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….
The below is my private opinion and in no way reflects the opinion of either my company or the customers I work with…
anyone who has anything to do with IBM connections will have already heard this
and must be fully aware but yes, the sale of the IBM Collaboration portfolio
(including IBM Connections) was finalized
by the first of this month. This means that from now on IBM
Connections is…. Connections.
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…
One of my biggest frustrations with being an adoption consultant for IBM Connections is that apart from it being very hard to get good insights into what’s happening in the platform, it is even harder to set up corrective measures or actions based on that information.
Cleaning up inactive communities for instance. Every environment has them and every user gets annoyed by it when they keep finding communities that have no relevance anymore. At the same time, IBM Connections itself puts no pressure on community owners to clean up so they forget or simply ignore and the situation continues. After only a few years, most organizations will have dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of such inactive communities. Continue reading Making IBM Connections actionable
As most of you know I’m very passionate about IBM Connections as an Enterprise Social Network. I love how it puts people central and allows organisations to foster and expand their users collaboration. However, it also has certain things that can or should be improved. In the past there was an IDEAJAM site where ordinary users, customers and business partners could suggest or vote on ideas for changes, additions and improvements but unfortunately that was discontinued. Leaving very few avenues for ordinary IBM Connections users to leave their ideas.
This has now changed. With the site https://connections.ideas.aha.io everyone now has the option once more to suggest ideas for improving IBM Connections or to vote for ideas suggested by others. So what are you waiting for?!? This is your chance to help IBM understand what is needed to keep making this product great. Let’s all take that chance and make ourselves be heard 🙂
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.
Ok, I admit, this one was a long time in coming but it’s finally here! The next video in my little series on IBM Connections usage questions. This time it’s all about files and especially about the difference between :
Attachments vs Files
Personal vs Community files
I hope it helps explain a little what the difference is between them and how to use each. Good luck!
As a business consultant that focuses primarily on enabling organizations to collaborate better with their ecosystem of employees, partners and customers, a big question is always for me: “What are the numbers saying? How are our systems being used, what data is out there that I can use to analyze what is happening?”. So that I can track real activity and turn it into actionable content to use in my adoption strategies. As, let’s face it, what we think is happening and what really happens can be two totally different things.
But those are not easy questions to answer as they require insight into the data held in databases that most admins won’t let you even get close to. Simply because it requires too much security level access or could potentially cause performance issues by putting too much strain on a production environment. Plus: even if they did, making sense of it would be very difficult to most.
iDNA & ConnectionsExpert:
Joining panagenda earlier this year though opened up a whole new way into this data. panagenda products like iDNA (analytical reporting on IBM Domino Mail and application environments) and ConnectionsExpert (analytical reporting on IBM Connections) recognize the limitations specified above and selectively and in a controlled way (to prevent overload) retrieve relevant metric and analytical data from your production environment and store it in databases on its own appliance. Data that is then used to create instant reports, graphs and visualizations on how your production environment is doing without putting any strain on it and without having to take the data outside your firewall.
Working with the data:
Since joining I’ve felt like a kid in a candy store. With ConnectionsExpert I now have access to a wealth of information I can show and play with. Visualized and presented in the form of out of the box analytics, graphs, visualizations and exports that I can immediately use.
But as always, we also get specific requests. Reports that customers want that are really only relevant to them. And that’s where the true beauty of what I’ve been able to do these last few weeks comes into play. Because both iDNA as well as ConnectionsExpert have their own data warehouse independent of the platform they are polling information from. Now why is this good? Well, it means that with the right access levels, the right tools and knowledge we can then work with raw data that for instance ConnectionsExpert collects and make specific analytical reports out of it without having to have direct access to any production databases.
The things you can do with what ConnectionsExpert is collecting are really mind boggling and this world of reporting and data mining is opening up a whole new exciting layer of knowledge and opportunity to me I never had before! Over the last few months I’ve been working hard on understanding the specifics of the database model and on using Tableau to get relevant reports out of that. And I love it 🙂
It’s truly exciting and thrilling and I’m so happy to have all this opportunity to do this. Not just from a point of view of getting the tools and data but also in having a fantastic and very knowledgeable team behind me that can help me when I can’t figure things out myself. The combination of their technical knowledge and my own experience in the world of social adoption is creating some really interesting new perspectives and making me hungry for more!