Times are changing so are the names…!

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!


slides: Social Document Management and CCM (BLUG 2013)

BLUG 2013 Leuven (delivered March 22nd 2013)

PDF version for those who prefer that over slideshare: blug2013-Social document mgt

BLUG – speaking of social document management

Yet again Theo Heselmans and team have managed to do the impossible: get an absolutely fantastic line up together for the upcoming BLUG event in Leuven, Belgium on March 21-22.

I’m honered to say my session “Folksonomy versus Taxonomy, Social Document management in IBM Connections” about document management in general and the new integration of libraries in IBM Connections (CCM) in particular was accepted and I look forward to seeing so many from the IBM community in just over a month!


BLUG for Belux.. ehh BeNeLux Lotus User Group!

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!

BLUG, the unknown gem on my doorstep

BLUG, the annual Belgium/Luxembourg user group held in Antwerp was a great success and although Antwerp literally is only 45 minutes from where I live this was only my first BLUG.  It has left a big impression! We are more then a week on but I’m still going over it in my head.

It was a great event. The organization was excellent, the venue catered exactly to the needs of the event, the sessions, the speakers, the food, the socializing, the people, …. I could go on and on. Simplest to say: it just came together. Theo & staff did an amazing job and deserve all the credits (and MORE) everyone has been sending them!

BLUG to me was about learning, meeting people and discussing ideas. Being able to talk to and exchange ideas with so many that are right there in the trenches, implementing Social Business, learning as they go and muddling through all the caveats and problems that they, as true pioneers, encounter on their way. Because lets face it. Although we all talk about it it is still a relatively small contingent of modern businesses that are actually doing it.

That is the funny aspect with things like this. If you focus so much on it you start to lose sight on the larger picture and to be frankly, the larger picture is that a lot of our customers really haven’t seriously thought about implementing Social Business yet. So we try to show them the benefits, take them by the hand and help them grasp this great new concept of….what?

Social?!?“Well what is social, and more important why should I?!?

So I talked and I listened and I discussed. Debating ‘social’ on the social panel with Paul Mooney and Luis Suarez, listening to the Belastingdienst with their amazing business case (truly, if you get a chance to go see one of their sessions: DO! It’s worth it), IBM’s own business case as presented by Laurent Boes, talking to partners, community members and others during intermissions and delivering my own session…

It was all just one big roller coaster of impressions and ideas. And the one thing I found was that although the basic principles are more or less the same to everyone: Respect for the role of the individual within the business Eco-system and empowerment of the employee to participate and connect – the way people envision how it should be implemented still differs greatly.

Do you control, or not? Do you steer or do you let it evolve in itself? Do you need to change your corporate culture first or do you let the social process change your corporate culture? It all just depends on the people, the business and the situation. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to Social Business and although I already knew this, BLUG has certainly reinforced that to me.

I learned so much from so many these two days. Information I will be taking along to customers, in projects and to my own corporate social environment. So yes, my head is still spinning from two days of BLUG. It is sparking new thoughts, it is exciting and it is daunting. I still know so little and can learn so much. Thank god for events like BLUG, Social Connections, NLLUG, AUSLUG and many others like it for offering this to all those that want to improve their knowledge! Because let’s face it isn’t that what ‘social’ is all about? Connecting, sharing and collaborating!

BLUG Session Slides: Get Social but not THAT social

Presention delivered at BLUG in Antwerp 23-3-2012:

“Company regulation versus personal individuality, how do you get your employees to be responsible partners in a Social Business and how do you weigh freedom versus restriction? The whole Social Business idea is based on the idea of each individual having an intrinsic value to the organization that isn’t necessarily linked to its role within the organization alone. This begs the question of how to tap this resource without losing control and how to implement and regulate the changes that are going to be needed. How much of this can you regulate (top-down) and how much do you allow to evolve (bottom-up)? 
This session will highlight the difficulties and choices a company will face while making the transition into a Social Business and offer ideas and guidelines on how to do so”.


BLUG March 22-23 in Antwerp

BLUG, the official Belgium – Luxembourg Lotus User Group has announced the line up for their annual user group event in Antwerp this March, and it is an impressive line up! With 44 sessions in 4 tracks (Development, Administration, Business and Sponsor track) and over 35 international speakers.

The event will be held in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Antwerp and admission is free.

For me it will be my first BLUG as I wasn’t able to attend last years. But hearing nothing but good about last years event I couldn’t miss this one! It’s an excellent way of learning, meeting and interacting with and about everything IBM has to offer on Social Business and Collaboration software.

Apart from attending I’m very honored to be a speaker as well. Doing a session on how to weigh company regulation versus personal individuality and how to get employees to be responsible partners in a Social Business.

So if you are in the neighborhood and interested in Social Business & Collaboration then I advise you to check the BLUG site out and register. Hope to see you there!