Knowledge Shared is Power
I've been involved in knowledge management and collaboration in one form or another for most of my working life. The old saying "Knowledge is power" holds less and less resonance for me in the fast-paced working life where new technologies and practices are shifting the balance of power. Myself and a colleague, Shiyghan Navti, discussed this over coffee with Luis Suarez at Lotusphere 2008 in Orlando. We concluded that knowledge SHARED is power now.
Why? Well, in organisations where individuals are collaborating and sharing across traditional hierarchical lines, content that is sitting in individual silos is becoming increasingly being bypassed. After all, if people don't know what kernels of knowledge are contained in your sum of experience - and someone else is sharing openly, they'll go for what's available.
(Luis has an excellent presentation on Slideshare I'd recommend here which talks about knowledge, collaboration, communities, networks, and how this fits with the capabilities social software bring us, and the organisations we work within.)
My first public blog was hand-built effort in 2001. Since then I've whole heartedly adopted our internal IBM platform, Connections. This blog is an attempt to break out of our firewall, and share externally.
I'm off to a Connections special interest group, Connectr, next week so hope to blog more then. Strangely, one of the conference organisers, Neil Burston, apparently studied at the same school in Spain as Luis Suarez. Which is odd as Neil is as English as I am - and Luis lives in the Canary Islands and is based out of IBM Netherlands! Apparently we live in an interconnected world.
Steve Cogan 2700000Q3G email@example.com Tags:  user-group connections dublin sig connectr 566 Visits
Last week I had the double pleasure of being in Dublin, and attending the Connections special interest group, also known as Connectr. Neil Burston and Stuart McIntyre did an excellent job of pulling the event together. They've blogged about the event here.
There were several excellent sessions - including an overview from Heidi Votaw presenting on Connections 2.0, and a 'meet the developers' session which favoured us in Europe as we were able to take advantage of the local talent and knowledge in the Dublin Software Labs.
We also had a great presentation by Colin Mooney who runs the Exactit blog on knowledge management and web2.0 themes. Colin talked us through his organisation's experiences in implementing a Wiki and had some great lessons learned.
What struck me after the day was finished was how people in the session are actually leveraging social networking tools, as I received several invitations to connect from Linked-In.
Steve Cogan 2700000Q3G firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  connections lotus enterprise2.0 1,225 Visits
The Enterprise2.0 conference is underway in Boston and I've been keeping up to date via colleagues' blogs, Twitter, and public media coverage.
What caught my eye was the coverage of Lotus Connections via Ed and Mac. Plus the positive piece on CIO.com:
"IBMs Lotus Connections looked, at minimum, a year or more ahead of SharePoint in its social computing capabilities out of the box."
Nice to see our peers in the industry with gracious remarks about Connections:
"Connections has a good-looking user interface that even Venky Veeraraghavan, program manager at SharePoint, admitted during his closing remarks are currently much better than SharePoint."
Hot on the heels of the successful Irish Lotus User Group (ILUG), the UK event (no surprise to be known as UKLUG there then) has announced it's dates for 2008.
This year it'll be on the 18th and 19th September at the Church House conference centre in London. Attendance is free, but I'd advise you to register now, via this link, if you intend to attend as last year's event was heavily oversubscribed.
As usual, there will be two session tracks; administration and development. This event is great for networking, as well as informative sessions. But most impressive is the community spirit involved in the organising team - business partners, IBMers and advocates of Lotus solutions.
Steve Cogan 2700000Q3G email@example.com Tags:  white-paper government social-networking uk public-sector 2 Comments 1,042 Visits
One of my peers in the UK has just published a white paper on social networking in the Public sector. I've bookmarked it in our dogear social tagging system here. But if you're not a registered user of this environment yet, you can get access to it directly here.
Entitled, "Five million people around the water-cooler. How the UK public sector can harness the power of social networking", it doesn't talk 'product' and is a good high-level paper discussing the value for this market sector. As someone who works in financial services I see the parallels in the value aspects.
As I pointed out in the 'comment' section of the bookmark in Dogear (our social bookmarking/tagging system) - the public sector in the UK (conscious of the international audience here and cultural differences...) relates to government departments and bodies.
This paper hits really the nail on the head in the conclusions,
"Social networking is not a technology it is about people and how they interact. For a social network to be successful, people will want and need to use it"Technology for technologies sake will find it difficult to really address business and organisational challenges. The engagement of people is essential.
I've heard about the use of mobile phones (cell-phones to those of you in the USA) in Africa before - but this Guardian article is well worth reading, especially if you have an interest in the financial services industry, or how mobile technology has potential applications over and above "telephony".
It paints a picture of how this technology is filling an infrastructure void in parts of the continent without:
a) a fixed line telephone industry
b) an established mass market retail banking industry
Interesting how mobiles are helping communities leapfrog a whole technology generation (fixed-lines) whilst providing opportunities for banking plus add-ons such as micro-finance. Apparently this doesn't just apply to Africa,
"...(Orange Money) plans to roll it out into some of its other markets, including Jordan and Mali."
An area to watch.
My first professional career was as a journalist, more years ago than I care to remember. One of the lessons drilled into me by my mentors was about the inverted pyramid structure of information. Apparently this is making a comeback, according to Gerry McGovern in his piece "The six Cs of killer Web content". Gerry talks about how people basically skim information, and if their interest isn't quickly captured, say by the headline, they may well read - or click - onwards and away from your content.
This to me, speaks of making your communications relevant to your audience, not only in the content, but in choosing the channel to publish it. If you're publishing information, or comment, a blog may be appropriate, whereas a collaborative effect may suit a community solution more, such as Activities (in this platform, Connections), team spaces, wikis, and many other collaborative offerings.
A fellow IBMer, Luis Suarez, made waves when he declared that he was "Giving up on work email". Lots of people appeared to take this at face value and asked pointed questions about how he would deal with corporate communications, sensitive data and the like. Only when he'd generated a heated debate, did many people grasp what he was attempting to do - and that was to spark a debate about using the right tools for the job.
His point was to get people to question whether they really needed to send an email, or whether they should be contributing their knowledge to a more appropriate place. I'd call this collaboration in content. Sounds both simple and obvious doesn't it?!
Luis recently spoke about his experiences with this at the 'Next 08' conference in Germany. Thanks to Oliver Marks, for the link to a video of Luis' presentation. The presentation is also available on slideshare.
Steve Cogan 2700000Q3G firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  education commoncraft rss blog social-networking twitter wiki training social-bookmarking web2.0 890 Visits
I was introduced to an excellent series of 'educational' videos on Web2.0 concepts, by a group called Commoncraft, some time ago. For me, the beauty of these videos is that they aren't vendor, or product specific, and so can give a good overview to the actual concepts. All too often, those of us who have been around this area for a while can make dangerous assumptions that everyone is familiar with these concepts - and this can lead to colleagues feeling left behind. After all, how easy is it for us (myself included) to stand up and ask for an explanation of concepts your peers may assume are 'common knowledge'?
If you haven't already heard of Commoncraft, and their excellent line of introductory 'Web2.0' videos, I'd definitely recommend you go through their various offerings such as their simple, smart and effective overviews of technologies - and concepts - such as Twitter.
See their Twitter video here.
Commoncraft also have excellent (non-product based) videos to introduce people to concepts such as:
Their use of the term 'plain-english' is not to be confused with the 'Campaign for Plain English' organisation in the UK. I was trained in this method of writing - and editing - oh, all of 14 and a half years ago. (I'd like to say that it feels like yesterday, but it really does feel like almost two decades ago!). For the uninitiated, the CFPE (they'd hate the acronym!), are all about improving clarity of writing and reducing the amount of
... gobbledygook, jargon and misleading public information
No bad thing, eh?
Steve Cogan 2700000Q3G email@example.com Tags:  user-group royal-society edinburgh web2.0 mashups websphere free connections wug 586 Visits
The Websphere User Group in the UK is holding a meeting in Edinburgh on 17th September. I'd definitely recommend investigating the details and registering here.
I went to last year's event - which was also held at the Royal Society venue - and found many of the sessions informative. This year's line-up looks even better with hot topics such as Web2.0 & Mashups covered. In my opinion, the (*free!*) event strikes a good balance between product updates, and general industry concepts. There's also a session on Lotus Connections, with Adrian Spender from the Dublin labs presenting with his colleague Karim Heredia. Adrian was one of the key developers involved in the v2 release of Connections and the new homepage.
Blogged with the Flock Browser
Steve Cogan 2700000Q3G firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  notes wild-bill blackberry domino 620 Visits
"Wild Bill" Buchan, one of our more colourful members of the Lotus community, is one of the Notesberry website creators. Ok, ok, it's not just by him, but his nickname does make for a more entertaining blog entry headline...
After much anticipation, the NotesBerry.org web site is alive. This site is a collaboration between Paul Mooney , Mike Smith , Jason Hook and myself - but feel free to pitch in. Its meant to provide killer content on the integration of Lotus Notes/Domino and BlackBerry.As you can imagine, the site is dedicated to Notes on Blackberry. Pop on over and take a look at this new external resource, or take a feed from here.
Steve Cogan 2700000Q3G email@example.com Tags:  notes8 demo trial lotus linux occ novell suse ibm open-collaboration-client live-dvd h2 666 Visits
A while ago I was interested in checking out Notes8 on Linux but didn't have the time to 'roll-my-own'. I'd come across an offer of a live-DVD version of Notes8 on Linux. Firstly I downloaded the SUSE10-Notes8 live DVD from here. Snappily titled, "IBM open collaboration client solution powered by SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell". Surely, "Notes8 on Linux" would have been shorter? (I know, I know, don't call me Shirley...). Incidentally, The Register commented on this some time ago here.
After slapping my forehead in a "Doh!", Homer-Simpson, moment I realised my drive-bay had my extra HD instead of my DVD burner. A little bit of quick thinking later, I created a blank VMware machine and edited the CD-ROM settings to use the ISO DVD image instead of having to burn to DVD and boot from it. (Example settings below).
Voilà! You can now trial Notes8 (via VMware) on Linux. Certainly saves DVDs from ending up as more coffee mats...
When discussing "Web2.0" I've heard people looking for the value justification once they've moved past the so-called hype-cycle. Well, a last minute invite dropped into my in-box today (should REALLY have been notified via an RSS/ATOM feed, but I'm just being picky!) offering a free webinar by the well known "Dr Dobb's journal" - in conjunction with IBM - on this very subject.
Broadcast Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2008
More details and (*free*) registration available here. I can, however, reveal that speakers and topics include mashups, tools and the community based, Project Zero.
A key line for me was discussing re-use and the value that brings to the business,
Steve Cogan 2700000Q3G firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  lotusphere social-bookmarking connections 4 Comments 948 Visits
Apologies for the blogging hiatus, but I've been busy, busy. What have I been upto? Well, for one, discovering that dipping into the stream of comments in Twitter leads to lots of interesting conversations, plus links to add to my Dogear bookmarks. Apart from that I've been head down in day to day work ranging from Connections to Expeditor. Oh, and dropped in at the recent Web2.0 Expo in Berlin a few weeks ago!
But the main point of this post is to point you at the blog of my colleague, the one, the only - Luis Benitez, over at 'Socialize Me'. I'll forgive him for the US English spelling there, sure there's some song about tomatoes and potatoes... ;-) Or perhaps something about Zed versus Zee? (In case you haven't guessed I'm from the UK...)
Luis has an excellent run-down here on the Connections sessions lined up at this year's Lotusphere conference. For the uninitiated, it's THE annual Lotus conference, run by IBM and lives in DisneyWorld - Florida. I was lucky enough to get there this year, although January does seem like an awfully long time ago. Without disparaging other conferences, the challenge for me (& others I compared notes with) is not finding a session I can get worked up enough to visit - but planning sessions well enough so I can dash between them with enough time to attend everything I want.
Should I make it to Lotusphere2009, will do my best to attend ID304 - What's Next with Lotus Connections, Suzanne is an excellent presenter and gave a great account of herself at this year's Enterprise2.0 conference.
What's the social software connection? Well, I happened to bump into - sometimes hard to do when there are around 7 or 8,000 other attendees around you! - another Luis. (I'm 3rd on the left, thanks to Flickr)
This Luis, is someone I mentioned in my first KSP blog post. Actually, the more I delve into social software, and networking, the more links and common ground I naturally find. Twitter is a great example of that for me, as I've recently started to expand my list of followers and friends, with more and more people 'de-cloaking', as one of my colleagues puts it, who I've either met or actually interacted with.
Anyway, back to the day-job. Will promise to check in again soon :-)
Steve Cogan 2700000Q3G email@example.com Tags:  support lotus webcast best-practice 580 Visits
When I hear 'open-mic' I usually think of stand-up comedy. (For my UK readers, I bear no relation to a comedian of a similar name to mine, and only get it mentioned roughly 50% of new people I'm introduced to.) Well, best-practices are no laughing matter. The Lotus Support Technical Exchange team take sharing their expertise seriously enough to regularly hold public webcasts and conference calls on useful topics, such as a forthcoming call on best practices around Sametime on VMware. (See, I avoided having to differentiate between virtualisation and virtualization there!)
This Sametime call is on December 16th - details here.
The list of up coming (& recorded calls from the recent past) can be found here. Past topics include; Connections, Notes-Domino, WCM Portal - so a good chunk of the portfolio then.
Steve Cogan 2700000Q3G firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  connections connections2.5 free webinar upgrade 581 Visits
This is the way social networking goes...
Saw Stuart McIntyre's Twitter update on a Lotus Connections upgrade webinar (2.0 -> 2.5), which led to his blog post. Which referenced our forthcoming free webinar we'll be running via our LotusLive webconferencing solution.
For the sign-up details check out this page from IBM support.