Tag Archives: collaboration

Any Organization, Any Industry – The Vegas Casino Story

Every industry has it’s own unique issues within their collaboration story. And the story doesn’t end when your organization buys an enterprise collaboration platform like IBM Connections.

Why? Because, no doubt, you use many tools in your work day to organize and share data, keep track of clients and leads, manage issues or a git repository, etc. Think about it – all these tools to get things done and collaborate with data, processes, and people in your organization, and all of it in different systems that don’t talk with each other. Collaboration? Hmm – more like two steps forward, one step backward given all those silo’d systems!

Maybe you have a fragmented email culture as well – which creates churn, politics, and other linear work models and inefficiencies. Perhaps all your silo’d tools prevent cross-enterprise engagement and lead to miscommunications and confusions?

IBM Connections “Integrated” by AppFusions – a platform to bring all your systems together in unlimited contextual communities – is the solution to your problems.  It’s time to stop wasting time, bouncing all over the place! It’s time to work smarter and faster, drive attention to key content in context, and reduce data and process duplication efforts. It’s time to streamline your workflow. Finally, a collaboration solution that “just works” – 24/7 for you.

In the spirit of this month’s IBM InterConnect in Las Vegas (see you there!), let’s think about IBM Connections “Integrated” – in a real-life scenario … Meet Vincent, a Las Vegas native.

Photo: www.westgatedestinations.com
Photo: www.westgatedestinations.com

Hello, I am Vincent.

I run a large Vegas casino hotel with high rotating traffic, which results in a very high volume of documentation – from employee data to guest information to incident reporting to housekeeping management records… yeah, it’s A LOT.

For years, given the diversity of our workforce, data was tracked via our central Facilities office that doubled as HR. They use a number of systems to get their job done. Over time, however, Facilities began to balk at the enormous amount of documentation, the many incident and record tracking systems, and the different levels of expertise required for HR.

HR was spun-out as a separate department, but we decided to move all our data records into Dropbox, categorized by different types. We also deployed JIRA ServiceDesk for incident tracking, and records associated with incidents were attached to the logged incidents. This helped a great deal, but still, it’s a never ending chase.

The HR spin-out was a good thing, but it brought to light other issues, of lacking real-time community communications, relationship development, and ongoing collaboration. While the data tracking and records issues were solved partly, we ended up with more systems and no central place for the many types of communities the casino needed (internally and externally)…

Enter IBM Connections integrated with Dropbox and JIRA ServiceDesk. We are thrilled with the new system since now everyone is looking at other ways to improve our work processes via integrations into the IBM Connections system. The good thing is everyone is aligned, in one home – the silo’d system is gone.  

The journey is just beginning – we hope to also build communities within Connections for our external customers that are regulars. By connecting with those customers closer, we can grow our relationships and they will come back more often. We are also excited about the IBM Connections integration with Salesforce – it’s about time we had access to our CRM within our HR and Account Management communities!

Thanks for reading! Vincent’s Vegas casino story is one of hundreds … unsure how your industry or organization would benefit from IBM Connections “Integrated?” Contact us at info@appfusions.com, and we’ll help you connect the dots!

Related links:

Again, if you like what you find here, please join the conversation through our comment fields!

Rock on,

The AppFusions team

Post by Rosalie Plofchan, Marketing Manager of AppFusions

Why IBM Connections + “Pink” + AppSpokes are perfect for each other

One of the biggest stories at last week’s IBM Connect is IBM Connections Pink. According to its creator at IBM, Pink is not an IBM Connections’ release, but a vision.

There were several sessions on Pink. I went to one led by CTO and Director of IBM Collaborations Solutions Software Development, Jason Gary, and another by Pink’s lead architect and developer, Andre Hagemeier.

Here is why I think Pink and AppSpokes are made for each other. (AppSpokes in AppFusions’ growing family of deep integration solutions for IBM Connections cloud and on-premise systems – PDF brief here).

First of all both emphasize an exceptional user experience as the #1 objective.

People are at the heart of the digital workplace – past, current and future.

IBM Connections “Pink” promises to provide a customizable UI for IBM Connections using “Muse” (another technology built for IBM Connections) for customer experiences, which allows for tenant-specific javascript code to be injected into IBM Connections. UI customization can be added to the App Registry, a central repository for all types of IBM Connections’ platform extensions (including IBM Verse extensions).

AppSpokes’ extensibility solutions, by AppFusions, also have been created with an end-to-end emphasis of the user experience in mind. Though the AppFusions’ team are firm believers of the API economy, we are also pragmatic.

AppFusions’ CEO, Ellen Feaheny, said it very simply: “APIs are not enough!” in her IBM Connect 2017 session, “Confront the Madness! All Your Tools and Systems of Record Integrated Natively in IBM Connections“. AppSpokes integrations provide a natively integrated user experience – and all the underlying integration “connectivity” technology – so everything “Just works!” in cloud or on-premise IBM Connections environments.

IBMConnectionsIntegrated


Second, both the Pink and AppSpokes teams realize that HOW YOU BUILD software is at least as important as WHAT YOU BUILD.
IBMConnectionsPinkTechnologiesAgain, AppSpokes is aligned with Pink: rapid agile development, open source technology, micro-service based architecture, multi-tenant services, single code base for cloud and on-premise environments, and containerized deployments are just a few examples of our shared vision and practices.

If you listened to the Pink sessions and the AppFusions’ sessions at IBM Connect 2017, you will agree that the people behind the visions and the work efforts too are risk-takers that are leading the tribes (as Seth Godin so poignantly describes!)


Last but not least, both Pink and AppSpokes are ultimately about strategy. That is, the customer platform experience strategy, not just IBM’s or AppFusions’ strategy.

PinkHow
Strategy – people first. Build the HOW with the WHO.

Both believe extensibility is a core part of a lasting strategy for digital collaboration in the enterprises. Both embrace open ecosystems with partners in mind.


IBMConnectionsPinkAtAglance
It’s a foundational strategy with “the people’s experience” at the heart.

With the motto of “Everything is an API”, Pink will allow both “Integrate In” and “Integrate Out” between your external applications and your enterprise social network.

The goal of AppSpokes is to power your IBM Connections environment, enabling powerful enterprise collaboration desktop with ready solutions, packaged yet extensible for easy deployments and enablement,UI-rich integrations, SSO, and capabilities through community and profile apps, activity streams, embedded experiences, menu items, macros and much more in IBM Connections (and soon IBM Verse).

AppSpokes implements “integrate in and out” designs – bringing your external applications inside IBM Connections so you can work from one platform, with unlimited contextual communities. For example, in the JIRA in IBM Connections integration, not only can you create, comment, and transition a JIRA issue in-context within your IBM Connections community, you can also link back to IBM Connections from your JIRA issue or task, among other.


At the closing session of IBM Connect 2017, composer Eric Whitacre showed us how the collaboration of thousands of singers across the globe can create the most beautiful music that lifts our spirit, touches our heart, and changes our view.

Like that! Let’s apply that viral tribe building joyful notion to IBM Connections’ extensibility, growth, and delight!

IBM Connect was a fabulous conference – the beginning of a new era – this year. The AppFusions’ team greatly looks forward to our continued work with the IBM Connections’ team, IBM partners, and of course and NOT least: IBM customers, to bring the richest and best experiences – IBM Connections (Pink) “Integrated” – to you!

EricWhitacre
Eric Whitacre conducting his virtual choir – a bold, unique, and beautiful “tribe” that he and his team created.

 

Social Connections 8, AppSpokes, Atlassian Confluence in IBM Connections

Last week, 4 of us from the AppFusions team traveled to Boston to participate in the IBM Connections user group called Social Connections 8.

Here’s a “storify” slideshow that captures some of the essence, as well as this quote by Simon Vaughan:

It was a great conference that I would highly recommend, if interested in getting up front, close, and personal with “who’s who” in the IBM Connections’ ecosystem. This includes the many folks that work daily to make IBM Connections’ customers successful: IBM developers, PMs, and IBM Collaboration Services’ (ICS) management — they were all there!

In addition, the conference was attended by a passionate group of customer end users and administrators, and dozens of expert consulting implementors from across the globe.

With a packed schedule, it was an exciting two days and we are grateful for attending!

Boston Science Museum Dragon – Gala Reception 4/16/2015

For our part, on Thursday afternoon, AppFusions’ Patrick Li and Ellen Feaheny presented about our new AppSpokes Framework for faster development and deployment of single code-based integration applications for cloud, on-premise, hosted, or hybrid IBM Connections environments. We’ll be sharing more on that soon enough; just getting going with some initial deployments.

Already from the conference, David Simpson, a full-on dragon slayer AppFusions’ developer, was inspired, and quickly integrated the IBM Connections functional header with Atlassian Confluence, bringing a native IBM Connections Cloud feel to Atlassian Confluence.

Here’s some of his results:

ConfluenceInIBMConnections1


David then took it another level and added the header integration into AppFusions’ Immersive for Atlassian Confluence, in IBM Connections, and with a bit of additional theming, he morphed the Confluence theme to mirror the currently applied IBM Connections look and feel/theme.

For example, this:

ConfluenceInIBMConnections


… which looks a whole lot like the default IBM Connections theme, as shown here:

ConfluenceNativeInIBMConnections

Power10Men
Harvard or MIT Crew doing a “Power10” on Charles River – 4/16/2015

AppFusions’ Technical PM and overall great human Danielle Zhu was also with us, and AppFusions’ “Boston-camp”spin-off wouldn’t have been the same without her!

AppFusions left the conference with more knowledge than we arrived with or brought too, which to me means success. Our plate runneth over on great IBM Connections’ integrations plans and fired-up-ness — going to be a great rest of the year! THANKS to the Social Connections planning team!

The “Next” Social Connections event is planned for October, 2015 in Stuttgart! If interested, email info@socialconnections.info.



Dan Pontefract’s Flat Army: A Review

Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization is an excellent new book by Dan Pontefract  It “arms you with powerful tools for overcoming resistance to change and creating a culture of collaboration, engagement, and employee empowerment.” The book offers an integrated framework integrating collaboration, open leadership, technologies, and connected learning. It provides useful ways to flatten your organizational pyramid and engage with your people in more collaborative and productive ways without undermining management’s authority.

I have known Dan Pontefract and his excellent work for several years through his blog.  He is the Head of Learning & Collaboration at TELUS. Dan is responsible for the overarching leadership development, learning and collaboration strategy for the company. Here he implemented the strategy set forth in this book to make significant changes in the 40,000 person organization.

The organization writes on its blog. “Thanks to the remarkable efforts of Dan and his team, we’re moving beyond traditional models of learning and leadership at TELUS towards more of social, informal and participatory framework.” This is a goal that all organizations should be aiming for in today’s market conditions and opportunities. The useful ideas in the book will help you achieve these goals.

Dan explains the title as not a reference to war but from a medieval Latin term, armata, used first in 1533 to depict a fleet of things moving together. He further explains that the essence of an army is “a group of people striving, leading together to achieve a common goal.” This is what you want your company to become. For most large organizations that I have seen that would require a complete transformation. Almost every one I have observed is a group of people, each after their own agendas, even if it conflicts with the overall goals of the organization.

I really like historical contexts. Dan also offers the origins of the concept of hierarchy. The term dates back to the 14th century and it combines the Greek terms for “holy” and “ruling” or head priest. By the 17th century the terms was linked to church organizations. Now it has spread to military and business use. The origins thus provide almost all power and intelligence to top of the hierarchy.

Dan also notes that the Industrial Revolution cemented the link to the hierarchical approach to management. Fredrick Taylor called this “scientific management.” It rose to influence in the 1880s and 1890s within the manufacturing industries. Its peak of influence came in the 1910s but it often was badly received by workers. The Wikipedia reports an interesting story from that time.

“Under Taylorism, workers’ work effort increased in intensity. Workers became dissatisfied with the work environment and became angry. During one of Taylor’s own implementations, a strike at the Watertown Arsenal led to an investigation of Taylor’s methods by a U.S. House of Representatives committee, which reported in 1912. The conclusion was that scientific management did provide some useful techniques and offered valuable organizational suggestions but it gave production managers a dangerously high level of uncontrolled power. After an attitude survey of the workers revealed a high level of resentment and hostility towards scientific management, the Senate banned Taylor’s methods at the arsenal.” (image of Taylor from Wikipedia)

Despite this negative reaction many aspects of hierarchical and scientific management remained in place. We have all seen them. Dan provides some interesting examples.

Now new tools open up communication up and down the different levels of the organization. This cross level communication was often consciously blocked by middle managers or just got lost in the chain of command. Now company conversations can be out in the open for anyone to take them in and join. Collaboration tools can turn Taylorism on its head so learning goes up and down the enterprise and the whole structure is flatted. I would certainly agree with Dan’s views here. However, precisely because of this transformative change in communication it takes a cultural change to work. This is much of the content in Dan’s very useful book.

He writes how leaders can reverse traditional heirarchical leadership model and become a connected leader. He defines open leadership as, “the act of engaging others to influence and execute a coordinated and harmonious conclusion.” If you can harness the thinking of the entire company to solve problems, you will be creating a much more effective organization. There is much value to be gained from this connection. For example, McKinsey found quantified benefits from the connected enterprise in both 2010 and 2011. Now they have doubled down on their forecasts for the business value of connectivity. See my post, McKinsey Projects Business Value of Social Business at a Trillion Annually, for a look at the bright side potential of the connected enterprise.

If you want to unlock this value for your organization, Dan’s Flat Army should be on your reading list.

McKinsey on Preparing for a New Era of Knowledge Work

McKinsey continues to offer useful reports on the value of the connected enterprise (aka social business, enterprise 2.0). See for example our post – McKinsey Projects Business Value of Social Business at a Trillion Annually. One of their latest reports is: Preparing for a new era of knowledge work. They conclude that “Global competition, emerging skill shortages, and changing demographics will soon force companies to use their most highly paid talent more effectively.”

McKinsey notes that the trend for technology investments went from production floors to offices, where a wide range of transaction-based jobs could be standardized or scripted. Then these jobs could be either automated or shifted to workers in low-wage countries, or both. However, as they noted in 2006, much of the value in organizations lies in these transactions but in the interactions of knowledge workers, the “skilled professionals who together serve as the engine of the knowledge economy.”

This interaction work is the fastest-growing job category in developed countries, where it already accounts for a large proportion of jobs. For example, in the US interaction jobs account from 41%, transaction jobs account for 44% and production jobs account for 15%. In Germany it is: 37% interactions, 38% transactions and 25% production. While in China is: 25% interactions, 31% transactions, and 44% production.

The rapid growth in interaction-based jobs will soon lead to a global shortage of skilled workers for these slots. The US is predicted to be 1.5 million short by 2020 and China over 20 million short. These shortfalls will require companies to use their highly skilled interaction workers more effectively. This necessitates better technology support and increased technology investments, as ell as new management moves.

However, McKinsey notes that technology has tended to complement, not replace, labor in interaction work. So until recently, many of these jobs have been performed in the same way for decades. This cannot continue. To address this need there is an increasing array of tools to support these interactions under the category of social business. However, I would add that for these interactions to be incorporated into workflow and provide real value, there needs to be application integration between the technology that supports the transactions with the new tools that support interactions (for more on this see – The Business Value of Application Connectors and Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions).

McKinsey offers a number of suggestions to deal with this changing market and job requirements. First, they say to break down the job tasks of interaction workers and to find those that can be passed off to lower level people. The rise of nurse practioners to support overworked doctors is a good example that I have seen in action. McKinsey also noted paralegals, a similar move. They believe the trend to disaggregate jobs in all fields will pick up speed as skill shortages take hold and this makes sense.

Next, they suggest to “go viral” and, at the same time, make jobs more flexible. This is where technology can play a stronger role. They note that “thanks to broadband, cloud computing, and a burgeoning market for online collaboration tools, many more jobs that once required in-person interactions can be performed anywhere.”  McKinsey adds as many as 25% of all US jobs could be performed remotely. In their 2011 survey of 2,000 US businesses, one-quarter of them said they had future plans to use more remote workers.

They mention that many younger workers like the flexibility this type of work brings. I would add that this preference is not limited to the young. I have been working remotely for some time now and would not want to go back to an office. To emphasize what I wrote before, this arrangement will not work unless the “connected” enterprise is actually connected. This requires significant application integration.  This is why we at AppFusions are dedicated to making these integrations easier to achieve.

McKinsey concludes with some good advice for senior execs. You need to communicate and over communicate to make sure your wide spread workforce is on the same page. You need increased coordination of the many multiple project efforts that workers engage in. Senior execs also need to become better listeners to better understand the needs of workers, as well as harvest and share their ideas. Technology can help with these last two tasks. Finally, execs need to give up control and let their highly skilled workers use their skills effectively. Two-way trust is essential here. It can also pay off (see for example: Doing Well by Doing Good: Humanizing the Enterprise). 

Complete Listing of IBM Connect 2013 Notes

Here is the complete listing of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. I was very pleased to be back again after the last two years thanks to IBM’s support. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012 and Ellen’s preview post, AppFusions is Fired Up for IBM Connect 2013 – Bring.It.On.AGAIN.

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Opening Session

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Monday Morning Press Q&A

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Four Major Trends Shaping Social Business in 2013

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Creating a Smarter Workforce – Panel

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Tuesday Opening Session

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Reinventing the Inbox – Ed Brill

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Wednesday Opening Session

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Getting Social in the Cloud – Rebecca Bulsan

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Social Business Goes to School

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Innovation Lab

Here also are several recent posts on IBM that have appeared on this blog.

Social Business – What Works and How: Highlights of IBM 2012 Social Technologies Study

IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities

 

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Innovation Lab

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. here are my notes from 2011 and 2012. These notes cover the Innovation Lab Tour showing work by IBM Research.  There were a number of interesting applications in varying states of development from proof of concepts to working apps in pilot with active users. I have cover the wrk of IBM Research in Cambridge for some time and was pleased to see what they are up to now (see for example, IBM’s Social Software Initiatives: Part Three – Internal Applications and More IBM Research on Enterprise 2.0 – Activities and Other Tools).  I looked at the following on this tour

Best Fit Expertise – with Dan Gruen

It helps find matches for expertise requirements by refining the request. There is a tree diagram that asks clarifying questions as you enter information. Such questions as availability, recent experience with required task or company are examples. Once the questions are made final, candidates get ranked and other factors are applied. You can also track requests to see where requests are coming from and what types of requests are being made to anticipate growing needs. Dan said that the model within it is being used as a framework for the related applications in the expertise area on display in the lab including the Social Media-based Expertise Locator and the Expediting Expertise discussed below.

It was great to see Dan again. I wrote about his work in 2005 and said the following. Dan Gruen presented Unified Activity Management. It looks at work from an activity perspective and lets you chart business process (e.g. responding to an RFP) and associated best practices. You drag in documented sub-steps from other processes to improve your process. You can find work process related documents and people. I wish we had this application in 1993 when we created the insurance underwriting KM system that was very process-centric. A key concept in Unified Activity Management is that you do not have document processes as a separate activity. The application records the process in the context of supporting it. Then you can access this recorded process and mix and match past processes to create new ones. This was the illusive goal of some of our early KM efforts. Just do it and the system will document the useful stuff without you having to do the extra work that often interfered with documentation. Kudos to Dan.”

Social Media-based Expertise Locator – Uri Avarham

You can use the Social Media-based Expertise Locator to find experts on any topic base don social media data such as: tags, communities, wikis, blogs, forums, bookmarks, etc. Then you can view evidence to learn what makes them an expert in the field. Next you can find out how to connect with the expert. You can also find people similar to the given expert. It was developed by the IBM Research Group in Haifa. Here is a screen shot on how it works.

Here is a pop-up on an individual.

Expediting Expertise – Jie Lu

This tool combines analytics and social software to concretely measure the user’s current expertise level for a given topic. Then it can facilitate improvement with learning recommendations. It allows you to rapidly identify and grow expertise within the organization. Here are two screen shots to show you how it looks. First there is your score.

Then there are recommendations for how to improve your score.

Social Knowledge Management – Hiro Takagi

This tool uses information sources to uncover knowledge assets. Then employees can “like,” “mention,” and/or share their discoveries. People can also post requests for documents on certain topics and others can find them. Then the documents get placed into Connections for greater accessibility and further enhancements.  It employs “cardification” by which a report card is created for each document where it can be rated and ranked. It will get elevated in Connections if people find it valuable. To get started the tool uses gamification to help useful documents go viral. Here is an image on how it works.

Work Marketplace – Steve Dill

This tool allows people to post work assignments and have others bid on doing them. This work exchange allows request to be shared within a community or across and organization. Colleagues can select, bid, or compete for work. It is especially useful for people between projects. After a project is completed the person’s participation is evaluated. A digital reputation can be earned based on the work performed. Teams can self-organize to bid on projects.

IBMers Who Tweet – Casey Dugan

This tool first takes input from employees on possible IBMers who are tweeting. They look at anyone how mentions IBM in their twitter profile or in other ways. Then possible matches are found in IBM Connections profiles. Matches are contacted to verify accuracy and asked if they want to be included in the directory that gets analyzed. No one is required to participate. Over 500 IBMers have helped classify 7,000 Twitter accounts. Then the Twitter activity is made visible and analytics are applied including sentiment analysis and topic identification augmented by demographics and interactive data visualization. Below is a sample screen shot.

IBM Social Business Clinic

Kate Ehlich provided a demonstration of a survey that IBM is offering their clients on how effective their current social business is functioning. Below is a sample set of results. You can compare the results you gave your company (red) with the global averages (green) and those for your industry sector (gray).

 

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Weds Opening Session – AppThrowdown and Jane McGonigal (@avantgame)

 Updated Feb 2, 2013: Added full video of this session at the end of this post – enjoy, especially the rockstars – at the beginning and throughout! :)

(@jonathancoulton ‘s Code Monkey playback, the demos, and @avantgame ‘s VERY inspiring and insightful “gaming” talk are a “Don’t Miss” – see video below!)


This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years.  Kevin Cavanaugh, VP Strategy, Social Business and Nigel Beck, VP Business Development led the opening session.

Jonathan Coulton played a rockin’ session of “Code Monkey” to get us awake after last’s night events. (IBMConnect live play at bottom of post!)

Nigel said there will be five demos from IBM partners. These firms just did the work without having to talk to IBM. You can just go to the IBM site and get started.

There were 27 initial entries into the AppThrowdown. From those, 14 challengers presented at Monday’s throwdown sessions. Of those, five were voted in, to do a repeat performance at today’s Keynote event.

SugarCRMThe first demo was from SugarCRM. It provides CRM solutions. Clint Oram CTO and Co-Founder did the demo. Kevin mentioned that Clint has read every Stars Wars book.

SugarCRM is the currently fastest growing CRM app. It can turn every employee into a salesperson. Sugar CRM links to IBM Connections to use its capabilities to help with collaboration around sales. Activity streams, and OpenSocial embedded experiences support remote management of SugarCRM transactions, directly from IBM Connections, providing users with the easy and convenience of progressing the lead transaction right from within Connections. Or, Connections mobile!

WrikeAndrew Filev from Wrike did the next demo. Wrike does social project management. Wrike integrates with IBM Connections to become more social. I have covered them before (see for example Wrike Takes Project Management Mobile). Emails can be integrated into Wrike and Connections to become social objects with version control. So the team can become more efficient.

You can reach out to team members and assign tasks. Wrike is mobile enabled to extend its reach. The tasks get pushed into the activity stream in Connections to better monitor progress. Wrike is very scalable. One client has over 2,000 tasks on a project. You can look at resource availability to help fill the team.

Colin Goudie and David Simpson, Senior Developers at AppFusions led the next demo. Being part of the AppFusions team, I was very pleased to see this portion. AppFusions builds packaged software integrations that bring enterprise systems together.

AppFusionsColin and David showed integrations between Atlassian JIRA and IBM Connections. It uses OpenSocial gadgets, OAuth2 support for seamless interactions, real-time live-link activity streams, and embedded experiences. This integration is especially great in bridging the gap between business personnel and engineering/product management in a corporation.

(c) All rights reserved by malexander1219

With the Immersive for Atlassian JIRA, for IBM Connections, ANY user of IBM Connections can quickly log JIRA tickets from any part of the company, whether they have a JIRA account or not! (AppFusions also has integrations with Confluence and Stash, with IBM Connections – which they did not have time to demo!) These integrations are also supported by IBM Connections mobile, so you can also interact with JIRA, Confluence, etc. from your mobile device.

Next Colin and David showed a quick demo of IBM SameTime integrated with JIRA (issue tracker), Bamboo (continuous integration server), Fisheye (SVN source code manager), Stash (git repository manager), and Confluence (enterprise wiki). Directly from the Atlassian applications, Sametime presence is live for any user, any place a users name is shown. By right-clicking, users can launch a basic chat or even video chat, if your Sametime subscription supports this.

TrilogJohn Tripp from Trilog did the next demo. He is also an opera singer. He showed a demo integrating their project management app and Connections. You can start in Connections and go to their project app. You can use the Connections activity stream and have your project work get aggregated into a Connections community.

He showed a social gantt chart.  The work in their app appears in Connections to make use of its capabilities. You can update status in Connections and it will appear in their project app.

Russ Fradin from Dynamic Signal was next up. He does marathons. The tool does social CRM. He said that your employees can be your greatest advocates with Dynamic Signal. Their solution can manage the whole process giving employees some freedom and the company some level of control to strike a balance.

Dynamic SignalActivities in Dynamic Signal appear in the Connections activity stream. The company can present messages that it would like its employees to share on their Twitter and Facebook pages and other means. Employees can earn points for this activity. Others can see this and also share it.  Employees can share content that their company wants shared and get rewarded for it.

Kevin said there is an open app dev challenge coming up with $5,000 in prizes and there is another contest with same prize money. These are in OpenNTF.org. Jane McGonigal next spoke. Her recent book is, Reality is Broken, and it covers her topic in more depth. She said there are 1 billion gamers in the world who spend over an hour a day gaming online. She said this is good news. Over three hundred million minutes are spent each day on Angry Birds. The average Call of Duty player spends a work month a year playing. Many players called in sick when a new release came out.

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the WorldIn contrast 71% of workers are not engaged in their work. This costs companies 300 million annually as well as lack of innovation. Gaming can be used to get the right engagement. The engagement economy is about unlocking the energy put into gaming. For example 100 million hours went into Wikipedia. This is only 7 days of the time spent on Call to Duty playing. If you can put this time to work on world problems or company challenges much can be done.  You want mass participation. Girls are catching up to boys in gaming hours and 92% of two year olds are playing games on their parents’ devices.

She showed ten positive emotions that people get from gaming. They are in order: creativity, contentment, awe and wonder, excitement, curiosity, pride, surprise, love, relief, and joy. These positive emotions have a great impact on how we solve problems. These positive emotions can overcome stress. There is science backing this up. She has a site – show me the science – to give access to the studies. For example, children who play games score higher on tests of creativity.

Gamers spend 80% of their time failing but they are willing to hang in there to succeed. Studies show that ADHD symptoms seen to disappear when people are gaming. Also cooperation is enhanced through collaborative gamers. Gamers with autism show higher social awareness when doing multi-player gamers. Gamers can outperform drugs on the treatment of depression. Games make us resilient and more likely to get going until you succeed.  She showed some great pictures of gamers in action and focused on their tasks.

She said that the opposite of play is not work but depression. If you can put play into work people will perform much better. She showed brain images of active gamers vs those watching them. The active players have much more active brain images.  This is especially true for the area, hippocampus, where new learning takes place. These changes are lasting.

One project turned to the game, Farmville, to transfer the participation in an actual city garden. They got a 400% increase in participation. I certainly agree that making work into play gets better results. People doing their passions do not retire. When I was developing training programs for businesses in the 80s, including IBM, I always tried to introduce a game aspect with simulation. This could occur in a computer-based game or a classroom situation.  It shortened the required training time and increased perform at the end of the experience and then again on the job.  This was especially true if you could bring the learning tools back to job to help with the work.


 Updated Feb 2, 2013: Added full video of this session below – enjoy, especially the rockstars – at the beginning and throughout! :)

Watch live streaming video from ibmsoftware at livestream.com

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Reinventing the Inbox – Ed Brill

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years thanks to IBM’s support. Here is a summary of my notes for 2012 and 2011. These notes cover the Monday Press Session: Reinventing the Inbox with Ed Brill, Director, Social Business & Collaboration, IBM.

I first meet Ed Brill in person at the 2011 Lotusphere. He remembered our phone interview six year earlier when I was collecting cases for blog book. Here is that interview: Blog Cases from 2005: Ed Brill on IBM, Collaboration, and More.

Before I get into the session I want to mention, Ed’s excellent new book, Opting In: Lessons in Social Business from a Fortune 500 Product Manager. I had a chance to preview the first few chapters. As I wrote in response to this preview:

Opting In is an important book that takes social business beyond external marketing to provide practical guidance on how to drive significant business value through enhancing human interactions within the enterprise.

McKinsey’s research has demonstrated many quantified benefits here and Ed shows you how to realize them. I look forward to reading the rest of the book.

Ed runs product management for messaging, collaboration, and unification products. The two big new things this year are improvements to existing apps through Social Notes 9.0 and IBM docs.  Ed said that email has become dysfunctional and needs to be transformed.

Adding social capabilities will greatly increase its efficiency and I would certainly agree. Some of the content that used to be in broadcast emails has already moved to social apps for good reason. But there needs to be changes to email itself. This is happening in several ways.

There is embedded experience so that email alerts can come into other apps you are working on. You can respond to the email without leaving the other app. Another major change that is coming is to use analytics to prioritize your mail so the most relevant messages come to the top of the email inbox, replacing the simple chronological order that has been standard for some time.

There could be several different types of filters for this prioritization such as skills, team membership, location, or relevance to a project you are working on. Ed said that one challenge will be getting people to trust the prioritization.

Within IBM as an organization, Connections has replaced the portal as the first place people go. Now you can have mail within Connections so you do not have to leave it. There is also a discovery engine that teaches people how to use the new features. One capability I really like, is the ability to act on a message directly. For example, you might get a request from HR in an email that requires using an HR app. You can respond to the request directly in the email without having to go to the app.

I have covered IBM Connections in depth recently on this blog (see IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities). For this post I spoke with Suzanne Livingston, Senior Product Manager for Connections on the 4.0 release. I have covered Connections a number of times before (see for example, Review of IBM Connections 3.0 and IBM Connections: Analytics + Social).

Ed talked a bit about activity streams as they also have this embedded ability to respond to requests from apps. Email and activity streams are now two parallel communication channels. Activity streams are for public information, as many people can see them. Ed said they can be useful for discovering new information. Email remains the channel for private communication. It is still necessary but some of its uses have moved to better tools. Here is a list of features for Notes 9.0 from the IBM product page.

  • Provides an easy-to-use, single point of access to everything you need to get your work done quickly, including business applications, email, calendars, feeds, and more.
  • Lets you tailor your work environment with widgets that bring social communities that are important to your job, both within the enterprise and across the Internet, right into your peripheral view.
  • Enables you to work with people right at the point of context with social tools weaved into the work experience, allowing you to pivot to the tool you need, such as business cards, presence awareness, instant messaging, and more.
  • Helps you quickly locate the people and content you need through integrated access to social tools from IBM Connections and IBM Lotus Quickr® software, including profiles, activities, team places, and content libraries.
  • Offers advanced replication technology to enable you to work with email and applications even when disconnected from the network.

Sometimes changes to becoming more social can have unintended consequences. For example, Ed mentioned a CEO who started a blog to more directly communicate with his workforce and allow for two-way exchanges that email messages did not promote.  Employees were so pleased to have a communication channel with the CEO that many comment threads got pushed into topics unrelated to his post. So he set up a second app, called the Speaker’s Corner, to allow for these comments. This allowed his first blog to stay more on topic.

Ed said that Notes use remains very active. In fact, many clients who let their Notes licenses expire are coming back. The added social features are one driver of this re-engagement.

IBM Docs also has integrated social features. You can open a document and invite others to collaborate on it in real time. In
traditional word processing you designate a file name and place it in a file structure. It is document oriented. IBM Docs is more people oriented. You open a document and place in a location such as a team workspace within Connections, not an abstract file structure.

Then others can be invited into this workspace. I see this people orientation as a great improvement and one of the shortcomings of MS Word and SharePoint. IBM Docs can work in the cloud as IBM SmartCloud Docs is a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents. Here is a sample screen is on the right.

Notes can also be in the cloud. IBM recently did a study on the cloud and found that organizations – both big and small, across geographies and in virtually every industry – are embracing cloud as a way to reduce the complexity and costs associated with traditional IT approaches. Almost three-fourths of the leaders in their survey indicated their companies had piloted, adopted or substantially implemented cloud in their organizations – and 90 percent expect to have done so in three years. And the number of respondents whose companies have substantially implemented cloud is expected to grow from 13 percent today to 41 percent in three years.

There is also extensive mobile support including client and client-less (HTTP, browser based) access options and seamless
network connectivity as you roam. There is optimized network utilization to reduce data transmission and connection costs. Notes Mobile Connect also supports a wide range of device types – mobile, desktop, laptop – for security-rich connection into business infrastructure. It is nice to see that Notes in alive and well and entering the social age. This move should ensure its longevity.

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Tuesday Opening Session

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012. Bob Piccano, IBM General Manager led the opening session. The theme was the rise of social business – moving from liking to leading. These notes are real time so please forgive any typos.

Bob Piccano opened the session. He mentioned that this was the 20th year at this conference.   He has moved to a new post that includes leading the big data efforts across IBM.  He introduced Adam Klaber, Managing Partner, New Markets, who is working on big data among other things. IBM is moving from systems of transaction to systems of engagement. This has major transformation implications. I have written about this a bit (see for example, Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions and Integrating Transactions and Interactions: A Fable).

Adam said that customers are leading the conversations that define brands. Partners are interacting to accelerate business value. Employees are using social media in all aspects of the their lives, including work. Organizations are crowdsourcing ideas to bring better solutions.

Adam mentioned the four I’s: Interact, Inform, Integrate, and Innovate. Each builds on the other. This shift is enabled by technology supported social interactions. They are releasing a study on how companies are moving forward in social. Over half of the organizations are shifting their investments to social technology. They are also looking at the cultural change. IBM is doing more than technology but also helping with the social change. They have formed a cross-disciplinary group on front office transformation and a center of competence in this space. He moved to client examples in healthcare, retail, and government. He began with healthcare.

All of these cases make use of IBM Connections. I have covered IBM Connections in depth recently (see IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities). For this post I spoke with Suzanne Livingston, Senior Product Manager for Connections on the 4.0 release. I have covered Connections a number of times before (see for example, Review of IBM Connections 3.0 and IBM Connections: Analytics + Social).

Dan Pelino came out to discuss healthcare and the other cases. There is now a huge increase of people getting healthcare benefits in the US.  Thirty million new people are coming into the system. It is the largest single change for any industry. It will change everything including the use of technology.

Dan began with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. I was a subscriber of this Blue Cross for years when I lived in Cambridge until I recently moved back to New Orleans. Bill Fandrich, the CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts spoke. They have been dealing with universal coverage since 2006 when Massachusetts passed the first laws in this area. When they started today’s smart phones were not in the market, yet these devices are now the primary ways members access their benefits.

There is now a new paradigm, out pacing Moore’s law on change with growth of over 45% per year. The real question is whether they are getting insights from the massive amounts of data or is this just an expense. There is now coverage for 411,000 uninsured residents and only 1.9% remain uninsured. Blue Cross is the glue that connects members and providers. They look at all the touch points in the process.  They keep a 360 view of their members to provide better care at less cost. They want to provide more personalized health care. I have received calls on some of the issues he raised.

Next, Maree Foti, HR manager at David Jones, a department store in Australia, spoke. They have 36 stores with 8,000 employees. They are the oldest department store still on their original name.  They started a working group to have more two-way communication with employees. They needed a platform with two-communication, anywhere, anytime while complimenting existing infrastructure. They started a pilot of IBM Connections with 1,000 employees. They have 65% take up in three months. There are also behavioral changes.

Usage is strong with 64% accessing the system several times a week. More than 55% believe it will enhance two-way communication. The top three benefits: increased knowledge of the firm, more direct link to leadership team, and a greater sense of community and collaboration. Her three top tips: bring the platform to life for users, focus on content, content, content; and engage champions at all levels of the business.  Moving forward their focus is changing to find ways to obtain business benefits. They want to create a platform for social business.

Dan next introduced the government example. Municipalities affect how we live so better participation in good for everyone. Jeff Rhoda, General Manager, IBM spoke. We are all touched by government. The issues that have been discussed all apply to government: big data, collaboration, analytics, cloud, and mobile. For example, police can use analytics to predict where crimes will occur to prevent them before they happen. I have seen the TV commercial about this.

Dan introduced Mike Van Milligen from the city of Dubuque to discuss how they engaged citizens to help with local challenges. They have come back from population loss and economic downturn to create a growing community that is sustainable. They use smarter technologies to give new information to citizens and business to save money. If you give people the right information, they will make smarter decisions. Water was the first example. Thee hundred volunteer households were given a portal looking at water use. It resulted in a 7% reduction in water use and 800% increase in water leak detection. The also did a smarter electricity study with over 1,000 participants. They received a 4 – 7% cost savings in electricity. Over 70% took actions to converse electricity. The state officials in Iowa are looking at these projects for state-wide use. Next, they are wrapping up a smarter travel study. They are developing better bus routes.

Mike said the lessons include:

  • Incremental change is best
  • Synthesize and analyze large amounts of data from unrelated and unstructured sources
  • Reach people on through multiple channels

They are focused in creating a sustainable model for cites under 200,000 people where 40% of the US population lives. They revamped their riverfront. They have a population of 60,000 but 3 million live within a 100 miles.

Dan concluded the three part case examples and Bob came back to wrap up the morning session. He began an architectural discussion with systems of record. There are now machine-to-machine interactions. At the top end of the stack you have systems of engagement.  A big data platform links the two. Content is curated and made useful for analytics and subsequent decisions. They are releasing a new version of IBM Social Analytics, formerly known as Cognos. It will be available on a SaaS model. The platform allows big data to be used at the point of impact.  There is interaction data, attitudinal data, behavioral data, and more.  An airline manufacturer saved 36 million in shorter service calls, another client process 17 billion bits of data on a daily basis. They have now 300 business partners in this space and have released their Stored IQ product.