In an interview delivered to IBM Thoughts on Cloud at the recent IBM Innovation event, renowned public speaker Guy Kawasaki shared how Cloud has been an enabler for innovation. A summary of the interview along with the recording can be accessed by cliking on the image below.
During the interview, Kawasaki noted that Cloud computing made innovation and entrepreneurship more affordable for the past decade. Cloud lifted important set up cost barriers, opening markets to more suppliers of all means and consequently, more choices for the consumer. His suggestion is compete on a strategy of a differentiated valuable product.
Creating value in today's competitive market happens through a series of success or lessons by the customer side. In that context, he shared that entrepreneurs never loose: they either succeed or they learn. This iterative process leads to steady and meaningful progress.
Reflecting on his career, he sees two key roles in a business: making a product or selling it. This observation is very much in line with American management consultant Peter Drucker, who stated that "because its purpose is to make a customer, the business has two - and only two - functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation create value, all the rests are costs."
As an enabler to make innovation accessible to all, Cloud helps reduce the costs component of the equation so businesses can focus on creating value.
Diane Morneau, M.Sc.
Manager of Communications, Offerings and Knowledge Development
Based in Canada, Diane has been working in the Collaboration Services division for eighteen years. Her team supports the Social Business Support and Services team for their Communications, Marketing, Service Offerings, Knowledge Management and Education needs. Her favorite blogging topics are subjects related to creativity and innovation.
One of the key advantages of moving to Cloud is, of course, no longer having to worry about engaging into upgrade exercises, big or small. But for those still in that mode today, please be aware that Notes, Domino or Sametime releases 8.0 are coming to end of life in April.
If you are running these releases, you may want to bridge over quickly to a supported release OR to your new platform (like Cloud). To save cycles and do it safely, we have an offer called AVP Upgrade Bridge that can be added to your maintenance contract to stay supported. Through the assistance of an Accelerated Value Leader, you will get priority service to expedite the resolution of issues, keep your production humming while you focus on your destination.
Between now and the end of March, IBM will also include, free of charge, a Multi-Media Library/User Adoption tool kit, complete with training videos, presentations, tutorials and more! This toolkit will significantly reduce training expenses and help your users adopt more quickly.
Want to hear more about the Upgrade Bridge offer? Visit the Expertise Zone while at ConnectED or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If interested by the topic of IBM Verse or IBM Event Connect, we invite you to join our two starting LInkedIn groups. We will periodically summarize in here some of the discussion but to be in the know more timely and get the full story, visit these groups regularly.
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
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.
Rooted in same projects that gave birth to Watson, IBM's cognitive technology, several products have been in development by our collaboration consulting group to do one thing: unlock Corporate Knowledge. Three words may sound simple but they have huge implications given expertise is typically spread across multiple niche applications (e-mails, presentations, communities, databases, etc.) which often spans across different vendors. From emails with short-lived visibility to communities that mushroom so fast in growing organizations that self serve search time and human switchboards become key impediments, Corporate Knowledge is often partly hidden or spread too wide to support well an agile workforce.
That's exactly the agenda behind the six years of work done by our consulting practice. Expertise 360 refers to a series of growing apps that take different angles at discovering and planning the expansion of Corporate Expertise. Let me give you some examples:
One tool is set to recuperate the knowledge stored in various product structures, whether the applications are IBM's or third party, to build a central corpus accessible through our social software.
Another application studies social sharing patterns to identify experts and their readiness to share to help the workforce route their queries. No human can keep up with it fast enough in large organizations so technology helps greatly here.
Another tool builds FAQs for reuse: this is helpful to avoid wasting expert cycles on questions already answered and to programmatically ensure the corpus remains current with actuality. The workflow ensures that answers are gathered timely and new, Watson can be one of your experts!
A couple more help build mobile learning campaigns and follow the progress of your enablement initiatives via a dashboard and measure them against goals.
These are just a few of the tools under the umbrella of Expertise 360 that you can discover while at ConnectED. Drop by the Expertise Zone and see for yourself how they can help build your Smarter Workplace.
If you are not attending and would like to hear more about these tools, just let us know and we will connect you!
Our discussions with customers have begun to identify use cases for Expertise solutions in different lines of business. Recently, we explored Customer Service and how processes within that group can be enhanced with Expertise services.
Often, there is a need to collect the additional information from end-users, making sure tacit indicators of expertise get reflected into systems. For that, we use IBM Connections Touchpoint to assist a customer service representative in completing their expertise profile.
Answering the Question
A common scenario resolves around a supported constituent having a question. The question is posed to the support team and one of the service representatives answers it. Many support departments use question categorization and support queues to align the question with a targeted workgroup of service representatives. By using IBM Connections Social Q&A, we can streamline that process. When the user enters their question, related questions are served up as links, allowing the user to obtain their answer from previously populated repositories. When entering the question, the user does not need to know whom is the best expert nor where is the best queue to place it within. The Social Q&A solution will automatically route it to the best team of experts based on the question content, the expertise profiles, and contributions of the support team. The experts are notified within their workstream and do not need to monitor queues nor switch context in order to access other systems. Once answered, the requester sees the response within their news stream.
Finding the Expert
Additional experts are sometimes needed to address a support inquiry. IBM Expertise Locator quickly finds experts based on geography, job role, and expertise topic from any workstation or mobile device. Once identified the experts can be contacted via phone, message or social platform and added into a growing network of favorite and connected experts.
Indications of expertise can be found in many systems throughout the enterprise. By using IBM Expertise Discovery, data from many systems can be aggregated and analyzed for use in the scenarios above.
Common Support Systems
IBM Expertise Solution
Requester navigates through a tree of categories or call queues
Requester can pose question directly and the solution will route to the proper queue and team of experts
Requester must perform a search of FAQ and previous answers
Related questions and their answers are automatically linked for the requester to access
Support personnel are assigned to monitor a queue
Work items are automatically routed to support personnel based on their expertise
Support teams are assigned based on supervisors understanding of their expertise
Expertise is systematically based on certification levels; declarations made by the enterprise, peers and individual; published contributions; and willingness to assist.
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.
The C2040-TBD: IBM Connections Cloud Fundamentals V1 is currently in the works and will also be a brand new addition to the portfolio. This exam is an entry-level exam covering the features and functions of the IBM Connections Cloud family of products and subscriptions. This overview exam covers all the Connections Cloud subscriptions, including IBM Verse. Candidates successfully completing this exam will receive the IBM Certified Associate - Connections Cloud V1 certification. This exam and certification pair is expected to be released around the first of April 2015.
In this Open Mic 6 minutes replay, AVL Jim Dewan describes how to incorporate Connections into your software solution monitoring/troubleshooting and performance analysis into a dynamic dashboard to oversee your Connections environment. In this short video, he presents how to collect client response time data throughout the environment and share it within the friendly confines of a Connections Community. Leveraging the Connections mobile client for this data provides access from any place, any time, and anywhere. The key to adoption rates of Connections is to deliver necessary data within various teams. Real time system status and response times metrics, information that is constantly changing, is a great way to increase usage of a Connections Community. Teams then document their knowledge around these real time stats leveraging the powerful features of Connections.
Available also for other ICS products, Watchit is a no cost monitoring and performance reporting tool available via IBM Greenhouse. It is a platform independent tool with some great Connections monitors and stress testing. There are minimal software requirements such as Python and a JRE. For Connections, it leverages the REST apis to create content for performance/functional analysis and to then push the results into a Connections Community if desired.
Have you heard about IBM Event Connect? It's an event management software, allowing participants to connect through a social network, ahead, during and after an event. The social approach is great to extend the event beyond these few days that are so expensive for everyone - the planners as well as the participants.
Available prior to the event, participants can meet other attendees and presentors to plan their event. It is a clear advantage to be able to find new contacts in a network of people with similar interests and whom you may decide to plan to meet. The conversation can mature sooner than if it just starts at the event. This is similar to the experience you get when you take a course remotely and then meet the other course participants in person: you don't start from scratch and you are already clear on who you want to prioritize to meet.
More ecologic, an event management tool saves a ton of weight on the participants shoulders and a ton of work to the event planners with the simplified logistics. The analytics also allow the planners to adjust the delivery in real time, like to add more high demand sessions and be able to communicate it to the participants. It also provides them insight for the planning of their future events.
With the large scales of today's conferences, you want to make sure you don't miss anything or anyone when you invest to go there. Conferences are for accelerated networking because so much is already available locally and virtually. If I go out of my way to participate to a professional event, I want it to be worthwhile. A tool like IBM Event Connect provides accelerates the quality of the networking, leading to higher quality discussions sooner and a more satisfying event experience. This is good for both the participant and the planners!
Find out more about IBM Event Connect by visiting regularly its home page which I also bookmarked in this community.
Did you know that IBM has created an exclusive member services site just for IBM Certification Professionals?
The IBM Certification Member Site is full of great resources to help you share your certification experience with the world. For example, members can create a unique profile page that will share your certifications and allow you to describe your accomplishments. Then you are able to share this unique profile with anyone you choose using a friendly URL. Members may also order premium or wallet-sized certificates and update their demographic information at the site.
To register at the site, you will need an IBM ID and a testing ID.
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.
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.
We are excited to announce the availability of migration services to accelerate Cloud onboarding.
Known as IBM SmartCloud Upgrade Factory (SCUF for short), this new offering provides a very streamlined set of migrations services to get customers and their mail data into the Cloud faster and cheaper than ever before!
Key features of SCUF are:
Available for existing Notes/Domino and MS Exchange Customers
Available for those who have or plan to purchase Connections Cloud S1, SmartCloud Notes or IBM Verse.
We configure the Hybrid Environment and setup all the tolling needed for staging and transitioning mail files to the cloud.
We move into the Cloud on a predefined schedule of 2500 mail files per week.
We provide unique benefits when evaluating in the content of other onboarding services to the Cloud.
We migrate calendars, contacts and email up to 500MB per mail box.
We leverage our IBM Cloud Infrastructure, powered by SoftLayer to deploy of migration tooling to get the migration of data running faster.
This service is a partnership where the customer responsibilities are:
reviewing technical prerequisites to ensure they are in place before the project begins.
to be ready to prepare 2500 mail boxes per week for the move.
to have an appropriate communications channel and support model in place to support the delivery.
to limit mailboxes to 500MB.
The service is very affordable when compared to other onboarding services and we price it in a per user pricing model to keep it simple.
Contact us if interested to hear more about SCUF or other onboarding services for IBM Verse or SmartCloud Notes.
Delivery Manager and Architect, IBM Software Services, Social Business and Industry Cloud Solutions
Stuart is an experience architect with a concentration in the design of portal and collaborative Lotus technologies. As an IT Architect in the Canadian software group’s Toronto Laboratory, Stuart has 16 years experience in the architecture and design of enterprise solutions for the banking/finance, insurance, government and manufacturing sectors. Stuart is also an active member of the IBM technical community, serving as an elected Canadian member of ISSC America’s Technology Council, an affiliate member of the IBM Academy of Technology.
As a certification program manager, I bring together regularly Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from all sources to prepare certification exams. One of the first steps in creating a new exam is determining what will be on it. To do this, I ask my SMEs, “What does a person need to know how to do in order to do XYZ job role?”. Before IBM Connections Docs came along, it was a painful process for me, as all my SMEs began shouting out tasks at once and I had to try to capture them in a document while doing a screen-share.
Now, Docs has simplified greatly this process for me and my team of SMEs. During our brainstorming session, I can simply turn the SMEs loose on a Docs Document and let them type out their ideas in their own words. All of the technical jargon is now spelled correctly! They are able to add onto each other’s thoughts in real time. I can edit their tasks in the background as they brainstorm so that they are formatted correctly so that no further editing is needed later. All of us in the Document can see who has contributed what as each contributor’s text is indicated with a different color. As we are reviewing tasks, we don’t have to wonder who contributed XYZ task because the text clearly indicates who did.
Using Docs, our brainstorming now only takes one session rather than several because difficulties with data capture and frequent editing have been virtually eliminated. The SMEs find Docs to be a very effective tool to collaborate on their exam ideas and are always pleased with the results. I've used Docs for other purposes, but this, by far, is my favorite and most useful way to use Docs.
Based in Austin, Texas, Rena has worked at IBM in a variety of roles for the past 17 years. In that time, she has worked in IBM Notes and Domino Support, the Accelerated Value Program, and now, ICS Education with Certification. She has always stressed knowledge as a way to plan and solve problems.
Help Desks are the first line of assistance for users when it comes to their user experience with technologies. While the service centers play an important role supporting the success of these applications for the business needs, the help desk information needs are sometimes left unattended. They have to compose with end-user documentation or the administration information, or create their own hybrid mix as the needs arise.
Here is how I typically prepare for a service engagement to bring our experience to the Help Desks:
1- Deep dive into the functionalities enabled at the site
A good understanding of the functionalities used by their users, complemented when it makes sense with how it works in the background, is a wise investment.
2- Review related processes
Often tasked to execute common processes like creating users, groups, fixing issues, a review of these processes can not only ensure they are well understood but it can help unveil some outdated practices or potential improvements that have become available since.
Of course! Troubleshooting scripts. Ensuring they are aware of the existence of valuable information to use it or pass it along. Where to be plugged in to be in the know of the latest. Where they can exchange with people in similar roles using the same technologies. And so on.
When I prepare for such engagement, I often review IBM's own help desk information to identify the popular requests. That's another way of making our customers benefit of the experience of the bigger IBM team.
Accelerated Value Specialist/Field Support Engineer
Based in the United States, Brad Boston has been working in a customer facing role at IBM for the past ten years. In that time the focus has always been not only on problem resolution but on total customer satisfaction. His areas of technical skill include the IBM i platform, Sametime, Traveler and Websphere.