As I’m sure a lot of you know, I do a lot of presentations and lectures, as well as giving courses and doing user training. I’m especially doing a lot of this kind of work when it comes to collaboration and efficient use of email and calendar. If you want me to come and have a look at your organisation and make you less dependant on internal email, make it easier for your organisation to find information and documents and help you find the knowledge and skills that you have in house, please get in touch!
As some of you know, I turned 100% freelance last year, and my income is now all down to me in my pursuit of assignments. If you want to book me, either as a user trainer for effective use of mail and calendar (Outlook IBM Notes or Gmail), general courses about IBM Notes, IBM Connections, general collaboration, social media, Microsoft Office, writing and photography, as a developer/architect or writer and photographer, get in touch.
I’m gonna be more active around here from now on. So first a recap about what I’ve been doing lately.
November and December was filled up with me doing user training in IBM Connections for the worker’s union Industrienergi, on behalf of Item. The feedback was great and I’m going to do even more user training next week and later in February. Last time I taught them their new intranet, which is running on IBM Connections, the news stream, how to stay updated on what goes on in IBM Connections and Files. For the latter I also helped them set up the IBM Connections plugins for Windows, Outlook and IBM Notes, as well as the mobile app. The reason I focused mostly on Files is that in my experience that is the ticket in for most users. That’s what makes them really see the potential in a collaborative solution as Connections. The next courses will be all about Activities, another neat feature in Connections.
I also did an IBM Notes project for a company just outside of town in December and January. It was good old fashioned Notes development, with lotusscript and Notes design elements. It was great fun, but I’m trying to get them to see the advantage of starting to go in a more web enabled direction.
As the leader of the Norwegian IBM Collaborations Software User Group (ISBG) I’ve also been busy arranging meetings and webinars. All our webinars can be seen on our Youtube channel. The webinar is the last Tuesday of every month. If you want to do a presentation, please get in touch with me.
I’ve also done loads of journalistic and photographic assignments. Some of them will be presented in this blog during the spring.
And lastly: If you are thinking about going to IBM’s Think conference this year, get in touch with me as well. I can give you a $100 discount.
Expect a new blog posting soon.
At the bottom of this blog posting I’m linking to all the blogs I’ve written about IBM Connect.
It’s now 15 days since I came home from San Francisco, and on Thursday it’s three whole weeks since the conference was over. I’ve been pretty busy with following up on stuff after the conference. Especially on stuff I learned about, as well as on deals and alliances that might come to fruition after several meetings I had. I’ve also contacted a lot of people who were at the conference in an attempt to get speakers for the ISBG spring meeting, which will take place on June 7th and 8th.
My feelings about this year’s Connect are generally good, but also a bit mixed. The attendance was as I expected it to be. Compared to the glory days (my first conference was in the mid 2000s) it’s a mini convention now. It’s like our own private little club, and therein lies the problem: A lot of important decision makers in the companies who are customers of IBM Collaboration Solutions still view the conference as a geek conference. If you look at the agenda, you realise this is obviously wrong. Still, I was in several sessions where less than 10 people were attending. I was at one session where a company presented a solution for moving Notes applications to mobile where there was only four (4!) people.
It’s time that we who cling to this conference for nostalgic reasons wake up and realise that with all the cognitive stuff and Watson creeping in all over the place, the most sensible thing would be to bake Connect into World of Watson. I’m not complaining that it’s still our very own little club, but it will be even harder to convince bosses and decision makers about what the conference has to offer, since it’s still considered to be a geek conference by many of them.
The scheduling was also a nightmare this year. A lot of sessions from the same tracks were going on at the same time, and several sessions that usually are filled to the brim were this year set during lunch and other important sessions about the future strategy of key products (yes, I’m looking at you Gurupalooza, where I was on stage). And having Mat Newman’s inspiring session about how to increase user engagement was at eight o’clock in the morning.
My feeling is also that a lot of people prioritised meetings with partners, customers and friends over going to sessions. As I pointed out in my previous posting, the social bit is a very important part of such a conference, but it must be bitter for the presenters who have worked hard preparing for their sessions.
It was, however, heartwarming that we finally saw something solid when it comes to the future roadmap of IBM Notes/Domino. As usual, these sessions were full, and this year IBM has actually made good on their promise of continued commitment to the platform. Yes, most of the future roadmap is about lifting applications from the Notes client and on to web and mobile, so it was surprising that there will be further development on the client as well. I was especially happy to hear that there will be sidebar plugins both for CCM and Watson.
It was also wonderful to see that sessions about the future of IBM Connections was just as popular as Notes/Domino sessions used to be in the past. It’s obvious that Connections is a success in many countries. This is not the case in my own Norway, but with even more success stories, as well as the strong portfolio of applications from third parties and IBM partners, this could change. Especially IBM Connections Pink needs to be promoted heavily. If not, Facebook Workplace will be a Connections killer when it gets proper file handling.
It was also great to attend the conference for the first time as an IBM Champion. Hanging out with the other champions, as well as getting pats on the back from IBM officials and customers, was nice and encouraging. It’s also nice to put faces to names and people you only communicate with online.
In conclusion: I think the road IBM is taking with their ICS portfolio now, where they focus on openness and inclusion, is the right way. And as an IBM Champion I find it exciting to be a part of the ride. Let’s hope it will turn into a positive trend for the next year. I will do my part.
Here are all my blog postings from IBM Connect 2017:
- Moving your IBM Notes applications to the cloud
- Cognitive is the keyword – From the opening session
- The future of Domino
- Connections Pink – The future of IBM Connections
- The very important social part of the conference
And here’s my photo album from IBM Connect and San Francisco:
The 2016 autumn meeting in the Norwegian IBM User group (ISBG) was held on November 30th at BI (Norwegian school of finance) in Oslo. Even if I wasn’t second in command for the user group I still would say this: It was a very strong and varied agenda! Here’s a summary:
Salesforce App Cloud and IBM Domino – same, same, but different
First one out was René Winkelmeyer from Salesforce.com. He’s a former star in the Domino environment, but left for Salesforce last spring. He works there as a Senior Development Evangelist. There were those who questioned why ISBG would invite Winkelmeyer to give this lecture. The reasons are that IBM has bought one of the largest Salesforce consultant companies in the world. In addition, Salesforce is very compatible with the IBM Collaboration Solutions.
Several people who used to work with Notes/Domino are today working with Salesforce, and there are also those who work with both platforms. Winkelmeyer explained the differences and similarities between the platforms.
- Salesforce is cloud only
- Salesforce does not have email but you can integrate email functionality into your applications
- Salesforce is based on relational databases
- You are automatically prevented from publishing bad code
- The structure is similar: Organisation, database and forms
- Security model similar. You can control access and permission all the way down to fields
- Salesforce has its own versions of forms, views and Xpages
- Both have variations of agents
- Both have validation and rules
Winkelmeyer then did a demo where he showed how a Salesforce applications worked seamlessly inside a community in IBM Connections, including sharing of files. He then showed how he could copy an email from IBM Verse and into an application in Salesforce. This is made possible via the APIs in Connections and Verse.
Winkelmeyer’s main point was that the philosophy where you bind yourself to one system or platform doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Today everything is about integration, not to mention web and mobile based solutions.
Finding Your Way out of the Domino Maze
Julian Woodward is a legend in the Notes/Domino community. In the past few years he has worked for LDC Via, a London based company specialising in helping companies lift their data out of Domino. In his presentation, he walked through the challenges that comes with such a migration, whether you want to leave Domino completely or stay on Domino and only move out of the Notes client.
The challenges are both technically and for the business. For the latter you have to consider budgets, strategies, politics and infrastructure. Very often the organisations are very surprised about how tightly integrated the Notes applications are in the daily business, and how vast they really are.
On the technical side the challenge is that IT wants more standardised applications and systems and less specialised systems that are developed in house. This demands a lot of restructuring and in a Domino environment this can be especially challenging. You have Notes agents, server integrations (both between Notes applications but also with other systems and platforms), APIs and server add-ons. Scheduled agents are especially tricky as no other systems have that.
Woodward then presented a series of scenarios for moving from Notes or Domino. All based on his experiences in his work in LDC Via. These scenarios included everything from starting all over on a new platform to archiving data from Notes and use lookups to find information. His main advice was:
- Find out the scale of the project and then do one thing at a time
- Map out what the most important applications are
- Both interview and observe the users while they are working in today’s systems, this will help immensely in determining the scope of the project
- List the reasons for moving
- How long will a new application last? Is it really worth it?
Judicial demands for cloud services
Grete Funderum Stillum is a lawyer and partner with Brækhus Drege Lawyers DA. She gave a session that many were surprised was on the agenda. This was a about corporate law and not technology. The feedback afterwards, however, was great. People found it very interesting and felt that we should repeat it during the spring meeting. She received a lot of questions during the presentation, so it was clear that she struck a nerve with people looking to move into the cloud.
Funderum’s point was that organisations often forget the judicial demands coming into play when moving into the cloud. Her message was that this should be one of the main concerns already from the start of such a migration project. One of her examples was that standard agreements with cloud providers very often were non negotiable.
She also pointed out that you are responsible, and not the cloud provider. However, it was very beneficial for a cloud provider if they had expertise about this so that they could guide the customer.
Personal data is something that the law is very strict about (but strangely not when it comes to cookies!) and it’s also a difference between sensitive personal data and regular personal data. The Norwegian watch dog Datatilsynet has specialized forms and guides on how to take care of this.
In May 2018 a new EU regulative will come into play. This will make it necessary to document your internal control on data security in your organization.
Time for the Digital Workplace
After a lovely tapas lunch it was time for a presentation from Swede Erik Näslund. He works in EGBS which specialises in transforming IBM Connections into a social intranet with focus on user needs. Their philosophy is that if you need to train your users to use a system, you’ve failed.
As an example, he used his cell phone and Ipad. Most people are able to start using them without any form of training. Why aren’t your tools at your workplace like this? In the future robots and automated processes will perform more and more of the routine labour we perform today. We should therefore concentrate more and working with knowledge and creative jobs. Instead we are using a lot of time on chores like registering hours. Näslund says this is completely unnecessary. – My cell phone already know I’m in Oslo, when my plane took off and when I’m back at the office. I still have to register this manually in our internal systems at work. This should happen automatically.
He pointed out that even if the death of email was greatly exaggerated, people still don’t read their emails. They only read the first four lines. The solution is very often to install IBM Connections and share information there. The result is that 10-20% of the employees adopts to using Connections. This is not productive.
So then you start training your users and start choosing super users and so on. You then end up with a 40% adoption rate. The reason is that people are not interested in learning about files, communities, profiles etc. The way we think when we want to introduce a collaboration tool is completely wrong. The processes and people should not have to adapt, it’s the product that should adapt to the users way of doing things.
Digitalisation of the workplace is not an IT investment, it’s a continuous project. Adapt the technology, not the users!
IBM Softlayer in Norway
The first thing Kjell Langeland from IBM Norway pointed out when he started his session was that even if Softlayer was the foundation of IBM’s new data centres, the service is now called IBM Bluemix. This autumn they opened a new data centre at Fet in Norway. Such data centres are called Bluemix Data Centre and what used to be called Softlayer is now known as Bluemix Platform.
The customer can rent a physical server. With the help of wizards she can set up and configure the server (operating system, surveillance software and so on). You can also rent on an hourly basis pr month.
IBM and VMWare is now conduction a strategic cooperation where IBM can rent out VMWare licenses in Bluemix.
So far the Norwegina data center has gained 100 customers, and a lot of well known platforms and companies are using the service.
There was a big interest in this session, and Langeland received a lot of questions.
Updates from IBM Norway
Vidar Svendsen and Emmar Hoel from IBM Norway then showed us what the latest news from IBM are. Main points:
- Watson Work
- Box as a file service inside IBM Connections
- The cooperation between IBM and Cisco which makes it possible to use WebEx as web meetings inside IBM Connections. You can also use Jabber and present Files and files from Box inside WebEx meetings
- Information about IBM Connect 2017 (previously known as Lotusphere) which next year will take place in San-Francisco
Competition and pizza
We finished up with a Kahoot quiz which this time was a pop quiz. I won but as second in command at the ISBG board I only won fame and glory. Julian Woodward got away with the prize.
After a raffle and some more prizes Hogne thanked everybody for coming. He then asked for help in promoting ISBGs activities and said that the board of ISBG appreciates any feedback from their members about the future of ISBG. It’s obvious that the bar is set higher these days for traveling to conferences. All ideas are welcome.
The day was rouned up with IBM Norway treating us to pizza and drinks, so we all went full home. Full of both knowledge and food.
The next ISBG meeting is the spring seminar in June of 2017, but you shouldn’t be too surprised if there are other activites before that. Stay tuned!
A huge thanks to BI for lending us a conference room and for a splendid lunch, and heart filled thanks to IBM Norway who always are supportive of our conferences.
Last 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.
I was glad I went to bed early after Day 1. I think I was more ready for this day than certain other people I talked to… On to the sessions:
An Introduction to Working With the Activity Stream
This was one of my favorite sessions. It was presented by Mikkel Flindt Heisterberg from Intravision. However tired we are of the expression “social,” there’s no doubt that people these days expect to have the same social possibilities at work that they have on their computers, mobiles and pads.
We are moving away from emails to activity streams. The latter won’t replace email, but a lot of the unnecessary emails you receive can be replaced with activity streams. However, it’s important to note that the activity stream is not an inbox. As things are pushed down in the stream, they will eventually disappear.
Mikkel talked about how you can use the http protocol and REST APIs to interact with the activity stream in IBM Connections. Http is so much more than people think. You have several components in a URL stream, like POST, GET, PUT and so on.
The session was very technical and while I certainly understand the principles behind this, I will need to start testing this for myself, to see how we can use it in my workplace.
However, it should be used with caution. Spamming people’s news and activity streams is not the way to go. The challenges are therefore not just technical, they are also organizational and ethical.
Planning and Designing For Your First Connections Install
Gabriella Davis from the Turtle Partnership went through all the steps for an installation of IBM Connections. This included planning on how to use IBM Connections within your infrastructure, what servers and software you need to download, where to get the software, what kind of hardware do you need, how do you get it up and running and also how you should prepare and train your users.
For me this was a useful session, because I finally learned exactly what components that makes up an IBM Connections installation. Our site was installed and set up by IBM, and I really had no clue to what the components of the product really were. Now I do.
Gabriella also said that she discouraged installing a subset of Connections. Install everything, and then decide what you want to use. This because quite a lot of the applications depended on each other.
Also: Clean up your LDAP data before you export them into Connections. And make sure that you have all systems that should have single signon on the same domain. This is something that we learned the hard way at my company…
Mastering Eclipse in IBM Notes the Easy Way
Another lecture by Panagenda. The jury is still out on whether it was a good idea to integrate Eclipse into Notes, after all, the Notes client is now more than bloated, consisting of over 20 00 files, spread out over 4000 sub directories.
What the Eclipse platform does, though, is giving you the opportunity to create and distribute plugins. This can be done manually, or via policies on the Domino server. This is however a pain in the ass so Panagenda has developed a tool for making the distribution of such plugins easier and more foolproof.
Effective Flow of Information with IBM Connections and CMS
Another highlight for me. In my company, we are constantly trying to reduce the number of systems we are running, and preferably we want to run as much as possible from within IBM Connections.
This is what Alere, a producer of medical laboratory equipment, does with their content management system for their extranet. By combining they’re Enonic CMS with IBM Connections, they can, with the help of predefined tags, publish files and information straight out onto their extranet, which over 300 distributors are using.
This makes it much easier to publish new information about their products, since the persons responsible for the products can post this directly, without having to go through a workflow involving the web staff.
With the help of Blogs in IBM Connections, Alere could also answer questions, suggestions and feedback from their distributors in a much more effective way than via email. In addition, other distributors could also take part in the discussion, something that wouldn’t be possible if Alere only used email for this.
I was personally very interested in this solution and I’ve requested a demo.
Status for IBM Collaboration in Norway
Morten Meier, Nordic Chief for Partners and Sales, gave us a status about IBM’s results, focus areas and successes within Social Business in Norway.
IBM has 49 000 social business customers globally, and the number of partners and certifications are increasing. IBM is, according to Gartner, the leading social business software house. In addition, over 2000 customers have returned to the IBM Notes/Domino platform.
The reviews for IBM Notes 9 Social Edition have been great, and the media publicity have been very positive. In short: The sun is shining.
When Morten was finished I had to grab my bags and make a run for it, because he was my ride to Oslo.
The seminar was well worth the trip, and it was really nice to meet partners that I’ve only communicated with via email or phone. I will definitely make it to the next one, I might even do a presentation…
I attended the ISBG (IBM samhandling brukergruppe), formerly known as the Norwegian Lotus user group, at Farris bad (a spa and hotel) in Larvik on Wednesday and Thursday. This was the first time I attended the group’s meeting, even if my previous employers have been members.
I didn’t get to see much of Larvik, but the hotel, Farris bad, was a really nice place. My room was directly above the sea, and I fell asleep, and woke up to the sound of waves crashing onto the shore and beach.
From Lotus Notes to IBM’s Platform for Social Busniess – the journey continues
Michael Wuerdemann from IBM started his presentation by showing a commercial from IBM about their commitment to social business. When the video ended, the Lotus logo appeared. This took quite a few people by surprise, but that’s when the ball was dropped: The commercial was ten years old.
Michael did this to show that IBM’s commitment to social is not something new, they’ve been focusing on this for a long time. He then showed IBM’s newest commercial. It’s not half as catchy as Microsoft ‘s commercial for Windows 8, but the point is that IBM is thinking social solutions, and not technology and platforms.
He pointed out that users are used to social tools in their private life, and that they expect this at their workplace as well. The problem, he said, is that workers are often ahead of their companies, and they start sharing business sensitive information on Facebook, Yammer and other social networks. IBM’s solutions can meet this problem.
Of course he also mentioned IBM’s cloud business, which also has a center in the EU now. IBM gives you the possibility to either run your own private cloud on your premises, or normal cloud computing.
He then moved on to comparisons between Notes/Domino vs Micosofts’s solutions. IBM has finally coughed up the Domino Migration tool for migrating from Exchange to Domino, but I haven’t heard non biased information about this tool yet. It will also be possible to use REST to access Notes databases. Maybe I misunderstood him on this, and it’s already possible. I haven’t tried it, but if true, it’s certainly a huge leap forward.
Before the break he talked about how Quickr had been an attempt to meet the bad feedback Files got in IBM Connections, something I myself have complained about (look for a future blog posting about this). This had been a mistake, according to Michael, and now that Quickr is shut down, Content Manager for Connections is what IBM will offer Quickr customers.
A Day in the Life of an IBM-er
After the break he showed us how an IBM-er works with Connections, and how Social Mail makes it easy to integrate Notes with Connections. I saw to my great satisfaction that everything he showed us are tools and methods we use at Brunvoll every day.
Arshad Khalid of Teamstudio showed us some very impressive mobile solutions for Notes databases. This is where I want Brunvoll to go. The possibility for working offline, and then synchronize any changes back into production, is something that we are in severe need of. Especially since our offline replication has become very complicated.
As Easy as Lego – Put it All Together Using a Widget Framework on Domino
Henrik Winkel from Opus Neo demonstrated the Neo dashboard, and how you can utilize and construct Widgets from sources like Notes applications, RSS feeds, blogs, video and IBM Connection. This is stuff I know quite a lot about, but it was nice to get a demo of the dashboard product.
Back to the Future: Understand and Optimize Your IBM Notes and Domino Infrastructure
I like Panagenda and their products, and I’m planning to test the Marvel Client in for pushing out Notes clients and policies.
The presentation was solid and about how you should go through your current infrastructure before planning for the future.
ISBG CSI4.0: What now? – Info and Team Activity for Everyone
First we were treated to a slightly confusing horror film about who killed Lotus, something that would have gone well together with my “RIP Lotus” badge. I’m not quite sure what the movie had to do with the assignments we were given.
The assignments were fun, though, and one member of my team surprised me with the facial recognition app on his Iphone. It recognized a young Freddie Mercury based on not much more than Mercury’s right eye. Impressive.
Spa & Relax
We now had two hours where we could enjoy the spa, something I didn’t. I went to the gym and lifted weigts before dinner. Maybe next time.
We were treated to a three course dinner that was delicious. The prizes from the competition was handed out, and I just don’t understand how the points were calculated, considering that my team had answered more questions than the three teams that won. I think I’ll have to check the bank statements of that jury…
After several hours of magic tricks, good food and nice company, I threw in the towel around one o’clock. I fell asleep to, and woke up to, the waves hitting the beach. Wonderful.