Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New IBM Connections Pattern for IBM PureSystems Now Available

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On December 9, IBM announced an updated PureSystems Pattern for IBM Connections 5.0 as well as a brand new pattern for IBM Connections Content Manager 5.0. Both patterns have been built to reduce the installation and configuration time down to a couple of hours by deploying a pre-configured system into a PureSystems environment. IBM PureSystems combine the flexibility of a general purpose system, the elasticity of cloud and the simplicity of an appliance. Learn more about IBM PureSystems here.


Both patterns are based on the latest versions of IBM Connections and IBM Connections Content Manager and while the IBM Connections Content Manager Pattern is a brand new offering, IBM Connections 5 Pattern is a replacement for the previous IBM Connections Hypervisor Edition 4.0. Customers with entitlement to the Hypervisor pattern will be entitled to an upgrade to the new IBM Connections Pattern 5.0.


For more information on IBM Connections, IBM Connections Content Manager and the new patterns click here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Check It Out -- New IBM Connections Features Available in Cloud

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Over the weekend, IBM rolled out new features to IBM Connections Social Cloud, the market-leading enterprise social collaboration platform.

In this month's release (if you are wondering, we'll skip updates in December because of the holidays so the next release will be in January), you'll find capabilities that the community has been asking for in the IBM Connections ideation area.

Our team put together a presentation so that you can see the new capabilities (see below) and here are some highlights I wanted to call out:
  • User Experience
    • With the announcement of #IBMVerse last week, we've enabled a new theme to match the visuals found in that product. Admins can choose to use this new theme. We'll keep updating this one, though don't hesitate to let us know what you think about this one. 
  • Files
    • New file sync and share plug-in for the Mac
    • Personal file storage now up to 1TB at no additional cost
    • Individual per file limit now up to 2GB (Safari/Chrome/Firefox browser required)
    • Admins now have more control over what users can do with files on mobile
  • Communities
    • Community owners can now disable the Mail Community option
    • Community owners can now reposition the Members, Important Bookmarks and Community Description apps
    • Store up to 50GB of files in Community Files at no additional cost
    • Attach up to 5GB of files in Community Wikis at no additional cost
Here's the presentation (and check out the slides towards the end for a sneak peek of the updated mobile app coming in the next few days):



For the entire list of what's new (including in the chat, messaging, and meetings components), check out the latest What's New in IBM Connections Cloud documentation.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

IBM Connections File Sync Plug-In for the Mac Is Now Available

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While #IBMVerse 's ability to drive a #NewWayToWork has taken the spotlight this week, there's more goodies to talk about today.  First, we are in the midst of rolling out some cool new features to our cloud.

One of the biggest new capabilities being rolled out is that today, is the day that IBM Connections Social Cloud customers can start using file sharing and sync from their Mac desktops / laptops.  This was something I had announced was coming earlier in the year when I had a chance to participate in the Social Connections event in Prague.  Since then, we started a beta and the feedback has been very positive. Therefore, we've decided to make this generally available today. With this new plug-in you can:
  • Get notifications instantly on the desktop or mobile when there is a change to a file
  • Upload files from your Mac without having to open a browser
  • Share uploaded files with your colleagues
  • Work on files locally and save directly to Connections
  • Lock a file to prevent file conflicts

To see it in action, check out this quick 2 minute demo:


Next, very soon we'll publish the IBM Connections Desktop Plug-In for Microsoft Windows to streamline the install experience for cloud users. Additionally, IBM Connections Content Manager (CCM) users can now do round-trip editing. This means that while they are browsing for files in a Library, users can click on "Edit" in the browser and the file will open with the user's favorite local editor. For example, a Word document, will be opened with the desktop app of Office 365. When the user is done editing, they simply close the local app and the file is then automatically saved and uploaded back to server.

But wait... there's more!

And lastly, we've also updated the IBM Connections app for desktop version of Microsoft Outlook (even if you are using Office 365). This new release features:
  • IBM Connections 5.0 Support
  • Community Folders
  • Metrics - view usage data for file and folder view access
  • @mentions - Enter names preceeded by @ for lookup and display as rich links
  • Support for hashtags - Enter tags preceeded by # to display as rich links
  • Open an editor to view an IBM Docs file
  • View stream updates using additional filters
The plugins are now available in the app catalog and you can download them at no additional cost from the links above. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Get Ready For An Extreme Mail Makeover and see IBM Mail Next

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Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to be part of the unveiling of IBM Mail Next at IBM Connect 2014. Now it's time to get your hands on it!  Below is a copy of the webcast invite so you can check out the latest details on how to be an early adopter and all the latest integration into IBM Connections, IBM's market-leading enterprise social collaboration platform. See you there!


Every day, emails flood our inbox: tasks are left undone, messages go unanswered, and meetings overwhelm us. Why does work have to be such hard work? The truth is, it doesn’t have to be. Join our live video panel discussion on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM ET and hear how IBM’s latest solution offers an easy way to take back control of your day.

Using advanced design thinking, the latest in social analytics and delivered from the cloud to your mobile device or desktop, this new solution:
As an added bonus, watch for details on becoming part of the beta! Register now and get ready for an extreme mail makeover: re-imagined for the future of work. Register now!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How To Take Notes While Mobile With the IBM Connections iPad App

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As I get ready to go to IBM Insight next week it occurred to me that it's good timing to talk about a question that I've gotten recently. Specifically, some colleagues have been asking about a way to take notes while traveling for a customer meeting or industry conference.

The way I do it is with the IBM Connections iPad app.  In the demo below, you'll see how to start creating a note from scratch.  One of my favorite capabilities is that you can co-edit with multiple people at the same time.


So imagine going to a conference and you and other colleagues at all taking notes in the same place without overwriting each other.  Perhaps one of you is taking pictures during the keynote and adding them to the note, while the other is writing down key bullet points.

Once you are done, you can publish the note and make it available to other colleagues in the organization that perhaps couldn't travel to your meeting.

Because this is all done inside the Connections app, the document security is kept and you don't need to take it out to another editor, and then bring it back.



So what do you need to make this happen? Whether you are a cloud or on-prem customer all you need is the latest version of our free iPad mobile app plus the IBM Docs add-on.

If you want to start playing with this, you can start a free 60 day trial of IBM Connections Social Cloud today!

How To Move Jive Content to IBM Connections

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I've been getting some questions recently on how to move from Jive (or other tools) to IBM Connections.  To that end, I wanted to highlight our automated migration tools that we can use to move people, content and places from your existing solution into IBM Connections.

Back in June of this year we had a webinar to announce these new automated tools to help customers move from Jive, SharePoint and others in to IBM Connections.  You can watch the replay here to get all the details.

Here's a quick summary of the process (again, for all the gory details, check out the webinar above).  The first step is to extract all content from Jive using an offline copy to ensure that there's no impact to current content in Jive places.

Next, the content is transformed and we've created a special set of transformation rules to accelerate this.

Once extracted, all the Jive content is then mapped to IBM Connections.



Once all the content has been extracted and transformed, the final step is to load the information into IBM Connections and this is done using the public IBM Connections APIs

Want to learn more? Go ahead and register for IBM ConnectED 2015 today! To get started, we recommend customers schedule a free Move To Connections workshop. 
Figure 3.  Move to IBM Connections Workshop

Thursday, October 16, 2014

IBM Connections 5.0 CR1 Is Now Available

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Today, we are updating IBM Connections, the market-leading enterprise social collaboration platform.  Specifically, today we are releasing IBM Connections 5.0 CR1 for on premises customers.

This release includes a roll up of fixes that we've been releasing for the past couple of months.  Additionally, it also adds some new features.


New features in IBM Connections 5.0 CR1 (but not limited to):
  • Updated file preview design in stream
  • Play uploaded movies in the stream
  • View full file from thumbnail
  • New option to repeat events on a monthly basis
  • Copy/Paste images in the rich text editor for Activities
  • @mentions in CCM
  • Reporting metrics for CCM
  • Added support for IBM i , Power 8, and Siteminder 12.5.1

The full list of new features is here.  The full fix list can be found here.   

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hootsuite Now Integrates with IBM Connections Social Cloud

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Now, this is HUGE! Today Hootsuite has announced their new capabilities now with added support for IBM Connections Social Cloud. Check out their announcement here.

The IBM Connections app for Hootsuite is now available in the Hootsuite App Directory.


So what can you do? This app enables joint customers of IBM Connections and Hootsuite Enterprise to:
  • Instantly share social content from Twitter and Facebook to colleagues and communities in IBM Connections (see below for more examples)
  • Engage with IBM Connections communities and content in Hootsuite alongside social network streams for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and more. 
  • Post new updates and comments to IBM Connections communities, and search for content across all of your communities from within Hootsuite. 
There are so many great things about this integration.  Let me expand on the first two.  First, taking content from consumer social networks and bringing that into Connections. There's a couple of use cases for that:
  • Customer Support - imagine a customer support agent gets a Tweet and don't know how to resolve. They can take that and share it with their colleagues via Connections to work on an answer. 
  • Marketing Amplification - The marketing team can work in Connections to create awareness around a new product launch, and others use Hootsuite to amplify the message in their social networks
  • Sales - A sales executive spots a lead in LinkedIn and sends it to his teammate in IBM Connections
  • Crisis Commnications - if a PR professional spots a crisis in the making in their Hootsuite dashboard, they can instantly engage their team via Connections to respond appropriately
  • HR Recruitment - an HR professional monitors social media via Hootsuite to identifies leads and understand how the company is perceived by potential candidates
  • and on, and on...
As you can see, the possibilities are endless.  The next capability is being able to use Hootsuite as your IBM Connections dashboard. Users may be participating already in 10-20 communities, and instead of manually keeping track of all these communities (via different browser tabs for example), they can use Hootsuite to bring it all together seamlessly into 1 single place.

"We are very excited about the launch of the Hootsuite integration with IBM," said Sandy Carter, General Manager of IBM Ecosystem Development. "With the general availability of the Hootsuite App for IBM Connections - whether in the cloud or on-premises - our joint customers now have the ability to engage with their IBM Connections streams from within the Hootsuite dashboard. This level of integration and efficiency is unique to our relationship and will allow companies to work more effectively by bringing internal and external social content, thought leadership, and customer voices into a single centralized dashboard -- making it incredibly easy to collaborate and share intelligence within the enterprise and across departmental silos, connecting individuals in every team with the ideas and people that matter."

Want to see this in action? Check out this video:



Want to learn more? Check out this asset created by the Hootsuite team. And also check out this video to learn more about Hootsuite Enterprise:

Monday, October 13, 2014

IBM Insight 2014 is 2 Weeks Away -- Add These Sessions To Your Schedule

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IBM Insight is now two weeks away.  I'll have the opportunity to go this year and update the audience on IBM Connections and what we are doing there when it comes to the combination of content management + team collaboration.

This year, I'll be co-presenting with my colleague, Firas Yasin, one of our social business advocates and an expert when it comes to adoption, business value and content management.



 Our session is on Monday right after the keynote at Lagoon J.  Last night, I was going through the attendee list for our session and found this enrollee record:



Check out the job title.  What an awesome job title, right? I can't wait to have a conversation with that person.  While you are at the conference, check out these other sessions:

I'll also be at the demo ped.... At the following times:
  • Monday 12:30p - 1:30p
  • Tuesday 2:30p - 3:30p
  • Wednesday 1:30p - 2:30p
And don't forget, ex-MythBusters Grant Imahara will be there and you definitely don't want to miss that one!


If you are going to the conference, let me know so we can get together. See you there!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Google Hangout Replay: A Social Business, Cloud, Mobile and IBM Connections Conversation

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Last week I had the opportunity to try out Google Hangout On Air. It's been something that I've wanted to try for a while and with the latest cloud release of IBM Connections last week, it would be a good time to try it out.

Joining me is Luis Suarez (no, not the guy who bites), an independent social business advisor and Simon Vaughan, an IBM Champion and one of the organizers of Social Connections, the IBM Connections User Group.

The whole thing was very informal, and again, it's something that I did to play with the concept and understand what's possible and what's not, while at the same time having a great conversation with subject matter experts on the other side of the ocean.

The result? I have to say I really enjoyed the conversation (it's all about my favorite topics so what's not to like!) and got me wondering if something like this is something that we should try to do on a regular basis (perhaps as a complement to 5 minute tips on IBM Connections).

Check out the replay of the Hangout:



What do you think ? Is this something that we should do more of ? Tell me what you think!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

5 Can't Miss Features of IBM Connections

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About two weeks ago, I was asked to present to a group of internal IBMers tips and tricks to get the most out of IBM Connections, our social collaboration platform.

I actually reached out to my internal network and asked for suggestions on a good topic. Quickly, I realized that everyone had their own favorite feature or aspect of the product.

That got me thinking that maybe it's worth me putting together a quick presentation that shows people how I get the most out of the product to improve my productivity.

Then it got hard. How could I pick just a handful of things where IBM Connections makes my life easier ?

I had to iterate a couple of times.  In the end I decided that a good way to format it would be to focus on 5 integration aspects that maximize the value I get out of the product.

Check out the slides that I took them through:



Do these match what you would've presented?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Social Connections VII Is Coming -- Check Out The Agenda and Register Now

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Re-sharing the news from Brian O'Neill, IBM Champion and IBM Connections user.

Social Connections, the IBM Connections user group, will have their 7th event this November 13th-14th in beautiful Stockholm, Sweden.

With a focus on IBM Connections and Social Business, this is a first-class event for the user community. If you are working with IBM Connections, I'd strongly recommend that you make every effort to attend!

In fact, earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend the conference in Prague and it was a fantastic experience.  It's invaluable when I have the a chance to talk directly to partners, customers, and users to gather feedback and share what we are doing with the portfolio.  If you haven't attended any of the events, check out this recent video from the Prague event:


Social Connections VI - two days of epic Connections content and conversation from Social Connections on Vimeo.

The agenda for the event was announced last week and you can get all the details here.  Now that' you've watched the video and taken a look at the agenda, the next step is to register!  Register for the next event!

Oh and don't forget to follow the team on Twitter and like their page on Facebook to keep up with all the news about the event.

Monday, September 29, 2014

New Release of IBM Connections Social Cloud Is Here

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Here's one way to start the week on a high note.  Over the weekend, we enabled the latest features for our Q3 (or fall release) of IBM Connections Social Cloud, which, as you can tell off the bat, features a new name and tons of goodies. Mitch and Chris had already shared the news about the new name, which we made public back in January of this year at IBM Connect 2014.

You may have already seen the blog from last week from Rebecca Buisan which previewed some of the things that we turned on this past weekend. Let me take the opportunity to go into a bit more detail.
First, you'll notice that we have a brand new site over at http://ibmcloud.com/social as you can see above. We want to make it easy to find what you need and direct your attention to what matters. As you may remember, last month we turned on video chat. This month, we've added features to make it easier to find experts, synchronize your files to the desktop, and increased engagement capabilities by using @mentions in more content areas (for example, forums, to-do's and more). I'm not fond of text, so check out this presentation for all the details of what's new:



How's that for a release ? But wait...! There's more!



Developers.. we haven't forgotten about you!! We are launching a new site just for you over at http://developer.ibm.com/social (screenshot above) very soon. We are going to be doing some continuous updates to this page so expect to see more changes soon. Additionally, we've created a schedule to continuously share content with you via the team blog. This will get you more content from more people and gives a hand to the super awesome Niklas Heidloff. If you haven't subscribed to that one, do it now.

Want to get your hands on all of this? Start a trial today over at http://ibmcloud.com/social .

Monday, September 22, 2014

Up and Running with IBM Connections Now Available on Lynda.com

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I'm on my way to San Francisco, but I couldn't wait to share some fantastic news.  For some time now there have been some hints of new things coming to Lynda.

As you may have seen from teases in the past few weeks, today I'm happy to share that there's a new course available:  Up and Running with IBM Connections by Bruce Elgort.

Bruce and I collaborated on this, well, he actually did all the work, I just gave him a server to record on.

For those of you who haven't heard about Lynda.com, they are an online learning company that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Through individual, corporate, academic and government subscriptions, members have access to the lynda.com video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.

Not yet a Lynda.com subscriber? Try it out free for seven days. To see the course description, outline and get a quick intro (and a few free sections), click here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

More IBM Connections Social Features Now Available Inside Microsoft Office

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As you may know, we are now releasing new updates to the desktop plug-ins on a monthly basis. This month's release brings some cool new features to those of you working with Microsoft Office Desktop apps (even if you use the desktop apps with Office 365).

For some time now, we've had integration into Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook) via the ribbon.  Today, we've added new functionality to the ribbon.


With the new features, you can now do the following directly from Microsoft Office:

  • Lock a file to prevent others from editing while you make changes
  • Share the file and add others as readers or editors
  • View version history
  • View download history/audit log
  • Like, pin, and follow

Check out this quick 2 minute demo that I created to show some of the new functionality:



To download the latest plug-in you can get it from Apps - Downloads on your cloud deployment, or from our app catalog here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gartner Recognizes IBM Connections as a Leader in the 2014 Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace

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Put it in the books! For the 6th year in a row, Gartner has placed IBM Connections as a Leader in their recently released 2014 Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace.

This year, I had the opportunity to engage in the entire process from beginning to end.  The whole process started back in May of this year.  There's a lot of things that happen during the evaluation process such as coordinating customer references, filling out feature surveys, showing the solution and more.


This report follow recent analyst reports:
If you haven't seen IBM Connections lately, check out this video that we recently published (and if you are reading today, yes, our mobile app is ready for iOS 8 support! )



So where do we go from here? We have a release coming to the cloud in several days which I'll share more details on soon.  And don't forget to submit your abstract for IBM ConnectED on January 2015.

To download the report, you can access it from Gartner's page here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Brand Image and Security Concerns – All the More Reason to Become a Social Business

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To get the full benefit of social business, you must inject it into your key business processes for stronger customer engagement and workforce collaboration. But many enterprises are afraid to fully embrace social business, with 30 percent of them citing security concerns and perceived risk as major adoption barriers, according to IBM's 2014 Business Tech Trends report.

image But these fearful enterprises need to realize the true nature of social business. At its core, social business is a grassroots movement. Your customers have already embraced social. They’re online, on multiple channels, multiple platforms, talking about your business and reviewing your products and solutions. In other words, there’s no such thing as ‘opting out’ of social business.

In fact, the real risks of security and brand perception are increased when you don’t engage in social business. If you're struggling to integrate social into the core of your business internally and externally, IBM can help.

For example, IBM Connections can help you reorganize, restructure and transform your enterprise into an effective social business with social guidelines and policies set into place to optimize both customer engagement and your internal workforce communication.

When social business is done right, the possibilities are endless. In fact, Pacesetters engaging in social business have reported an 87 percent stronger competitive advantage in their respective markets.

To read the full IBM 2014 Business Tech Trends report, click here.

To watch the webcast replay of the Business Tech Trends announcement, click here.

After you’ve read the report, join us for a Bluemix app JAM! Simply download the report's data in an IBM Bluemix app and start discovering new insights! Share with us and IBM will highlight our favorites!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IBM Connections Cited as a Leader in the Ovum Enterprise File Sharing & Sync Decision Matrix

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Today, IBM was among the vendors that were cited as a Leader in Ovum's Decision Matrix: Selecting an Enterprise File Sync and Share Product, 2014-2015.  This report was based on IBM Connections, both the cloud and on-premises version. W00t !


IBM Connections is IBM's premier cloud-based online 
collaboration platform (or enterprise social network). For some time now, I worked with my peers on this report 
showing Ovum the capabilities that we have today. Needless to say, I'm extremely excited that 
Ovum considers IBM Connections a leader in their Enterprise File Sync and Share Decision Matrix report!

The report takes into consideration 241 data points around the end-use functionality of the 19 vendors evaluated and the "enterprise-fit" of the 19 vendors across 194 data points (yes, that's over 400 data points total!!).


More and more companies are looking at leveraging cloud-based 
collaboration solutions. For example, aatranslations chose 
the IBM Connections platform on the cloud to better collaborate with its 
global employees.

Check out the following video that was shared by them and explains their challenges as a global business and how they use the file sharing capabilities to become more efficient working with translators all over the world:





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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

IBM Connections in Cloud Now Features Real-Time Audio and Video Chat

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Today, when you log in to IBM Connections in the cloud you should notice a nice little surprise:  you can now engage with your peers via audio and/or video chat. While you've always been able to instant message with your colleagues within IBM Connections, sometimes typing is just not fast enough. And with communication being roughly 70% non-verbal, video becomes an excellent capability to get business done... NOW!

Now, you can go from a post in IBM Connection and escalate to a voice call or a video call at no extra cost.

This is now available to Connections customers in the cloud. Plans start at $6/user/month so if you haven't started using this platform, you can start today with a 60-day free trial.

Of course, I had to test this out to check out how it looks. So reached out to Albert, and got him over video in just 2 seconds!


But wait... there's another surprise! Up until now you've been able to share files through Chat from your computer. Now you can now share files with a chat partner from your IBM Connections Files. Let's say that you get a question from the field asking for the latest roadmap for your product (you know this happens a lot right?).  Now I can take a file from Connections, and when I do this, the recipient automatically gets reader access to the file!  Magic!

Here's how that looks:


Enjoy your new capabilities !

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rethinking Your Social Strategy to Act Like a Pacesetter

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Last week I told you about the amazing results that Pacesetters are seeing from deploying social business solutions, according to IBM's 2014 Business Tech Trends report. This week I'm going to tell you what your enterprise can do to catch up in social based on those Pacesetters’ key practices.



The Business Tech Trends report found that Pacesetters are using analytics as their fuel and integration as their breakaway move. So, what does this mean for social?

To compete like a Pacesetter, integrate social with:
  • Mobile to reach more customers and segments and strengthen current customer relationships
  • Analytics to mine all of the unstructured data and better understand your customers' needs
  • Cloud to manage the large amount of data collected and to quickly and easily scale technology and initiatives 
Some of this might sound obvious to you, but the study found that Pacesetters are seven times more likely to use social business on the cloud and six times more likely to use social media analytics and mobile analytics than other enterprises! There is still a huge gap between the Pacesetters and everyone else. When it comes to social business, it's time to integrate and analyze.

 

Read the 2014 Business Tech Trendsm report and then start analyzing it on IBM Bluemix at our Bluemix app JAM! Remember, share your insights and IBM will highlight our favorites!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Social Business More than Doubles Since 2012 - Pacesetters Are Seeing the Biggest Wins

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IBM's Center for Applied Insights has just released their 2014 Business Tech Trends report, which surveyed over 1,400 decision makers across 15 industries around the world to find out how businesses are deploying key technologies. The study found that social business is now being deployed by 70 percent of enterprises! That is more than double the number of enterprises (34 percent) that were deploying social business solutions in 2012.

Pacesetter enterprises, which regard big data and analytics, cloud, mobile and social technologies as critical to their success and adopt them ahead of their competitors, have seen amazing results from integrating social into their DNA:

  • Pacesetters are achieving improved customer experience through social at six times the rate of other enterprises.
  • Additionally, 72 percent of Pacesetters are seeing enhanced communication and collaboration across the organization and ecosystem through their social initiatives, which is also six times more than other enterprises!
  • Furthermore, Pacesetters report that they are expanding into new markets and segments at three times the rate of other enterprises.
It's clearer now than ever that having a social business strategy is imperative. But with 70 percent of enterprises deploying social, how do you get results like the Pacesetters? Stay tuned – I'm working on a post now that will tell you how!

The following graph indicates the deployment gains since 2012:



If you missed the webcast in which Sandy Carter, General Manager of Ecosystem Development, IBM, made the exciting Business Tech Trends announcement, not to fear you can re-watch it here!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Continental AG Goes Full Out with IBM Connections To Get Things Done Faster

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Last week, I ran into this video posted by Continental AG, a company of 170,000 people, which talks about their business networking event for their 450 social business ambassadors.  Continental spoke at IBM Connect 2014 about their usage of IBM Connections.

Continental brought the participants from 37 different countries to Hamburg Germany to start the conversation around how to improve the culture of communication and how to give employees a helping hand.

To do this, Continental chose an open space, which they say it's similar to social media, where it's a big, empty and fluid environment.

The goal was to spend 2 days and officially become GUIDEs. Individual interviews mention how the goal is to break the barriers between countries to become agile, interact better with others by knowing them better, and getting things done faster and more efficiently.  For them, it was critical to exemplify their culture and core values like trust, freedom, solidarity and a winning mentality.

Check out the video below:



I really like this approach and reminds me of what IBM did initially with our Blue IQ Ambassadors, though I was extremely impressed with Continental's approach to bring all these people together in a room to together learn and launch their social business platform.

Well done!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mobile Comparison of IBM Connections & Yammer

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I typically get questions about how collaboration platforms compare, especially in a post-PC, mobile first era. The term was made popular by Steve Jobs in 2007 (though first coined at MIT), and 3 months ago Microsoft CEO said the company had entered the post-PC era. So mobile.. a critical capability. Can't be without it. It's essential.

So here we are in 2014 -- a post-PC / Mobile First era, so let's take a look at comparing the mobile collaboration capabilities provided by IBM, with their market leading enterprise social collaboration platform called Connections, and Microsoft with a confusing story around SharePoint/Office 365/Yammer.

To that end, I wanted to share a video that one of my colleagues, Reynout van Adrichem Boogaert, put together. It's a bit long because it does an amazing job at taking an in-depth look at collaborating while on the go -- a must for today's workforce.

Of course, we can always look at app store ratings (Yammer has 3/5 stars in the app store, while the IBM Connections mobile app has 4.5/5 stars) which gives one angle, but let's get the full story.

The video starts with a description of what the Yammer app can do and can't do.



Now, what if you are in a situation where your company has made a decision to use some Microsoft technology?  Well, another one of my colleagues has you covered.  Omar Davison recently shared this video (you may have seen Suzanne Livingston's post last week) which tells the story of how you can use IBM Connections to enhance your Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Office tools.

Here's the 3 minute video:



Ready to get started? Don't wait, start a free trial now (no credit card required)!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

TemboSocial Plugs Into IBM Connections and Takes Ideation To The Next Level

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By now, I'm sure that you are aware of TemboSocial. They have been adding value to IBM Connections, the market leading enterprise social collaboration platform, and it's some great work and I've talked about them in the past.

The first add-on they created was a bit over 2 years ago when they first introduced The Hive for IBM Connections, a social recognition module.

Last year, they further integrated with the IBM Connections platform by taking advantage of new integration points and extending our native mobile app in iOS and Android.

Now, TemboSocial has introduced TemboSocial Ideas for IBM Connections.  This new add-on plugs directly into a team site within IBM Connections and takes ideation to the next level.

With this add-on, you can crowdsource and gather ideas, surface the best ideas and comments, and the experts and moderators can curate the best contributions and provide updates on the idea (e.g. "In Progress", "Under Review", "Closed", etc). Additionally, it includes detailed real-time reports to determine sentiment, where the best ideas are coming from (e.g. by geography, role, workgroup, etc) and you can filter by time to measure the impact of your campaigns and see the results of your promotions.





Update 2:30pm ET: Tembosocial Ideas is front and center at the customer IBM Webinar "Innovation Starts with Social: How IBM Connections Social Software can Transform your Organization - Tuesday August 26th"

"Join ICS NA Executive Sales Leader Laura Wolf and Tembosocial president and founder Steven Green on Tuesday August 26th. It's the "Aha" moment for LOB how to best get value from, Social (on-prem or cloud), how existing Social organizations can make Social more strategic, and where first time Social organizations can effectively start. "

Registration here: https://events.na.collabserv.com/portal/wippages/register.php?id=65a4c4e364&l=en-US.
Since a picture is worth a 1000 words and a video is worth (a trillion?) words, check out this video to see how it works:



For more info, check out TemboSocial Ideas for IBM Connections.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The IBM Connections 5.0 Reviewer's Guide is Now Available in the iBook Store

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By now you are probably aware that the IBM Connections 5.0 Reviewer's Guide is available as shared by one of my teammates in the product management team, Albert Nichols.

For a while now, I've been wondering how we can make this more widely available and perhaps add even more value to this great asset.  Earlier in the year (if I remember correctly), I had heard that Apple had made iBooks Author a free app and decided to take that for a spin and see what I could do with it. And given the recent announcement of the Apple and IBM partnership, I figured why not!

To my surprise, it was very simple to take the work that Albert (and the rest of the PM team had done) and import it into iBooks Author and add some dynamic elements to it. As you may know, the Reviewer's Guide covers a lot of the functionality within IBM Connections, as well as our different integration points into ECM, Notes, Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint, mobile, etc. Therefore, I thought that a good way to make the guide more dynamic would be to incorporate all the various demos directly into the book.


My experience with iBooks Author was pretty positive. It only took a few minutes to convert the Reviewer's Guide into iBook format. Then, it took me about 5-6 hours to reorganize the content into iBook chapters, add the demos and interactive screenshots, and publish it to the iTunes store.  During the publishing process, I even discovered that iTunes Producer already integrates with Aspera, an IBM company for super fast file transfer.

Therefore, you now have a super easy way to get the Reviewer's Guide, access it offline, and even share with your peers. Go ahead and download the IBM Connections 5.0 Reviewer's Guide from the iBook Store and let me know what you think. I'm curious to know if this is valuable and if you would like to see more of these in the future.

PS.  There's 1 page that didn't come out correctly, but I'll let you find it.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Announcing the latest IBM Connections Mail Plug-In

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Today, IBM Connections Mail gets an update. If you don't know what IBM Connections Mail, let's catch you up.  IBM Connections Mail provides a simple and compelling way to perform essential email and calendaring tasks right from IBM Connections.

This is particularly useful as you can process your inbox with minimal context switching.  According to McKinsey, when users switch from one task to another, it really affects productivity.

Therefore, by keeping context switching to a minimum, you increase productivity in your organization.  Additionally, sending attachments is a snap as they are sent as links via IBM Connections (a feature that our competitors have copied).

Of course, with the IBM Connections 5.0 release less than a month ago this new version of IBM Connections Mail now fully supports IBM Connections 5.0.  Here's the other new capabilities:
  • Accept/Decline calendar invites
  • Save messages as draft
  • Adds support for Domino encrypted mail
  • Adds direct access to the Microsoft Outlook Web App
  • Adds support for Microsoft Exchange 2013
Here's a screenshot of the save as draft and accept/decline screens:





Here's a demo that was recorded when this originally shipped. 


Go get it from our catalog using this direct link!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Social Connections: My Take on Making Social Business Critical [Video]

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Last month, I attended the IBM Connections User Group meeting in Prague.  Speaking of which, if you missed it, then don't worry! Social Connections VII has been announced and it's happening in November 13-14 in Stockholm.  Registration is available now so go and register now. Hey, you can probably even combine it with a weekend ski trip.



Now back to Prague. While I was there, I met with the local team to discuss social business and my recommendations on how to make social business critical.  For example, as a business, you don't want to deploy a social collaboration platform, such as the market leading IBM Connections product, just for the sake of social. You must have a purpose and I provide a strategy that can help you drive the engagement in the platform.

Other topics covered:

  • How my work has benefitted by taking advantage of social
  • My personal take aways
  • What I would like to see in the next 5 years
Here's the 3 minute interview:





What do you think ? Hey, and if you haven't noticed, you can go and check out IBM Connections 5.0 in Greenhouse today!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jabborate Brings Jabber and WebEx into IBM Connections

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This is one of those cases were timing couldn't have been better.  Just a few days ago someone was asking me about the possibility to integrate Cisco's Jabber and WebEx with the market leading social collaboration platform IBM Connections.

Anyway, then as I was catching up with my feeds I ran into a new presentation from Jabborate.  Don't you just love it when knowledge comes to you instead of you having to go out and search for it?

So here's the deal.  There are 3 types of integration into IBM Connections provided by Jabborate:

  • Jabborate - Adds presence, instant messaging, audio and video calls to IBM Connections via Cisco's Jabber
  • Jabborate WebEx - Adds virtual meetings and conference call management to IBM Connections via Cisco's WebEx
  • Jabborate Exchange - Adds a calendar and scheduling app to integrate IBM Connections with Microsoft Exchange 

Here's a deck that describes in more detail what's possible:


For more information, check out Jabborate for IBM Connections

Monday, July 14, 2014

Press Coverage on the IBM Connections 5.0 Release

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If you've been out for a while, it's time to catch up.

First, take a look at our new Social page at IBM.com:  http://ibm.com/social . It got a makeover last week to find the right solution based on your needs


Additionally, I've been collecting news clippings about the stories and coverage so far on the IBM Connections 5.0 release.  I haven't captured everything but here's some highlights for you to check out. Maybe there's some that you haven't seen so you can use these to share within your organization as well.

In the press:
Finally, last week Suzanne Livingston posted a new video showcasing the new external collaboration features of IBM Connections 5.0. Check it out:



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IBM Connections is Now Available in the IBM Cloud marketplace

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As just communicated in the press release a few minutes ago, IBM Connections is now available in the IBM Cloud marketplace.  Here's the direct link in case you want to check it out.

The press release sums up the latest release of IBM Connections which is now available for download (in case you want to run it on premises) or in the cloud.

One of the highlights that we want to call out is the continued growth that we see in our ecosystem. For example, using our latest APIs and SDK, ISVs (independent software vendors) such as HootSuite, Bunchball, TemboSocial, ISW, among many, many others have created social apps on the IBM Connections Platform.

A key aspect of this release is secure external collaboration, where you can bring in external users (your customers, partners, suppliers, etc) into your IBM Connections deployment behind the firewall and still keep the right security boundaries to keep information safe. Jeff Schick, our VP for Social Software at IBM, calls out the importance of this:

When a workforce is out of synch or out of touch, the whole organization suffers from lost productivity, efficiency and innovation. With the open nature of today's business environment, organizations are looking to build new systems of people-centric engagement. The ability to bring key internal and external stakeholders into the conversation can facilitate a more collaborative, responsive and authentic way to work and deepen engagement.

Additionally, Superior Group's CIO, Tom DeClerck shares how IBM Connections has made the organization more agile by putting people back at the center of their business.  Speaking of Superior Group, here's a quick video that talks about the Superior Group's success on becoming a social business and the ROI they are achieving by using IBM Connections:



For more information, check out the entire press release.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

IBM Ranked as Leader in the 2014 Aragon Research Globe for Enterprise Social Software

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And the great news keep piling up on the heels of the IBM Connections 5.0 rollout.

The latest to hit the wire is that IBM Connections has been ranked as a Leader in the Aragon Research Globe for Enterprise Social Software.  This is in addition to the Forrester Wave report where IBM came out as a leader in the Enterprise Social Software Wave a couple of weeks back and the news that IBM Connections continues to be the market leader in enterprise social software !

According to their announcement, the report evaluates 20 social collaboration vendors against 3 dimensions: Strategy, Performance, and Reach. Based on the evaluation of each vendor, each vendor is placed in 1 of 4 spheres: Leader, Innovator, Specialist or Contender. Again, IBM was ranked as a Leader.

Aragon called out the purposeful use of social as one of the differentiators of the IBM Connections platform:
IBM is leveraging Connections across its software portfolio, including its social HCM (Kenexa) product line
Aragon delivers high impact research and advisory services to provide enterprises the insight they need to help them make better technology and strategy decisions.

A great example of a customer reaping the benefits of becoming a social business with IBM Connections is CEMEX who has actually measured the ROI of their Social Business journey with IBM Connections.  They shared an update of their recent success stories a few weeks back:



If you want to read the report, you can get it from Aragon here.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

IBM Connections 5.0 Is Ready for Download

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I just got confirmation that IBM Connections 5.0 is now ready for download ! This has been quite an exciting quarter as we've been building up to this day ever since I published the trailer back in April.

When I initially joined the product management team we were just launching IBM Connections 3.0.1.   I was then managing another component of the platform.

As time went by, I started to influence more of the platform and with this release, it was the first time that I was completely involved all the way from the first planning session to the release of the software. Of course, it's been quite an experience and it's what I've wanted to do for a long time.  I'm grateful for the opportunity that I've been given to bring this new product to market and for everything that I've learned in terms of what it takes to plan, build, and launch a product.

Here are some links you'll probably need:
I'll be updating those links as necessary.

I've also started collecting videos about IBM Connections 5.0 and will continue to update this playlist as they become available:



Now that you have the code, I'm anxious to know when you upgrade!! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Download the New IBM Connections 5.0 Desktop Plugins

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The new IBM Connections Desktop plug-ins for Microsoft Windows have just been released to our app catalog.

There's a couple of things that I would like to call out here. First, IBM Connections 5.0 will be available for download next week. This is the first time that we have released the desktop plugins before the actual new server code is available. This is because the new desktop plugin also adds new features even if you are not using 5.0.

Second, this is yet another simultaneous release for cloud and on-prem. Cloud customers can download the update directly from the "Apps - Downloads" page within Connections.

Third, as I mentioned earlier in the week, this is the plug-in that adds File Sync capabilities for those that are using IBM Connections 5.0 or later.

Fourth, this release also adds access libraries from IBM Connections Content Manager. Of course, this was already possible before but required installing a separate plugin. In this release, you now install only one plugin simplifying the deployment and adoption process.

Lastly, but not least, this release also adds the ability to browse and access community folders.

Here's a demo that walks through the File Sync capabilities:


So go get it and download today!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Little About IBM Connections 5.0 and File Sync

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Now that we have officially announced IBM Connections 5.0 I wanted to take some time and talk about one of the top new features in this release: enterprise file sync and share. Also, if you haven't seen it yet, check out Suzanne Livingston's blog from yesterday where she talks about the new external collaboration features of IBM Connections 5.0. This is a capability that we've had available in our cloud for a while and now we are making it available to our on-prem customers.

IBM Connections has already been cited by Forrester as a Leader in their Enterprise File Sync and Share Wave and IDC has stated that when it comes to marketshare, IBM Connections leads the way.

So back to File Sync.  As you can see from the screenshot in the right, when you install the latest IBM Connections Desktop Plug-Ins (which will be available for download in a couple of days) a new Sync folder will be created under Favorites.

There you can save files directly to IBM Connections and use Connections as your personal backup drive where everything is sync'ed automatically (including of course edits that you make offline).

Another added benefit and differentiator is that right from within your desktop you can right click on a file and act upon it. In other words, you can comment on it, tag it, like it, lock it (to prevent others from editing while you are offline) and even share it with other colleagues without ever having to open a browser.  By default, all files are marked as private and only you have access to them. From there you can choose to share with individuals, groups, or communities.

On the mobile side, you can use our native apps for Android and iOS and sync files to your favorite mobile device/tablet. On each device you can manually specify which files you want to have available there. For example, you may want some key presentations on your iPhone, while you have documents, spreadsheets and other assets available in your iPad.

Here's a quick 5 minute demo that shows the enterprise file sharing and sync capabilities of IBM Connections 5.0.



If you are an on-prem customer, get ready to download the code next week! Stay tuned for other new features in the coming days.