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
IBM Collaboration Solutions Certified Professionals can benefit from engaging not just with others in the ICS Certification program, but with the overarching IBM Certification Program. Cross-brand promotions, networking opportunities, and information specific to certified individuals, regardless of product specialization, are just a click away.
So connect to this exceptional, brand-agnostic program for IBM Certified Professionals through social media via Facebook and/or Twitter.
IBM Professional Certification knows that having an online presence and engaging in Social Business is no longer an option, it is a necessity. These accounts provide an opportunity for individuals certified on Collaboration Solutions products to connect with peers and certified professionals in other brands. Key members of the IBM Certification team, industry leaders, and those looking to become certified are also active in these spaces. These forums provide excellent opportunities for professionals to stay in touch and up-to-date with industry trends, news, and happenings.
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.
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.
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!
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 hereor reach out to your local Collaboration Solutions Services representative. Unsure who to contact? Send an email to email@example.com and we'll follow up quickly.
Interested in some quick learning on Connections 5?
Our YouTube channel, ICSSupportVideos, delivers short 5-6 minutes videos on a variety of topics related to our products - best practices, configuration tips, demonstrations and so on. Subscribe and be one of the first advised of new postings!
Here are our recent Connections 5 related submissions targeted mostly to administrators:
Upgrading to Connections 5 - deployment options
In this extract of a recent Open Mic event, Greg Presayzen and Charlie Price dive into the 3 deployment options, advising to take the opportunity of the next upgrade to review your topopoly.
Connections 5 Multi Assign Activity Task
In this video, Sachin Bhatia explain how to turn on a new capability available through Connections 5: allowing the selection of multiple owners for activity tasks.
Connections External User Collaboration
In this video, Greg Presayzen and Charlie Price explain how to use the new external user capability added to Connections 5.
Connections Invite Demonstration
On the same topic as the above, Scott Rogers presents an optional app introduced recently that takes external collaboration one step further with workflow and account management.
Configuring the redirect to "My Page" in IBM Connections 5.0
In this video, Kevin Holohan explains how to configure a new user to be directly liked to his page rather than the standard Getting Started page.
Add Department Title to Profile Page
In this video, Kevin Holohan demonstrates how to display the department title in the profiles page.
Customizing the profile "Invite to network" dialogue
In this video, Kevin Holohan explains how to customize the profile "Invite to network" dialogue box to adapt it to your organization needs.
Our YouTube channel, ICSSupportVideos, delivers short 5-6 minutes videos on a variety of topics related to our products - best practices, configuration tips, demonstrations and so on. Subscribe and be one of the first advised of new postings!
Here are a few recent submissions:
Connections Touchpoint demo
In this demonstration, Scott Rogers, Collaboration Consultant, shows how a new user can be routed through the Touchpoint application to build their profile and social network.
A brief overview of the Websphere SSL Configuration area as used by the Sametime product family
An overview by Tony Payne, as part of a Sametime Open Mic session titled "SSL and Sametime: POODLE Training 101" delivered in March.
Install and configure IBM Notes client for federated login (SAML) on a PC workstation
In this video, Frank Meng and J Rajendran explain how to install and configure IBM Notes client for federated login (SAML) on a new or an additional PC workstation.
The move to the Cloud does not have to be a lonely journey... in fact it should not be! The move to the Cloud is driven by cost,improved agility and innovation, in order to improve business results. Whether it is a back office application that tracks customer behavior, a self service application that reduces cost and improves sales, or a CRM system, they all have one common denominator, business results. Successfully leveraging Cloud computing requires making sure your organization is properly aligned and all roles and responsibilities accounted for. As we accompany various Corporations through their different stages of maturity with their use of the Cloud, I identified five patterns which I would like to share:
1: IT organizations must adapt
A successful move to the Cloud requires awareness and planning for the new roles and responsibilities that come with the move. Today's organizations are built to accommodate the traditional on premise computing model that has been around for decades. Even if parts are outsourced, the model as well as roles and responsibilities remained the same. The life cycle of on premise is spans the gamut from product/technology evaluation, architecture, deployment, operations and support. The environment is under the control of the CIO and the teams are organized for best results. With move to the Cloud,the environment as well as roles and responsibilities required for success are different
2: Change is constant, get used to it
One often overlooked change in moving to the cloud is what is needed to manage change. With on premise computing, change is a critical part of any organization. I have a long history in the change management discipline. I have sat through weeks or months of planning meetings for new hardware and software. Changes to the environment are painstakingly planned, and tested before deployment. Introducing a change with out due diligence can have catastrophic results, taking down mission critical systems and impacting the business. Cloud is much different. No longer do changes come in waves or "releases", instead there is a constant delivery model where changes are made weekly or even daily. To take the best advantage of Cloud an organization must be constantly informed and updated on new features and functions. Business units need to plan to take advantage of the new features and functions, help desks must be aware in order to support users. Above all the customer IT organization must be well informed and as agile as possible.
3: Opportunities abound, the agile will win
Cloud computing brings with it many great opportunities but to fully exploit them, you need to look at your organization. The constant delivery model necessitates changes to everything from application development to help desk. While we typically think of a deployment phase, now we must think of constant exploitation of what the Cloud has to offer. The organization that can identify the way to best leverage Cloud capabilities and do it quickly and constantly, will succeed. Organizations that do not will find the move challenging and will not optimize their investments.
4: Partnership is required for success
We in the IT community have talked about "partnerships" for decades. With the Cloud it is even more imperative that vendors and customers build strong and true partnerships. With the rate of change and today's highly competitive business environment no one can afford time lost due to finger pointing. Instead, the communication needs to be as partners, not as vendor and customer. This applies not only to any issue encountered during the initial set up or migration, but throughout the complete process. Good communication is the key to success.
5: It's ok to be in the dark
Introduction of new features and products, like many aspects of Cloud computing, is vastly different from the on premise model. Unlike on premise, where upgrade decisions are made based on a new release or version of a product, Cloud leverages "dark launch". New features or upgrades can literally be introduced at any time, with limited access granted by the vendor. Now, instead of a 6 month beta period, customers can involve themselves in programs where they can pick and choose new features they want to try. Instead of a "waterfall" approach, the customer must position themselves to constantly evaluate and take advantage of new features.
To help customers to get the most of the Cloud, we crafted a Premier Support offering that offers a higher level of support and can be personalized to the needs.
The dreaded call spike from a new version of software is the nightmare all Service Desk professionals have experienced. Service Level metrics, staffing and productivity all suffer when we deploy new versions of software, especially when the User interface has changed. Remember “Where is the Print Button?” from the new Office 2007 ribbon? That simple interface change stimulated a 47% rise in Service Desk calls for a 90 day rolling period in countless organizations. Answering ‘spike’ questions disrupts service levels, creates staffing challenges, and causes delays in agents resolving more complex diagnostic issues. By using pre-emptive intervention and a continuous ‘User Adoption Campaign’, Service Desks are able to smooth the implementation change for End Users and minimize the Service Desk metric levels.
Continuous Campaigns is a way to think about the solution from an End Users’ perspective. Like an advertising agency, we need to ‘touch’ the ‘consumer’ 13 times to change behavior. If we are going to do that, we need tools and programs that intersect with the End User (aka Spike Caller!) at every point in the users’ learning progression in the their new application environment. The chart below illustrates some of the resources that can be deployed in concert to minimize disruption and enhance productivity.
User Adoption Tools (UAT) are the key to running Continuous Campaigns that will keep spike calls to a minimum. UAT materials can be as simple as what the Service Desk has always known as a ‘Cheat Sheet’. These 2 page basic How-To guides are essential for Agents, so why not for ‘Consumers’ (aka End Users)? How about a short commercial that gives a preview of the new software? A Tip of the Week email as the product is launched? Or Lunch and Learn Topic slide presentations? Deploying a range of resources that can get in front of questions as they occur or stimulate questions when we are ready to take them is a good thing for both the User and the Service Desk. New user interfaces and changes to software design are as frustrating to End Users productivity as it is the Service Desk efficiency!
Our job is to get IT Users back to work! … and get them up to speed on new software quickly. Think about how you can contribute to Continuous Campaigns and how you might build User Adoption Tools that pre-empt the spike that will occur AGAIN with Windows 10 and Office 2016.
Keith Gibson, CEO
Keith is a 15 year veteran of the Service Desk industry where he has focused on the role of Knowledge in the support equation. His experience includes very large as well as startup service desks. He has worked for IBM, KPMG, Sykes Enterprises before founding his own business over 15 years ago. Knowledge Accelerators was founded with the belief that once table driven applications accelerated application deployment, the speed an organization can adapt to changes is then constrained by the speed knowledge can be assimilated by the end ‘consumers’ of the knowledge.
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.
With the overall theme of sharing experiences on how to develop a breakthrough idea to take it to fruitition, we warmed up on a few questions regarding developping our personal brand in social medias. We shared thoughts on the importance to establish a niche for oneself. Among the great input being tabled, Dorie Clark shared that it is important in order to establish credibility and that once this is done, you can strategically expand into adjacent areas.
We then discussed the importance for companies to foster a climate for collective innovation rather than expect that all breakthrough ideas should come from the top. Widely accepted concept, some good insight was shared including my favorite, one of Tamara McCleary's contribution stating that "sometimes the people who have the best ideas are the ones who don't think they have the answers". This is so true. Without teaming, some ideas go to waste. Ideas find their place easier and are built on through the diversity and the power of teams. Later in the call, she also shared tips on how to involve people who think they are not creative so they become full contributors.
We discussed many of the conditions required to take great ideas to term in a corporate setting, like the importance of getting honest peer feedback to do the initial idea strenghtening, the importance of networks and sponsorship to expand and so on. We also touched on the topic of protectionism when Mark Babbitt rightfully pointed out that "Protectionism is an Industrial age obstacle, a barrier to success. In the Social Age, we don't own ideas... we create conversations around them". Very well said, I thought.
Through-out the chat, the featured authors and the participants generously shared their experience and observations on the questions asked. We concluded with a discussion around how to combine ideas across fields to support passions. This ability to transpose a working model to a new field to reuse expertise and inspire creativity is a key differentiator of innovators.
If you would like to read the full transcript of this very interesting crowd chat, just click on the picture above.
Diane Morneau, M.Sc.
Manager of Communications, Offerings and Knowledge Development
Based in Canada, Diane has been working in IBM's Collaboration Services division for eighteen years. Her team supports the Social Business Support and Services teams for their Communications, Marketing, Service Offerings, Knowledge Management and Education needs. Her favorite blogging topics are subjects related to creativity and innovation.
Things are progressing rapidly in the world of IBM Verse, our new intelligent mail assistant, with a neat "Getting Started" wizzard just released and the Android version of Verse Mobile expected this week (the iOS one is already out).
Personally, I am very impressed by the genius behind the important contacts toolbar, highlighted in red in the enclosed picture of the desktop version. I consider it the "dashboard to my mail file". It presents the counts of unread emails, of what I owe others, of what they owe me, along my important contacts. On Mobile, important contacts appear in a full screen, from which you can see a person's mail by selecting their picture.
What is so great about it?
It helps me be more dynamic! Verse scans my inbox and identifies important correspondants based on the moment. I can make a suggestion of important contact stick through a simple drag and drop or work with the dynamic choices identified by Verse's smarts. Prior to using Verse, I did not adjust to my actual workload my list of important contacts. Verse does it for me now. Verse's recommendations on my cyclic important friends is priceless: they help me adapt to the changing demand.
One clic replaces scrolling. Verse saves me from scrolling to attend my mail. While color coding previously helped me spot important mail, now, I am informed of important arrivals without any browsing thanks to visual cues on this dashboard and a single clic. Nothing falls off to screen.
You've got mail! No, Better: You've got important mail! Verse advises me of any new mail from an important person by a red dot. I can't miss it. Dynamic. Visible. Timely. Effective. If I click on the circled icon representing this person, it shows me the mail related to this person. I am no longer in chasing mode through a list of emails: what is important comes to me in a click.
Act on me! Just as brilliant, are the counts of unread mail and follow up emails, now split in two categories: what I owe others and what they owe me. I always found that I did not attend as regularly as I would like to, my follow up folder. Here, the numbers are nagging me for action!
Without a doubt, the important contacts toolbar is key to my new way to work, a huge time saver and organizer.
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.
My team, part of the Collaboration Services team, brings innovative applications built on the Connections platform to market. Right now we're working with IBM Research, IBM CIO and the Analytics Strategy team to introduce a solution that measures employee social engagement. So, for the past few weeks I've been learning about Engagement Analytics.
Not sure what that term means? Engagement analytics measures levels of participation and the value of contributions to a social environment. At IBM we are strongly encouraged to share information / ideas / files socially in IBM Connections and, as a result, I now spend more of my time working in Connections than I do in email. Our internal engagement analytics dashboard gives me feedback on how I'm doing (pretty well, actually).
The dashboard provides a numerical score on a scale of 1 to 100 for my level of engagement as compared to others in my organization and IBM overall. The overall score has several components including my level of activity (how often I post and share content) and how others react to content I've shared (are they commenting on it or liking it). Eminence measures how often people reach out to me (are they tagging me, mentioning me) and my network score rates the size and diversity of my network. It's fun to see my score climb and it's also fun to compare scores with teammates. Additionally it helps me understand where I can improve.
Engagement analytics goes beyond just providing my personal social dashboard. By compiling the data for business units or organizations, managers can better understand the social health of their teams. This is an emerging area of research with many possibilities that I'm just starting to understand. One thing I know for sure is that when we start talking to customers about this solution we'll get great feedback on how it needs to evolve to better support their needs. Stay tuned for more information on our offerings over the next few weeks.
If you're interested in learning more about this topic, I highly recommend the information Marie Wallace has shared here as well as well as in her blog. Oh, and don't forget her Ted Talk!
Cynthia L. Oehmig
Worldwide Program Manager, ISSC Apps Program
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Cynthia has worked at IBM for almost 20 years. Always focused on collaboration software, she has worked on both services and education teams. One of her favorite things about IBM is meeting and working with people all over the world.