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.

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

On cats and usability….

Yesterday someone posted this picture in a chat:

I laughed and then I posted this reply:

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:

Continue reading On cats and usability….

IBM Connections Activities – Implicit versus Explicit expectations

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…

Continue reading IBM Connections Activities – Implicit versus Explicit expectations

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!

Ephox EditLive pimping the richtext editor in IBM Connections: Hello spell check!

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.

Sametime meetings – simple but effective

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!