Successful 3rd Meetup for HCL Connections Ambassador/Super user program exchange!

As you might know we (Joerg Rafflenbeul and I) have been trying to kickstart an initiative to get people from various organizations running HCL Connections together to talk about their initiatives and challenges with running adoption programs and local ambassadors/guides programs. Last week (21st of January) was the third meetup and we had quite a nice turn out of people!

We started with two short intro’s by Luis Suarez on the value of ambassador programs and Adam Gartenberg on HCL’s vision and available resources for user support to kick off the discussion.

The topic then quickly shifted to the challenges and experiences of how to involve and stimulate CxO and management levels to participate in using HCL Connections.

“They think: Knowledge is power and you keep that close to your vest. So, how can we have Senior Management ‘unlearn’ everything that brought them to power?

It was interesting to hear the various experiences and approaches. From CEO’s who blog actively and lead the way for fellow management. To organizations where the fear of being ‘called out’ on what they’ve said or posted previously on the platform is making some management hesitant to post at all. About initiatives like one-to-one mentoring by ‘senior ambassadors’ and reverse mentoring by local super users to get management to participate and about the effects that Covid has had on the usage of the platform by management levels this last year.

In short, it was a great exchange of thoughts and we literally had to end it as we were running out of time. The next meetup will be on February 11th and is open to all. Whether you are an adoption program organizer, local platform ambassador, super user or just an enthusiastic HCL Connections user and want to learn. Scan the below QR code with your phone to add the invite to your calendar or use the following meeting link: https://ht-group.zoom.us/j/95794941629

A big thank you to all who participated and we look forward to seeing you all (and more!) next time!

Also… We would love to hear from you! So if you would like to be a lead-in speaker for one of our next sessions and willing to talk for about 5min about your organizations adoption, super user/ ambassador initiatives and experiences, contact me or Joerg and we can discuss.

Resources:

Two book suggestions that were mentioned during the discussion:

Connecting the dots, global super users program for HCL Connections (3rd Meeting)

There are lots of initiatives to connect people who work with HCL Connections. User groups, virtual events, blogs, websites. But what they do is usually connect those at the top. The admins, organizers, community managers, architects. There are so many more who use the product and never go to one of these events. Not because they can’t, but because they think it’s not for them or too technical or just not in their job role. But many of them, and especially those that act as champions, super users, ambassadors or guides would really benefit from hearing how others are doing things.
And that’s what we’re trying to organize. From our experience with running a ‘guide’ (super user) program at Heitkamp & Thumann we would like to explore what options there are to bring together our guides with guides, champions, super users from other programs. Maybe to just have someone sit in on one of our (virtual) meetings to have some exchange of thoughts or to talk about the challenges they run into when trying to get their colleagues to expand their usage of the platform and maybe just to exchange some tips & tricks. All ideas are open and welcome.

So if you are a guide, internal Connections champion, super user, ambassador for HCL Connections within your company (named as such or just because you do it) or run an adoption program and have them, or would simply like to start one; join us for the session where we try to come up with ways to set this up. The session is in English and open to all and will be held on January 21st at 4PM CET.

Scan the below code to have the meeting added to your calendar with the appropriate meeting link:

HCL Connections super user / ambassadors call follow up!

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:

MEETING URL:

https://ht-group.zoom.us/j/99154472558

HCL Connections Superusers/ambassadors exchange

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.

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.

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

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: Searching!

Another video blog on IBM Connections, this time about Searching. Have fun!

From describing to applying – user training taken seriously

It still is one of the most common mistakes made ever… Implementing new or updated software without providing user training as the reasoning is: “Oh, we don’t need to train our users. They have been using this (or similar) software for years, surely they know by now how to use it“.

Well, do they really? I’ve recently been involved in several adoption projects where we trained both new users as well as users who had been using collaboration tools for years on how common features in everyday tools like mail, calendar, task lists and contact books can help them become more effective. One of the comments we got back a lot was: “I was aware of most of it but never really applied it to how I could use it in my own job, now I see how it can help me I wish we had gotten this training years ago!“.

The thing is that to those implementing the software it often all seems so straight forward. “It’s mail? How hard can it be?” or… “Come on, everyone knows how to autosum a column in Excel!“. Reality is though – users often don’t.

“I didn’t even know it could do that!”

Often users simply don’t know all the functionalities that the software they get offers because nobody ever showed them. Most times they use only a small percentage of it’s capabilities, not because they don’t want to use more of it but because nobody took the time to set them down and show it.

“I know it can do that, I just don’t have a clue how ‘I’ can get it to do that…”

Without training most users simply won’t know how to use half of what they have.  “Well they can use the Help can’t they? Or ask?“. Yes they can. But asking often implies inadequate knowledge of something and a lot of users don’t feel comfortable admitting to their coworkers not knowing something that others seem to think is such implied knowledge. And Help files? Well,… Ever tried using MS Excel Help to figure out how to create a pivot table?…

The most important one though in my opinion, and one that is often the biggest culprit of failed user adoption is:

“I don’t see how it can help me do my job better”

The mistake made here is that often implementers and trainers focus on showing users HOW to do things without explaining to them WHY this could be beneficial to them. Expecting users to be able to make the leap from seeing a ‘feature’ into applying it to their daily job without helping them to do so is often one step too far for a lot of them. Especially with the wide variety of software and functionalities we have nowadays.

For instance: If you talk to users about the ‘awareness’ functionality in instant messaging software like Lync or IBM Sametime you can simply explain that they can change their status to “not available” or “do not disturb” or you can start a discussion and address the topic of constant availability, where IM stands in the array of options we have nowadays to contact each other (mail, phone, face-to-face, etc), why and where it can be handier to use one over the other and how users can – and should – make choices about their availability to be contacted in that way.

Last but not least:
Enablement, education and training should never be seen as temporary things. Good adoption of technology and methodologies requires repetition and involvement so don’t stop after you’ve implemented the software; done your training sessions and provided reference materials. Reiterate the knowledge by regularly posting small tips & tricks on bulletin boards or intranet sites, by uploading videos, by having users interviewed  – or better yet – stimulating them to write blogs and wiki’s themselves about how it helps them to do their job better and by offering over the shoulder support.

So….

  • Never assume
  • Involve the user to train the user
  • Start with addressing the ‘why’ before going into ‘how’
  • repeat & reinforce

But most importantly have fun doing it… Nothing is more satisfying then seeing that ‘light bulb’ go on in someones eyes when they learn that one thing that will make all the difference to them in their day to day job… 🙂

 

Gamification – putting out the welcome mat

I love IBM Connections. It’s a great way to connect and share information and it allows me to broadcast my opinions and ideas within our company. Out of the box though IBM Connections can be a bit sterile. Yes, there are some templates and yes you can customize it of course but it’s still all a bit aloof. It can take some time to really feel connected with it, which means getting the adoption going can be a struggle.

Cue gamification: We recently became a partner for Kudos Badges, a gamification module that helps drive adoption of IBM Connection and implemented it within our own environment to try out. Suddenly everyone was talking about the badges and checking out their scores. The overall usage picked up immediately.
Ok yes, I work with mostly males and regardless of what you say…. THEY ARE MORE COMPETITIVE than females (although I’m usually worse then most of my male co-workers but that’s really the exception). So there was a definite surge in activity visible and it caused most of my co-workers to really start exploring and using IBM Connections.

But apart from the competitive element it adds something else: A visually appealing effect.
It personalizes the for some relatively overwhelming digital social tools environment and adds a bit of humanization and color to it. Making it less sterile and less intimidating. It’s like putting the ‘Welcome’ mat out and a pot of flowers in the windowsill to invite people in.

Now yes, I am competitive but that is secondary to visual for me. When I look at something I notice style, color, layout and navigation first and functions second. The better the visual appeal and logic the better I understand and recognize the functionality and the more I am inclined to explore it further.
And I am not alone! Why do you think Apple products are so appealing to so many…? Their way of putting design on an equal level to the functionality clearly works. Gamification for IBM Connections, if done right taps into that as well.

So in a quirky way Kudos Badges is livening up IBM Connections in more then one way. On the one hand with a competitive element, offering leaderboards and scores and on the other with a bit of visual appeal and logic, offering clues and tips on usage, colorful achievement badges and challenges and goals to strive for.

Does this mean it is something that will entice everyone or that this is an end to it self? No, but it’s a great onboarding tool, something that can help you get that initial adoption going and get people interested. Helping them overcome their initial hesitation of using IBM Connections.
So use it to put out the Welcome mat and give your users a warm welcome. Let’s get them over the threshold!