Would you like to hire Watson to be part of your workforce in action? You will be pleased to hear that Watson can now participate in Connections in the same way a human worker can, as an option available through Social Q&A.
Social Q&A is part of the Expertise 360 suite. It enables users to obtain and reuse answers from questions intelligently routed to subject matter experts throughout your organization. Social Q&A leverages smart analytics to route new questions to the appropriate subject matter experts for timely handling and to build a central repository of questions and answers for reuse.
We now have the capability of adding Watson as an expert that can be polled by Social Q&A, allowing Watson, as an expert in your organisation, to support your workforce in unprecedented ways. An employee could post a question, say, related to one of your products requirements, corporate policies, a question regarding local laws, traveling, etc... Watson will apply the extent of his expertise to answer questions with unmatched speed and efficiency.
Find out more about Social Q&A and about hiring Watson to support your workforce by visiting the Expertise Zone set up at Peacock 1. Jason Gary or David Byrd will be pleased to tell you more.
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!
From the desk of Scott Rogers
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.
As part of the acquisition of IBM's X86 business, Lenovo needed to migrate users out of IBM systems. Thy chose T-Systems who provides the engine for our Content Migration Factory to help them quickly move content to the cloud. For more information on the Lenovo migration check out the article in Computer Weekly online. For more information on our Content Migration Factory see the sales kit in this community.
Promotional offer available September 15th thru December 15, 2014.
User Adoption Toolkit and Multimedia Library for:
Notes Domino 9
Latin American Spanish
All for $65,000 msrp Enterprise License (Regular price would be $110,000 for 10K users.)
Offer through December 15, 2014
Do you know what the User Adoption Toolkit includes? In addition to the Multimedia Library content your customer is currently enjoying, with the upgrade to User Adoption Toolkit the customer receives content to assist their development of customized targeted content for their users. For example
Courses that can track user Progress
Customizable Trainer Guides
Lunch-and-Learn Topic Trainers
Widget/Gadget for quick integration into core applications
More info here or reach out to your local Collaboration Solutions Services representative. Unsure who to contact? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll follow up quickly.
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
Check out this new short demo video! In just 45 seconds you can see how Social Sidebar provides access to Connections from any web page. Read more about Social Sidebar here
and let us know what you think? How could you use IBM Connections Social Sidebar?
We'd love for you to post comments and questions in this Community, but if you prefer email, send to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
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
Special Offer for Connect 2014 Attendees
To help you on your Social Business journey, we've assembled 3 special offers, available this week only. See the sections below for more details.
Social Business Services, Design and Apps Discovery Zone
While attending Connect 2014, swing by Europe 3 & 4 and interact with winning customer and employee digital experiences, and as important, the IBM experts who bring these real-world solutions to our clients!
Throughout the week, we will host experts in Design, Social Business Apps and Services Solutions. Discover how IBM Software Services for Collaboration transforms inspired customer experiences to life with our new Design Studio, Expertise 360° strategy, Social Business Apps, Managed Business Solutions and more. Walk away with real-world insight, tools and design leadership to help you get the most out of your social business.
Social Business Applications - Your chance to win $25,000 in IBM Services
Do you want to:
Reduce the 28% of your day typically spent processing email?
Regain the 1 day per week typically lost searching for information?
Be 25% more productive in your work?
Find Experts in your organization in 60 seconds or less?
IBM Social Business Applications extend your social business platform to achieve these results. It's #SocialOnSteroids
Meet Scott Rogers in the Discovery Zone, Europe 4 (Dolphin hotel) to learn how you can:
Leverage your social business platform
Surface the experts in your organization
Increase user adoption
Stop by Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday during the hours of 3:30 - 5:00pm for a drink* to discuss how the #ISSCApps can help your company.
One company will be chosen for a $25,000 services credit toward deployment of the Social App of their choice.
Accelerated Value Program - Your chance to win a Kindle
Would you like to be a hero in your organization?
Are you short on skills or staffing?
Would you like to drive down the timeline to successful implementations?
Do you need a little extra guidance and advice to make your software hum?
Would you like someone to manage your issues?
IBM's Accelerated Value Program can help you do all that and more! It's #BeAHero
Meet Janet Baum in the AVP Red Carpet Lounge, Europe 3 (Dolphin hotel) to learn how you can:
Have IBM assist and advise you on your environment
Get greater support for your projects
Increase your ROI on your software investment
Stop by during the following hours for a drink* and a chance to win a Kindle!
One company will be chosen to receive a free Kindle.
Flexible Cloud - Your chance to win a free assessment
Do you like the flexibility provided by on-premises software? Do you need the benefits of Cloud computing?
ISSC's #flexiblecloud (Managed Business Solutions) is the solution for your company.
Meet Collin Murray in the Discovery Zone, Europe 4 (Dolphin hotel) to learn how you can move your business to the cloud.
Stop by Tuesday, 8:30 - 11:30am, 12:30 - 2, and 4-5 for a drink* to discuss how the #flexiblecloud can help your company.
One company will be chosen for a no cost 2-3 day assessment on your premises to show how you can move your business to the cloud.
We hope to see you in the Zone to discuss Social Business!
* Free drink tickets (1 per person) while supplies last! Drink tickets are redeemable at the Dolphin hotel bar.
Just Published: IBM Accelerated Value Program Application Developer Support (Flyer)
Delivering custom SDK developer support
Evolving business needs and application collaboration requirements need help to remove technical or implementation barriers. We can assist your organization on achieving the right path to extend the capabilities of your IBM Connections or WebSphere Portal Server environments, with the IBM Accelerated Value Program Application Developer offering. IBM experts provide in-depth technical information and support to clients through SDK Developer solutions, that deliver application development support or an experienced SDK developer for custom applications. To significantly reduce the implementation time of your Connections or WebSphere Portal applications, to quickly unlock the business value.
Leverages IBM expertise to remove implementation barriers for deploying new applications
Delivers higher value with lower risk through remote or on-site
Provides multiple options for developing in-house skills and guidance for high quality application projects
Assists with code level review and custom business applications
Finding emails among large mail databases and archives can be a challenge!
The new IBM Notes Extended Search Plugin for IBM Notes 9 contains a simplified interface, allowing you to very quickly find your emails by using the power of IBM Notes Search engine.
This Plugin can be installed from the Notes menu or with an MSI installer. Currently available in Chinese, English, French, German and Spanish; other languages can be added upon request. There is a cost associated with this services asset. For more information please contact your local ISSC rep or send an email to email@example.com
Key Features of the IBM Notes Extended Search Plugin:
Can search only for mail (agenda entries are excluded)
Available from any view or folder where emails are displayed
Results are displayed in a new tab
Two kinds of search : simple and advanced
Search target can be specified : only in the current mail file and/or all archives
Local and archive mail files are full text indexed automatically
Friendly user interface
Precise searches are very easy
Once installed you can choose to display the plugin or not in your mail database. If you do not want to display it, you will only have a single line displayed.
As explained above, the Plugin has 2 modes "Simple" and "Advanced".
Simple search mode
All the results from multiples sources are aggregated into one page
Advanced search mode
Choice of the location: current mail box, archives only or both.
The Advanced search mode is allowing more precise searches in just few clicks.
It contains among other things 9 understandable criterias to perform your search:
From, Subject, Date, Age, Body content, …
You can have up to 5 conditions simultaneously.
You can add or remove the conditions one by one (+ -)
All the results are displayed like for the simple search in a new tab
One line, one e-mail
The search can be refined directly
The search result page is not a view (no right click options as in a view), but the following information is provided in the results page:
Who | Subject | Date | Attachment icon | Source (Main mail database or Archive for example)
The results can be sorted by Date, Relevance, Who, Subject, Attachment, Source.
Delegation and other Mail databases
When you open another mail database than your current mail file (the one declared in you location document), the plugin performs the search only in the current view and display the results in this view. We keep the standard behavior of the search view option.
You can get a 90 days free trial of the IBM Notes Extended Search Plugin by contacting IBM at firstname.lastname@example.org
The price of this asset will be provided by a local IBM sales representative.