Domino, Notes and videotape
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Connect 2016 Day 2: The next Generation

February 3rd, 2016 | Posted by elfworld in Connect | IBM - (4 Comments)

The calendar says it’s winter here in Orlando, but for us this is pure summer. It’s quite simply heavenly here right now, and I’ll never get used to being cold inside, and when I go outside I have to take off my jacket.

I started this day with a short run before I did several exercises at the gym.

Opening General Session Part 1 Turn Moments into Momentum and Opening General Session Part 2: The Engaged Enterprise Comes to Life

It was then Opening General Sessionon to the opening general session. This year it was split in two, and I won’t write much about it, because it wasn’t very interesting. OpenNTF got a shout out from the executives on stage, and that was great.

I was also very impressed with the two young students who came on stage to talk about Social Student. They had been using it as part of a project at university, and they were chosen as winners. Without a hint of nervousness, the two girls talked unaffected about the work they had done and how they had collaborated across the world with the help of Social Student (which is based on IBM Connections). And this in front of 2000 people. More about the students later.

We also got a presentation of IBM’s new product, which right now is called Toscana. It’s a tool that makes it very easy to set up and edit, both contents and design, on a online solution. It runs of course both on the web and mobile devices. It pulls and pushes data to and from several of IBM’s solutions, as well as solutions from other vendors, and it did look mighty impressive. Not sure if it’s for my company, though. Time will show.

Connections Communities – The New Stuff!

This was the first real session of the day, and I know some of the stuff I learned here is going to make a lot of my users happy. Connections is currently on version 5.5 and here are the most important features (at least for my organisation) that are included in this new version:

  • You have much better control over the layout of your communities
  • As an owner you can now move your communities! This means you can now move a sub community up and turn it into it’s own separate community. If you have several communities, you can now move them under one mother community and make them all sub communities! This is awesome!
  • Much easier to find communities
  • You can now create a lot more content for your communities
  • You can rename any widget. Which means  that if you want to call Wiki for Employee Guide you can!
  • You can change the layout, even the top banner, as well as design a nice and inviting front page in the community
  • Private communities can now also be shown in searches, if you want to. It’s only the title, tags and info that is shown. No member details
  • A new rich text field which woks just as well as editing in Word (thanks, Ephox)!

Bring Your Own Mail Client with IBM Mail Support for Microsoft Outlook

IBM has promised this for quite a few years now, but this time we actually got to see it in action. Currently the release is said to be around June 2016. Basically this means that you can connect your Microsoft Outlook client to a Domino-server, and have full access to your email and calendar. Everything you would expect to be able to do with your mail and calendar in IBM Notes, you will also be able to do with Outlook.

Here are the main details:

  • Windows support only
  • Thus far only Outlook 2013 (but plans for 2010 and 2016 soon)
  • Sync of mail, attachments, drafts, folders calendar and contacts
  • Sync of read/unread flags, forward/reply indicators
  • Notes encryption
  • Type ahead and address resolution
  • Sametime and Connections integration
  • Freebusy lookups
  • Room finder
  • Summary sync

Everything is installed with it’s own installation program. So far it’s only been available to selected customers for testing, and has so far been known as Project Hawthorne.

I asked if the status would automatically change in Skype for Business when a meeting start as long as you are using the Outlook client to read the mail on Domino, but they admitted that they simply didn’t know. So if anyone can answer me on that, please leave a message in the comments section.

Personally I think this is a good move on IBM’s part. Outlook is a good mail client, and this will make it easier to change to Outlook, without having to worry about moving huge mail .nsf files from Domino to Exchange. It also gives people a chance to use the client they prefer.

REST Services in Domino – Key to Modern Web Applications

This was a very technical session for developers. Some of it went above my head, even if I understand the principles behind it.

REST makes it possible to retrieve, present, update and delete data on a system, via web pages. This means that if a system with data storage, like IBM Domino, has a REST service, you can use that to work with the data, even if the system itself isn’t on the web. This is what we are doing with the data from the IBM Notes applications and databases in my company, so I need to get my head around it.

I got some really good pointers on how to get started, and I will download the example database the presenter was going to include with the presentation.

Social Learning with SocialStudent – #NewWayToLearn

SocialStudentThe next session took place in the huge exhibition area for vendors and IBM Partners. Once again the two aforementioned students and their professor told how they had worked with SocialStudent to collaborate. The product developers were there as well to explain a little bit about the technologies behind the product. In addition to IBM Connections, the product also uses Opus Neo Dashboard.

I think SocialStudent could give itslearning a run for it’s money. I really hope IBM takes this out to schools and universities all over the world, because they have a killer app here. The students that will be using it are the employees of tomorrow, so they will demand tools like this in their job.

The two students, Bree Mayer and Jamie Winger,  explained that they were used to dealing with Google Docs (which most of their fellow college students were using), in addition to Skype and online services like Facebook. When asked which tools they preferred using, they said that IBM Connections and Social Students were hands down the best tool. Instead of having to deal with 4- 5 online services everything was in one place inside SocialStudent. Even chat and video meetings.

SocialStudent is also available on mobile devices, and for me, who do quite a lot of user training, it sounds very interesting. I will therefore check out the product and see if I can get a trial user or something

After this session it was off to a networking event held by Panagenda (I always appreciate being invited) before being treated to dinner with IBM Nordic. It’s always nice to catch up with what my fellow Scandinavian IBM users are dealing with these days. It was a relatively early night, because I had to be ready for loads of IBM Connections sessions from early in the morning on Tuesday.

Come back tomorrow for a solid recap with great news about IBM Domino and Connections!

Adding a file to an activity can a lot of times be very useful. However, if you just simply upload the file into an element in the activity, you have no way to upload a new version of that file. This means that you have to download the file locally, edit it, and then upload it again into the activity. You then have to delete the previous version of the file from the activity, because there will now be two files.

There is, of course, a much better way to do this. You can share your own files with the activity. This means that every time you update that file, the activity will link to the newest version of the file, and you don’t have to worry about old versions.

  1. Create a new Entry or To do item, or start editing an existing one
  2. If all the fields are not showing, click on More Options:
    More Options

    Click on the twisty to expand

     

  3. All the fields are now showing. Find Add File:
    Add File

    Click on this

     

  4. Click on the drop down arrow and choose Link to File:
    Link to file

    Choose Link to file

     

  5. You will now see a window where your files are listed:
    Add Links to Files

    Choose among your own files

     

  6. You can navigate to see more files by using the Next and Previous links on top. You choose the files you want to share by checking the check box to the left of the file name:
    Check Files

    Click in the check box for the files you want to link to

     

  7. When you have selected the files you want, click on Insert Links.
  8. The files are now added to the activity element:
    File List

    The chosen file links are listed in the form

     

  9. You can remove any file by clicking on the x to the right of the file name. When you are finished with your editing click on Save.
  10. The files are now added to this activity element:
    File List

    The files chosen are now linked

     

  11. All members of the activity can now click on a file link to open a file. Remember: This is just a link to one of your files. The members of the activity can’t edit the file and then upload it to the activity as a new version. Only you, and people you have shared the file with and given editor rights to, can upload new versions . But when a new version is uploaded, the link in the activity will lead directly to that version. You do not need to add the link again.
    This is a much better way to deal with files in Activities.

Please let me know in the comments section what you think of this tip, or if you have any suggestions, corrections or other feedback.

 

I’m starting a new series. I will present tips on how you can make it easier for your users to adapt to using IBM Connections. I’ve gone through all the pitfalls you can think of while introducing IBM Connections in our organisation. After four years of using the product, teaching and training people on how to use it, doing presentations of IBM Connections and documenting and creating wikis about it, I feel that I can share some of the stuff that I’ve had success with. Please let me know what you think.

Some people think it’s very hard to follow all the stuff going on in IBM Connections. Nothing could be further from the truth. With one search and a couple of clicks, you usually find what you are looking for pretty easily.

Search Field

When you are in your news stream (usually the front page in most IBM Connections installations) you will find the search field in the upper right corner:

Newsstream

Click on picture for larger version

You start searching by simply typing in the search field:

Searching

Searching has type-ahead

To perform the search you hit the ENTER key on your keyboard.

Notice that the search field will automatically suggest persons who are tagged with the expression you are searching for. This happens no matter what you are searching for. To select a person you just click on her.

Choose what you want to search for

In the pull down field to the left of the search field you can predetermine what kind of content you want to search for:

Choose search

Choose what you want to search for

Click on what you want to search for. Then type the search word or search expression in the search field and hit ENTER. The search will now be performed. Above the search result you will see pull down menus that makes it possible to sort and minimize the search result.

Search result

Here I’ve searched for the expression domino:

Search result

The search result for “domino.” Click on picture to see it in full size

You can now sort the the search result by date or relevance:

Sort search

You can sort the search

Above the search result you can also choose whether you want to show all the contents in IBM Connections that you have access to, or if you just want to show contents that belong to you:

Search filter

Filter your search

Reduce the search result

As you can see, the search yielded 210 hits. That’s a bit too much to wade through. Fortunately you have the possibility to reduce the search results by just a few clicks with the mouse button.

Choose application

After performing a search you will see a menu to the left of the search result:

Search menu

Choose the application you want to search in

The currently active menu item is the one marked with blue. In the illustration above we have chosen All Content.

If you want to search only in Files you click on that menu item:

Search Files

Search result for Files

It will now only display files that either contains or were tagged with my search expression. If I had chosen Wikis in the menu it would have showed a search result with all wiki pages that either contained or were tagged with the search expression.

Tags

It’s very important to train your users in how to use tags, and make them understand how important it is to tag all contents in Connections. This is a perfect example of a situation where tags are very helpful.

As shown above we got 210 hits when we searched for domino. Let’s say I was looking for a file about upgrading a Domino server. I will therefore use the tag upgrade to minimize the search result.

In this example, the tag upgrade is displayed among the top hits:

Upgrade tag

The tag “upgrade” is a link I can click on

I can now click on the tag.

If I didn’t immediately spot the upgrade tag in the search result, I could have clicked on the pull down menu item Tags in the left hand menu:

Tag cloud

Tag cloud

After clicking on upgrade it would now show a search result showing only contents that contain both the word domino and the tag upgrade:

Final search result

With one click we now have only 4 hits!

So with just one click on  the mouse button, we went from 210 hits to 4 hits!

Please let me know in the comments section what you think of this tip. And let me know if you have questions regarding IBM Connections

ISBG Scholarship

October 28th, 2015 | Posted by elfworld in ISBG - (2 Comments)

Ego ISBGLast Wednesday the autumn meeting for ISBG, the Norwegian IBM user group, took place. ISBG is a standalone forum for customers and users of IBM’s software solutions for collaboration. In my employer’s case that means IBM Notes/Domino, IBM Notes Traveler (email, calender and contacts on mobile and pads), IBM Connetions and IBM Sametime (but we are moving to Skype for Business soon).

I gave two presentations. The first one was a very technical one where I explained how you can make it possible for users to log on to a web-based Domino solution without having to register those users in your Domino Adress Book. You only need to register them in Active Directory. I will do a blog posting about this, but you can download my presentation here.

In my second presentation I told how we at Brunvoll have used wikis in IBM Connections to document our processes. We are in the process of being certified with several new ISO certifications, and those demand that we document our processes. I demonstrated how we had used graphics and design to make the navigation through the contents and structure of the wikis more inviting and sexy. I also told what we liked about the wikis in IBM Connections, and the things we find are lacking in the wiki applications.

The reception was very good, and several people thanked me afterwards for teaching them that you actually have version control in the wikis, just like you do with files.

I’ve also received a lot of good feedback about Brunvoll and the fact that we share our experiences and knowledge like we do in these forums. That’s really nice to hear.

 On the top of all this I was also given ISBG scholarship, worth 20 000 NOK ($2300), so that I’m able to go to the annual IBM Connect (formerly known as Lotusphere) conference in Orlando, FL, USA in January. I was very happy about this, because I had received word from my boss that there probably wasn’t money left on the budget to send me this time. A colleague of min will also be going on Saturday January 30th.

The scholarship is given out every year. The person who gets it is obligated to blog every day from the conference (which I do in this blog anyway) in addition to give a presentation at the ISBG meeting in February. And I’m not shy about talking and holding presentations, so no complaints from me there.

I will during next week blog about some of the presentations from the ISBG meeting.

 

Summer holiday and a huge load of journalistic assignments made me postpone and postpone, and postpone yet again, my summary of the Norwegian IBM User Group’s spring seminar, which took place at Farris Bad (a spa resort) at the end of May. I will therefore here do a short summary of the last sessions I attended.

Single, integrated social content management system

content_navigatorJoar Lyngaas (now retired, I’m told) from IBM talked about content management within IBM Connections. In my company, we use FileNet and CCM. This makes it possible to define document types with meta data, as well as creating a work flow for reviewing documents before being published. What Joar went through went deeper, and for my company, which is very much looking at a content management system for our documents, this was very interesting.

I have to say, though, that IBM’s acronym confusion continued. You have CCM, CECE, ICF, IBM ECM and so on. What I have gathered is what we need is CECE, IBM Connections Enterprise Content Edition. What this will give us is:

  • Check in and check out of documents
  • Meta data
  • Classification
  • Security
  • Advanced Search
  • Review process
  • Data integration

Another important factor here is IBM’s Content Manager, which we now will be able to use for administering the various document types, and it will also give us a widget/app that will work both in Microsoft Office, in IBM Connections and even in a widget IBM Notes.

This session was the most useful for me during this seminar, and we have already invested in three development licenses. We will make web versions of our biggest IBM Notes applications, and via the API for CECE, we will probably use it for storing of attachments and files and other documents used in the sales and service process.

See presentation

IBM Domino App Dev Futures

MartinDonnelly

MartinDonnelly

Martin Donnely from IBM talked about Bluemix and the possibilities that you have by using that cloud service to lift your old Domino/Notes applications to the web and mobile platforms. He also talked about Xpages and Javascript support that will be improved.

Honestly, Bluemix and Xpages is something my company have decided not to pursue. We will be using Domino as nothing more than a platform for storing the data, and then we will use the REST API in Domino to get the data.

See presentation

Tricks Every Super Domino Admin Should Know

Gabriella is always very knowledgeable and fun to listen to. She went through a lot of tips on how to secure the Domino environment, as well as very good tips on things you can do with Domino Administrator. I learned some new stuff:

  • Color coding of events in the logging
  • Domain Catalog
  • Starting Domino with Java Controller
  • Database Management Tools
  • Enhanced Fault reporting

See presentation

Driving success with social business through an effective adoption approach

Five StagesAlan Hamilton from IBM then talked about one of the biggest challenges Social Business adopters like me face: How do you do user adoption properly, and get people to use solutions like IBM Connections? But this also goes for adoption of any new system, because after 70% of the project budget is spent, that’s when you start user adoption. And neither time nor resources are enough at this stage.

He described five stages of user adoption:

  1. Vision: You need a vision when you start a project. You need to have a plan. What do you want to achieve with this project?
  2. Leadership commitment: Make sure the ones taking the bill are on board with what you are doing. Refer to business cases and tell them why this project is important and will increase your earnings and improve efficiency. Without leadership backing, you will get nowhere.
  3. Use Cases: Define what improvements and benefits you envision for your organisation and focus on  them. Then define what improvements and benefits you foresee for the individuals in the organisation. The good old “what’s in it for me?” is something that the users will ask or wonder about. Define what’s in it for them and focus on that. Use examples on where you think things would be improved.
  4. Plan: Recognise that not all users are the same. Identify the early adopters, the ones that will be ahead of even you, the ones that need prodding and the ones that will never adapt no matter what you do. Plan how you will deploy the solution, how you will train your users and how you will support them.
  5. Iteration: Do points 1-4 over and over again during the entire process, and improve. The old days of the waterfall technique are long gone

This session hit pretty close to home with me, as we are still going through them. Slowly improving, but not quite there yet.

See presentation on Slideshare

How to do more with IBM Connections through integration and expansions

Runar Brastad from Item consulting did a very good presentation on how you can use the very open APIs in IBM Connections and the Social Business Toolkit to both fetch data from Connections, as well as post to Connections from external sources.

This was a very interesting session, and I got several ideas that I’m testing these days. The plan is to replace our intranet with IBM Connections, and use the API’s to fetch data on to our own custom made start page, as well as to information screens that are in place all over our company.

And that was it. Phew!

IBM has launched IBM Connections 4.5.1. To promote how you can work better with the product, they have created a demo which quite brilliantly demonstrates how you can work much more effectively in your organisation instead of relying on just email.

Via blogs, where users can come up with suggestions and ideas that can be voted on, document review processes, chat and status updates, you can work in a way that is much more user friendly, immediate and more meaningful than what you do via other more traditional tools.

Check out the demo in the video below. Note that you can click on the video to watch it in full screen mode. The video is in HD quality, so that you can see all the details.