As usual the Engage usergroup conference was a highlight. Here’s my summary and how to keep Norwegian roads safe with Domino!
As usual the Engage usergroup conference was a highlight. Here’s my summary and how to keep Norwegian roads safe with Domino!
I woke up this morning to a text message telling me that my plane was cancelled. Stuck in Brussels an extra day. What to do?
I spent this week at the Engage conference, which this year took place in Belgium. I gave a presentation yesterday about a solution that my colleagues at iSi have made. People went “wow!” when they saw it. Which was nice, and I sent them a message telling them that they had impressed people.
The venue was the awesomely cool museum Autoworld, with a huge collection of vintage cars and vehicles.
The conference is focused on the collaboration tools from IBM, like Notes/Domino, Sametime, Connections and others. It also deals with third party tools that interacts with these systems, as well as general talks on user adoption, development and administration.
Over 400 people were at the conference, and as always it was a wonderful opportunity to meet old friends, make new friends, engage in discussions, learn, teach, make contacts, make deals and just having a good time. So once again: Thanks to Theo & Hilde for another awesome event.
But I woke up this morning to a message telling me that my plane was cancelled, and that they had re-booked it for me tomorrow. So I had to extend my stay at the hotel one more day. I’m not even sure if SAS will cover it, since this was because of an air traffic control strike. This means it’s out of their hands, and is deemed to be an unforeseen event. EU regulations stipulates that they won’t have to compensate me then.
It also means I will spend our constitutional day (our 4th of July if you will) on planes on my way back home tomorrow. That’s one holiday down the drain. Bummer.
So I spent the day walking 15 km around downtown Brussels, taking in the sights. And I stopped at watering holes every now and then, where I took out my computer and worked on the photos I took at the conference. After four stops, and a little work back at my hotel, the photos were finished. They can now bee seen in my photo album on flickr. You can also see some photos of the car exhibition, as well as some photos of the world famous Atomium building.
I will write a blog posting about the new stuff I learned in the coming days.
Finally we can reveal the agenda for the ISBG Nordic Spring Seminar in Stockholm June 11th and 12th!
This is what was presented by IBM and HCL at IBM Think in San Francisco last week. See videos, summaries and presentations here!
UPDATE! Last week a friend of mine asked me if I could try and find out where the IBM Connections plugin for Microsoft Outlook had gone. It was no longer available as a download in the IBM Collaboration Solutions Catalog. Turns out it has been pulled!
The superlatives and positive messages about the Norwegian user group’s (ISBG) launch of IBM/Notes Domino V10 in Norway yesterday has been pouring in all morning. As the leader of ISBG, this makes me immensely happy. And it gives bright hope for the future, and we will use this momentum when we’ve now started preparing for the spring seminar. Read on to see what happened at the launch!
Yesterday I upgraded Office 2016 manually on my computer. This because I changed my Office 365 subscription to a payment plan that gives me more apps, like Teams and Skype for Business. This made the IBM Connections plugin for Outlook stop working. But thanks to IBM, I managed to fix it. Here’s how you can do the same.
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!
If you have your files in a cloud solution like Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, IBM Connections or Google Drive, you can connect Windows Explorer directly to these services. By doing this, you get direct access to your files from your Explorer window, as if they were stored locally on your computer. You can even access them while offline. Here are all the services I’m connected to:
PS: You can click on any of these images to see them in large versions if you want to see a more detailed view!
If I’m composing a new email in my web browser, like in Office 365, Gmail or IBM Verse, I can easily just take a file from any of these services, and drag them straight from Windows Explorer and into the email. Here I’m dragging a Dropbox file over as an attachment into a new email I’m composing in IBM Verse:
This works just as well in Gmail, Office 365 and most other web based mail services.
However, if I try to do this with a file in IBM Connections, it doesn’t work:
Someone asked me about this a couple of weeks back, and I told him how you can get around this. Yes, you can drag and drop files in IBM Connections from Windows Explorer and straight into the email. To be able to do this, you must add the file to My Drive in Connections. Here’s how you do this:
So you can achieve the same functionality with IBM Connections files, just as you can do with files from other cloud based services.
Note: Mac users will always be able to drag and drop directly into web based email services because they have to add their files to My Drive in order to be able to access them at all.
A real life story that happened to me with two different customers.
Once upon a time there two files. Each file was used in a different organisation. The files were important for the organisations and several people needed access to them as several departments and projects needed to be able access, update and read them.
In the first organisation the file was created by a team manager who then uploaded it into a team room in Microsoft Teams. Everybody with access to the team room could now reach the file and work on it. However, they didn’t have version control, nor could they really set different permissions for different users of the team room.
Furthermore, other teams also wanted access to this file. But as long as they weren’t members of that particular team, they couldn’t reach the file. The solution was to upload a copy of each file to the other team rooms in Microsoft Teams. Each team got a different copy. The problem with that solution was everybody was now working on different files. This created a lot of confusion.
Finally they had to sit down and try to merge all the copies into one file, which took a hell of a lot of manual work. When the file was to everybody’s liking, they now uploaded it into Sharepoint. They could now add this Sharepoint file to several team rooms in Teams. They could also set permissions so that some teams could write to the file, while others could only read the file. But they could only set the permissions for the team room as a whole. They also had version control now.
However, the team members had a hard time understanding why the file wasn’t in their Teams files. They had to remember to go to the Sharepoint tab in Teams to get to the file. If they wanted to see the file revision and version control, or wanted to see who had done what to the file, they had to open the Sharepoint app. It was a lot of unnecessary work that made a lot of users rather grumpy and confused.
They also wanted to share the file outside of their organisation with a couple of business partners. This could be achieved via a guest account, but this wasn’t something they wanted to do. Instead they discovered that they could share the file externally via the Offie 365 apps, but only if you changed several permissions in the Sharepoint admin tool first. It was a lot of work and they ended up emailing the files to the external users. They then uploaded the edited file they got in return into Sharepoint, with all the pitfalls that came with such an approach.
What they did love though was the ability to let several people edit a document at the same time in their web browser. This worked beautifully, and they could have an online meeting where everybody was working on the same file, seeing the updates being made live. After saving, all the formatting in Office file was intact.
It was also very easy to access the file via Windows Explorer and to open it up in Office to work with it locally on their computer.
But as the number of Teams grew and people started using more and more of the many apps inside Office 365, it became more and more difficult to have the overview the workers needed to keep up to date. There was no singular newsfeed to keep people updated.
In the second organisation the file was created by a team manager who then uploaded the file to his own profile in IBM Connections. He then shared the file with his team via the community the team had in IBM Connections. Now all the members of this community could both work with and read the file. They also had full version control and they could also set different permissions for different community members.
Other teams also wanted access to this file. This was no problem. Since the original team leader had uploaded the file to his own profile, he could just share the file with any other community or other users directly. Everybody was now working with the same file without any hazzle.
And even though the file really resided in the original team leaders profile, each community saw the file in the Files view of their community, as if the file was there. There was no need to look for other apps or tabs inside the community. To see who had done what to the file, and to have revision and version control, all they had to do was to to go to the file inside their community. All the details were there.
They also wanted to share the file outside of their organisation with a couple of business partners. This could be achieved via a guest account, but this wasn’t something they wanted to do. And since they didn’t want t to do that, there wasn’t much they could do, without buying a third party app like Box or similar. This was a major grievance for the organisation.
What they also wanted was to be able to let several people edit a document at the same time in their web browser. To be able to to this they had to buy IBM Docs as it doesn’t come out of the box in Connections. But they soon discovered that IBM Docs screwed up the formatting in the Office files, especially in Excel and Powerpoint. For Word documents, they got by.
However, it was very easy to access the file via Windows Explorer and to open it up in Office to work with it locally on their computer, something they were very happy with.
What the IBM customers also was very happy with was that no matter how many communities or how much functionality they used, everything was contained within the same user interface, the same program and the same newsfeed. You didn’t need to think about when to use what functions, everything was inside IBM Connections.
Microsoft’s Office 365 has great functionality when it comes to document editing and creating good and useful Office files. It’s also good for smaller collaboration teams. However, there are way too man apps and way too many possibilities, and despite this, it’s still very difficult to share information and files between these apps. Heck, it’s even hard to share information and files between different teams within the same application. For a large organisation, I would definitely think long and hard before I started using a lot of these apps, especially Teams. A Sharepoint site is better, but then you will have a lot of development costs in addition to the license. Unless you find a good Sharepoint template to use.
IBM Connections on the other hand works out of the box. There’s no development needed, unless you want to of course. It’s also very easy to share information and files across the organisation and the various applications inside Connections. The users are thinking of Connections as one app, unlike Office 365 where you have to deal with many apps. This latter so confusing that Microsoft has made an 85 (eighty five!) page manual to tell you when to use what app…
Bot solutions have the ability to create guest accounts so that you can invite external users. But where Connections can’t share files outside the organisation out of the box, Office 365 actually can.
Both solutions makes it seamless to work with files directly from your local PC and from your email.
So both have their strengths and weaknesses, but I find Connections to have the upper hand when it comes to social collaboration and it has a lower learning curve when it comes to working effectively with it as a collaborative tool across the silos of your organisation. Office 365 still encourages silos.
However, if all you want to do is work with files and not much else, Office 365 is the way to go. And: You can actually work with Office 365 files from Connections. Something you cannot do the other way around.
Any thoughts, questions or comments? Use the comment fields below!