon session with Andy McAfee and Tim O'Reilly. Those of you who attended Lotusphere 2011 probably already know Andy McAfee. He is credited with coining the term Enterprise 2.0. The session was structured as a Q&A where Andy was interviewing Tim O'Reilly. I fell a bit behind tweeting in this session as the content was so good that I didn't want to miss anything. Tim was talking about the importance of creating more value than you capture. O'Reilly emphasized that truly great companies are those that have a sense of higher purpose. Even Watson and Siri came into the conversation. Here are some interesting tidbits from this session here:

After this session, I went to do an interview offsite and then hurried back for the final session of the day with Brian Solis and Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins. This was a very interesting conversation on the current state of the music industry and where it's going. Billy had some very strong opinions and the language used was very strong. I still captured some great tidbits from this session here:

After that, I headed back to the IBM Social Lounge where I got to meet various companies that were interested in integrating with IBM Connections. I don't want to share too much right now on this, but it's great to see how many people are interested in being part of the Connections eco system. I also did an interview with Todd Watson which should be posted soon to the IBM Social Business channel on YouTube.

Today is the last day of SXSWi so I have to go make the best of it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Recap of Day 3 at SXSWi

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Finally, the sun has come out!!! Today was a beautiful day over in Austin.

The day started early where Stowe Boyd, Megan Murray and others were OMNI PRESENTing on how companies have become more and more connected. One thing that was interesting was a topic around community managers within the firewall. As more and more companies deploy social software internally one of the gaps that's often present is the lack of an internal community manager. Often, companies deploy social software internally and let employees "at it". Check out the notable tweets from this session:

Speaking of community managers, my next session was a panel of community managers of successful startups like Foursquare and Airbnb. It was very interesting to hear they talk about how they work as community managers. I found that many things were somewhat common sense (be transparent, be honest, empathize, be a great storyteller, etc). However, hearing it from these people who are working with very successful companies, really validates the behavior. One recommendation that really resonated with me is that as community manager, don't try to solve the problem for customers. Instead, let the developers figure out the solution and don't take the creativity away from them. I really liked this because I often have to remind myself as product manager, that developers should really be the ones that design and codify the final solution. Check out the notable tweets from this session below:

After lunch, I headed over to the Marriott for a panel on hiring the best employees. I wasn't sure what I was quite expecting. I felt the session was a bit all over the place, though they were definitely trying to engage the audience. For some reason, the Twitter stream for this particular panel was very quiet, so I've captured a few tidbits that I thought were the most interesting.

Finally, I headed over to the convention center to listen to the CEO of Dropbox. The session was titled Building a Business Around Sharing and I was hoping to hear more about how Dropbox was built and where it's going. However, the session was just a Q&A with the CEO. For the first 30 minutes, he talked about how he got the idea, where it all started (at Boston's South Station) and how he got funded. The story is definitely interesting. I was just looking for a little more forward looking statements. You can see some of the notable tweets I captured here:


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recap of Day 2 at SXSWi

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Saturday, March 10 … Day 2 at SXSW Interactive (SXSWi). It was loooooong day and the rain kept coming down hard.

The first session that I went to was Top Chef: How Transmedia is Changing TV . This session was tremendous and I liked it a lot. It was moderated by Andy Cohen, host of Watch What Happens Live and one of the panelists was Tom Collichio, a judge in Top Chef. Others in the panel included various senior executives from Bravo. They talked a lot about Social TV and the transformation that we are seeing and how Bravo has embraced media to drive ratings to their shows. While I don't watch any of these programs, it was still a very interesting panel. Andy also did a very good job of moderating and was taking questions live via Twitter. Sometimes questions came in and within a minute Andy was already pitching it to the panelists. The session was tweeted under various hashtags such as #bybravo and #sxswbybravo. My biggest takeaway from this session is that the future of social TV is content co-creation with the fans. Here are some notable tweets from that session:

After that, I headed over to Why Small is the New Big and Big is the New Small. The session was tweeted using #eggcellent as the hashtag. Kathy Mandelstein and Jason Stoddard did an interesting panel. Kathy comes from a big company called IBM and Jason typically works with very small companies. The panel covered what big companies are doing to be able to compete with the smaller ones and what the smaller ones can do to compete with the bigger ones. My biggest takeaway from this session was that social media/marketing sets a level field. Here are some notable tweets from that session:

After that session, I headed over to lunch and then over to the Omni Hotel to get ready to present for the first time to the SXSW audience. I have to say that I'm humbled by the experience. The room was packed for a 5pm session and the feedback from the session was extremely positive. Thank you all for coming and interacting with us. Hopefully we can continue the conversation on Twitter (or whatever your preferred channel is).

As promised, here are the slides from my presentation with Heidi Ambler. The session was recorded and will be available as a podcast. If I find that podcast somewhere, I'll share that here as well for those that couldn't attend SXSW.

The twitter stream for my session is #socbiz5 in case you want to see what people were saying.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Recap of Day 1 at SXSWi

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Yesterday, Friday, was the official first day of SXSW Interactive. It was raining throughout the day, but luckily the sessions that I had planned to attend where all happening very close to each other. It was a good thing that I got here on Thursday because I was able to pick up my badge very easily. When I went to the convention center on Friday, the line for badge pick up was almost a mile long, literally.

Even walking into sessions required a line each time since badges had to be manually scanned. It would be good if they used some sort of RFID technology in the feature to speed up the process of entering sessions.

I attended two sessions yesterday related to SoLoMo.

Here are some notable tidbits from the SoLoMo Redefined: Next Gen Social Local Mobile session, which was tweeted under the hashtag #sxsmartpush .

Here are some notable tidbits from the What's the 'Next Big Thing' in Social Networking session, which was tweeted under the hashtag #blendr .

After the sessions were done, it was time for some food & drinks and then off to bed. That was it! Later today I'll be presenting to the #sxsw audience with Heidi Ambler. I'm sure that's going to be an experience. More on that tomorrow.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bunchball Introduces Gamification for IBM Connections with Level Up

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Bunchball, who shipped the first gamification solution 5 years ago has recently added support for IBM Connections. Leveraging Connections' extensibility points via widgets, Bunchball plugs into IBM Connections to promote end-user adoption and engagement. So far, Bunchball's platform, called Nitro, has handled 125 million users and tracked over 15 billion actions !

Gamification is certainly a topic that comes up often when discussing how to drive adoption of various systems. In fact, you may remember that it came up during the Birds-of-Feather that Mac Guidera and I hosted back at Lotusphere 2012 #ls12.

Gamification can used in various ways to help drive usage of a new system. For example, you can offer rewards or badges once a user completes his profile, creates a wiki, uploads and shares files, etc. The tricky part, of course, is to not only use gamification just during the initial adoption phase, but to keep users consistently engaged.

This is possible with Nitro's admin console where customers can very easily create an infinite number of missions, determine point economies, and establish rewards (or whatever works best to keep users engaged).

To go along with the launch, Bunchball is also offering a free Whitepaper on Enterprise Gamification (registration required).

Here's a screenshot that shows Nitro for IBM Connections in action:

One of the cool features that Level Up adds to IBM Connections is real-time feedback on awards and missions completed. To see this integration in action, check out this quick 5 minute demo of gamification with IBM Connections with Bunchball.:

To learn more about Nitro for IBM Connections, check out: