In less than a month a large group of HCL Domino and HCL Connections experts and enthusiasts will be descending on Arnhem in The Netherlands for the annual Benelux Usergroup event: Engage.
Traditionally this is one, if not THE largest, most popular usergroups in the World and for a good reason. Theo Heselmans and his wife Hilde do a terrific job organizing the event. Making sure that the organization is seamless, the location is excellent (and always surprising!) , the food and entertainment are outstanding but most importantly: The speakers and sessions are the best. And that of course is why you should attend.
Sure, having a conference in the middle of an active Zoo is an experience but being able to learn from the best out there is what these conferences are all about. And Theo & Hilde make sure that that is well covered. With over a 100 speakers as well as attendees from all over the world there is an agenda that will appeal to nearly all. From business management to admins and developers.
So why is it that this local Benelux usergroup stands out so much? Well apart from the excellent organization as mentioned above, it is also unique because it is all in English. Normally a user group in a small country like The Netherlands or Belgium would not get this much attention as Dutch/Flemish is not exactly a widely spoken language. But therein also lays the problem as even within the Benelux not all speak Dutch/Flemish. So to truly make it a Benelux usergroup a communal language had to be chosen and naturally that became English. Opening it up not just for the Benelux participants but also to anyone else. Combine that with Theo’s organizing skills and you have a recipe for success.
In past years people as far as Russia, Australia and the Middle East attended, together with many from the USA and all across Europe. The perfect place therefor to not just learn from the great speakers but also to meet other attendees and exchange ideas and information.
So are you stil in doubt if you should come? Hesitate no more! This is THE event you should attend if you want to learn or know more about HCL collaboration products!
Info about the venue, hotels, and transportation can be found here. Dutch public transport is safe, fast and easy to navigate so take a train from Schiphol Airport and you’re there in 1:10 (English train planner).
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 aboutSocial 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….
Two weeks ago I was at SocialNow conference in Lisbon and was honored to have a short session on ‘social analytics’. The conference has quite a unique setup in that it is completely based around a fictitious company called Cablinc which is thinking of implementing an Enterprise Social Network. All speakers address the conference as if they are presenting to the company trying to either instill knowledge as a ‘consultant’ or get them to buy their product as ‘vendor’. Several speakers and vendors are invited around various topics and they are provided with information about the Cablink company as well as specific use cases they could use in their presentation.
As this is quite a different approach to what I would normally do I decided to really go ‘analytics’ on this challenge of talking social analytics as one of the ‘Consultants’ and build Cablinc a dashboard around the theme “What does Cablincs current usage of mail & file storage facilities say about the need for implementation of an ESN?“…
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!
Original abstract: “IBM Connections is so full of features and capability, even well versed IBM Connections users, admins, community owners and managers may not know them all. Curious about trips and tricks on getting the most out of Connections? Join Femke as she shows you 10 things you might not have known about IBM Connections that provide an even better grasp on social enterprise. Ranging from why “likes” are actually useful, all the way to the intricacies of activities and files. This session is valuable for your own productivity development or to expand your companies knowledge base! “
After not having traveled much over the last few months it is promising to shape up to be quite a busy fall this year!
21st/22nd of September – London:
In little over a week I will be attending ICON UK, the UK user group for IBM software users where I will be co-hosting a session with ICON UK organizer Tim Clark on the art of requirements gathering as well as doing a session on my own about file & document management in IBM Connections. ICONUK is a great conference with a fantastic lineup of speakers and I’m really honored to be accepted to be among them. The conference is held at the IBM Client center in the heart of London which is a fabulous location right next to the London Eye. If you haven’t booked a ticket to go yet, do it now. This is one you don’t want to miss!
28th of October – Zürich:
Another user group which I will be attending and speaking at is SNoUG, the Swiss user group for users of IBM/Lotus Notes/Domino, Connections and WebSphere products which will be help in the IBM Client center in Zürich. The session I will be doing here will be focused on the question what to use when it comes to file management in IBM Connections and the differences between the different options like CCM and community files. Andrew Magerman is doing a great job making SNoUG into a a worldclass event and I’m definitely looking forward to going there!
5th/6th of November – Stuttgart:
And last but certainly not least I will be attending Social Connections in Stuttgart. I’m hoping to get a session slot there too but more importantly I will be helping out around the conference. After not having had the time to be involved with the Social Connections team for the last three episodes of this great conference I’m very happy to report that I’m back on the team. It is humbling to see how much this team has done and achieved in the last two years and the conference in Stuttgart is definitely shaping up to be one of the biggest ones to date.
Apart from these three conference I will also be traveling for work so all in all it will be a busy and exciting couple of months for me and I hope to see many of you at one of these great conferences or during the other work related trips I will be taking this fall.
On Tuesday Jan 27th 2015 my coworker Sasja Beerendonk and I had the privilege to present at IBM ConnectED in Orlando, FL on our favorite topic of Social Business. Below is the session abstract & slide deck for those interested.
BP202: Beyond Theory: Trials and Tribulations in Becoming a Successful Social Business
There are many theories and ideas around “how to become a social business” but what really does or doesn’t work? We wanted to know, and instead of just going blindly with the theory, we did the opposite and interviewed 32 companies in various stages of their journey to becoming a social business. Not just asking them about the big wins, but also talking about the struggles and small successes that really made the difference for them. Taking these experiences and real life examples of companies the likes of Dutch Railways, DAF, Saxion, Forbo Eurocol and Bavaria, and aligning them to the various theoretically relevant concepts, we were able to come up with some interesting concepts. In this session, we will take you through these concepts and theories and, using the examples provided by the companies, show you how these can help you identify the successes and avoid the pitfalls in becoming a social business.