Monday, April 30, 2012

What It Means to Be a Social Business #socbiz

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As seen in our team blog, check out Heidi Ambler, IBM's Director for Social Software Product Management (and my boss), discussing:

  • What it means to be a social business
  • The trend on how business processes are changing
  • How business achieve business value by becoming a social business
  • Tools that help companies become a social business
  • What it takes to become a Social Business and how to start planning your own transformation.

You may remember that Heidi and I presented at SXSW and you may have even seen our video interview with the team from developerWorks. So here's another quick video (5 minutes) that I recommend you view, especially if you are trying to figure out how to leverage social networks for better business outcomes:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Demo: Blogs iPad App for IBM Connections, Wordpress, Blogger, and more

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Are you an active blogger using IBM Connections ? Do you work remotely? Do you want to create beautiful blog entries directly from your iPad ? If any of those are true, then you definitely will want to take a peek at Blogsy, the top rated app for blogging with your iPad. In fact, I am creating this blog entry directly from Blogsy.

Blogsy also supports other blogging platforms like Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, Drupal, Joomla and more!

You may recall that I first blogged about Blogsy shortly after Lotusphere 2012 when it was first released to the App Store. I have been using Blogsy for a couple of weeks now and really like it. I can create blog entries with rich format and rich media. To add rich media you use the sidebar provided by the app. On the sidebar, you'll find quick options to quickly find videos in YouTube or photos in picass or Flickr and simply drag and drop them into the blog. Very easy!

I even have the power to edit the HTML which lets me do things like embed content from Slideshare.

There's tons of other features too! But let me show them to you instead of just writing about all of them. Check out this demo of Blogsy in action:

Want to get Blogsy, download it from the iTunes App Store by clicking here.

I would like to thank the great folks at Blogsy. As part of last week's update to Blogsy the App Store, they are giving away 3 copies of the app. Do you want in? Simply tweet a link to this blog entry and mention @BlogsyApp in your tweet to qualify. In a couple of weeks, three people will be selected at random and will receive a free copy of Blogsy.

Friday, April 20, 2012

How To Develop Apps for IBM Connections

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The last few weeks, especially after SXSW, have been crazy with partners and ISVs reaching out to me asking how to get started developing apps for IBM Connections. I've probably repeated the same information enough times now that it warrants a blog entry.

First, for all things social business development, the start page is here: . There you will find information on how to create apps either for our on-premises product or cloud-based product.

If you are looking to develop for our on-premises product, you can provision yourself an instance of IBM Connections which will run in our cloud. That way you can develop your app and you don't have to worry about installing Connections from the ground up. In just a few minutes, you'll have your own development environment up and going. The direct link to the instructions to provision the cloud instance of Connections (or direct link here: ).

If you are looking to add your app as an widget (e.g. similar to how gamification was added to IBM Connections), then you'll want to look at the widget development guide for IBM Connections which is here:

Now, if you are like me, you like to learn by example. So if that's the case, take a peek at this very simple widget made up of two files (this one and this one). It's built using pure HTML/Dojo, but you can use any technology you want as long as it ultimately creates HTML.

Next, to deploy this into Connections, I followed the instructions here: . Basically, what you do is edit the widgets-config.xml file and add this:

<widgetDef defId="TwitterSearch" url="" modes="view edit" primaryWidget="false" iconUrl="" uniqueInstance="true" />


and restart Connections. Then you can just edit the XML and JS files independently without restarting Connections. Also, note that your widget can be hosted somewhere else. It doesn't have to be installed on the Connections server.

Finally, if you want to leverage the Connections API to retrieve data, add data, modify, or whatever, here's the full API (there's an API for pretty much everything). And again, if you like example code, here's a good set of example code on how to make calls from our API using whatever technology you want:

Enjoy! (and show me what you create!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How Social Business Can Increase Sales [WEBCAST]

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Still on the fence on whether or not you should embrace Social Business? Well, here's a webcast you can't miss!

LIVE FROM SUGARCON! How Can Social Business Increase Your Sales?

Date: Apr 24, 2012

Time: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (Eastern Time)

Social Business is real and it's about to change the world of sales as you know it. According to a new Nucleus Research report based on interviews with more than 220 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) decision makers, adding social features and mobile access to CRM applications boosted the productivity of sales people by 26.4 percent. In this webcast, Larry Bowden, VP of Web Experience Software with IBM, and Chuck Coulson, VP of Business Development at SugarCRM will provide an exclusive introduction live from SugarCon!

Then Chris Lamb, Program Director for Social CRM Software at IBM will show you a day in the life of a sales person in a social business -- what it could look like and how it changes their performance. Then he will walk you through the financial analysis and impact of optimizing your sales team The analysis will help you understand what a team of top performers could mean to your bottom line.

What You'll learn:

- How sentiment analysis will help you understand your customers better than the competition

- How you can take the guess work out of decision-making with predictive analytics

- How you can make your sales teams smarter and close business faster

To register, click here . And if you would like to follow the IBM Collaboration Solutions community, check them out here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

How To Add a Web Meeting Link to IBM Connections Profiles

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All credit here goes to Mitch Cohen for the idea. As I've been updating my demo server this week to record a video on it, it turns out that Mitch asked how to add an attribute to IBM Connections Profiles so that it would be a clickable link to a user's web meeting (whether it's SmartCloud Meetings, VSee, WebEx, etc).

The process for adding a custom attribute to Profiles is documented here, but let me just show you how to do it specifically for web meetings. In the example below, I'm going to focus on SmartCloud Meetings, but if you want to do it for WebEx, for example, it should be very straightforward to modify the configuration that I present below:

  1. Check out profiles-config.xml
  2. Open profiles-config.xml with your favorite text editor
  3. Add the following line under the <profileDataModel> - <profileExtensionAttributes> section:

    <simpleAttribute extensionId="meetingId" length="64" />

  4. Now scroll down to the <profileLayout> - <jobLayout> section (or to the <contactInformation> section depending on where you want to add it) and add the following line:

    <extensionAttribute showLabel="false" prependHtml="&lt;a href='" appendHtml="'&gt;Join My Meeting&lt;/a&gt;&lt;br/&gt;" labelKey="label.contactInformation.extattr.meetingId" editable="true" bundleIdRef="myStrings" extensionIdRef="meetingId" />

  5. If you want, you can also add it to the businessCard section so that it appears every time a business card is shown.
  6. Save and close the file
  7. Check it back in
  8. Restart Connections

Once you restart the server, you'll see something like this show up for people who have defined their Meeting ID by going into Edit My Profile.

Now if I were to pull up Jasmine's profile, I'll always be a click away to her virtual meeting room. Clicking on the link immediately launches the web meeting and I don't have to do anything else. Very easy!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

How To Extend Search in IBM Connections

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I'm currently making modifications to my IBM Connections server to record a demo that I've been wanting to do for a week or so now. As I was making some changes, I realized that there was a new feature that was introduced in IBM Connections 3.0.1 that I may have not talked about.

Basically, the IBM Connections search box is extensible so that you can add 3rd party search providers. Say, for example, that you have deployed IBM Connections inside of the firewall and you want to give your users not only the ability to search within Connections, but perhaps integrate with your intranet search engine (e.g. Omnifind, Google Search Appliance, Fast, etc). Or maybe you have deployed Connections outside of the firewall and you want to integrate with your extranet search or provide the ability to do a Google search (or Bing, Yahoo, Quora, etc.).

Well, there's an extension for that and it's pretty easy to set up and no coding is required. Once you set it up, the additional search capability is made available to the end users and now from IBM Connections they can do searches that are handled by 3rd party providers. Very cool, huh?

Here's how it looks:

To set it up, simply follow the instructions here and off you go: . In my demo environment, my intranet search is provided by Portal, so here's the URL format that I used to search Portal from IBM Connections: (of course, you'll have to update the URL based on your server name and address).

If you weren't aware of this, take advantage of it today!


Monday, April 2, 2012

The State of Community Management Report for 2012

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For the third year in a row, the Community Roundtable has released it's State of Community Management report. Sponsored in part by IBM, the report is a must read for all community managers and those responsible for social business in their organizations.

What I like about this year's report is how it is organized into patterns of community maturity. Each pattern is associated with a list of resources (books, additional reports, and other references) for community managers to learn more. For example, if you are the community leader for an emergent community (as described in the report) you are given a list of initiatives to pursue to make sure you are following recommended practices.

For those of you who attended my session at SXSW 2012, you might recall that I referenced the 2011 State of Community Management report. And if you have read my recaps on SXSW, you'll see that a lot of my favorite sessions were on community management. I've definitely noticed an increased visibility on community leaders and how important they are as part of a social business strategy. And we can definitely see its effects (as big as they are) all over the world. From the site:

This year the primary difference that we see is in scale of initiatives and the impact of online conversations. It is no longer just about what one community leader can do but about how we can teach our organizations to operate with a community-centric perspective. We have also seen online collective action that has helped topple governments in Tunisia and Egypt, change the policies of major institutions like Bank of America and the Susan G. Komen Foundation and change the decisions of the U.S. Congress. Online communities have become a way to mitigate the risk of groundswell surprises as well as providing an opportunity to innovate more quickly.

The 64-page report in its entirety has been embedded below:

You will probably also be interested in this video interview done with Rachel Happe at Lotusphere 2012 earlier this year:

To learn more about the report, check out the blog post published last week.