Monday, December 16, 2013

How To Use OAuth to Call IBM Connections Cloud APIs

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Last week, two good assets were published to the social web that explain how to build a new user interface on top of our cloud IBM Connections deployment using the APIs and OAuth.

With IBM Connect 2014 just around the corner (6 more weeks!), that would be a great opportunity to showcase your work or your app integrated with our social platform.  Looking for ideas on where to start? Here's a couple of thoughts.

First, this presentation on SlideShare walks through building a customer support interface with workflow where they can ensure that the internal support team avoids having multiple people work on the same task/item.  It also separates internal discussions from external users.



The following video walks you step by step on setting up your app and registering it for OAuth access :




Ready to start coding? Start here: http://ibmdw.net/social

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Reminder: IBM Connect 2014 Early Bird Discount Ends Tomorrow

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As I mentioned yesterday, tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of the Early Bird discount for IBM Connect 2014.

If you are wondering about which sessions we'll be presenting, you can use the Session Preview tool and look at the 320+ sessions that are happening (including my 2 sessions which are already in your agenda, right?). Half of those are specifically related to social!

Moreover, what you'll find is not only a great list of session topics and abstracts, but the best IBM, customers and partners are going to be there to share their knowledge and help you be successful!

Need yet another reason to attend IBM Connect 2014


Scott Adams, creator of the world renowned "Dilbert" comic strip, takes center stage at IBM Connect 2014 in Orlando on Tuesday, January 28. Using his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, as a backdrop, Adams will illustrate how his failures contributed to his success. You don't want to miss his inspiring story – how he’s energizing his life's work and delivering better business outcomes. Register today.

Ronnie also wants you to come!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's a Date - I'm going to IBM Connect 2014

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A couple of days ago, I got confirmation that I'm going to be going to IBM Connect 2014 ! We are about 6 weeks away to start IBM Connect 2014, the premier social business conference. Earlier this morning I completed the registration process and booked my hotel. My level of excitement is extremely high!!!! I can't wait to start 2014.


 At IBM Connect 2014, I'll be presenting two sessions:
  • What's New and Coming in IBM Connections - I'll get the opportunity to present the roadmap for IBM Connections and talk about what we are delivering in the cloud and on-premises. 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. 
  • New Ways to Work With Your IBM Connections Communities - This one is in the App Dev track and will be tailored for those techie people interested in using IBM Connections as a platform to build apps and extend or add collaboration capabilities. Communities in Connections are the hub for team collaboration and it's now the most used feature of Connections.

In the next week or so, I'll be posting the list of all the sessions that are related to social so that you can start planning your agenda.

If you haven't registered for IBM Connect 2014, what are you waiting for? Register today, early bird discount expires in 2 days! See you there.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

HootSuite Announces New Integration with IBM Connections

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HootSuite has just announced the private Beta integration with IBM Connections platform. This is an incredible combination of two leaders:  HootSuite is the leading social media management system with nearly 7 million users. IBM Connections is the worldwide enterprise social software marketshare leader according to IDC for 4 years running.

Needless to say, I'm excited to see our eco system continue to grow with market leaders such as HootSuite integrating with IBM's social platform. This is just one of the many solutions we'll be talking about at IBM Connect 2014, so if you haven't registered yet, go do it now and take advantage of the early bird discount!

Hootsuite and IBM Connections users will be able to integrate content from IBM Connections into the HootSuite dashboard so it can be viewed and actioned alongside social media data from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks and applications. This IBM Connections integration is the first of its kind, no other platform brings your corporate social streams within IBM Connections and public social media together as efficiently.

IBM Connections customers will be able to manage their stream and:
  • Post and interact with status updates
  • Target status updates to groups, individuals, or make them public
  • Interact with files
  • Monitor feeds
  • Search the stream
  • Access user's profile information
  • and more! 
Check out how it looks below:

And here's a short demo that shows and describes how this works:

And here's a longer demo that shows and describes how this works:

If you are interested in learning more, check out HootSuite's blog for instructions on how to apply for beta access. This integration is available at no additional cost. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

IBM Connections Desktop Plug-Ins v4.5.1 Now Available

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We just posted to the catalog the latest IBM Connections Desktop Plug-Ins 4.5.1. The IBM Connections Desktop Plug-ins Microsoft Windows is intended for Microsoft Windows, Office, and Outlook users and brings the power of social collaboration to the applications that end users work in.

With IBM Connect 2014 just around the corner, I'm going to hold off talking about any roadmap items. Make sure that you register for IBM Connect today so that you can learn about all the great things that are coming.

This latest version adds the following:
  • Support for Windows 8
  • Support for Microsoft Office 2013 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook)
  • File downloads via the plug-ins are now accounted for in the Metrics
  • Based on customer demand: Now translated into Bulgarian, Croatian, Romanian and Slovak
Here's how the desktop plug-in looks like in Microsoft Word 2013:


Update 22/Nov/2013 - Here's how it looks in Windows 8:

Here's a demo I shared earlier this year:



To download, you know the drill.  
  • Cloud customers can get it from the Apps -> Downloads section in the navigation bar as usual. 
  • On premises customers can download from our catalog from here for the desktop plug-in and for the Microsoft Outlook sidebar plug-in, go here.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tip: How to Change the Default View of Community Events

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The other day I was asked how to change the default view of the Community Events app within IBM Connections.

For example, instead of coming into the list view of events, you may want to come into the grid view.



If that's the case, your admin can go in and make the following change to the widgets-config.xml file:

..
<widgetDef defId="Calendar" primaryWidget="false" showInPalette="true" description="calendarDescription" modes="view edit fullpage search" uniqueInstance="true" url="{communitiesSvcRef}/calendar/Calendar.xml?version={version}" iconUrl="{webresourcesSvcRef}/web/com.ibm.oneui3.styles/imageLibrary/Icons/ComponentsGray/CalendarGray16.png" helpLink="{helpSvcRef}/topic/com.ibm.lotus.connections.communities.help/community_events_frame.html"> <itemSet> <item name="calendarRoot" value="{communitiesSvcRef}/calendar" /> <item name="communitiesBaseUrl" value="{communitiesSvcRef}" /> <item name="defaultView" value="grid" /> <item name="version" value="{version}" /> ..

For more information on how to modify this file, please read the instructions here. And that would do it!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

IBM Connections Mobile Apps Updated -- Adds Support for CCM

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One of the long awaited updates for the mobile app is now here. We have just pushed the apps to the App Stores and you can now access the CCM (Connections Content Manager) libraries. This is huge as you can now review files on the go and Approve or Reject right from the mobile device. Now, no matter where you are, you are not a bottle neck and people don't have to wait until you are in your desktop to review files.

Of course, all the social actions around the file (liking, tagging, commenting, etc) are available for files stored in the community library.

Here's how it looks on iOS and Android:


There's also more new features:
  • Support for MobileIron on iOS
  • Support for Andorid KitKat (4.4)

To download the latest updates for the apps go to the Google Play or iOS App Store and download today!


Monday, November 4, 2013

IBM Connections November 2013 Release Available in the Cloud

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Over the weekend, we rolled out this quarter’s update to IBM Connections, IBM’s Enterprise Social Collaboration platform. this update comes just shy of 8 weeks since our last update which represented our biggest release ever.

In this release, you’ll notice the following updates and new capabilities:
  • New layout of the Homepage to consolidate information, make sharing easier, and help you focus on what’s important
  • Updated recommendations based on social analytics to more quickly find and discover content you may be interested in
  • Community polls and surveys
  • Community owners now can set a custom landing page for their members
  • @-mention in blogs and ideation to continue the conversation
  • More mobile push notifications to drive the engagement of mobile users
  • Community managers can recover communities that were accidentally removed
  • and more.. !
As before, I’ve updated the IBM SmartCloud Connections presentation with the latest features and you can see that here:

For the full list of all the new features, see this document.

Update 7/Nov/2013: Marty Lechleider, the Product Manager for Community Polls and Surveys, created this quick video as a tour:



To go and see the new features or to start your free trial, go to http://ibmcloud.com/social . As usual, customers on-premises will get these features in the next major on-premises release.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Announcing IBM Connections Suite 4.5.1 - It keeps getting sweeter!

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Today, I'm happing to announce the latest release of the IBM Connections Suite, IBM's social collaboration platform. The IBM Connections Suite provides a single offering that organizations can deploy to build a powerful intranet, become more agile and create competitive business value.

The latest update released today adds many more collaboration features to provide a top notch experience for users. For example, teammates can work together and align on business objectives in real time using instant messaging and web meetings deeply integrated as part of communities.

A rich content library allows members to securely manage their content and use approval routing to track the progress towards the validation of the document.

From ideation, to microblogging, to real-time team collaboration, to document management, the IBM Connections Suite 4.5.1 is the most secure and complete collaboration platform out there. Remember: content is only valuable when the right people can find it at the right time.

Here's just a preview of what's new:








Here's a demo so you can see it in action from our new Product Manager, Albert Nichols:

For more information, the announcement letter is here.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Announcing the IBM FIle Viewer for IBM Connections

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Looking desperately for that important file? Don't want to download files unnecessarily just to see if it has the content that you need?

Today, that problem is gone. We have just made available a high-fidelity file viewer for all IBM Connections customers. As you may know, this was already available to Connections customers in the cloud and IBM Docs customers on premises. Today, all IBM Connections customers have access to a high-fidelity filer viewer.

The viewer allows you to see the entire contents of the file, present in full screen mode, and print without having to download to your desktop saving you time and space! The viewer will render PDFs, OpenOffice formats (odt, odp, and ods) and Microsoft Office formats (doc[x], xls[x] and ppt[x]).


Note: in the screenshot above you would only see the "Edit" button if you have purchased IBM Docs.

To get the viewer, you can get it from our app catalog, here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Key Social Business Benefit: Remove Barriers to Collaboration

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By now, you are probably aware that we have updated our social collaboration cloud services and that the latest monthly release of the IBM Connections mobile apps have been posted to the app stores (click here for iOS and here for Android).

The big feature this time around for IBM Connections is File Sync which started rolling out to users Monday and should be available to all cloud users by Friday of this week.

As someone who works from home and travels a lot, I depend on my tablet. Wherever I go, I have instant access to the content that I need, irrespective of whether or not I have an internet connection. And when I'm connected, it gets even better as I have instant access to experts, I can start a video chat with them or a multi-way video meeting and just get business done! I still remember just 6-7 years ago when I travelled how important it was to have access to a telephone jack so I could try to plugin and get business done over a 56K connection. How much have times changed!

Two weeks ago, I demo'ed at the event IBM held where we covered how Social + Mobile + Cloud has transformed how we work today. There, I showed how File Sync works for me and a preview of the upcoming Sametime 9 mobile apps.

In case you missed it, I've included the demo below:

Want to get started with these solutions? Start a free trial today!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How To Migrate from Quickr to IBM Connections Content Manager

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Earlier this year, we released IBM Connections 4.5. The big focus of IBM Connections 4.5 is the new Content Manager add-on which brings the power of content management and combines it with the power of the IBM Connections social platform. The add-on is part of the core IBM Connections installer so there's nothing else to install!

Content Manager:

  • Combines the ease of use of social tools with the power of a structured hierarchy.
  • Includes document check-in and check-out, version control, approval routing, metadata, taxonomy, document types and nested folders.
  • Makes content management tools as easy to use as social networking tools.

This add-on also allows Quickr customers to upgrade to a better experience. To facilitate this transition, we've provided a migration tool to our customers at no extra cost (as you can see in slide 18 below). This allows them to take their libraries from Quickr Domino or Quickr for Portal and migrate them to IBM Connections Content Edition. We've also made a RedBook available: Making the move to IBM Connections 4.5 and IBM Connections Content Manager.

To download the migration tool for Quickr for Portal, click here.

The documentation for the tool is here in our public wiki so you can start seeing how it's going to work. If you are interested in getting access send me a note and we'll get you going!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Announcing IBM Connections 4.5 IFR1: Community Polls/Surveys for all!

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Today, I'm happy to announce the availability of IBM Connections 4.5 IFR1 . This new release adds Surveys and Polls for communities at no additional cost to our IBM Connections customers. This capability has been available for a while but it was only as an added cost add-on. In this release, this capability is now out of the box.

With community polls and surveys, you can:

  • Create and conduct surveys and polls among the members of an IBM Connections community
  • Use the built-in survey designer to create the questions and rules with no coding skills -- just drag-n-drop!
  • View the results of surveys and polls as chart or a table or export to a spreadsheet
  • Share polls/surveys with other community managers
  • Community members can participate in surveys/polls directly from the Connections mobile app

This opens the door to many use cases such as refining product offerings using insight gained from customers or perhaps validating new offerings with information from business partners. Here's how it looks:


As you can see from the screenshot above, you will have two new widgets available to you: "Featured Survey" which allows you feature a poll/survey right in the Overview page and "Surveys" where members can see all active surveys.

Editing and creating the survey occurs directly within the Connections interface. Community managers don't have to learn anything new or any HTML coding skills. It's all visual and with drag-n-drop they can create the polls and surveys they need.


Those of you who know me, know that I've been trying to make this available out of the box for some time, and today, we've made it happen! So don't wait. Go on and download and start taking advantage of this new entitlement!

Friday, September 20, 2013

#P4SPChat Recap: How the Convergence of Social + Mobile + Cloud Has Energized Work

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In case you missed yesterday's Twitter chat on the impact of Social + Mobile + Cloud on work, we've created a recap which you can see below. It turns out that the chat was very meta, as I was participating in it from Miami airport, using, well, Social + Mobile + Cloud . Thanks to everyone who participated and contributed to the discussion. It was quite an exercise to keep up with all the tweets and commentary coming in. Can't wait for the next Twitter chat.

For now, here's what we discussed yesterday:

Has Social + Mobile + Cloud transformed the way you work ?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How To Customize the Branding of the IBM Connections Desktop Plug-in

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Hot off the presses! One of the most popular plug-ins for IBM Connections, IBM's Enterprise Social Network, is the Desktop plug-in for Microsoft Windows. This plug-in gives you quick access to all your files directly from Windows Explorer and Microsoft Office.

To recap, the IBM Connections Desktop Plug-ins for Microsoft Windows provides the following features from Microsoft Windows Explorer:

  • 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

In the latest release, of the plugin we've added the following new languages: Croatian, Romanian, Slovak, and Bulgarian. Additionally, we've also now enabled the plug-in so that administrators can customize the branding of it. For example, if you have deployed IBM Connections and you are calling it "ConnectTED" internally, you can now make sure that the plug-in obeys this branding.

If you haven't seen the plug-in yet, here's a demo that I recorded a couple of months ago:

To learn how to customize the plug-in for your users, check out the documentation here. To download the plug-in, go out and get it from the IBM Connections App Catalog here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Social + Mobile + Cloud Transform My Work

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Today, IBM held a virtual event to showcase the latest release of their Enterprise Social Network. The event kicked off with the following video which we made available late last night:

Then, Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business and co-author with Andrew McAfee of Race Against the Machine, did a keynote with his take on how today's technologies are transforming the way we do work. In his keynote, he argued that it's not about inventing new technologies but inventing better ways to work with them.

I can definitely validate that if it wasn't for the social solution that I use every day, IBM Connections, I wouldn't be as productive as (believe) I am being a mobile employee for one of the largest companies in the world. It gives me the right capabilities to remove obstacles and barriers, and just move business forward ! Time and time again, I continue to find examples of how productivity increases by leveraging these new tools. That's what makes me passionate about doing what I do at work. I want everyone to benefit from a social business transformation!!

If you missed the event (and my mobile demo from my iPad), you can catch the replay here: http://ibm.co/reinventwork. And to continue the conversation, tomorrow, I'll be participating in a Twitter chat so if you want to participate, you can get all the details here.

See you tomorrow in the Twitter chat!

Monday, September 16, 2013

IBM Positioned as a Leader in the 2013 Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace

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As we come close to our next big launch I have some great news to share. Analysts at Gartner have positioned IBM in the Leaders Quadrant of the 2013 Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace(*) -- for the 5th year in a row! IBM’s placement is based on its ability to execute and completeness of vision. As you know, earlier this week, IBM deployed the latest IBM Connections release to the cloud, continuing to build 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! To walk you through all the great new features and watch demos of our new capabilities (spoiler alert: I'll be doing one of the demos), please make sure that you attend the following webinar. It will be on September 18th and that's where we'll go into more details about our amazing latest release. Click here to register for the webinar.


To get a copy of the report, click here.


*Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace, Nikos Drakos, et al, September 10, 2013. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose

Friday, September 13, 2013

#P4SPChat: How the Convergence of Social, Mobile and Cloud Has Energized Life's Work

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Next week, I'm going to be participating in a tweet chat to talk about: How the Convergence of Social, Mobile and Cloud Has Energized Life's Work and I wanted to invite you all to participate as well.

The tweet chat will take place next Thursday Sept 19th, 12p-1p Eastern Time. We will be using the hashtag: #P4SPChat. It will be the day just after our big launch with our General Manager, Alistair Rennie. Therefore, join the webinar on Wednesday and then we can use the tweet chat on Thursday to talk about the webinar and other topics related to social, mobile, and cloud.

If you haven't registered yet for the webinar on Wednesday, click on the image below. We'll use this webinar to walk you through all the great new features (spoiler alert: I'll be doing one of the demos). That's where we'll go into more details about this week's release.


To learn more about the Tweet chat on Thursday, see the following:

See you there!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Take Your IBM Connections Reports to the Next Level

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Yesterday, we made a video tutorial available to walk admins through the process of customizing the out of the box IBM Connections Reports.

Out of the box, IBM Connections provides over 100 reports for admins and community managers to monitor adoption and figure out the content that's working so they can focus their energies in the right place. The data in these reports can be aggregated in several formats such as by date, by geography, by department, etc.

Sometimes, there's data or dimensions that specific community managers want to see. When we built out the reporting mechanism, we had this in mind and made it extensible. It takes just a few steps to take the reports to the next level!

To see how you can customize the reports, check out the video below:

To learn more about customizing the IBM Connections reports, click here.

Updated on 12/Sept/2013 @ 12pm ET : - Also see the following presentation that Klaus shared in the comments:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Watch out: We are updating IBM SmartCloud Connections. Say hello to File Sync!

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We have started the process to upgrade our cloud deployment of IBM Connections, IBM's Enterprise Social Network.

As announced here last week, we are updating our social business offerings and this quarter's release will be the biggest release ever! Interested to learn more? The first step is to register for our webinar in 2 weeks (see link below).

While there's tons of new features and capabilities that we are deploying over the next few days, I wanted to briefly call out our new file synchronization capabilities. As you may recall, Forrester cited IBM Connections as a Leader in File Sync and Share. For some time now, you've been able to download files, store them offline, edit them, and then manually re-upload them back to the server. It was time to automate this whole process. With File Sync, you can now travel stress free knowing that all your files are automatically sync'ed to your mobile device and that you always have the latest and greatest version of that very important presentation.

I've also gone ahead and updated my overview presentation with the latest content and you can see that here:

To walk you through all the great new features and watch demos of our new capabilities (spoiler alert: I'll be doing one of the demos), please make sure that you attend the following webinar. It will be on September 18th and that's where we'll go into more details about this amazing new release.


From the event registration page:

Workers are more dissatisfied and less engaged than ever before. But did you know that using social technology can increase efficiency by up to 25%? (source: McKinsey) . Additionally, 69% of employers believe employees are engaged, while only 34% of employees claim to be. (source: Kenexa blog) Since people now determine your success or failure, it's time to use social to rethink how work works.

To register, go here: http://ibm.co/reinventwork

Thursday, August 22, 2013

IBM Connections Plug-in For Apache OpenOffice 4.0 Now Available

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As promised a couple of weeks ago, with the release of Apache OpenOffice 4.0, we have now updated the plug-in for IBM Connections, IBM's Enterprise Social Network (ESN) and premier file sharing and team collaboration platform.

This new plug-in takes advantage of the new sidebar introduced in OpenOffice 4.0 to give you access to your files. From there, you open files directly without downloading, share them with others without having to open a browser, organize in a folder, search for intellectual capital and more.

Because OpenOffice can edit Microsoft Office documents too, this allows me to save money and be productive. And of course, if you want to edit OpenOffice files on your iPad, you can do that too!

For those of you using Macs, you'll be happy to know that this new update to the plugin also adds Mac support. Check out the screenshot below:


To download the plug-in go here. If you haven't upgraded to OpenOffice 4.0, do it today!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Podcast: IBM Connections 4.5, Mobile, and User Adoption

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Two weeks ago, the Social Business User Group posted a podcast I did with them to talk about the IBM Connections 4.5 release, the latest mobile app (which allows editing of OpenOffice and Microsoft Office documents on the iPad), and recommendations to promote user adoption of a social collaboration platform.

The podcast starts with a recap of the customer reception of the latest release of IBM Connections, IBM's Enterprise Social Network (ESN). I also recap some of the releases that we have done based on things that we announced at IBM Connect 2013 plus the latest Forrester Wave and how IBM came out as a leader in File Sync and Share.

From there we move on to talk about the latest mobile app which adds real-time co-editing support of OpenOffice documents (by the way, version 4.0 is out, did you get it yet??) and Microsoft Office documents.

Listen below:

Enjoy !

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tip: Smart App Banners To Promote the IBM Connections Mobile Experience

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Here's a tip to accelerate the deployment of the IBM Connections Mobile app on your sites. You may have seen some sites like LinkedIn recently add a banner suggesting users they launch into

A quick search on the web yielded this page on Apple's site with instructions on how to add a smart banner to promote a particular mobile app. Reading the instructions, I found out that all it takes is 1 line of code. You know I had to try it!

I went in to our blog on ibm.com, added the 1 line of code and voilá ! You can see the results in this screenshot from my iPad. To test it out, click here from your iOS device.

If the user doesn't have the app installed, they will be prompted to download it directly from the App Store.

To do this on your deployment:

  1. Follow the instructions here to customize page.jsp. The instructions are specific to header.jsp but it's the same process
  2. Open page.jsp with your favorite text editor
  3. Add the following line to the <head>

    <meta content='app-id=450533489' name='apple-itunes-app'/>

  4. Save the file
  5. Restart
Try it out and let me know how it goes.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Social HR powered by KangoGift and IBM Connections

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By now, you hopefully know our landing page for everything Social Business: http://ibm.com/social. We have recently updated this page to feature various partner solutions such as Dynamic Signal, KangoGift, among others.

You may remember that I first blogged about KangoGift 2 months ago.

In a recent presentation shared by KangoGift, they explain the challenges faced by many HR departments, for example, high turnover rates and misalignment to company values. If you are reading this post, you are most likely undergoing a social business transformation and, hopeful, HR is part of it.

With KangoGift's integration into Connections, you can quickly bring six HR processes and bring it into the social business platform. I believe this is important as it promotes usage and realizes the social business vision

Check out their presentation below:

To learn more about KangoGift, go here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Review: Doing Business with IBM Connections Suite

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Thanks to a long flight yesterday, I just finished going through Doings Business with IBM Connections: Opportunities for Improving Processes, Driving Results, and Achieving Great Outcomes with IBM Connections 4.5 written by Michael Sampson. You will notice that the title of this post mentions the IBM Connections Suite and I'll get to why soon. Michael Sampson is an independent consultant focused on helping organizations optimize collaboration.

After going through the book, I must say that this is going to be a recurring recommendation to all current and prospective customers. The book is intended for collaboration strategists, line of business managers and users of IBM Connections. I think the book hits the mark and is perfect for that intended audience.

At its core, the book focuses on how to best use IBM Connections to address various collaboration scenarios such as:

  • Finding Expertise
  • Co-authoring documents
  • Capturing ideas for innovation
  • Managing meetings
  • Running a project
  • Making decisions
  • and more (a total of 10 scenarios are covered)

For each collaboration scenario, Michael follows a consistent flow. First, describe what the collaboration scenario is and how organizations typically tackle this (i.e. "the old way"). Next, a typical work scenario is laid out to highlight the challenges that users face today.

Next, the process is clearly laid out on how to use IBM Connections to solve this challenge (i.e. "the new, faster, better, optimized way"). The author does a tremendous job of not only giving you a set of steps to follow, but also explains why he is providing that recommendation.

Next, each scenario includes case studies from customers that have been successful using Connections for the particular collaboration scenario (and it even includes customers that I hadn't heard of before!! ). Finally, each scenario has a section for Advanced Concepts where the author provides additional best practices (e.g. when talking about ideation, he references how to avoid a repeat of the "suggestion box").

One of the most common use cases (or scenarios as Michael calls them) that I hear is running a project. Coincidentally, we published a video showcasing these capabilities last week:

Throughout the book, the author constantly emphasizes the IBM Connections Mobile apps, which I believe recognizes the increase demand of the mobile workforce and strategies for bring your own device (BYOD). Additionally, the book is not limited to just the core Connections product but includes real-time meetings, document libraries and more which are all capabilities of the IBM Connections Suite.

This book provides independent advice on how to drive business with IBM Connections, accelerate adoption, and reduce time to value.

To purchase a copy of the book and/or learn more, go here.

Disclosure: I wrote a quote for the front page of the book and received a copy of the book.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

TemboSocial Extends IBM Connections Mobile App

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In mid 2012, TemboSocial introduced the world to their peer-to-peer recognition add-on for IBM Connections, the market leading social business platform. Earlier this year I also shared how TemboSocial had further integrated into the IBM Connections platform.

Today, I'm happy to report that TemboSocial continues its integration work into our platform. As an enterprise social network (ESN), IBM Connections is uniquely positioned to be the one stop destination for all the collaboration needs you may have. As such, TemboSocial now provides their peer-to-peer recognition and polling capabilities directly from the IBM Connections mobile app.

Here's a screenshot of how the polls from TemboSocial show up in the tablet mobile app (which we just updated last week):

And here's how The Hive looks within the mobile app:

It's extremely exciting to see how the partner eco-system for IBM Connections continues to grow and that partners continue to expand on their existing and are keeping their solutions up to date with our latest release.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

OpenOffice 4.0 is Available Now - Go and Download It!

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Today, OpenOffice 4.0 has become available ! Today, more than 58 million people have downloaded OpenOffice v3.4 since its release last year.

One of my favorite features in this release is the new sidebar which comes of course as part of the contributions from IBM's Symphony. The timing couldn't be better as we recently also introduced a document an awesome document editor in OpenOffice format for the iPad.


In today's press release, Kevin Cavanaugh (VP IBM Collaboration Solutions) was quoted as saying:
The time is right for wide scale enterprises adoption especially with the upcoming end of support for Microsoft Office 2003. By choosing Apache OpenOffice, enterprises will free up resources for their cloud and mobile infrastructure investments.
Additionally, as you are probably aware, we have a plug-in for that brings social to OpenOffice available today. In a couple of weeks, we'll also be releasing a new version of this IBM Connections Plug-In for OpenOffice which will surface in the new sidebar. I'll be sharing more about this plugin in the coming weeks as we approach the release date. Here's a screenshot just to give you a sense of how it's going to work:


For reference, the full list of What's New in this release is available here.

So don't wait!! To download, get it here: http://www.openoffice.org/download/ .

Friday, July 19, 2013

IBM Connections Mobile App Updated - Docs Galore!

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We have just released the latest mobile apps for IBM Connections, IBM's Enterprise Social Network (ESN). I haven't blogged about the mobile apps lately. However, I'm sure you've been up to date thanks to Chris Reckling's posts. By now, you know that we've been releasing monthly updates with new features every month!

In this month's release we've added various new things, with the most powerful one being real-time co-editing of documents directly from your iPad. Last week, Forrester cited IBM as a Leader in their File Sharing and Sync Wave. As the product manager for Files, I don't want to just sit idle now, but instead want to keep pushing our leadership position further ahead.

Imagine being on the go and being asked to review a document. Why wait until you are back in the office, when you can make quick changes directly from your device?? Just edit and go, and yes, as others throughout the world make changes to the document, you see them in real-time! And since Connections provides document editing, the document never leaves the secure container.  You probably remember this from the IBM Connect OGS earlier this year, so it's extremely exciting to roll this out today!

Here's a quick and simple 2 minute demo I captured to demonstrate some of the new capabilities in this release.

So what are you waiting for? Go get the latest apps from your favorite app store! If you are not using Connections today, start your free trial by going to http://ibmcloud.com/social !

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

IBM Connections Cited as a Leader in File Sharing and Sync

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Amazing news to share today! IBM was among the vendors Forrester Research 
invited to participate in their latest Forrester Wave: File Share and 
Sync, 3Q 2013 . 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 (or enterprise social network). I've been working with my peers on this report 
showing Forrester the capabilities that we have today and what we are 
going to deliver in the rest of 2013. Needless to say, I'm extremely excited that 
Forrester considers IBM a leader in this Forrester Wave report!


More and more companies are looking at leveraging cloud-based 
collaboration solutions. A recent example is Apex Supply Chain who chose 
the IBM Connections platform on the cloud to better collaborate with its 
global employees. Their success story was published in the SMB Group Blog 
a couple of weeks ago and why they chose 
IBM SmartCloud for Social Business.

Check out the following video that was recently shared by them:



Congrats to the entire team who worked on this. To purchase the Forrester report now go 
here.

Updated on 23/Jul/2013 - You can now download the report from here.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mark Your Calendars: Webcast - Engage Your Customers with Exceptional Digital Experiences

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Next week, we'll be hosting a can't miss webinar on building Exceptional Digital Experiences. While the pace of business and the speed of content continue to accelerate, so does the demand to reach your audiences through a rich and robust digital experience on multiple devices. Customers and Employees alike expect the same high quality experiences whether externally on the web or internally on the company intranet.

Cars.com, for example, increased web site traffic by 145 million visits using an Exceptional Digital Experience.

Retailers, on the other hand, lost about $44 Billion in sales due to online customer experience problems:

At the webinar, Larry Bowden (VP of IBM Digital Experience Software), Nicole Carrier ( Chief Strategist of IBM Digital Experience Software), David Apanovich (Sr. Analyst of Forrester Research) and Aaron Pickrell (Director of Online Systems for Performance Bicycle) will share strategies to listen to your customers, deliver exceptional service and engage individuals and customers.

The webinar is on July 17th @ 11am ET. To register, go here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Theme Available for IBM Connections

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I'm happy to announce that we just made a new theme available for IBM Connections, IBM's enterprise social network (ESN). This theme was first shown at IBM Connect earlier this year and has been used by our cloud customers for a while now.

The feedback from our cloud customers has been extremely positive so far. I've also been getting a lot of requests from our on-premises customers that they would like to use this new theme. The good news for them is that the theme is available today and it's ready for download!

Here's how Connections looks with the new theme (Updated 10/Jul/2013 with new screenshot):



You can download the theme from our catalog here. Deploying the theme takes just a few minutes so go on and get it!

Note: Please read the read me ( hey, it's a good reminder! ) for system requirements and installation instructions.

Enjoy!

How to Extend IBM Connections in Less Than 100 Seconds

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Some time ago (5 years actually) I blogged about extending IBM Connections and integrating with Facebook in no time! My colleague Niklas Heidloff has now put together a series of videos of extending IBM Connections, IBM's enterprise social network (ESN), in less than 100 seconds.

In the video series, Niklas takes advantage of the IBM Social Business Toolkit and SDK to either add OpenSocial apps to Connections or use the API's to retrieve the information and aggregate feeds together. You will also want to follow their YouTube channel to stay informed when new videos are added.

The short videos do a great job demonstrating how quickly app developers can extend IBM Connections or build integrated apps on top of Connections.

So far, Niklas has published 5 videos which I've added to this playlist. I'll keep the playlist updated as new videos are added.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Updated Mobile App for IBM Connections - Goodies for all

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Refresh your app stores, the latest monthly update is now available! A new mobile app update is ready for IBM Connections, IBM's enterprise social network (ESN) for collaboration. Last week, Chris Reckling did a great job summarizing the new features in the June 2013 release of native mobile apps.

My favorite feature is viewing events in the Action Required view of the activity stream. This view looks in the activity stream and can figure out which events require end user action. Thus, this view displays your latest to-do items from Activities, network and community invitations, requests to join moderated communities, and any third-party events requiring an action on your part.

For example, imagine an expense reporting application or a workflow application (e.g. IBM Business Process Manager ) where you are notified that you need to approve or reject something. You can do it directly from the activity stream, and now, directly from the mobile device!!! Mobile workers don't have to be a bottleneck anymore.

So if your App Store (or Google Play) icon looks like this:

it's time to update!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Demo: IBM SmartCloud Connections Plug-In for Microsoft Windows

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As promised a few posts ago, I wanted to share a demo of the desktop plugin for IBM SmartCloud Connections, IBM's enterprise social network (ESN) offering in the cloud. Well, I was out last week when the plug-in was available so here it is! First, here's what you can expect to see and do from Windows Explorer, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook.

The IBM Connections Desktop Plug-ins for Microsoft Windows provides the following features from Microsoft Windows Explorer:
  • 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
The IBM Connections Desktop Plug-ins for Microsoft Windows provides the following features from Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel):
Word:
  • Add a document to IBM Connections Files or Communities
  • Attach a document to an Activity or Wiki page
  • Publish a document to a Blog entry
  • Add someone's profile information from IBM Connections into a document
  • Add a bookmark from IBM Connections into a document
  • Add a URL from a document as a bookmark in IBM Connections
  • Search for content in IBM Connections
PowerPoint:
  • Add a presentation to IBM Connections Files or Communities
  • Attach a presentation to an Activity or Wiki page
  • Search for content in IBM Connections
Excel:
  • Add a spreadsheet to IBM Connections Files or Communities
  • Attach a spreadsheet to an Activity or Wiki page
  • Search for content in IBM Connections
The IBM Connections Desktop Plug-ins for Microsoft Windows provides the following features from Microsoft Outlook:
  • Add an email to IBM Connections Files or Communities
  • Attach an email to an activity or wiki page
  • Search for content in IBM Connections
  • View social activities for email recipients and people in your network
  • Invite people to your IBM Connections network
  • Outlook 2010: View IBM Connections business card for email senders and recipients
Check out the quick 3 minute demo below:

To download the plugin, you can get it from the Downloads page within SmartCloud. If you want to start a trial, go to http://ibmcloud.com/social

Friday, June 14, 2013

Business Processes Go Social with IBM Business Process Manager 8.5 and IBM Connections

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Today, IBM released IBM Business Process Manager (BPM) 8.5, the latest in process management to optimize business processes and improve productivity. This has been a long expected release that Dave Hay talked about several weeks ago and was a big part of the IBM Impact conference a few weeks back as well.

In this release, the IBM Connections integration has been taken to the next level to socialize business processes. The marriage of traditional business processes with social collaboration is something that I've been looking forward to for a long time. In fact, for a while there's been talk of moving from systems of record to systems of engagement. My take has always been that to foster adoption it's better to combine systems of records with systems of engagement. My colleague Rawn Shah wrote a great piece on this as the outcome of the Enterprise 2.0 conference shared here late last year.


This is not the first time, however, that BPM has integrated with Connections. In IBM BPM 8.0, the IBM Connections business card could be surfaced within the BPM portal to raise awareness of experts within the system.

In today's release of IBM BPM 8.5, tasks and business processes, appear in the IBM Connections activity stream. Users can see that a new task or workflow has been assigned to them and take action directly within the stream. For example, if the task shouldn't be assigned to them they can re-assign it directly within Connections without having to switch context. If the task is for them, they can claim it and take action on it directly within Connections.

With the new integration via the activity stream you can enable scenarios where:

  • "Debbie" uses BPM to submit a requisition getting help from a subject matter expert, "Frank"
  • "Frank" uses IBM Connections as his collaboration platform allowing him to interact processes as part of his normal work in context of his other collaboration tasks
Check out the screenshot of the integration below:

Very exciting !

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What's New in IBM SmartCloud Connections - June 2013 Release

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Earlier this week, I announced the availability of a new release of IBM SmartCloud Connections, our multi-tenant offering of our marquee social collaboration platform. This offering provides the social business tools you need to work with colleagues, customers, and partners, including file sharing, instant messaging, and communities.

In my blog post from earlier this week, I shared a demo video with some of the highlights (read: my favorite features) of the new release. Since the announcement, however, I've been approached many times asking for a complete list of what's new in this particular release. Therefore, I wanted to take an opportunity and share that over here:

Additionally, I've created a presentation that provides an overview of the features currently available in our cloud offering. I've embedded the presentation below:

And in the spirit of making sure there's a lot of information out there, I've also gathered the official videos into a playlist so you can go through the different videos. My recommendation is that you go through and embed these videos and share with your colleagues to give them a tour of the new features and capabilities.

Enjoy!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Social Collaboration Just Got Better with the new IBM SmartCloud Connections Release

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A few hours ago we completed the upgrade of our social collaboration platform: IBM SmartCloud Connections. In total, there's over 100 new features and enhancements.

Among some of the things you will see:
  • A new look and feel (firs shown at the IBM Connect 2013 OGS)
  • Updated mobile clients
  • New desktop connectors for click-to-cloud (I'll post a demo once it's ready for download)
  • Enhanced rich text editors
  • New navigation bar gives you access to content faster
  • Enhanced Community Overview to create a compelling landing page
  • Share photos and videos in the community
  • Enhanced ideation capabilities
  • Changed Recommendations to Like throughout the system
  • and more…!

To show off some of these new features, I've created a 5 minute video to walk you through the enhancements:


Now, it's time to start working on our next release which is due in several weeks. If you haven't had a chance to see what's new, you can start a trial today! Simply go to http://ibmcloud.com/social and go from there!

Enjoy!

Friday, June 7, 2013

New Government 2.0 Template Powered by IBM Connections Now Available

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Governments are challenged to deliver services to their constituents (citizens and visitors) efficiently and cost effectively in a world that is increasingly social and web enabled. Through interactions with commercial businesses they have become accustomed to on-demand service that is available 24 X 7. To meet these demands, governments are developing citizen portals to provide their constituents with access to information and government services. The social aspects of this template are powered by IBM Connections.

To that end, we have released a new template to to enable government entities to get started quickly with a citizen portal. The template provides best practice examples for the many design patterns which are common for citizen portals. All content, layouts, forms and apps can be customized and configured to meet specific requirements. The template assets can be integrated with existing systems and content to provide an exceptional user experience for Governments and their citizens.

Here's a video that shows the template in action such as a Mayor's blog.

You can download this new template directly from our App Catalog here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

IBM Connections Developers - Here's What You Need to Start

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For a couple of years now, the IBM Social Business Toolkit has been a great set of development resources to get partners and ISVs started with developing apps for IBM Connections.

As I stated yesterday, the Connections eco system continues to grow and we want that app eco system to continue to grow. Maybe you've been thinking about joining the Appathon to win $1000. If so, then this is perfect timing for you. So if you've been thinking about submitting an app for the Appathon to win $1000, start coding today. But what's the absolutely best place to start ?

To that end, we have created a new landing page for the IBM Social Business Toolkit. The page is built using responsive web design so you can get to it from your desktop or mobile browser and have an optimized experience. Here's a quick view of how it looks.

There you can access:

  • code samples
  • code snippets
  • videos
  • documentation
  • SDK download
  • upcoming events
  • … and more!
Remember, if you are going to participate in the Appathon, you have until June 23rd to submit your app!

Monday, June 3, 2013

KangoGift brings employee recognition to IBM Connections

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It's the beginning of June and this promises to be another month filled with great news around enterprise social business. Let's start with another example of the continuously growing IBM Connections ecosystem. KangoGift, a platform that helps companies deliver and measure informal employee recognition in a fun and meaningful way, has announced that it has become a partner with IBM and has integrated their solution with IBM Connections.

Lately, I'm hearing that more and more companies are looking to enable this within their organizations and with this new solution they can get started very quickly. Here's how KangoGift put it in their blog announcing this new solution last week:

Now from Connections, if a colleague went above and beyond on a project, you can say thank you, include real gift like dinner at Macaroni Grill, share the praise with your network, and add a positive data point to the colleague's performance dashboard.

We know from working with large organizations, that employees crave a way to give timely praise and reinforce great work. And the ability to attach a small gift strengthens the impact. And with this integration, companies don't have to implement a stand alone recognition platform.

KangoGift has taken advantage of the many extensibility options of IBM Connections and integrated seamlessly into the Connections user experience.

Flexible

Check out the 1 minute video that they prepared to see how this works:

 

To learn more, visit http://kangogift.com/ibm

 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

LinguaSys Demonstrates Translation Plug-In for IBM Connections

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LinguaSys has just posted a new video that shows real-time translation of content within the latest release of IBM Connections. As companies continue to roll out social collaboration platforms to collaborate worldwide with customers and employees, there's been a trend to foster collaboration in the end user's native language.

Internally, at IBM, every time I log on in the morning I see a lot of updates in Chinese and Japanese and I wish I could read them. With this new plug-in, I now can!

The plug-in even translates the contents of emails in your Exchange or Domino server via IBM Connections Mail .

To showcase the functionality, LinguaSys has created the following 2 minute demo. Check it out:


To learn more, visit LinguaSys' page on translation.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SNAPPS Announces SnappLinks for IBM Connections

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Today, I'm glad to share the news that SNAPPS, a long time IBM partner and whose founder is an IBM Champion, has announced new extensions for the IBM Connections rich text editor.

The rich text editor is part of several IBM products including Connections. The editor in Connections can be extended with additional buttons and features and SNAPPS has taken advantage of this.

With SnappLinks™, you can use your editor -- in your applications with XPages or with the IBM products -- to create and share the public social experience across intranets, on the web with suppliers, and in teams. SnappLinks™ is integrated directly into the editor and lets you connect to these social, public networks: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Maps, LinkedIn, and Wikipedia. In other words, Get Social Do Business in a way that's natural and easy for your users.

In addition to the helpful social linking features, SnappLinks delivers a rendering engine to IBM Connections to let users view YouTube videos, Google Maps, and Facebook feeds right on the page!

Check out this 3 minute demo to see how it works!

To learn more, go here. Note: SNAPPS is running a promotion where they are offering this at 25% off and 35% off for those attending IamLUG this week. Take advantage of that!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Demo: Deep Dive of IBM Connections Content Manager 4.5

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The Information Development team has created this video to take a deep dive into IBM Connections Content Manager 4.5 which was released a little over a month ago.

Earlier I had shared a high level demo of IBM Connections 4.5 so if you missed that, or you are looking for more details specifically around Connections Content Manager (CCM), then this is the demo for you. Here are the features you will see:

  • Upload and sharing files
  • Configuring library settings like draft approvals, document types and metadata, etc
  • Saving files as drafts
  • Configuring access to files
  • Searching by document types
  • Refine search by custom metadata
  • Tagging, liking, commenting on files
  • Approving / rejecting a document

Check out the 6 minute video below:

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Social + CRM = Spend more time selling with IBM Connections and SugarCRM

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If you are a seller or have a sales team you may be aware of the time spent in a CRM tool such as SugarCRM managing sales opportunities.

Now, what if every time you went into a sales opportunity you could have people and information surfaced automatically to the sellers that could help them close opportunities faster ? That could significantly increase revenues as sellers become more productive and can spend more time, well, selling.

Highland Solutions posted this video to show the integration between IBM Connections and SugarCRM in what they call Semantic Sales Insights:

This is a great example of infusing social into existing business process which is the key to become a successful social business.

To learn more about Semantic Sales Insights, visit their page here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Demo: Mindmapping with IBM Connections

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Mindjet is a collaborative work management software for brainstorming ideas, organizing information and managing projects and tasks.

As you start working on a project, you may start working on it by creating a mind map. Once you've visually outlined the information and are ready to take action, Mindjet can help you start tracking tasks towards project completion.

Recently, Mindjet integrated with IBM's Social Business Platform, IBM Connections. As tasks are assigned and the project is updated, the updates appear automatically in the activity stream.

This provides great benefit and business value to Connections users as it gives them a single place to track all their collaboration projects.

Check out the 3 minute demo below.

To learn more, check out Mindjet's page.