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. https://engage.ug/engage2.nsf/Pages/attend2020
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure to talk together with our customer Eurapco about their IBM Connections environment and how they were able to grow the user attendance within their multi corporate social network and knowledge sharing platform from about 400 to more than 2000 active users.
My co-presenter, Marta Alvarez de la Campa (Eurapco) also shared the results of the review and what next steps we plan to enhance the user experience after upgrading to IBM Connections 6. Thanks everyone for attending and also thank you for the great feedback and questions we got. Thank you Marta, for your time and effort to share your success-story publicly.
The event was fantastic and with 200 attendees it was a very lively conference and of course Vienna did not disappoint with great food that was served. Another big thank you goes out to the team that organized the event, knowing that everyone has a day job, I have a vague idea how many nights were spent with all the important preparations and tasks that are needed to get running such a conference smoothly. Great Job, team Social Connections!
The event location was a stunning dream in gold and marble and I have to say, that I never presented in a nicer room. The perfect weather, the open windows and hearing the horses pass by outside was the icing on the cake.
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!
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 😉
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.