I’m on my way to Antwerp in Belgium. The next two days an impressive crowd of over 400 attendees will gather around the Elisabeth Center in Antwerp for over 60 sessions in 5 tracks. Again, Theo Heselmans organized an event that will amaze us and bring together IBMers, business partners and customers all interested in solutions, products and projects of the IBM Collaboration stack. Thank you Theo, for all your hard work, I’m sure the event will go smoothly due to your organizational skills and will be a huge success. As always, you’ll be the perfect host!

Mostly I will attend presentations and will learn new stuff, interact with other attendees and talk about projects, issues, roadmaps, the past we all share and the future that lays ahead.

On Tuesday, May 9th, I am going to be co-presenting together with Roberto Mazzoni from the University of Zurich in the very last slot, just before the closing session. I hope there will still be a lot of people around – you will hear about how the University is going forward with their collaboration projects and how 40’000 users do interact and communicate.

To all attendees new in the crowd or a bit shy, even if many of us have known each other for a long time and are friends, we still are eager to get to know new faces as well. Don’t be shy, introduce yourself and be sure to be in the middle of friendly people from all over the world!

 

 

  • pinkies

Sitting at the airport in San Francisco to head home, I finally found some time to write the blogpost I wanted to write since Wednesday. Wednesday was the busiest day for me at IBM Connect and I attended session after session and had a broad grin on my face by the end of the day. The sessions that I attended were around IBM Connections and the colour pink was not only a eye catcher on the podium, but is nothing less than the future of IBM Connections.

As both Jason Gary and Baan Slavens mentioned several times, Pink is a journey and this journey just started, I was nevertheless amazed that a first “Pink” part will already be delivered with IBM Connections 6 that is more or less just around the corner. Orient Me (the new homepage) is the first pink infused part that will be introduced to Connections with the next (On Prem) version and will help the users to get a much better overview of the content and will be a big step regarding ease of use.

What got me really excited is the technical concept of “Pink” and the fact that there will be only one code stream in the future and it’s absolutely up to the customers where they want to run IBM Connections. It will run on premises, in the IBM cloud or also as a hybrid setup (like profiles need to be in the own data center, blogs can run in the cloud). What that means is that on-premises customer do not need to wait for a version to be published after a few months that the functions were introduced to the cloud environment. All customers can immediately benefit from the new stuff.

During technical and design sessions we learned that the now existing middleware for IBM Connections will be totally dismissed. So no more IBM Websphere, DB2 or Cognos. Instead all admins should be ready and happy to learn new things like Docker or React.js

The connections pink future is fueled with Watson (AI) capabilities and the development team in charge confirmed that this will also work on-premises. But not only the technical message was well received, the Business Partners and customers should be happy that Jason Gary don’t want to develop “Pink” for us, but with us. And one more thing that will make the developers happy: “will we ship without API’s? “without API’s we will not ship it”.

Regarding the header picture featuring Jason Gary and Baan Slavens: I’ve asked for permission to make it public and permission was granted. Thank you Baan 😉

 

  • banner_CommunityManager
  • ScreenShot_ConnectionsManager_CommunitySettings

This summer we were quite busy working at the Belsoft Collaboration headquarters and I was much less in the mountain home office than I had wished. But…

A positive side effect of working during summer is that our developers were able to finalize a tool set for IBM Connections that we were using already to support our customers during IBM Connections projects. I’d like to introduce you to our Community Manager for IBM Connections toolset that will help your organization when running IBM Connections and will make the adoption process easier for sure.

We learned during our projects that many customer are looking for a solution that ensure that all or a certain subset of users are members (and are following) certain communities that are used for official communication means within an organization. With our easy to use tool you can ensure that. Authorized community managers have an overview of the settings and the communities that are managed.

ScreenShot_ConnectionsManager_CommunitySettings

The Community Manager toolset is an add-on to IBM Connections and runs on top of the existing IBM Websphere stack.

Not all functionality that we will add in the future is already integrated in the toolset, but some very handy features are already there and ready to install and use. Let me know if we can help you to make better use of your IBM Connections environment and get in contact. More insights, news and details will follow within the next few days.

Huge thanks goes to Urs Meli and Frédéric Dehédin, the brains behind the toolset

Blogpost of Urs Meli

  • IBM Connections University Zurich

Last week a tweet from my fellow IBM Champion Roberto Mazzoni reminded me that until now I never published our session slides from this years’ Engage in Eindhoven. Our presentation was all around the IBM Connections rollout and the journey of the University of Zurich. The story starts with a daring let’s try this “social stuff” and is now a full production environment with 12’oo0 people working at the University (no students yet). Often customers are quite keen to share a success-story; but not all are willing to share also the lessons learned or talk freely about failures during the implementation phase.

As I personally think that there is more to learn from the latter, I can only recommend our presentation for any organization that is planning or ready to go live with IBM Connections or a collaboration platform in general.

Perfectly in synch with the slides, last week the targeted 12’000 users have now access and can use the system. Congratulations and thank you Roberto for sharing your success-story and I am crossing my fingers for the next steps to come. Discussions and requests to open up the environment for the students were heard, which means efforts on the infrastructure side as well as efforts regarding the administrative side.

 

Snoug2015

I will attend and speak next week at SNoUG in Zurich and I am looking forward to it. I will present and share a customer story around IBM Connections, IBM Sametime and a XPages integration of a platform for several insurance companies that went live this January. I will co-present together with Andreas Ponte and I am looking forward to this session already.

I will enjoy the discussions and am looking forward to meet many people I know and looking forward to meeting new people as well. Have a look at the great agenda with sessions of 8 current and 1 former IBM Champion. There will be a lot of expertise around and knowing my fellow IBM Champions they will be around the venue for the whole day and open for interactions. So, if you are near to Zurich next week, make sure to attend and register!

Agenda SNoUG 2015

And after studying the agenda again, I just found another session that I really need to attend, not only because of the session title

Back to the Future – Warum Unternehmen zurück kommen

  • _MG_9699

Yesterday I spoke at ICON UK in London and gave my presentation regarding a customer story of a conglomerate of European mutual insurance companies and a platform using IBM Connections, IBM Sametime and XPages applications to collaborate and to communicate.

Please find my slides on Slideshare
European Collaboration with a Swiss twist

ICON UK in London was just a blast! The two day event was full of great presentations and dedicated speakers. The attendees could not only profit from the sessions they attended, but also from the networking opportunities during lunch and coffee breaks. A “thanks” goes out to all the sponsors that made this event happen and of course to the team around Tim Clark who dedicated his free time for the last few months to this event.

Thank you all for a great event, save journeys and hope to see you soon on another opportunity!

 

Looking forward to pack and fly to London over the weekend to attend and to speak at ICON UK, that will take place next Monday and Tuesday in London. A big “Thank you” goes out to Tim Clark and his team as they were working hard to make this event possible. They put together a very interesting agenda and I’m happy to present on Monday morning.

European Collaboration with a Swiss Twist

Last year we started a challenging project consisting of renewing and enhancing the collaboration platform for a European insurance conglomerate. We moved from an antiquate chat server and different IBM Notes databases to a fully integrated platform with IBM Sametime, IBM Connections and IBM Notes/Domino (XPages) applications. To top it all up, we customised the user experience with a design partner to create a unique collaboration platform. We’ll talk about the starting point, the pitfalls, the successful results and a lot of PMRs and how the platform is used now and what are the plans for the next phase.
Sandra Bühler / Management/Strategy

As there are still a few seats available you still can register and attend! There is a registration fee, but all profits will go to the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity

Full Agenda
Register now – a few seats are still available

… and don’t forget to thank Tim Clark for his effort – he will be hard to miss – he promised to wear the “loudest” shirt of the crowd.

  • OG_Winter

When I took this photo out of my window earlier this year, I was unaware that it would be our last winter up there.

For those of you who know me (even from afar), you are aware that I stay up in the Swiss mountains as often as I can. I even had a short part of the SparkIdeas Nerdgirls Session at ConnectED this year, regarding our mountain life and why that house is my favorite spot for working efficiently. We were renting half of a very old house on a long-term lease, never intending to move out. It was the home where our three kids literally grew up and learned a lot not only how to ski. During autumn and winter, we spent almost all of our family time in this home.

Because of bad luck, lies, unkept promises and an ordinance that we (as non-farmers) could not buy the house, we are essentially being evicted. The entire situation affects my family emotionally much more than I could imagine.

When we were told to vacate the premises without prior notice and with the expectation that we would be gone in a few weeks, we contacted our attorney. There was the option to fight and stay up in the house two more years, but as we would have to share one roof with the new owners, we decided to try and find another solution for our family within the immediate vicinity.

With the support of many close friends we made over the last 15 years in our mountain community, we finally found a solution. We moved out of our beloved mountain house during this summer vacation and moved into another house that is even older (it’s from the 11th century), even though it will be on a much lower altitude (“only” 1’2oo m), the slopes are farther away and more difficult to reach. To us, it is not a mountain house feeling for sure, but we all need to just try to let go and make a new start.

So, all combined my summer vacation was terrible. But I am sure that in a year, I will be able to look back without being angry. So, stay tuned for a new view and new pictures out of our new house and I hope that I will soon find the right spot in that house to work and that it will also feel like home again soon.