On November 5th we (Joerg Rafflenbeul and me) did an open call for anyone in, or running a super user / ambassador program for their HCL Connections environment. Aim was to see if there were other organizations interested in exploring the options to broaden their ambassadors knowledge and confidence by doing exchanges or sharing experiences at the levels of ambassadors/super users themselves.
It is always nerve wrecking when you start something like this as you don’t know how many people will attend or will be interested but it turned out great. With people attending from both the business, education and government realm as well as representatives from DNUG (German User Group) and Let’s Connect (HCL Connections User Group).
So what are the outcomes? Well this first meeting was mostly to see if there was interest in doing something in this realm at all. It also highlighted that there are already initiatives under way where businesses running HCL Connections are connecting on the adoption /community management level. Making connections at the level of ambassadors / super users themselves though is still very much a new territory.
Each participant in the meeting explained from which organization they were and what kind of program they run. Which was quite diverse. From programs with mostly formal ‘teachers’, to programs with thousands of super users who get trained to support digital business at various levels, to the guides program at Heitkamp & Thumann that sparked the original initiative for this meeting.
All participants indicated that they enjoyed hearing how others do this and a new meeting date was set for December 3rd at 16:00 CET to continue the conversation and see if we can get even more people to participate.
So note it down and join us if you are interested in participating in this initiative! The call is open to all (so also if you are still setting up a program or even just thinking of one) and let’s see what we can accomplish with this.
Meeting details in QRCode. Scan it with your phone to add to calendar:
Three weeks ago I was able to speak at the virtual DNUG event with Joerg Rafflenbeul on the topic of a program that is very close to my heart. The adoption & guides program at Heitkamp & Thumann. For the last two years I’ve been working one day week with the ‘H&T Connect Guides’ (local superusers/ambassadors) at Heitkamp & Thumann to help them support their colleagues and expand the usage of the HCL Connections platform. Our session is about how this program is set up, what it’s strengths are and also were we feel we still can improve.
Today (2PM CDT/8PM CET) we will doing this session again, this time in English at the online Collabsphere conference. If you are interested then please register for the event. It is free of charge!
Getting to know other programs:
As part of the session we did for DNUG, Joerg and I also talked about our hopes to perhaps connect with other organizations and superuser/guide programs to see if we can build up some sort of exchange. For that reason we have set up an open call on November 5th from 10:00-10:45 CET for anyone working in, with, or simply aspiring to set up a superuser/guides program for HCL Connections. The more the merrier so if you fit this category, are interested or have ideas then please join us! The idea is to discuss options to connect with other programs and perhaps do informal exchanges or other initiatives so that our guides can learn first hand how the platform is used in other organizations and vice versa.
The below QR code will add the invite to your calendar with all the relevant details:
or use the following link to join: Meeting link (Meeting starts at 10 CET)
ps. We realize that this is not an ideal time for other time zones but if you are interested but can’t attend then let me know and we can perhaps schedule another call.
I’m often asked about how to best use the Survey tool in HCL Connections to set up questionnaires or polls. Rules often play an important role and often cause questions. So to document how I do this (for myself as well as others who might benefit), I will write down a few tips below.
Where do you find Rules?
How do you see which rule applies to which question?
How do you set up to and show an additional text box when an ‘Other’ option is selected?
How do you set up a rule to show a text when an answer is right and a different one on when an answer is wrong? (conditional showing)
“That’s the whole problem with usability in a nutshell. What developers THINK is intuitive is not the same as what users perceive as intuitive. It’s not the developer that decides what is intuitive, it’s the user.“
What followed was a good humored banter between me (playing users advocate) and a bunch of hardcore developers. With replies like:
In IBM Connections one of the most used options is Activities. A great way to manage and organize information and to do’s around a common task. Especially when using in combination with the Kudos Boards Add-in from ISW which makes it one of the strongest and most used features of IBM Connections (yep a shameless plug, but seriously, it IS the best Add-in for IBM Connections and if your organization isn’t using it you should definitely take a look at it) .
However, Activities also has it’s challenges…
Working for a customer on creating some documentation I found the following.
In Community Activities you have the option to limit what community members can do and you can even assign specific rights to specific community members. Great! But…
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.
Wow! Now I heard the story two weeks ago at Social Connections where Ephox EditLive! was one of the sponsors but didn’t have time to take a good look at what it was they actually offered. “A better richtext editor for your Connections environment…” Right, have to admit that really didn’t get me excited right there and then. The richtext editor as I know it worked pretty well… or did it?!?
Well tonight I know better. Our Administrator posted a status update earlier today saying he had installed it on our environment and curious as I am I immediately tried it out. On opening any richtext input field within the IBM Connections environment the EditLive! plug-in loads instead of the normal richtext editor so users don’t have to do a thing except for approving the use of the plug-in on first open.
The first thing I noticed: IT SUPPORTS RIGHT MOUSE CLICK SPELL CHECK ACCESS! Ok, yes I know, perhaps not the most important for all but to someone who’s switching between two languages constantly a vital element of text editing and one of the most irritating things in IBM Connections today. Sure, the standard text editor will highlight wrongly spelled words but right mouse clicking it will not list alternatives, it will give you a ‘paste’ option…
Well in the EditLive! text editor it does work, listing me alternatives and even synonyms. That in itself was enough to get me very excited. Even more excited I got after realizing it adds a host of other great features. Things like “Track changes”, image editing and in-line comments.
So I’m more than curious now, can’t wait to test this further but I must say I’m impressed! This is going to be a great add-on for any IBM Connections environment and I can recommend anyone to give this Beta a try.
I had an interesting discussion about Sametime earlier this week after I told someone I had been doing trainings all week to users about the new Sametime Meetings options they get with Sametime Standard. The other person didn’t think much of Sametime but asking through it turned out he really didn’t know what it had to offer either.
I really like the ease that Sametime Meetings has. It’s a very basic interface, which is great with users who have no clue (the less buttons, the less they can screw up) but it also has some very strong and nice features that I really love:
1. The option to have participants record the meeting themselves. This saves a lot on large data files having to be shared later on as well as stress for the presenter about having to think about it.
2. The option to set specific types of entries in the side chat. This way input gets categorized as you go and you can filter what types of updates you want to see by selecting the view options and selecting the appropriate filter. By getting questions being asked through the “Questions” option and setting the filter to show ‘questions only’ a presenter can easily keep track of what questions are being asked and by whom and address them without being distracted by other chatting or note taking going on.
3. Which brings me to the next feature: the option to mark an item in the discussion list as a “starred item” to draw attention to it or as an “answered” question. Both the participant as well as presenter have the ability to do this by simply clicking the icon in front of the entry and changing it to the appropriate option. This allows for easy management of still open issues and questions as well as categorizing.
4. Which then can be used to create a meeting report through the option “Room tools” – “Meeting report”. This one I especially love as it is an instant and easy way to get a quick overview of everything that went on during the meeting. The meeting report lists:
the room details (url / owner / name)
all participants with the times they were logged in
all communication going on in the Discussion side window by type so already categorized into “Meeting minutes”, “actions”, etc.
any polls with their results
the displayed content (documents & screen shares)
any recordings made by any of the participants.
So all in all I really like the Sametime Standard meeting options. The above are just a few, there are more, like the polling option but these really set it apart for me.
And it can be used both on-premises as well as in the cloud. The new meeting functionality is fully enabled on the IBM Smartcloud environment and can be tried there for free for 60 days. After that a stand alone web meetings account will cost you $5 a month and allows you to set up meetings that can host up to 200 participants. Similar options on either GoTo meeting or WebEx will cost you 10 times as much at least. Ok granted, you will get some additional features with those services that Sametime doesn’t offer but the question is: do you really need those or will they just confuse your users?
I think Sametime really is a great option for a lot of us there and definitely worth a look!
Every now and again you learn about a new functionality or option in your favorite software that has been there for a while and you really should have know about but simply didn’t… And although you love it as soon as you learn about it, it also bugs the hell out of you that you didn’t learn it before!
Well here it is, my gem of the week:
In Lotus Notes mail if you want to set the default font for new messages simply create a new mail, create some text according to the font, color and size you want and click the [Text]; [Set current font as mail Default]. It will automatically update your basic font settings to reflect your new preferred settings. So simple and yes, so easy.
I don’t know how I could have not known about this one! Especially as it has been in Lotus Notes since version 8.5.2 apparently, but as I do right now I can’t help but write it down. Perhaps someone else missed or forgot about this one too and could use a reminder 🙂
Like everyone else I’ve been excited to find out all the little and big new features IBM Connections 4 has to offer and even though I’ve been Beta testing it for months I’m still finding new little gold nuggets of functionality each day. One that I came across while looking at Luis Benitez‘ video of new features in IBM Connections 4 is the drag and drop in the files section of the browser to upload new files or versions (at approximately at 2:50). I love it!
It makes it so much easier to upload files as you don’t have to first click a button and navigate to the file location anymore. On drop of the file or files (yes multiple works too!) it will automatically prompt you for tags and sharing options. Giving you the option to share it immediately with individuals or communities. Even better is that it also recognizes files that are already uploaded in your files section, prompting you to save the new version either as a version or with a rename.
This same functionality was already available through the Windows desktop plugin and the Lotus files plug-in that also allows drag & drop and automatic recognition of new versions but lets face it not everyone wants to install plugins and add-ins and sometimes it’s simply not even an option (try installing the Windows desktop plugin on your Mac!). With this you don’t have to, simply open your ‘My Files’ section and drag&drop your file or files in. It works like a charm!
And it turns out this doesn’t just works on Greenhouse or your on premises install of IBM Connections 4 but on Smartcloud as well (thanks to Erik Vos who alerted me to this!). This nifty little functionality is absolutely one of my favorite new functionalities of IBM Connections. What is yours?