HCL Connections Super Users meetup June – The one about Hidden gemstones

HCL Connections is a fast platform with many features and even more ways in which you can use them.  It’s hard to know them all so in this meetup we hope to discuss the ‘hidden gemstones’. Tips, tricks and ideas of how to use HCL Connections and its features. 

From interface feature tips like knowing that the business card shows links to directly go to the users personal files, forum, blog and community interactions. To ways in which you might have implemented a feature to obtain a goal totally different from what it was originally intended for. This session is about creative uses, nifty tricks and anything else that comes up in the conversation!

As a kickoff speaker this time we have Andreas Weinbrecht. IBM Champion, HCL Ambassador and Account Manager at Beck et al. GmbH. 

 

So join in and hear what Andreas and others see as their biggest win and share your own if you have any.

Meeting details

June 10th 2021 16:00 CEDT
Location (online):
https://ht-group.zoom.us/j/95794941629
Meeting ID: 957 9494 1629
Find your local number: https://ht-group.zoom.us/u/abHYEL9b2w

Or scan the below QR code to add it to your calendar immediately:

For whom is this call?

The Global Ambassador / Super User call started as an initiative by Joerg Rafflenbeul and Femke Goedhart to bring together people who within their own organizations are (or consider themselves) advocates, super users or ambassadors for the HCL Connections platform. To discuss and exchange information around the platform and challenges encountered while getting it to be adopted by your organizations. It is open to all who are interested, work with it or are interested in the user enablement/adoption topic. Meetings take place once every 3-4 weeks via an online meeting.

Got a story to share? We always like to kick off our calls with a 5 min intro by one of the participants explaining about their situation and challenges. So reach out to one of us if you would like to do that in one of our next meetings!



What does ‘connecting’ mean in HCL Connections? Meetup MAy 6th

What challenges do you encounter using HCL Connections as a Guide / Super User / Ambassador … ? Every 4 weeks we come together to discuss a topic and the challenges we face. Topics come from previous discussions or from suggestions from participants. Rarely do we stay on topic but the calls are always interesting! This times the topic is:

“What does ‘connecting’ mean in HCL Connections?”

Which came from a discussion about how people connect in HCL Connections and what is leading: Someone’s profile, their content, the communities they are a member of…? So what do you think? It doesn’t matter if you want to actively participate or just listen to what other say, you’re welcome!

Join the Zoom Meeting on May 6th at 16:00 CEDT
https://ht-group.zoom.us/j/95794941629

Meeting ID: 957 9494 1629
Find your local number: https://ht-group.zoom.us/u/abHYEL9b2w

Or scan the below QR Code to add the meeting to your calendar!

For whom is this call?

The Global Ambassador / Super User call started as an initiative by Joerg Rafflenbeul and Femke Goedhart to bring together people who within their own organizations are (or consider themselves) advocates, super users or ambassadors for the HCL Connections platform. To discuss and exchange information around the platform and challenges encountered while getting it to be adopted by your organizations. It is open to all who are interested, work with it or are interested in the user enablement/adoption topic. Meetings take place once every 3-4 weeks via an online meeting.

Got a story to share? We always like to kick off our calls with a 5 min intro by one of the participants explaining about their situation and challenges. So reach out to one of us if you would like to do that in one of our next meetings!

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:

Desktop Plug-in setting to show MAX 500 files can be changed to show all

One of the more confusing features of the desktop plug-in for HCL Connections is that it limits the number of files it shows for any given folder or file location to a maximum of 500 files. The system doesn’t warn the user of this or tell the users that they can show all items by right clicking somewhere in the folder (not on a file!) and selecting [Get All] (see picture below). So this is easily overlooked by users who then get frustrated as they are not finding the files they expect there.

On searching for another option I stumbled upon the following documentation that includes a setting to change this behavior: Preferences and policies for the HCL Connections Desktop Plug-ins for Microsoft Windows

Solution:

To force the desktop plugin to show all items (files/folders) add a string key in the policies section:

Windows 64-bit systems: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\IBM\Social Connectors\Settings

Windows 32-bit systems: KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IBM\Social Connectors\Settings

With the name: ReadAllAlways

And the value: 1 (= All items within a folder are displayed, even if the amount of child files and/or folders exceed 500)

Note: The 500 max was apparently set to allow for better performance on opening a folder. However, folders containing more then 500 files/folders are generally not that common and the benefit of eliminating support calls by confused users who can’t find files they know are there, would generally outweigh the slight delay one might get when opening a big folder.

Desktop plug-in for Windows fails on large uploads

At one of my customers we ran into the problem that users were not able to upload files larger than 50MB within the HCL Connections Desktop plug-in for Windows but were able to upload files of up to 1GB (server setting) in the browser. The error users got in the desktop connector was “Server returned bad request (400)” when uploading these larger files. I will post the solution they found (and that I can’t seem to find online) here for others to use in case they run into similar problems.

Solution:

It is possible to change the size at which the Plug-in begins using the large file upload functionality. This can be overridden using a policy set in the registry.

Add a string key in the policies section: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\IBM\Social Connectors\Settings

with the name: LargeFileSize

The value is in megabytes and the default is 100MB. Set it to the size your system allows, for instance: 1024

The solution was tested and works for 64-bit systems.

Note: For 32-bit Windows you could try using: KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IBM\Social Connectors\Settings instead but this wasn’t tested. If you do, feel free to comment below if that worked.

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.

Connections 7 is coming and it’s taking us off the island!

So for those not knowing yet, HCL is shortly before launching it’s newest release of HCL Connections version 7 and it is looking promising! The main keys of this release are to create a better collaborative experience in Communities, connect the platform to the Microsoft eco-system so you’re no longer working in disparate systems that act as islands but can integrate all the collaborative work you do. Whether it’s in Connections or Teams. And lastly to export content in an easy and comprehensive way to take with you, archive or print.

So lets go through a few of these new features:

Community/ Tailored experience:

Tailored Experience: When creating a new community you now get a step by step wizard that leads you through all the steps needed to set up a new community

Community templates: Part of this new community wizard is that you can now also select a community template to base that new community on! Each organization can set up their own preferred communities templates. These templates don’t only work in regards to allowing you to copy over the activated apps and config of a community but also can include content like pre-populated files, wiki pages, community image, blogs etc.

Community homepage/Highlights improvements: the old ‘overview’ page will be replaced by the highlights page. For that purpose, Highlights has received a redesign and has been extended, allowing it to be much more intuitive to set up and use.

Microsoft eco system integration:

Outlook integration: Redesign of the whole integration means that it is now easier to add files, link to content and generally work more efficient from within Outlook.

SharePoint integration: Allows you to use a SharePoint repository within your community and even replace your community files app with that if your organization prefers using SharePoint for files.

Teams integration: A exiting feature that forms a good basis for the further integration of Connections with the Microsoft world that allows you to show Connections content (Blogs, Files, Forums, Highlights or Recent Updates) in your Teams channel tabs, share content to your community directly from your Team (and vice versa!) and start a chat with a user directly from your profile. E.g. a two way integration option that really allows you to work across both platforms.

Print & Export

Last but not least and one I’m stupidly excited about… It is now standard part of Connections that you can Export activity, blog, wiki, or forum content to PDF. Per entry or per selection (for instance all forum posts after a certain date…).

Print of a 3-page community wiki. It allows you to select the pages and the content (comments, author info, etc) to be included. Making it very customizable as to how you want your output to look

Seeing it for yourself

This presentation from Let’s Connect’s recent online conference goes through the main features and shows screen captures of the main features to give you an idea.

However, if that isn’t enough, you can actually see it live already! HCL has provided an online preview version of Connections 7.0 which allows you to test and see all that is new. Including the Microsoft Teams integration. To request an account go here: HCL 7 Preview

And if that isn’t enough, sign up for HCL’s Digital Week event and get the latest ad greatest directly from the guys themselves.

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