How IBM Connections Makes My Job Easier
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  connections status_updates social_business paul_band communities ibm_connections solutions
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A short while ago I was involved with a complex proposal to migrate a customer's collaboration environment from a competitor's technology to an IBM solution. The solution involved new hardware, a range of software, and services work. It was for a large customer with over 100,000 users.
Hmmm, where do I start?
The first thing I did was update my current status in Connections to let my network know what I was doing. This is a great idea because it usually prompts comments from others who have overcome similar challenges, or are working on something similar.
(See recent blog: Hidden value of status updates)
I've had great success from this approach. A good example is when I needed to customize the IBM Connections theme for a PoC to match that of the customer's. I updated my status, asking if anyone had examples of similar work. Within a few hours I had struck up a conversation with a couple of experts who shared their documentation, allowing me to effectively learn from their efforts, and complete the deliverables for the customer. I tagged my new buddies with 'connections-SME' to identify their skills to others.
What I really needed was to talk to someone who had deployed a similar size solution already. IBM Connections Communities are a group of people with a common interest. Communities help members share information, and promote themselves, by facilitating collaboration via tools such as forums, files, wikis and blogs. Entries can be tagged and updates are shown on my Home page.
I am a member of a number of communities that typically align to a technology or customer that I'm working with. In order to find people with experience of large deployments on UNIX, I wrote a forum post in the “World-wide Services Domino Family” community that I belong to.
Within a day or two I discussed the requirements with half a dozen experts and found someone with exactly the experience I was looking for. I wrote a paper in response to the proposal that the sales team was able to present to the customer and produce a price case... mission accomplished!
Giving back to the community
The story doesn't quite end there. I posted back into the community my findings and shared my proposal with my colleagues so others can learn from this case. I also posted my correspondence in our customer tracking activity so new and existing members of the extended team are kept current.
All of these Connections capabilities ultimately helped me, my team and the customer to quickly and accurately produce a project proposal: