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.
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.
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.
Working as a Field Support Engineer, the majority of our service engagements are tailored to the specific needs of a client. One of my favorite types of engagements is delivering deep dive sessions onsite at customers.
I just returned from delivering two customers engagements delivering IBM Sametime 9 enablement onsite to administrators. Sametime is a product that delivers a front end user experience that depends so much on a variety of interacting products which vary greatly from configuration to configuration. The best way to keep the skills fresh and focused is often to do it with an environment review.
I spend most of my time with a select group of products. The exposure allowed by a year of engagements builds an experience rapidly, not to mention the ongoing experience sharing with peers in a similar role, in Support or with Development worldwide. During a customer engagement, I typically discover new opportunities to help on things beyond the intended product training, as the conversation leads sometimes to wishes, odd "esoteric experiences", past issues or just a question that bring to light unmet needs that I can sometime address on the spot. At minimum, the training allows us to focus specifically on the components used, helping the installation overall and the manpower driving it.
Doing such training onsite definitely delivers value more than once.
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.
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.
At the IBM Amplify 2015 conference next week, May 11-13, you'll learn how IBM can help you deliver the engagement that your customers expect and your business requires. When it comes to customer engagement, the ability to make the right decisions and take the right actions based on a consistent and meaningful view of each customer is critical for success.
If you are registered for Amplify 2015, you can log into IBM Event Connect now to learn about the exciting events planned for the week and begin building your event agenda before you arrive. IBM Event Connect also helps you grow your social network before and during Amplify 2015, and stay connected after the event has ended.
And IBM Event Connect provides convenient mobile access to all your Amplify 2015 planning and networking needs through the IBM Event Connect mobile apps for iOS and Android.
With IBM Event Connect, you don't have to miss anything or anyone when you attend Amplify 2015. You accelerate the value of networking, leading to higher quality discussions sooner and a more satisfying event experience. IBM Event Connect is the best way to get the most out of your Amplify 2015 event experience.
Those of you interested by detailed technical news for the maintenance and support of your IBM Collaboration products, you may be interested to visit and become a member of our sister blog site, the IBM Collaboration Solutions Support blog, which I added to our important bookmarks for your future reference.
Featured this week, some news that you may be interested in:
- A reminder about End Of Service reached on April 30 for the following products: Notes-Domino 8.0x, Sametime 8.0x, Sametime Entry 8.5x, to name a few. It is possible to purchase a service extension for some products through your services contact.
IBM Customers can get started on their own Expertise journey. The IBM Software Services team has made the Expertise Analytics, Expertise Locator, and other applications available for customer deployments on-premises and in the cloud...
Event Marketing company Omnience Casey Cote talks about the benefits of using IBM Event Connect as an event app. He explains that the social space distinguishes this solution from event apps. It observed that it achieves a higher level of engagement among event planners, participants and speakers through out the conference. Omnience has noticed a higher satisfaction rate among participants since using IBM Event Connect.
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.
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.
IBM Customers can get started on their own Expertise journey. The
IBM Software Services team has made the Expertise Analytics,
Expertise Locator, and other applications available for customer
deployments on-premises and in the cloud. More details available in
the IBM Software Services Collaboration community
(https://ibm.biz/issc_community) and the Expertise Locator wiki
page (https://ibm.biz/BdEb9m). My thoughts on the difference
between search and expertise location in this blog entry
Keep watching for the new releases of Touchpoint, Expertise Locator
and Social Q&A.
Contact me or your local ISSC representative for more details.
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.
Over the course of the next months, I plan to bring to contribution in this forum various experts from our Services, Support and Client Success team to discuss things that matter to you.
I work with a great team of innovative folks. I introduced a few in January but there are 800 more of them across the globe! Even though I have been onboard for quite a few years myself, it is only recently that I discovered in more depth some of the great work taking place.
Provide me your input! Let me know what you are particularly interested in. We can give insight on our entire portfolio of collaboration products and services including education. We can point you to good articles and resources to be aware of.
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 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.
Our Collaboration Services team and our strategic partners extend the value of your social space. For the 30 days following ConnectED 2015, we will include at no extra charge our Touchpoint user adoption app when you acquire one app. Add private user-to-user messaging with Direct Messaging. Access Connections from any web page with Social Sidebar. Improve access to you experts with Social Q&A. Energize your projects with Collaboration Services for ProjExec. Add intranet like communications responsibilities to Connections with Collaboration Services for TIMETOACT. Reduce support costs and improve productivity with the User Adoption Toolkits.
Important news for Notes - Domino - Sametime customers running 8.0
If you still run release 8.0 of any of the above software, you will be interested to hear about thenew Upgrade Bridge offer available to remain supported until you are ready to move on. Whether you have on the horizon, moving to Cloud or upgrading on-premise, Upgrade Bridge ensures better focus through the assistance of a shared account manager from our AVP Service to help you. Just until the end of March, we added a bonus: we will include at no extra cost one User Adoption Kit (aka Multimedia library) in one language to teach your users the essential skills they need to quickly exploit the new productivity enhancing features. Visit the Expertise Zone to find out more.
Additional specials for ConnectED participants available at the Expertise Zone!
Free day of consultation:visit the Expertise Zone for a demonstration of any of our apps and you may receive one of three free days of consultation!
Complimentary ICS Certification vouchers: In order to allow participants 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!
To continue our ConnectEd Expertise Zone blog series, I'd like introduce Rob Gearhart.
Located in Austin, Texas, Rob is an extremely valuable member of the IBM Support team. With years of emergency on-site experience, Rob leads by doing and has become an exceptional leader and troubleshooter within IBM. Rob has a deep understanding of memory management and problem determination tooling, which has enabled him to solve the toughest of performance problems for our customers.
On Wednesday, January 28 at 10:30 - 11:30 AM EST, Rob will be presenting "Digital Nightmares - The Biggest Performance Killers in Your Environment" in Mockingbird 1-2 rooms of Walt Disney World's Swan Resort.
We are looking forward to meet you at ConnectED. This year, the AVP Red Carpet Lounge and the Lab Services Zone merged in one room that you don't want to miss: the Expertise Zone.
Discover our innovative solutions to build Organizational Expertise and meet other engaged event participants interested in the same. Our experts have been helping customers worldwide extend the power of Social to accelerate employee engagement and to build greater collective knowledge.
This lead us to extend our portfolio of solutions to help the popular shift to the Cloud and to expand the value of Connections. If you find that expertise sharing is not happening fast enough in your organization, you want to hear about our solutions. We now have social project and innovation management solutions for you. As discussed earlier this week, we will preview Project MUSE, a framework allowing cloud and on-premise customers to be early adopters even with a customized environment. We will present our three tier level of support for cloud customers, maximizing your ROI, providing a higher priority service level and providing expert assistance for the adoption and full benefit of the Cloud. We can help you move to cloud extremely fast and efficiently thanks to SmartCloud Migration Factory and bring your Domino applications along. Last but not least, if you have been busy and missed the upcoming end of service of Notes 8.0, Domino 8.0 and Sametime 8.0, we can help you bridge to a supported release with our Upgrade Bridge offering with an extra!
Lots of action and even more! Drop by the Expertise Zone to meet our hosts. We'll be more than happy to answer your questions and talk about our solutions.
Tony Cusato is one of our most popular FSS Engineers as he has touched a large number of the products in our portfolio. Tony has been a precursor on the use of our products on virtual platform, on IBM Connections, Docs, Forms Experience Builder, Sametime, Notes/Domino, and Traveler.
Lately, Tony has been focused on IBM Event Connect, an Event Management software that IBM developed and which is used for several of IBM's key events such as ConnectED. If you have been at any of our key events last year, you probably noticed the modern, mobile conference site with social collaboration woven throughout that attendees, presenters and conference organizers have access to before, during and after the event. This facilitates greatly networking, helps conference attendees get the most of their attendance and conference organizers to maximize the value of their current and future events.
Come to meet Tony at the Expertise zone to discuss topics of common interest, to get his input on a challenge you might be facing, or simply just to say "Hi"!
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!
To continue our ConnectEd Expertise Zone blog series, I'd like introduce Charlie Price.
If you've worked with IBM Support on your IBM Connections deployment you may have had the pleasure to work with Charlie. Charlie has spent over five years as Technical Team Lead in IBM Connections Support and is one of our most senior Support Engineers. Charlie is based out of Atlanta, Georgia.
On Tuesday, January 27 at 2:30 - 3:30 PM EST, Charlie will be presenting "Fast Lane to IBM Connections 5" in Southern Hemisphere Salon 1 of Walt Disney World's Dolphin Resort.
In his presentation, Charlie will help you build a Connections 5.0 migration and go-live plan. He will also teach you how to enable some popular new features in Connections 5.0, such as Survey Widget, IBM Docs, the Docs viewers, the Ephox editor, the Desktop plugins and more! He has a wealth of knowledge about how Connections integrates with other products.
On Tuesday or Wednesday morning, stop by to meet Charlie with your IBM Connections questions at Expertise Zone (Peacock 1 in Walt Disney World Resort's Swan Resort).
Today, I'd like to introduce Gaganpreet (Ginni) Saini. Ginni is a senior member of our Sametime Level 2 Support team. With over ten years of experience in troubleshooting challenging customer situations and implementing real-time enterprise web conferencing applications, Ginni has a wealth of knowledge. She focuses on our Sametime product but has skills in many areas from application development to code debugging.
On Wednesday, January 28 at 11:45 AM - 12:45 PM EST, Ginni will be presenting "Connect the Dots: IBM Sametime Audio/Video Planning, Deployment, Troubleshooting and Beyond" in Swan meeting rooms 7-10 of Walt Disney World's Swan Resort. During her presentation, she will delve into deploying and administering Sametime media services, a very popular topic lately. You will build an understanding of how the Sametime media pieces work together to provide media services to the end user, and will learn how to troubleshoot the audio/video issues in your existing deployment.
You can also speak with Ginni at the Expertise Zone (set up in Peacock 1) on Monday, January 26 between 10:30 AM - 1:00 PM EST, and on Tuesday, January 27, between 8:30 - 12:00 PM EST.
Interested in seeing a demo of our social business applications at ConnectED? Stop by the Expertise Lab, located in Peacock 1 at the Swan. Here's a peek at what we'll be showing.
Establish robust expertise profiles by guiding users through the process with IBM Connections Touchpoint
Find relevant experts quickly with the IBM Expertise Locator mobile application
Route questions to experts and capture their answers with IBM Connections Social Q&A
Visualize future user experience patterns with Project MUSE (hear more about Muse at ConnectED)
Expand beyond your firewall safely with IBM Connections Invite (coming soon!)
Communicate privately within Connections with IBM Connections Direct Messaging
Stay connected to your social content from any web page with IBM Connections Social Sidebar
Receive effective multimedia learning when you need it with the User Adoption Toolkits
Manage communications and collaboration content together with Collaboration Services for TIMETOACT XCC
Provide Social Project Management for the enterprise with Collaobration Services for ProjExec
Manage the crowd-sourced creative process with HYPE Innovation for Connections
After setting the stage with Bridge to Cloud, Move to Cloud with SmartCloud Upgrade Factory
Move the content from legacy systems to WCM and Connections with IBM Content Migration Factory
Accelerate the deployment and management of the XDX and Social environments with AutoDeploy
Andre Hagemeier is one of our WebSphere Portal and Connections specialists from Germany. His specialty lies in the extensive customization of Portal behavior to suit the clients' needs. He has deep knowledge of the underlying application server architecture and functioning and the Java runtime itself. He has been the core developer of the deployment and middleware automation asset IBM Autodeploy for WebSphere Portal. He is one of our top experts on Connections development, extension and customization.
At ConnectED, André will be teaming with Enno Scholz from Hype, to discuss the work they have been doing to support Innovation Management in large global organizations. They will talk about Hype Innovation for Connections which significantly improves the support for ideation, the selection of the ideas of highest potential, their implementation and success tracking. For instance, this app permits the prominent positioning of Idea campaigns for higher participation rates. It also integrates evaluation wizards. These are just a few of the enhancements that it brings to your Connections space.
Meet André at the Expertise Zone through-out the event to share his expertise on this solution, the Apps portfolio or Project Muse. We invite those who have questions or want to hear more about Hype Innovation for Connections, to come to meet him at the Expertise Zone on Monday, between 3PM and 4PM.
To continue our ConnectEd Expertise Zone blog series, I'd like to introduce Wes Morgan.
Many of our readers have seen or heard of Wes Morgan. Wes is a senior member of the IBM Support team and has presented at IBM events for over a decade. He has a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of hardware, software, networking and troubleshooting. He is a valued and experienced IBM Sametime Deployment Engineer.
You can listen to and meet Wes:
Sunday, January 25 at 1 - 2 PM EST - Wes will be presenting along with IBM Champion Chris Miller, "IBM Sametime Deployment Do's and Don'ts: Tips, Tricks, Perils and Pitfalls" in the Mockingbird room of Walt Disney World's Swan Resort.
Wednesday, January 28 at 7:15 - 8:15 AM EST - Wes will be presenting "Enterprise Networks - What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You" in the Toucan room of Walt Disney World's Swan Resort.
Wednesday, January 28 at 8:30 - 10:30 AM EST - Wes will be available to meet and speak with you at the ConnectED Expertise Zone (set up in Peacock 1 in Walt Disney World Resort's Swan Resort). Stop by to meet Wes, network between sessions or take a coffee break.
In addition to being a Sametime guy, Wes is a network guru, is a father of four, loves to read, is a musician and does not shy away from a great political discussion.
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.
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!
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.
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
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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
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
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
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.