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.


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 and go from there!


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.


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


To learn more, visit