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).
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.
Next week I will be flying out to London to join my coworker Sasja Beerendonk to deliver a session at ICONUK 2014 on the trials & tribulations of becoming a successful social business. I’m really looking forward to this session in more then one way:
First of all because it will be my first time presenting together with Sasja whom I’ve know for years as a specialist of social business adoption and who, I’m lucky to say, decided to join the great team we have at Silverside earlier this year. Secondly because our session will be drawing on the real life experience of quite a number of real life customers who’ve gone through or are right in the middle of the process of becoming a social business.
This experience comes from a project Silverside has worked many hours on this past year in which 32 companies were interviewed to see what really worked and what didn’t work in getting people within their organizations to adopt a different way – and in many ways – philosophy of working. Not just our own customers but many companies we’ve never done business with and who use all kinds of social tools. Not necessarily even the ones we support. After all, in social business the tooling isn’t necessarily the major stumble point, it often is the adoption or lack thereof that makes or brakes a social business project. These interviews resulted in a wealth of information that is being used to further perfect our methodology of user adoption as well as to create white papers and a book that was written by my coworkers Mirte Bouwmans, Evelyn van Kelle and Roland Driesen in which the combined experience of these companies was translated into a comprehensible and easy to read novel. The book (sorry it is only available in Dutch for know) was published and launched last May.
With our session Sasja and I will also be drawing upon the knowledge gained from these interviews to explain some of the obvious (and less obvious) pitfalls and we hope to give a bit of insight into the struggles many of you are probably facing right now. So join us this Friday in room 4 at ICONUK for our session:
“Beyond theory: Trials & tribulations in becoming a successful social business
There is lots of theory about how to become a social business but what really does or doesn’t work? We wanted to know and interviewed 32 companies in various stages of their journey to becoming a social business. Not just highlighting the big wins but also talking about the struggles and small successes that really made the difference. Taking the experiences of these 32 companies, the likes of Dutch Railways, DAF, Saxion, Forbo Eurocol and Bavaria, we’ve created a Social Business journey scenario that can help you identify the successes and avoid the pitfalls in becoming a social business.”
I had the honor of being able to present two sessions earlier this week at the Engage usergroup event in Breda, the Netherlands with two great co-speakers. The slides of both sessions have been published to Slideshare:
Getting to the core, requirements gathering in the wild
The basis of any good project is good requirements. Knowing what it is you are going to build / get determines whether your project will be a success or a flat out failure. In reality though the requirements phase is often trivialized or even forgotten. This session will give you tips & tricks as well as explain to you the basic techniques on how to effectively get to the core of the requirements, identify ways of prioritizing them and explain some core concepts of Functional and Technical design elements. Coming from a requirement gathering as well as development & customer point of view Femke & Sophie will take you through some of the real life examples they have come across and a lot of do’s & don’ts they have seen (and despaired over)
Social sharing vs. organised structure. Must you select only one?
So you have connections (or you are thinking about it) and you want to know what it can do for you in the sense of *socialy* managing files but you don’t really know how that concept works or if it would work for your organization.Tags or folders, share or private, community files or personal files, meta-data and document types? What does it mean and where do you start?
Stuart McIntyre and Femke Goedhart will take you through the ups and downs of social file management. When to use it, when not and what you need to know about file and document management to have the discussion if this should replace the department file share.
Coming from two different backgrounds – and often butting heads about this topic – Stuart & Femke will pitch the points and concepts that you need to think about with managing your documents in a social environment and show you examples on how and where to use IBM Connections to do so.
The anticipation for Connect 2014 is growing. The yearly conference in Orlando that brings together the best of our technical IBM community and an opportunity to meet with experts, build or renew friendships and learn about upcoming changes and improvements in the IBM Collaboration Software stack. I’m not planning on being there this year due to other circumstances (breaking my foot being one of them) but I look forward to reading all the updates and post that are sure to come!
What I most definitely plan on attending is Engage, formerly known as BLUG, the BeNeLux user group that will be hosted in Breda, The Netherlands on March 17th & 18th this year. Knowing the people behind it and seeing the list of sponsors already committed I’m sure that it is going to be another great success and with a location so close to my hometown (30min) and Silverside committed as Platinum sponsor I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
Engage is not the only user group renaming itself at the moment, with INFORM (formerly AUSLUG) the gulf of renames that started with Connect (formerly Lotusphere) and ICONUK (formerly UKLUG) is definitely setting through. On the one hand I feel sad seeing the Lotus brand name slowely disappear, on the other hand, it’s just a name and I’m happy to see that the names these conferences take on now are more general, allowing them to cover the broader spectrum of products and information that is already being handled by them.
Another thing that changed is the names on the list of IBM Champions. After much anticipation the list for 2014 was announced last Friday. I’m feeling fortunate and honored to be named among them and look forward to meeting some of the new names on it as there seem to be quite a few this year!
A healthy community thrives on it’s ability to renew and rejuvenate itself. Seeing all these “new names” is promising, I’m looking forward to see what else 2014 is going to bring us!
Yes, it has happened! As announced yesterday BLUG no longer stands for BeLux (Belgium and Luxembourg) Lotus User Group but now merges with the Dutch user group NLLUG to become the Benelux Lotus User Group!
I think this is great. As most of us who actively visit User Groups know, the one thing that any user group needs is a strong and preferable independent leadership. Someone who will give it their all to make it a success. Sometimes by one person, sometimes by a group of people. Marnix Kemme was that person for the Dutch Lotus user group NLLUG for years. He helped put NLLUG on the map with some really great user group events (who can forget the Keynote in the Amsterdam Arena!) but after he moved to IBM it became silent around NLLUG…. Too silent….
Trying to revive NLLUG a separate track was organized in the IBM Social Business event in Rotterdam last June. Offering user group sessions to customers as part of a larger social business convention. It was great after not having anything since 2010 but it simply couldn’t stand up to the great NLLUG events of 2009 & 2010 and as BLUG was already attracting lots of Dutch visitors it was time to move on. It’s something I’ve personally been feeling very strong about as I really feel that having user groups is important and from experience with Social Connections know first hand how much work it is. I can only be happy that Theo Heselmans and his team are taking on the challenge and I’m sure he will make the Benelux user group just as big a success as the Belgium one is! At the same time I can only thank Marnix who has always tried his utmost best to keep NLLUG alive and even when his role as an IBM employee meant he had to take a step back still ensured it was not forgotten. From personal experience of working with him on the Social Business event I can only say he truly was Mr NLLUG and I also know he has played a big role in making this user group merger possible.
Times change, we change with them. It’s time for the new and in this case the new BLUG. Leuven prepare for the Dutch because we are coming to BLUG 2013!
red. BLUG 2013 will be held in Leuven, Belgium on March 21/22. For more information keep an eye on the BLUG site!