As most of you know I’m very passionate about IBM Connections as an Enterprise Social Network. I love how it puts people central and allows organisations to foster and expand their users collaboration. However, it also has certain things that can or should be improved. In the past there was an IDEAJAM site where ordinary users, customers and business partners could suggest or vote on ideas for changes, additions and improvements but unfortunately that was discontinued. Leaving very few avenues for ordinary IBM Connections users to leave their ideas.
This has now changed. With the site https://connections.ideas.aha.io everyone now has the option once more to suggest ideas for improving IBM Connections or to vote for ideas suggested by others. So what are you waiting for?!? This is your chance to help IBM understand what is needed to keep making this product great. Let’s all take that chance and make ourselves be heard 🙂
I admit freely that I’m still learning every day when it comes to how best to visualize data and that means that I look at other visualization much more in detail than I would have done in the past. There are many best practices around how to visualize data and when a data visualization doesn’t keep to them I can’t help but go into analyzer mode (yes, even my own and I’m in no way perfect!).
One of those that caught my attention this week was the following.
Two weeks ago I returned from Las Vegas and due to personal circumstances I wasn’t able to post my opinion on the event sooner. So a bit late but here are my two cents on a few days in Las Vegas!
This was the first time for IBM to combine the former Connect event, focused on IBM Collaboration solutions, with all the other events of other IBM brands into one massive 4 day event. With thousands of visitors (estimated numbers ranging from 23.000 to well over 30.000 according to various people I spoke), hundreds of sessions on a wide variety of topics, two impressive conference locations (MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay) and a showcase floor that could easily encompass several football pitches, it was indeed massive. Granted, that scale also caused some challenges and problems but overall I must say I really loved it…!
It has been a while since I posted and it’s time to catch up. Times have been rather busy so this post is mostly to just distribute my slides from Snoug & engage. Both wonderful events that really do deserve a big round of applause for setting up great events for people to come together and learn about all there is to know about IBM ICS’s products!
It has been a while since I blogged. And frankly, not just blogging has been a bit on the low side, all my social media presence has. It’s due to all that is been going on in the last few months in the world and that has me and I guess many others too reeling and trying to make sense of it all.
I’ve only joined panagenda for a month now but I couldn’t have chosen a better time. With the launch of ConnectionsExpert (which was launched yesterday at Social Connections in Toronto), panagenda is taking a big new step into the world of building insights into the going on’s of your IBM Connections platform. With real time user simulations, analytics, historical monitoring and visually strong graphics of activity and interaction.
panagenda isn’t new to this area. Traditionally it has had a strong presence in the markets of server monitoring and client management. With it’s iDNA product it also build up a very strong foothold in the world of reporting and in depth insights into communication and collaboration patterns across multiple platforms like your mail environment, your collaboration platforms and even across file shares.
With ConnectionsExpert panagenda is taking the next step and providing a lot of that knowledge and expertise at the fingertips of those that make your IBM Connections platform run. Not just offering information relevant to the admins but also providing valuable management information and indicators for adoption programs. As a business consultant and someone with a strong tie to all topics related to social adoption and collaboration insight this of course thrills me to no end. Seeing what can be done with the data iDNA and ConnectionsExeprt are able to obtain and deliver is truly exciting!
I’m lucky that I got to join panagenda at such an exciting time and being able to work with and learn from this team of dedicated and passionate developers and experts. To be honest, I’m still pinching myself at times to see if it is really true!
So if you are interested go try it out the basic version is free indefinitely! No reason therefore not to benefit from this.
And if you want to know more about how analytics and collaboration insights can help drive your social adoption strategy or if you are curious about the possibilities of deriving meaningful insights from your platform don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to talk to you about the possibilities of social analytics, what you think is important, and what would or could help your organization!
To be honest, it has been a whirlwind. Of impressions, of meeting new people, of learning LOADS of new stuff, of getting really excited about the new product which is going to be launched next Monday (at Social Connections :)) and of getting my feet back on the ground.
Sometimes in life you need to take decisions without knowing where they will lead and when I did so a few months back in deciding to say goodbye to my old job I really wasn’t sure yet what the future would bring. I think I can now safely say I made the right decision.
It is amazing to work with passionate people and somehow I’ve always had luck in landing in really good teams. In that respect the panagenda crew is definitely not an exception! On top of that, working with a company that not only does consultancy but is very strong in delivering software products is a totally new and thrilling experience to me. Seeing how fast ideas and concepts get transferred by the development team from thought to real live, operational products is mind boggling and stirs all the creative impulses I have.
So yes, I am really enjoying working with panagenda. My German is improving rapidly (as is my previously non-existing knowledge of Austrian/Bavarian dialect) from all the chats flying across in the various online conversations and I’m starting to find my place in this new, mostly virtual work environment (my nearest coworker is a good 470km from here).
I’m also really happy about my ‘other team’: Social Connections, with which we will be organizing the 10th Social Connections user group event in Toronto this Monday & Tuesday. As we speak (Friday night) most of us are still finishing last minute arrangements and answering last minute requests from attendees before heading off to Toronto tomorrow. With panagenda being spotlight sponsor and ConnectionsExpert being launched there it truly will bring together two very important sides of my life so I can’t wait! Being able, on top of that to do a session with Francie Tanner about adoption & innovation is just the icing on the cake 🙂
It has been a busy month all over but the last two weeks have been extremely busy. Both with a major project at a customer going live this weekend as well as with two conferences last week and this week. I had a great day on October 28th at the IBM Client center for SNoUG the Swiss Notes User Group and congratulate the SNoUG team on their effort of setting up a fantastic event. I really enjoyed it and found the sessions, connections I made and information I got from the sponsor booths extremely helpful.
I also want to give a big thanks to the team, speakers, sponsors and attendees of Social Connections in Stuttgart who helped make that a great event. After having left the SOCCNX team at the end of SOCCNX 5 due to work pressures and missing the last three events it felt like a warm bath to join the team back for SOCCNX 9. Organizing an event like that with 270 attendees, 65+ speakers and 22 sponsors in a remote location (ok for me) like Stuttgart always is a big challenge but I think we can say it was a big success and completely in line with all the other Social Connections events!
Below I’ve attached the slide decks I used for my presentations both at SNoUG in Zurich on October 28th 2015 and the one in Stuttgart for Social Connections. As the last one was only a short (15min) one the slide deck for that one is significantly shorter than the first one. Enjoy!
As someone whit a special interest in both document management and social business anything that touches the both of them and improves the user experience of file management is of special interest to me.
Today was a great day for me in that respect as I got to see/try out some really good new features that help user work with their files in IBM Connections.
IBM Desktop & MS Office Connectors
IBM Connections as a platform is often host to many files. Files can be stored in communities, personal files, folders and / or CCM libraries. An important factor with these files is that users need to be able to work with them quickly and directly and therefore IBM offers not just the browser interface but also a desktop connector and MS Office add-in ribbons so users can access and edit their files directly from within their productivity tools.
These connectors and the mobile apps are a great asset to any IBM Connections installation and help intertwine the IBM Connections environment with every level of the users day-to-day work. Unfortunately there were still a few points in which this was lacking though… With the release of version 15.7 of the Connectors that came out last week most of these have now been resolved:
1). It is now possible to store files from MS Office directly to the IBM Connections environment. Either by clicking on the “Files” or “Communities” icons in the IBM Connections ribbons while in the document or by using the “Save as” option under the [File] menu:
Until now you had to store the file locally first before you could upload it to IBM Connections as the system would not allow you to store a ‘new’ document directly to it. People who work with files a lot will probably recognize this and I for one am really happy with the fact that this is now resolved!
2). The second big improvement is the fact that it is now possible to store files not just to the community files section but to specific libraries & library folders within those communities as well:
A seemingly simple thing but something that wasn’t possible in the previous release and that will make live a lot easier for those of us working with libraries a lot.
3). Which brings us to the last big change with this latest version of the desktop connector: the fact that the system will now – on close of a document stored in the IBM Connections environment – prompt you to publish it to the environment. Before this update the document was stored in a local folder and the user would have to open the tray icon to upload/publish it, with the new version that is all handled directly and intuitively right at the moment of closing the file. Which means users are less likely to forget and which is a lot simpler.
File Jockey 2.0
Apart from the IBM Connections connectors there is however also another great product that can help you deliver a seamless integration between your IBM Connections environment and the users other applications: File Jockey. As a WebDav tool File Jockey already allows the bulk syncing of IBM Connections data to mobile devices but with version 2.0 that is about to be released it is now also possible to map a network drive to IBM Connections. Why is this relevant? Well, because it allows you to access your IBM Connections files & communities as if it was an ordinary network drive on both Mac as well as Windows and in doing so making it available for not just the MS Office suite applications but any application that needs to access and store files in the IBM Connections environment. Simply by using the [open] and [save as] options.
This might seem obvious but is something that is currently not possible outside of the MS Office suite. File Jockey therefore really opens up the file management experience to other applications like MS Visio, Project management tools, Acrobat reader, AutoCAD and even simple applications like Wordpad and Notepad. All in all a neat little addition to the IBM Connections experience!
But…. which one should I use?
A good question…. There are a few things to keep in mind:
Cost/maintenance: The IBM Connectors are included with the product and therefore free whereas File Jockey is a third party product and might require you to purchase licenses and perform an install (although I understand that hosting is possible).
Application integration: File Jockey allows you to access your IBM Connections environment through the [Open] and [Save as] dialogs in any application that allows access to mapped network drives whereas the IBM Connectors only allow this type of access for the MS Office suite. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways to store files to IBM Connections from other applications but they usually require extra steps for the user.
Additional features: The IBM Connectors offer far more options then the File Jockey integrations. Where File Jockey really only offers access to the files, the IBM connectors offer additional options like Check-in/Check-out, viewing of the versions and storing content to wiki’s, activities and blogs as well. There level of integration is deeper but therefore also limited to the MS Office suite applications.
On prem/Cloud?: Both connectors work with on prem as well as cloud.
The beauty is that you do not need to make a choice but can use both. So instead of seeing the two as competitors I would strongly advise organizations who want to stimulate their users to utilize their IBM Connections environment for file management to look at implementing both.
All in all these new connectors really offer great new options for users to work with their IBM Connections files and are worth checking out. With these and the rumors around upcoming changes in file/folder management in the new release of IBM Connections I can’t wait to see where IBM will be taking IBM Connections file management from here!
The IBM Connectors are available and can be tried out here
A description of File Jockey and an instruction on how to try it out against the Smartcloud environment can be found here. No account on Smartcloud? Try it on Greenhouse instead