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.