HCL Connections – Surveys & Rules

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.

  1. Where do you find Rules?
  2. How do you see which rule applies to which question?
  3. How do you set up to and show an additional text box when an ‘Other’ option is selected?
  4. 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)
Continue reading HCL Connections – Surveys & Rules

Social Connections Munich – People power your business HCL Connections powers your People!

Back home for a few days now after a great Social Connections in Munich and still recovering from a very nasty cold (so my apologies for this one being a bit after the fact..).

This was the first real conference dedicated fully to HCL Connections since the takeover earlier this summer. Much anticipated by both customers as well as partners. So how was it?

Continue reading Social Connections Munich – People power your business HCL Connections powers your People!

Social Connections Munich: To Dirndl or not to Dirndl…

Well not really of course, but lets face it, it’s an interesting way to start an article about a conference that will be held just short of German October Fest in the heart of Munich. Especially knowing that I might be Dutch but work for an Austrian/German company and just happen to have a dirndl (don’t ask, it was a dare)….

So what am I really talking about? I’m of course talking about Social Connections. The user group for users working with Connections (what was formerly known as IBM Connections). This event is organized roughly every 6 months somewhere around the globe and brings together customers, partners and HCL to talk about and present about the platform. Most importantly though this time is special as it will be the first major event completely focused on the Connections platform since the announcement of the sale of the platform to HCL. It’s also being touted by HCL itself as a flagship event and THE place where they will be talking about the plans they have for the future. Some of which has already been discussed at the Factory Tours and other events as well of course….

Continue reading Social Connections Munich: To Dirndl or not to Dirndl…

Explaining My Drive & File Sync and how it affects versioning

My Drive was introduced to replace the previous sync options of IBM Connections. It offered some additional features like being able to sync not only files but also complete folders. Great! But working with My Drive also often causes a lot of confusion which might need some explaining….

Continue reading Explaining My Drive & File Sync and how it affects versioning

IBM Connections is no more, long live Connections!

The below is my private opinion and in no way reflects the opinion of either my company or the customers I work with…

So anyone who has anything to do with IBM connections will have already heard this and must be fully aware but yes, the sale of the IBM Collaboration portfolio (including IBM Connections) was finalized by the first of this month. This means that from now on IBM Connections is…. Connections.

Continue reading IBM Connections is no more, long live Connections!

ConnectionsExpert 2.0 released!

It’s summer and that means that news is sometimes announced during a period while people are about to go – or just coming back from holiday. This happened to me when ConnectionsExpert 2.0 was released just before I went on holiday. Which meant that I wasn’t able to share my excitement over its inception as much as I would have liked to and that’s also why you are now reading this blog post with a few weeks delay. Don’t worry though, my excitement over this release is still the same!

So what’s ConnectionsExpert?

For those that don’t know, ConnectionsExpert is a tool from panagenda that allows you to gain deep dive information about the health status, usage and adoption rates of your IBM Connections environment by collecting and displaying key metrics and monitoring information about the platform and its usage. As a team we’ve been working hard to further expand the features of ConnectionsExpert and that has resulted in this new release! Continue reading ConnectionsExpert 2.0 released!

Indexing support for Activity and Forum attachments in IBM Connections 5.5

Sometimes with large updates you miss the little things that make the difference… One I missed with the release of Connections 5.5 was that apparently the indexing on attachments has been added for Activities & Forums now:

in 5.5: “IBM Connections supports the indexing of file attachment content from the Files, Wikis, Library (Enterprise Content Manager files), Activities, and Forums applications. Content from file attachments in Blogs is not searched.source

Was: “IBM Connections supports the indexing of file attachment content from the Files and Wikis applications. Content from file attachments in Activities, Blogs, and Forums is not searched.source

For most people probably not a big thing but it means that now at least one will be able to search for content in the documents that were added as attachments to forums and activities. Something that was often causing headaches to users who couldn’t find back information they were sure they had added to IBM Connections.

It’s still wise to train your users to upload files to a community or personal files first and share them from there (as it allows things like locking, version management and commenting) but all in all still a very nice little feature of 5.5 that had slipped under my radar!

 

busy weeks! Zurich & Stuttgart

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!

SNoUG:

Social Connections 9:

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?

IBM Connections Folders #4: Some final recommendations

This blog is follow up in a series of blogs on Folders in IBM Connections. For full understanding I would recommend reviewing the previous blogs: #1: Community Folders, #2: Ownership of files and folders and #3 working with folders first.

 

So in the previous three post I explained a bit about the ins and outs of IBM Connections folders, the different flavours you have and how they work and differ from each other. But the question now is how do you use them…?

I’m not going to tell you.

The truth is that each organization is different and each situation is different. IBM Connections is a social business platform that offers you tools that can help you stimulate collaborative work and knowledge sharing and there really is no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’ as long as you can achieve that. Having all three different types of folders (Shared Folders, CCM Folders and Community Folders) means you just got more options to find YOUR way. But to do so it is important to understand how each of them function, what their strongholds are as well as possible weaknesses. In the previous 3 blogs I’ve tried to give you an overview of those strengths and weaknesses.

Control?

Having so many options that work so differently at times can be quite confusing. Can you prevent users from using a certain type of folders?

Well in a way yes, by simply deactivating the whole feature. Shared Folders is part of the personal files, as far as I know you can’t easily deactivate those without deactivating personal Files too but I’m no admin so check with your admin before dismissing that. CCM Folders require CCM Licensing and an additional installation. You can definitely choose not to buy it / install it. Then again, that would mean you lose some great features that CCM could offer to your organization so make sure you fully evaluate before deciding! Community folders, which is part of the default offering as of IBM Connections 4.5 CR4, has only recently been released and it requires a specific act from your administrator to activate so again, that is something that you can choose to do, or not.

But….! Don’t just dismiss these options. Make sure you test them and discuss them with your users. They might in fact solve problems you weren’t even aware of. In that sense, having so many different options also means you have a rich variety of possible use cases. Just make sure you are aware of how each works.

Recommendations

So what would I recommend?

Well, again, it’s all up to your situation, organization and needs. But there a few things I would definitely recommend:

  1. Do not implement CCM just so your users have nested folders…. Yes, I know having this option is a great selling point for CCM but it will always fall short in replicating the functioning of their file shares, even with subfolders. If that was the only reason to implement it, users will only get disappointed. Instead, highlight the other benefits of social file sharing and look at the other features CCM offers like approval cycles, document types and the option of having users control the security access levels to it. Use that to show users why CCM could be a great thing to use.
  2. Inform users of the Ownership differences between Community Files/Folders and Personal Files/Folders. Try to come up with a strategy with them, on when to use what. There are clear cases where personal files are preferred but in other situations community files can be a better way to go. If for no other reason than to at least make sure they are, by default, editable to all community members or ensure a better security within a community.
  3. Do not use Shared folders in Restricted communities. See this blog for an explanation why.
  4. Train your key users so they know how IBM Connections Files & Folders work and provide cheat sheets so they can understand and explain to other users why certain things work the way they work.
  5. Try & experiment. As stated before, IBM Connections is a platform offering more than one way to go. That is its strength but sometimes is also seen as its weakness as it can be confusing to users. Find out what works for your organization and base your content strategy on that.
  6. Lastly, but probably most importantly…. If you haven’t done so yet, explain to users what the key thoughts behind IBM Connections is and try to get them to realize that when it comes to Sharing information in a social platform, the premise about who should have access to a file or folder shouldn’t be “I, unless…” but “Everyone, unless…”!

 

So have I covered everything there is to know about IBM Connections folders? No! There are whole areas I haven’t even touched upon. So I will most likely be publishing more blogs on this topic in the future. In the meantime, let me know if you thought this series was helpful or if you have any questions by posting in the comments.