Our slides from Engage

The last two days at Engage were very busy and the event went very well. Theo and Hilde set once more the bar of how events should be run and were the perfect hosts. The two days were filled with sessions, roundtables and meetings around the IBM ICS stack as well as a analytics related track.

Here are the slides from the session I held together with Roberto Mazzoni from the University of Zurich regarding the IBM Connections environment that is now also used from the students.

I enjoyed the days in Rotterdam, it was great to meet so many great people from all over the world. Save trip home everyone!

Out of my comfort zone

I had a very busy year so far. We started with different new projects, mostly IBM Connections related, but we also worked on development projects and did consulting around security topics. A very interesting and inspiring IBM Think event followed in March. Just after being back from Las Vegas we organized our annual customer event and presented the good news about #Domino2025 to a very eager audience. Should anyone have missed the great news, here are the most recent slides from IBM and HCL as presented during #SocialConnections in Philadelphia.

 

So far so good and nothing out of the ordinary, right? But after months or years doing our business like it was “business as usual” we wanted to step outside our comfort zone and approached totally new customers (prospects) and introduced them to the collaboration solutions and offerings from IBM.

Talking to new companies and contacts, that we’ve had no ties nor common ground with, was totally outside my comfort zone and I felt unsure and somehow out of place. But, it was worth it! The experience was totally eye-opening.

The eye-opener was that those Swiss companies (not small ones) from different industries never had heard of IBM Connections and were not aware that IBM even had a solution that could help fulfill their business needs around collaboration sites and know-how sharing. To look at solutions from IBM never crossed their minds.

Those customers never assumed they had a choice besides the offering from Microsoft. So after very busy weeks and a lot of conversations with different companies I can confirm there is a huge opportunity to talk to new faces and going outside the comfort zone.

In only a few days, I will be at Engage in Rotterdam and will have a session with Roberto Mazzoni from the University of Zurich. We will talk about how the University works with IBM Connections and made the solution popular amongst students as well. I will also share my insights from outside my comfort zone and what I’ve learned over the last few weeks.

Engage in Antwerp – What I’m up to

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!

 

 

A glimpse back to a Pink Wednesday

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 😉

 

IBM Connect in San Francisco – A comeback

During the next few days IBM Connect 2017 will take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. While the subject of many sessions, solutions, products and most of the speakers are familiar or known for many years, the venue and location is brand new.

So, for the first time it’s not sunny Florida end of January it is (actually rainy) San Francisco and the community is gathering around the Moscone Center and will try to make San Francisco their home for a week.

I am looking forward to many great sessions and I am very interested in hearing how IBM will want to integrate new AI capatabilities aka Watson into their products and solutions. I want to learn more about the roadmap and the next releases of the software our customers built their collaboration solutions on.

For me it will be a totally special comeback to the city we “almost” wanted call our home for the rest of our lives. Instead, we decided to go back to Switzerland and start with our project and Belsoft as a company for IT services. A decision we never regretted, but still San Francisco will always be a city I called close to home and because of this IBM Connect in San Francisco is a very special one for me.

So, I’m back home and looking forward to seeing my 2nd family that is spread all over the world and meets once a year.

Slides and Reality – Update on an IBM Connections Project

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.

 

The next Major Event scheduled – Engage in Eindhoven (NL)

Engage, the biggest ICS user group event in Europe will take place from March 23rd, 2016 to March 24th, 2016 in Eindhoven. Theo Heselmans, is organizing a two day event in a very special location and I am really looking forward to be inside a spaceship for the first time in my life 😉

Continue reading The next Major Event scheduled – Engage in Eindhoven (NL)

SNoUG – A home match

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

My Session Slides are up / ICON UK, London

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!