Life of an IBM Champion

EgoAs 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.

First of all, I was actually made an IBM Champion again for 2018. This year my fellow Norwegian, Robert Farstad, was named a champion too. Yay!

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.

IBM Connections Tip #3: IBM Connections Plugins for IBM Notes

Notes9-thumbnailA lot has been said about the future of IBM Notes and Domino lately, but the truth of the matter is that there are still lots of Notes clients out there that are still heavily in use.

There are also IBM Notes customers who are using IBM Connections. Because of this, IBM has created a plugin that makes it easy for you to share content from IBM Notes and into Connections, and the other way around.

In the plugin you can post and interact with your activity (news stream), as well as with a persons profile and business card. You can drag attachments from emails and drop them straight into Connections (both into your personal files as well as as into a community’s files). You can also interact with, comment on and share files from the plugin.

Connections logoYou can also work with Activities directly from IBM Notes. Personally I prefer working with activities inside the Notes client to the cumbersome GUI in the web browser. You can drag and drop elements internally inside the activities, as well as drag and drop emails, Notes documents and attachments straight into an activity.

In short: The IBM Notes plugin for IBM Connections is a great tool, with a lot of great features. It has increased my own productivity in Notes and Connections a great deal. But I’ve seen a lot of people asking on Greenhouse and in other forums whether a manual exists. And it doesn’t. Until now.

I’ve therefore created a complete manual on how to use the IBM Connections plugin for IBM Notes. You can download it here.

Please let me know if you find any errors, spelling mistakes or things that are outdated because of upgrades to the plugin. Constructive feedback is welcome.

IBM Connections tip #1: Search from your news stream

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