That time of year again – IBM Champion nominations

Every year IBM recognizes people for their outstanding work to aid and support the technical IBM community. It’s a prestigious honor and a way for us all to thank those in our community that tirelessly help others. After all, it’s often forgotten how much people do for each other above and beyond their normal day-to-day job. That total stranger that answered your question on twitter which helped you solve a problem, the blog post from someone across the globe that set you on the track of success, the volunteers organizing the user event where you met your peers and the speakers at those events that helped you expand your knowledge. All of that is often done by people who do not necessarily get payed for those things but do it simply to help others. It’s because of the people who do all that that this community is strong and living and it is something we need to cherish. So if you feel someone directly or indirectly helped you, or the community this year, in a way that goes beyond and above their normal job then think about nominating them to be an IBM Champion. https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/champion/nominate.html

And if you wonder who the IBM Champions have been in the past take a look at this overview:

 

What is IBM Connections? And how to explain it to users!

In my work a big part of what I do is to explain both the reasons as well as the interface of IBM Connections. Why? Well because once you get the hang of it it’s not that hard but to a newbie user who opens it up for the first time it can be very daunting and alien.

So then you start to explain and it often comes out a little like….:

Connections is a platform that enables people to work together, offering a box of tools that you can use to share information, tasks and knowledge with others. It’s an environment where you’re connected through your profile to others by way of their profiles so that you can share information and work together with them. Individually or in groups (Communities). The information can be shared through various independent or community apps like Files, Activities and Blogs or through simply sharing status updates.

Which can cause certain people to become even more confused! So what I usually use to help me explain IBM Connections is this simple picture:

 

In short it explains, the concept of:

  • a person-centric environment,
  • that brings together people, one-on-one through profiles or in groups (communities)
  • allowing them to share information & expand knowledge.

But more importantly, it also visualizes the reasons behind the interface of IBM Connections. Allowing you to go through the various elements and helping them understand the differences between the various screens and options.

So next time someone asks you to ‘explain this IBM Connections‘, perhaps this image can help you too!

 

IBM Connect 2017 – Adoption Analytics with Watson Analytics

Yesterday I had the pleasure to present with my coworker Franz Walder a session on: Socialytics: Accelerating IBM Connections Adoption with Watson Analytics

These are the slides for the session.

Abstract: Social adoption is a challenge for many companies. What is the most effective utilization of the environment? Who is using which resources, what in the environment is dormant or orphaned? Where should efforts focus in order to improve adoption? All of these questions can be difficult to answer and there is no “one size fits all” solution as each organization has their own unique needs. Join Femke Goedhart and Franz Walder and learn how to tackle this topic using IBM Connections and Watson. Starting out with IBM Bluemix Data Connect to collect and combine data from relevant sources, they use the cognitive power of IBM Watson Analytics to answer those tricky questions and provide solutions to real-world adoption challenges.

Distrust and its potential effect on Cloud & social

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.

My work is in Social enterprise and collaboration. It’s about enterprise social, about cloud, about big data and most importantly about getting people to open up across organizational, across regional and across cultural divides to work together, to learn, to share and to participate as valued partners in their organizations so that they can help drive productivity and innovation. On top of that I work for a German/Austrian company with coworkers all across the globe. All things that are only possible because of the global access to the things we find so normal today. Like high speed access to the internet, the devises and technological advances that allow us to be always connected wherever we are and whenever we want and most importantly because of a highly globalized world that trades and interacts with each other in an open and connected way. We don’t find it weird anymore to collaborate with coworkers, partners or colleagues across the world and as an employee we play a much bigger role within our corporate environments…. but is it really as successful as we think it is…..?

Faith in system

source – Edelman Trust Barometer report

It’s all down to trust

Is all this globalization really working and are we finding the benefits of it or have we moved so fast that we’ve lost track of the people side in all this. Because let’s face it, what it all comes down to and what all this is based on is: trust. Trust in each other, trust in the people we work with, the companies that we work for, the companies that control our cloud data and ultimately the governments that govern those companies. And do we really trust all these?

That’s the question I’ve been struggling with and it seems I’m not alone. The Edelman trust Barometer is a global research study by a marketing & PR firm that is done annually in 28 countries and looks at the way we trust our NGO’s, our governments, our businesses and our media. Their assessment: Trust is in a crisis. And globalization is one of the biggest fears.edelman2

source – Edelman Trust Barometer report

 For the first time ever more people distrust than trust these institutions and especially government & media are experiencing an all time low. And one of the biggest fears, right after corruption, is: globalization.

“50% of those interviewed believe globalization is taking us in the wrong direction” - Edelman report

So what does that mean?

Frankly…. I don’t know. If we stop trusting in each other and in the organizations (business) and control mechanisms (government & media) that make global collaboration possible & accountable and start isolating and protecting ourselves against “the big bad world” outside then what will that mean for things like cloud computing and Social Enterprise Networking that depend on a networked and global landscape? Will we go back to more on premises computing and stop initiatives to tie our collaborative eco-systems of interconnected partnerships with suppliers, partners and customers together or could in fact business be a driver to start gaining back some of that trust?

The Edelman report raises an interesting thought. They state that 1/3 of the interviewed people is unsure whether the “system is failing” or the “system is working” and that out of the 4 institutions (NGO’s, business, government and media) its surprisingly ‘business’ that still holds the biggest trust for this group. It suggests that business could play a big role in turning the tide on the global Trust crisis we are in and it also highlights how the role of the EMPLOYEE is most important in that. As it is not the CEO, senior executive of media spoke person who is most trusted to give honest and credible information on various topics but the employee.

edelman3

source – Edelman Trust Barometer report

Now what….

And that’s where I start getting back a glimmer of hope. Because in order to win back that trust Edelman states that companies can – and should – take a role of leadership. Centering around respect, education, openness towards and emancipation of the employee. All factors in which social enterprise networking can play a big role but also factors in which it will be even more important for organizations to take a lead.

However the time of assumptions of “bring it and they will come” and bottom-up initiatives is over, organizations will need to show leadership and commitment to the changes and the initiatives they deploy, lead by example and put their people at the center of whatever they do as it will be them that will be the trusted source for information about how well they are doing but it’s also this group that is currently in a position of distrust. So let’s take this on and demonstrate to the world that working together is still better than retreating back into our own little bubbles. We momentarily halted because we got afraid, now let’s get over it and continue building our future instead of sidetracking into building walls.

IBM Connections Explained: all about files!

Ok, I admit, this one was a long time in coming but it’s finally here! The next video in my little series on IBM Connections usage questions. This time it’s all about files and especially about the difference between :

  • Attachments vs Files
  • Personal vs Community files

I hope it helps explain a little what the difference is between them and how to use each. Good luck!

 

ICONUK Slidedeck "IBM Connections Adoption Worst Practices"

During ICONUK last week (15-16 September 2016) I did a session on “IBM Connections Adoption Worst Practices“. Slides for this session are available on my slideshare and here:

Regardless if you’ve implemented IBM Connections, are considering it or in the middle of the planning stages – there are wrong (and right) turns to take at every step. Join Femke to learn about misconceptions and tribulations others have faced while striving to become a socially enabled company. Hear about real World examples and often funny anecdotes from the trenches of adoption to show you how NOT to do it and giving you tips on how to do it better along the way.
Walk away with a grasp on what to focus on to make a success out of your IBM Connections environment.

IBM Connections explained: Why a "Like" matters!

I often get asked about things in IBM Connections that need some explaining. One of them is the value of using the Like button in IBM Connections and whether people really should use it in a corporate environment. Let me be clear: You should! But in stead of writing another blog on why I decided to do it a little different this time and try my luck on explaining it in a video. I hope this will help!

 

I’ll try to do a few more like these over the coming weeks and in case you guys have questions you would like to get an answer to in regards of IBM Connections functionality let me know! who knows, I might do that one next then 🙂

Salesforce & IBM Connections integration – keeping your organization connected

With so many solutions touting social capabilities out there and being used for different situations it can be daunting to decide on when to use what and why. Your organization might already have Salesforce, IBM Connections, Sharepoint and solutions like Jira that offer social capabilities but how do you get all these worlds together? The last thing you want after all is to have one department ‘being social’ in one platform and another somewhere else. That completely undermines the whole aspect of cross company collaboration….

Social Islands

but there might be good reasons why they need to use those different platforms. Your sales departments might live and breath in Salesforce and need that direct connection between their Chatter posts and the accounts they pertain to and your developers might scream bloody murder if you take away their JIRA wall. But what if Salesforce and JIRA aren’t being used in the rest of your organization and other solutions are required or used there? Like IBM Connections. How do you prevent a ‘social island’ culture in your collaboration landscape?

Bringing it together

There are several solutions and integration options out there that address the problem of ‘social islands’ and offer integration for a large number of platforms like JIRA, BOX, SharePoint and even Salesforce already. Mostly orientated on pulling information from these platforms into the IBM connections environment or integrating specific parts of IBM Connections into them. But when it comes to integrating IBM connections into the Salesforce environment or two way integration there really was still a lot to win. This is changing as QKOM has been working hard on creating a solution that will allow for deep and seamless integration of Salesforce and IBM Connections.

Seamless Integration

By allowing the user to connect through OAUTH to use, create, search and post directly and effortlessly from within Salesforce to IBM Connections communities, files, activities and update streams – Salesforce users will be able to collaborate and work in both systems at the same time without having to leave their environment. Keeping other organizational users (or even external partners!) who might not have access to all the info in the Salesforce environment up to date of developments and statuses and utilizing the many great options each system offers. This will save your organization on potentially expensive licenses and allow for a connected yet still also secure and specialized collaborative landscape.

QKom

logo_qkom_gifI’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with QKOM on this topic discussing further use cases and functional requirements and am excited to see more bridges between the Salesforce & IBM Connections worlds being build. After all, it’s all about finding ways to collaborate!
 —–
Please see the following clip for a first glance of what is possible but keep in mind that there is more to come very soon so stay tuned

IBM Connections: Default follow on public files is it logical?

At one of my customers a user complained about the fact that every time he opened a publicly shared file it would automatically ‘follow’ that file. This meant that every subsequent ‘like’, change or comment to that file would show up in his timeline. Of course he could ‘unfollow’ the file but found it irritating that it would follow it at all without him making that conscious decision.

After testing and a little digging by our admins it turns out that indeed this is the default behavior for IBM Connections and can be managed by changing a setting in the files-config.xml:

<emailNotification>
    <addOnMediaDownload enabled="true"/>
</emailNotification>

So no big deal but we did have a bit of a discussion as to why this setting is there in the first place and if it is logical. Yes, there is a case to make for auto-follow as that will ensure you keep track of subsequent changes to that file. After all, a publicly shared file that you don’t follow or isn’t in a community that you follow is sometimes hard to track but at the same time it can be quite annoying. In an environment with thousands of users and where public files are shared and mentioned in other sources like the intranet, auto-following a file simply because you opened it once, can cause lots of updates in your activity stream by other people ‘liking’, commenting or editing the file. Information you might not be interested in at all as you only just wanted to read it that once.

To be honest, I think this is one of those settings that can be interpreted either way. The bigger discussion now is do we disable it? This user clearly finds it annoying but what about all those other users? Do they want to auto-follow or not? The setting is org-wide so any change will influence all. You can’t just change the default behavior of a system used by thousands of users without annoying at least some.  I guess this is something that will have to be decided by the the business.

So what do you think: Is auto-follow indeed the logical behavior or not in a Enterprise Social Network and how does your organization handle it?