Coming up soon. Engage 2022

I’ve just came back to my blog and noticed, that I have not written since the last Engage that took place in March 2020. You all know what happened in between and how we all missed the occasional gathering of the HCL Collaboration Software Community.

So, the wait is over. Theo Heselmans with huge support of Hilde has found us a great place to meet in the historic city of Bruges. The event will take place in May from the 24th, to the 25th, 2022. One day earlier on Monday afternoon there are already very interesting workshops that are worth your time as well.

Here is the link to register:

If you are hesitant if you should attend, I’ll give you a few reasons why you should travel to Belgium:
– Choose from over 80 sessions, all around HCL software, like Domino, Connections, Sametime or Volt. Listen and learn, the speakers want to share their knowledge
– Meet HCL Product Managers and Representatives in a professional, but informal environment. They are eager to talk to you and know about customer success stories and challenges.
– Meet technical experts from different industries (bring your technical challenges and issues, there is a lot of talent around)
– Talk to the sponsors and business partners and get to know their solutions and products
– Attend the numerous round tables and get your voice heard. All hosts love a vivid conversation
– If you attend for the first time, no worries. Even if it feels like a class reunion (and somehow it is) we are a friendly bunch. Just introduce yourself and you’ll belong to the group faster than you may think
– Use the different breaks to make new friends and mingle

In that sense, we see each other in May!

Engage: Here we come

Engage is only a few days away, and it’s high time to prepare and rehearse our session. This year I have the pleasure to talk together with Jörg Rafflenbeul from Heitkamp & Thumann. We will share how we did split their Connections environment in two parts to match the management decision of a spin-off. The break-up project last autumn was the successful starting point of our business collaboration and we will share the insights and the learnings.

This years’ Engage will take part in Arnhem (Netherlands) at the Burgers’ Zoo March 3rd/4th, 2020 and it is for sure worth your time. Already 400 people have registered and only a few seats are left, so hurry to register, if you haven’t already.

Our session will be on Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 from 09-10 am at the Mount Kenia Lodge

I am looking forward to see a lot of familiar faces and to meet new ones.

Slides of just another HCL Connections Use Case

Please find my slides from the previous Snoug in Zurich (November 2019). As a customer case is involved and insights of the project are shared and documented I needed to make sure that everything in the presentation is approved by the customer and I do have the green light to publish everything. So all good, and now public!

The slides are in German as I used them both for DNUG in summer and in an updated version also for Snoug. It is the story of how and why the Red Cross Section of the State of Zurich has chosen HCL Connections over other collaboration solutions in the market (like Sharepoint or also Slack). Hint: The full set of functions, the easy search over all content a user has access to, the mobile app and the guest model won the case.

The customer wanted to make sure that the volunteers they support and organize with Connections were happy with the new tool and could get fast to the information they needed in order to help people in need. For that the Red Cross (Zurich) started with a smaller group of internal people and volunteers to make sure, that Connections could fulfil the promises. Therefore you’ll find the results of the survey the customer did, just before they decided to go live with Connections. (Pages 20-23).

After a full year of using Connections, the project leader and IT Manager is truly happy with the decision that had been taken and he is genuinely surprised about the little support that is needed from their side, how the different Communities organize themselves, are active and used every day.

Munich and Social Connections, I am ready!

At Social Connections in Munich I do have a session together with Marta Alvarez de la Campa from Eurapco. We will present how we got from more than 100 clicks to only 15 clicks after using the latest possibilities with the Connections Customizer while upgrading the existing Connections environment to version 6 earlier this year.

The project was challenging but the outcome is fantastic and the users love the result. Marta will do live demos and we will share lot of insights. I am looking forward to next week already and as always I expect a lot of good discussions and a great crowd.

Enhancement Requests for Domino and Connections – A Preliminary Report

About a year ago IBM Offering Management launched their tracking portal for new ideas and enhancements requests around IBM Domino and IBM Connections. On both sites you can add more ideas and comment and upvote on existing ideas. There’s an easy overview of what is under consideration or what had been delivered.

Both platforms hold a huge amount of great ideas. For many surprisingly IBM Connections has much more ideas stored in the platform than Domino. Once an idea is available, everyone can vote up. The originator of the idea and all who voted up do receive status updates when an idea gets promoted.

While the amount of ideas under consideration is much bigger than the planned or delivered ideas, recently the interactions distinctly picked up and more and more ideas got an update and were worked on by IBM.

Call to action for all customers and business partners: Use the platform, fill in new ideas and vote or comment on existing ones, help making better the solutions we use and love.

Last but not least: A huge thanks to the offering managers who are working on it and report back to use through the system.


Zurich IT Days in Retrospect

Last Friday/Saturday the Zurich IT days took place at different sites all over Zurich. Bigger and well know companies opened their doors and did showcase their projects around digitalization and modernization for the public. It was a welcome insight of what is doable already and what is worked on for the future. One track took also place at the University of Zurich and it was an honor to present during these two days at the University itself.

Together with my fellow IBM Champion Roberto Mazzoni we talked about Social Business and how businesses and organization can empower their employees (and guests) in working successfully together.

I do hope that the IT days will have a comeback next year; in my opinion a very good approach to share IT insights and have a lively exchange with the interested public.

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!