Earlier today, we conducted a webnar entitled: "Sharing in the Digital Economy Just Got Easier: See how the number one social business platform can help you do it all"
During that presentation, we annouced a targeted services offering to migrate customers onto IBM Connections. It combines the best aspects of our services deployment experience, solution assets, and capabilities to provide a fully-managed solution for customers coming from Jive, SharePoint, or other solutions.
Let's look at the components of the solutions in a little more detail, using the scenario of 5,000 users in a managed service.
Infrastructure provided by IBM Softlayer
We configure a private cloud environment, with all the needed web, application, directory, database, and storage services for a full-fledged solution. Public cloud options also exist, but we expect customers to want a dedicated environment with the flexibility to customize to their specific needs.
Operations provided by IBM and Certified Business Partners
Infrastructure, operating system, and applications services are managed and monitored by IBM and our business partners. A customer could chose to manage the infrastrucutre with their IT team, but we expect IT staffs are fully utilized such that it makes sense for IBM to take on those operational responsibilities. Either way, an IBM Solution Specialist is the primary point of contact for managing the service and acting as liaison with the cusotmer.
The Full Power of IBM Connections...
IBM Connections is then deployed to the private, managed environment. Our customers can control the features, and add additional capabilties as needed. IBM SmartCloud Connections and IBM SmartCloud Engage offer many of the standard Connections features in a full SaaS model, but if a customer has unique requirements this environment can support them.
...and Much More
We then load some extra capabilties into the solution.
Figure 1. TimetoAct XCC
XCC provides content presentation management and is great for a department like corporate communications. A home page is configured to showcase important announcements, from one, or more, communities.
Within that managed page you can present controlled and personalized content, some items make sense for employees, others for contractors, and the page includes the logic to present the proper content to the right people.
The idea here is that key communications are presented to end users without the need for them to navigate to the different communities. And it can be controlled by the line of business personnel; administrative access is not required.
We'll use our automated migration tools to move the people, places, and content from your existing solution into the managed Connections environment. For example,the places, groups and project sites in Jive transition into IBM Connections Communities. As part of that move, membership lists and access roles are preserved. The Jive content then becomes Connections content within the community.
Figure 2. Jive to Connections Content Map
For More Information
To get started, we recommend customers schedule a free Move To Connections workshop. Contact the IBM Software Services representive in your area to learn more.
Figure 3. Move to IBM Connections Workshop
Join IBM experts and clients as they address these questions and more in our May 28 webinar "Moving Collaboration to the Cloud – Now Is the Time."
Times: 10am ET / 10 pm Malaysia OR 12am ET / 12pm Malaysia
We have an incredible agenda lined up. Jeff Schick, Vice President of IBM Enterprise Social Solutions, will discuss how collaboration in the cloud can help companies realize cost savings and operational efficiencies, plus how IBM and our partners can help companies achieve this success. Several clients will also speak about their move to IBM Connections on Cloud.
In addition, we will demo the power of IBM Verse -- cloud delivered email that works for you. IBM Verse uses Design Thinking and analytics to bring together email, meetings, calendars, file sharing, instant messaging, social updates, and more – all in a single, intuitive, collaborative environment. This is mail reimagined for a new way to work, with a seamless array of social and mobile capabilities.
This is a must-see webinar. Register today!
Migrating Content to IBM Connections
In my previous blog, I summarized the components of the Move to Connections offering from our services team
This week, let's dive a little deeper into how content is migrated, staying with the Jive example.
The migration of Jive content into Connections is completed using IBM Content Migration Factory, following an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) process.
Extraction of content is achieved using a migration software tool. The tool identifies content for migration using a web spider approach. The extraction process takes an ‘offline’ copy of the content items and stores them in the software repository. This ensures there is no impact on the current content as it exists in the Jive places.
Transformation of the content is then applied once the content has been identified, it is processed through the migration tool engine. This process involves a series of steps/tasks that perform the required transformations to enable the content to fit the target environment. These transformations can range in complexity depending on the source content structures and its intended target. For Jive content, we have a specific set of transformation rules that accelerates this step.
Loading the content into the Connections instance is the final step after the content has successfully been processed to meet the target requirements. This load process leverages the published API of the Connections instance, ensuring the content is processed through the recommended Connections interface.
All content that has been through the migration process is fully auditable and a mapping is produced to show the source and new target location for each content item migrated.
We conduct the work using these steps
Source Analyis - take inventory of the content, perform a test conversion, and create the plan for the migration
Additional Transformations - if you have some unique requirements, we can define and apply additional transformation rules
Validation - Execute a mini-migration and have you validate that the content is migrated as expected. We can adjust the transformation rules if needed.
Execution - Based on the plan, stage the cutover date and execute the migration
Delta Execution - If you have a large environment, or one that cannot be frozen during the migtration testing, we can go back and migrate the 'deltas' or migrate the content in multiple waves.
Each of the Jive content types is migrated into a corresponding Connections element:
For More Infomation
Content you local IBM Software Collaboration Services representative
This week, I plan to introduce several of our Service Professionals who will be at ConnectED, present at our Expertise Zone, set up in Peacock 1 at the Swan Hotel in Walt Disney's Resort.
Let me start by introducing Jason Roy Gary. Distinguished engineer, Jason is the Chief Technology Office of IBM Collaboration Solutions, the though leader behind the innovative IBM Apps and Assets portfolio. If you are not familiar with the portfolio, follow this blog where we will continue to provide insight on this great set of applications that complement and enhance the business value of Connections.
Jason is the executive technologist behind Expertise 360. This is a suite of apps that help surface Corporate Knowledge. It discovers the knowledge dispersed in a unique mix of infrastructure and skilled workforce to support your speed in action and your competitivity. Expertise 360 boosts the reuse of your corporate expert knowledge by gathering it to a central source and uses analytics to identify sharing patterns to involve the right experts timely. The net result: you can plan, track and extend the development of your workforce expertise.
Jason will be presenting on Wednesday January 28, at 10:30 in Swan 3-4, "Extend IBM Connections with Muse"
IBM ISSC Project Muse is a project that explores the capacity of customization for Cloud products, which efficiency is essentially the result of standardized configurations and standards. Economies of scale, rapid adoption of the latest releases as delivered by the DevOps model, faster performance at the client, and the competitive advantage of one-time and scaling customization: together in one package! We are looking as well into applying this framework to on-premise applications as well.
Come to meet Jason or one of our Lab Services experts at the Expertise Zone to find out more about this most innovative set of tools.
For those not attending ConnectED: don't panic! Jason will be visiting this blog regularly in 2015. So stay tuned!
Let’s say you need an internal expert on polymer filters. Typically the easiest way to discover the elusive expert is to do a web-technology search of your internal collaboration system to find someone, anyone, that may have created content or been labelled via their title as being associated with, polymer filters. But are you really finding what you are looking for?
Expertise involves working with and identifying the most mercurial of resources in any organization, people. Finding an expert isn’t about search, at least not search as defined in the post 90’s computing world, it’s about analytics and behavioral sciences. Experts and finding expertise is about discovery, looking at people via a variety of parameters and attributes to answer what is at least on the surface a simple question: “Whom in my organization is ready, willing, and able to serve as an expert to solve a business problem?”
IBM has spent the better part of seven years of research and active experimentation in creating software, an engine that can find the right person at the right time to solve the specific business challenge that awaits their expertise. IBM’s Expertise Engine can take a query such as, “I need an expert in polymer filters to be in Frankfurt on the 12th of August to meet with Acme customer on a sales opportunity”, and find the right person.
How, you might ask is this even possible? Well Expertise Engine can analyze many of your organizations systems including traditional collaboration systems such as instant messaging and email. It can analyze not only the data in these systems to assign weight and breadth of expertise but also monitor the behavior of experts. If an expert is asked three questions a week and answers them promptly but typically on the fourth question exhibits delay in response the Expertise Engine will absorb that specific expert’s ability to respond and throttle requests accordingly.
Behavior is important. Once the Expertise Engine determines that an individual is an expert in a specific field or fields and routes questions, groups, or other people to that expert, what happens next is just as important as the fundamental identification of expertise. Is the expert thanked after the interaction? Is the thanks made publically or privately? Does the interaction end with a single query or does it vault the expert and the group seeking expertise together into a social graph? Do others seek out that specific expert on that topic?
The Expertise Engine can also look at relationships. If someone is a well determined expert in basket weaving and regularly contacts two other individuals on the topic then the Expertise Engine will begin a determination of expertise of those two individuals in spite of the lack of data establishing them as experts in basket weaving.
So what can you do with an Expertise Engine? Well quite a lot actually. IBM’s Expertise Engine is a platform that we are actively building and selling clients for including Connections Social Q&A and Expertise Locator. With Social Q&A, a question from a user, whom may have no idea of what kind of expert to turn to, is routed to a series of experts, answered, and then the answer itself is curated for the next time a user asks a similar question so an answer is given without ever involving the highly valuable expert. Expertise Locator helps a user find an expert, now, based on the user knowing what kind of expert they need, just not how to find them.
Business Partners of IBM are looking to leverage the Expertise Engine for many diverse use cases. Imagine a project manager setting up a project and having the people they may need to bring the project to fruition already recommended. In learning, what if instead of taking a course, at random being able to simply tell the system I want to be more like one of your mentors, heroes, or colleagues; and have the system identify what makes that person an expert and tailor a program to achieve the enablement goals.
Expertise is truly an elusive find, but it certainly isn’t about search. It is a process of discovery of something that isn’t static but a dynamic fluid of relationships, knowledge, willingness, readiness, and ability. And the expert you may need today, might not be the expert you need tomorrow. While it sounds like science fiction, it isn’t. This technology is available today along with its associated applications from IBM Lab Services.
Jason Roy Gary
IBM Director - IBM Distinguished Engineer
CTO IBM Enterprise Social Solutions - Exec Apps and Assets Program
Asia Pacific Lab Services Business Leader - Senior Board Member OpenSocial Foundation
Jason is the thought leader behind the innovative IBM Apps and Assets portfolio. He is the executive technologist behind Expertise 360°, a suite of apps that helps discover Corporate Knowledge and uses analytics to identify sharing patterns to involve the right expert timely, for higher speed in action and greater competitivity.
Accelerate Adoption with Social Business Apps
Join us as we discuss application assets that our customers are using to drive greater adoption of IBM Connections. We will discuss Touchpoint for guided onboarding of new users, Social Sidebar for lightweight integration with other systems, the User Adoption Toolkit for contextual tutorials of features, and Invite to facilitate collaboration with people outside your organization. In addition, we'll point you to more resources to get the most out of your IBM Connections environment.
To register for the Social Business Applications Webinar, please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with this information:
Company Name (If needed)
If you are interested by the topic of innovation in the workplace, you will want to read this research paper for the IBM Institute of Business Value titled "More than Magic - How the most successful organizations innovate" .
This paper shares conclusions of a survey conducted with 1000 c-suite executives from 17 industries in cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit.
It defines innovation as "the art and science of anticipating the future", a very accurate definition in my view. It highlights that the out performers master three things sooner than the others:
1. Being able to understand and drive the full potential of new technologies
2. Understand their customer needs and wants, and even anticipate it before them
3. Building an organization and an ecosystem to deliver on those
It then studies specific actions that the most successful companies have engaged into and which may contribute to their lead. Very smart graphics illustrate the delta between these top performers and the others, effectively drawing interest to solutions that may have been overlooked.
For instance, I learned that these leaders achieve higher Return On Innovation by:
putting in place special innovation teams to build and maintain a creative momentum;
aligning their actions with new territory, specifically, new business opportunities in their industry or their new products/services;
defining financial measurements to measure and tune their progress.
I was surprised by the wider variety of input channels that innovation leaders find to inspire their plans. Contests and competitions appear to create just the right amount of pressure to stimulate the genius in them. As expected, analytics and big data give them additional smarts for their decisions. These actions, along with the usual and recognized value of social networking, surveys and research, bring creativity to the table.
The report concludes with valuable tips for a more innovative organization, an innovative culture and related processes. It is really an inspiring read for all interested in this topic.
Diane Morneau, M.Sc.
Manager of Communications, Offerings and Knowledge Development
Based in Canada, Diane has been working in IBM's Collaboration Services division for eighteen years. Her team supports the Social Business Support and Services teams for their Communications, Marketing, Service Offerings, Knowledge Management and Education needs. Her favorite blogging topics are subjects related to creativity and innovation.
What's the Difference Between Search and Expertise Analytics?
During discussions with customers about the advanced capabilities of IBM Software Services' Expertise solutions, I find myself describing the differences between simple searches, enterprise searches, and the expertise analytics that we utilize. This blog summarizes those thoughts and explains why expertise analytics provides much better results than keyword or attribute searches.
Let's build up a series of layers representing different data sets and what results can be made available when trying to find an expert.
Directory - a simple attribute search
The foundation layer is the directory; that simple repository used for authentication and authorization which provides basic information like name, email address, phone number and office location. It provides answers to questions like "What is Scott's phone number". When extended to include job functions and titles, it can be used in a limited sense for expertise location by surfacing results to a search for "Certified Project Manager".
User Profile - aggregating what we know about a person
The next layer up is the user profile; a container into which we can aggregate additional details about a person. Solutions like IBM Connections provide a rich container of structured and unstructured data, aggregating details in three different dimensions
What the organization declares about me - the IBM Connections Profile is initially built from the corporate directory, with all the attributes from the directory layer incorporated into the profile. It is then extended using data integration tools to aggregate additional data elements from enterprise systems like Human Resources, Corporate Training, Skills Certifications, and Patent Databases
What I declare about myself - the IBM Connections Profile contains data elements for me to fill in, including personal background and resume information. I use social tags to stamp my profile with expertise topics, declaring the topics in which I have skills and interests
What my peers declare about me - the IBM Connections Profile then allows others to use social tagging to validate my skill areas. Peers add tags to my profile as I interact with them. The more peers tagging me for a certain skill, the more it becomes an indicator of my expertise.
With this rich profile in place I have a strong foundation for a profile search in order to locate experts. I can search for keywords and be presented with the people that have a match on that topic based on profile attributes and tags. The rich social profile is so important that we've developed a solution to rapidly capture information into it. More on IBM Connections Touchpoint in a future blog.
Content Contributions - expertise inference through publication
Any content that is contributed by a person is also a strong indicator of their expertise. IBM Connections have many containers for this purpose in the form of Files, Blogs, Wikis, Forums and Activities. Looking for an expert based on a topic keyword at this layer is similar to an enterprise search. It is very powerful and returns a large results set based on different content types. By focussing on the authors of the content, we can screen the results down to the most likely people having expertise in the needed area, and pivot to their profile to find out how to contact them. However, enterprise search results typically return a large volume of results, causing the searcher to segregate and apply filters to sift down to the real experts.
Recommendations - an application of profile and content analytics
So content and enterprise searches produce a lot of results that might overwhelm a user, and in large systems it is impossible to keep track of new people and new content as it is created. Hence the need for the Recommendations component within IBM Connections. This is an application of profile and content analytics to serve up important people and publications based on your areas of expertise. In this scenario, potential experts are served up for you consideration based on the attributes and actions you share.
The power of IBM Connections searching...
All these layers combine to form the core of IBM Connections, using search and recommendations to locate experts. It is very powerful stuff and many customers are at this part of the journey. They may have just determined a corporate directory strategy, deployed IBM Connections Profiles and begun aggregating additional data sources onto the profile, and started to use some of the content elements to capture the contributions from experts.
These elements form a repository of explicit expertise: we have specific tags, published content, and certification tracking levels stamped on the profile. What else do we have as an implicit indicator of expertise, or ways to make the results set of potential experts better?
...but let's harness the social platform and do more
Since IBM Connections is a rich social platform and we use these additional elements to reach out to more experts and refine the results to present the best experts to meet the need.
Social Validation - increase the expertise ranking based on the reaction of peers. As a content item is Liked, Reshared, and Commented upon
Social Network Analysis - knowing who is connected to whom, refine the results to promote the experts that have the most interactions with me
Engagement Analytics - based on the levels of participation in the system, promote the experts that are the most active and engaged. They are more likely to provide help
Inferred Expertise - Expertise in one area implies possible expertise in related areas. Add inferred experts to the results.
Prospective Experts - Who else has matching characteristics to known experts? It is likely that they have expertise, even if they haven't contributed yet. Seed the results with these prospective experts to get them engaged and active
Workload Balancing - It's not fair to route all inquiries to a single set of experts. Take their workload into account and even out the requests.
By taking these additional factors into account, the results set of experts moves from "Who has the skill?" to a much richer answer of "Who is the best at helping on this topic at this time?"
These additional factors are what IBM Software Services is incorporating in our series of IBM Expertise Solutions. Content within IBM Connections, as well as external content in enterprise systems, is analyzed and indexed according to standard full text practices and the more advanced social factors. We can then incorporate the expertise analytics into a variety of use cases:
IBM Expertise Locator - quickly find the best expert within the with organization on a specific topic and connect with them
IBM Social Connections Social Q&A - post a question and allow the system to route it to the best team of experts to get answered
...And more to come
For More Information
To get started, we recommend customers schedule a free IBM Expertise workshop. Contact the IBM Software Services representative in your area to learn more.
Capturing Expertise - User Onboarding Example
In this entry, we'll explore in a little more detail how to capture indications of user expertise during the onboarding process.
Previous entries have mentioned the IBM Connections Touchpoint application, which is a solution positioned to address the "blank page" problem: a social platform has been deployed, user accounts have been activated, and the message goes out to people to start using the system. The trouble is, that without proscribed tasks or guided actions, new users may navigate to the solution and not engage because profiles are empty, social networks do not exist, or communities or practice have not been established. Touchpoint helps to kickstart these activities.
Enhancing the Experience
As we developed the family of Expertise solutions, it was natural to use the initial and engaging Touchpoint experience as a mechanism to gather additional indications of expertise.
We chose LinkedIn as an important external system from which to capture data, and utilized an opt-in model for each user to access their profile, social network, and contact info.
- Details from the LinkedIn profile were used to populate the IBM Connections profile
- Skills & Endorsements from LinkedIn were added as Tags on the IBM Connections profile
- 1st and 2nd degree connections in the LinkedIn social network generated invitations to corresponding users in IBM Connections
The users choose whether to incorporate LinkedIn data or not; if not, they can skip over this section. They can also selectively choose which elements from LinkedIn gets added to their IBM Connections profile.
After the LinkedIn extraction, we retained the remainder of the core Touchpoint features:
- Additional Tags were recommended based on the user location and job role
- Additional People were recommended based on the data captured in the steps above
- Communities were recommended based on the data captured in the steps above
By priming the IBM Connections profile with these details, we were able to drive user adoption in the initial weeks of deployment. Some statistics from recent projects include:
- Manufacturer with over 30,000 profile completions within the first 2 weeks
- Technology company with 80% profile completion within 4 days
With expertise more accurately indicated in the IBM Connections Profile, we found that in one case of 2,000 users they saved at least 30 minutes each week locating experts to answer questions. The result for them was $130,000 in annual savings
For More Information
To discuss how best to utilize IBM Connections and IBM Expertise solutions in your environment, please contact your local ISSC representative or send inquiries to email@example.com
Clients and Business Partners
In order to allow you to fully enjoy all of the action at ConnectED, this year, we decided to distribute complimentary ICS certification vouchers rather than running a Certification Lab. Certify when you return, within the next 6 months, and ON OUR TAB!
Vouchers are good for 6 months, until July 31, 2015.
Vouchers can be used at any Pearson Vue testing center worldwide. Locate one at pearsonvue.com
Vouchers may only be used for ICS exams. Find those at ibm.co/1k9htjw.
A maximum of one voucher per attendee.
Come to meet us at the Expertise Zone to get a voucher.