European Collaboration Summit was a blast

The European Collaboration Summit was last week in Germany. I am still fairly new to the world of Microsoft Conferences and user groups / community events, but the collabsummit was fantastic.

Will about 2,000 attendees it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest community run events in the world. Jam packed with lots of sessions about all types of collaboration there was too much to chose from.

I presented on Wednesday 29th May. The session “How to automate life cycle management of Teams and ensure compliance and security”, covered some of the challenges organizations face with managing teams – from creation and security, through to Teams lifecycle management and how BCC can help with our new Teams Management module for AdminTool.

My first time presenting at a Microsoft Event and the audience were great – so thank you 🙂 Yet again Olaf pushed me slightly out of my comfort zone as he is a big believer in my ability – which I am very greatful.

 

The sense of community at the collabsummit was amazing .. this conference has been running for about 10  years and the community is family to a lot of the attendees – which I can relate to after being in the IBM space with the community.

The thing I have learned most is that

  • The adoption problems are the same not matter what the technology you use
  • Collaboration is all about the people – still all about the people and has always been about the people
  • Teams is the way forward for Microsoft as far as real time collaboration goes
  • The Microsoft community guys are fantastic

I am very much looking forward to seeing some of my new family at Microsoft Ignite in Novemeber and the ECSP Conference in December.

Next step is to get an MVP .. that is high on my priority this year 🙂

 

 

We had an excellent time at Engage

Slightly delayed due to many conferences and travelling,  here is my round up of Engage 2019.

This year’s Engage was bigger than ever. In the amazing location of AutoWorld in Brussels – I have no idea how Theo finds these great venues year after year.

With over 400 attendees, 1500 tweets, 88 speakers, 85 sessions, 26 sponsors and 35 IBM Champions – I am sure this was the biggest Engage event yet.

HCL and IBM were working in partnership, but this time HCL took the lead as the sale of the ICS products to HCL is going to happen very soon (news on the street is somepoint in June 2019). Richard Jefts is like Robin Hood, it feels like he has stolen the ICS products away from IBM (the Sherrif of Nottingham) and he is giving it back to the community. That isn’t to say that IBM have done a bad job at all over the past 2 years with our beloved products – its all steps in the right direction.

I am very much looking forward to see what HCL do with my beloved WebSphere Commerce – the software I worked on for 7 years. If I can dip my toe in the Commerce pond again I will be a very happy person.

I was lucky enough to present at Enage with my big boss Olaf. Our session Making Domino & Office 365 your Dream Team” covered integration, pain points and challenges, some things you may not have thought about and how to ensure that organisations can work effectively with both sets of technology. There were plenty of people (almost 40) in the session and we had some great questions and discussion. You can find the slides below

 

Speed Sponsoring this year was a little different too. This year each sponsor had a 2 minute 30 second pitch in the OGS and the audience voted on their favourite.

Stephanie and I had great fun reading the news and we won 🙂 You can watch our fun news broadcast here:

Absolutely loved it as usual .. already looking forward to next year and what Theo and the team have instore for us 🙂

 

May will be a busy month

I have been a bit quiet of late .. I have been a little busy – working hard at BCC, spending time with the family and the horses and booking my place at the Magic Run Weekend at Disneyland Paris (more about that in a later post) but May will be a busy month ..
I will be at the awesome Engage with co-speaker (and my boss 🙂 ) Olaf Boerner. We have a great session for you on Making Domino and Office 365 your Dream Team ..

Engage is a fantastic event .. free to attend and has some of the best speakers from the ICS bubble, it is well worth the trip.

Just after Engage there is the European Collaboration Summit in Germany. One of the largest user run conferences in Europe for Microsoft.  Again I will be speaking (at my first Microsoft conference) on Microsoft Teams: How to automate life cycle management of Teams and ensure compliance and security. I am really looking foward to it

So hope to see you at one or both of these events 🙂

Social connections round up

So a quick round up of #soccnx
Connections isn’t dead.. Long live Connections. And although the emphasis recently has been on the Domino 10 there is lots of work in the Connections space happening.

IBM are planning on releasing CRs instead of big releases. The plan is twice a year for on prem and up to quarterly, as most customers find it way easier to implement a fixpack change than a full migration/update to a new version. This is a great idea and I do agree that it’s the best way forward.

Connections customizer is the way to go for changing things – look and feel, functionality and it is possible to make huge changes without touching the underlying code – but its Linux only same as the component pack (type ahead, orient me and elastic search) – and an extra box (or 2) for windows customers will be required. It is very powerful and although I was sceptical to begin with I agree this is the way to go. It may involve some extra skills being required for Connections admins and a bit of sell to get the extra hardware, but worth it.

No news on docs, really but CR3 if3 of docs is the latest and it will be updated in the same way as connections.

Connections 6 CR3 has a bunch of cool changes for the look and feel including extra community file views and some cool visualisation features – this will be tested as soon as i get a chance.

Lots of emphasis on using the component pack (Linux only as above) but this has replaced the pink vision previously.

Other news – the awesome guys at ISW have a new version of boards coming – this quarter for cloud, next quarter for on prem – which includes new views for boards including a calander view. Can’t wait to see this.

Ephox is now Tiny not as in small as in the tiny editor. New versions of textbox.io and the tiny editor will be available soon for Connections and other Web apps – exciting times & the aussie party is back at Think 🙂

The guys at AppFusions have a great set of tools for integrating teams that work in. Connections and Office365 – I want to give this a try as I can see many customers that could benefit. Hogne gave a great presentation on this which I will share the slides from.

So all in all its been great.. The community is thriving.. Connections is alive and kicking and long may it continue

It’s IBM Connections Adoption Month woo hoo

I have been a little quiet on the blog as I have been working on a number of Connections related projects and today I see that IBM have designated July as IBM Connections Adoptions month. You can read a brief post about it here.

IBM have produced a fantastic info graphic – (the link to download the large PDF is attached to the image) – we winning social habbits with IBM Connecitons

I have written about this over on the BCC blog as we have lots of articles to help with adoption and offer connections services.

I LOVE IBM Connections – and have done since it was first thrown in my direction as “you know about that WebSphere stuff” almost 10 years ago now. I use connections every day, my customers love it and so do our ICS community .. lets lead the way with showing this awesome software some love and helping people get stuff done.

Engage is next week!

It has come around really quickly – it feels like only a few days ago that we were at Think or Social Connections 13, but It is that time of year again and Engage is almost upon us.

On Tuesday & Wednesday 22-23 May approx 400 people will be setting sail on the SS Rotterdam for Europe’s biggest ICS user group.

It is looking to be a packed agenda with 66 sessions + 19 round tables, 94 speakers, 42 champions presenting (and 60 present)!

 

Tim & I will be speaking on Wednesday (23rd) morning at 8am !! (thanks Theo) – Best practises for deploying Verse on Premise (VoP) – find out more on our BCC Events page.

 

Here is the amazing venue for the conference – more information can be found on the Engage page – hope to see you there 🙂

Think! – Back to the Future

Think is over and man that was full on.

To say this conference was massive doesn’t actually do it justice. The show floor and think park took most of the ground floor of the Mandalay Bay conference centre. A wander around the show floor could easily take an hour without stopping by any booths.

It really was an amalgamation of all the major IBM Conferences in one and other than a few hickups at the begining of the week, the IBM Events team actually pulled it off! Yes there were issues as there always is going to be when trying something for the first time but, lessons were learned, feedback (possitive and contsructive critism) was given and will be listened to.

Listening is something IBM hasn’t been historically good at from an ICS perspective, but they are listening now and it feels good.

The start of the Think week kicked off on sunday with Champion and Community day – a new thing that the conference team hadn’t tried before.

  • We had a keynote around champions, community and a taste of what the week will be like
  • Break outs and round tables about champions, user groups, and other interesting subjects
  • ICS specific sessions for the champions to feed back around
    • Domino, Sametime and Verse
    • Watson workspace and the new zoom partnership
    • Connections 6 and pink, on-prem and cloud
  • Reception for Champions and Community members to get to know people in other diciplines and brands

LOVED Community day – Really hope that IBM continue it going forward. It was also announced that a new site is being launched: community.ibm.com as a hub for users of IBM software. Its already populated with some brand/software communities with more being added as time goes on. It is fantastic that IBM have recognised the power of the user community.

Monday was presenting day for me and Roberto, and the session went well, positive feedback  and I am already thinking about ways to improve it. Thanks to all that attended and the slides can be downloaded from here. Monday was also chaotic, due to the showfloor and think park not being open. There was a little bit of congestion in the hallways and reports of people not making sessions, this appeared to be becuase of the lack of show floor as there was no where for people to go. Luckily I did make a couple of sessions and they were very well presented and well attended.

The General Session with Ginni Rometty on Tuesday morning was very interesting. Strategy and the overall picture of where IBM are going with Watson, Blockchain and other IBM technologies. It was a very strong message.

Chairman’s Address – Join IBM Chairman, President and CEO, Ginni Rometty and distinguished guests for a can’t miss address bringing together some of the world’s top CEOs and business thinkers who are building the future today by putting smart to work.

 

Another session that was interesting was Collaboration in the age of disruption with Geoffrey Moore and Bob Schultz. Discussing real world problems and solutions. I really enjoyed this and it did hit home, especially the section on Collaboration culture which sums up our Community. Well worth the watch.

 

Keynote – Join renown author Geoffrey Moore and Bob Schultz, IBM’s General Manager of Watson Talent and Collaboration for a lively discussion about the future of work and the powerful role that AI and collaboration technologies provide in improving efficiency, work-flows, and teamwork processes.

 

 

Every Domino session was absolutely overflowing and every one was rediculously enthusiastic.The Domino back to the future session with Andrew Manby and Richard Jefts was amazingly well attended, the session was standing room only and spilled out into the hallway. The same for the Domino on iPad sessions and the What’s new / comining in V10 session with Gab and Ram (Slides can be found on Gab’s blog here). All excellent sessions with plenty of content and news and REAL working code.


Domino Back to the Future

 

The community is buzzing with an energy and excitement I have never seen before and I like it. At the ICS day on Wednesday morning the message was reiterated that Connections pink/ next is coming and being worked on, Watson workspace will be THE place for on demand collaboration and now with the added bonus of zoom integration for on demand meetings too – It really will be a game changer. Domino 10 is coming later this year and a new client and sametime will follow but the emphasis is on making the Domino server backend the priority for the first phase of the 10 release.

Marketing is something that has always been a bit of a joke inside the ICS community as there hasn’t been any – until now. Yup, marketing … it is happening and there will be campaigns around Domino and ICS. The new team are a bunch of really cool and enthusiastic people.

The ICS brand is a small fish in the big IBM pond, and although the other brands have their own communities none are as passionate and collaborative as ours. The IBM Champions program has really helped in cementing the ICS community as the one other brands are looking to. There is no other community that is so passionate and positive, #ICSProud was the hash tag we were using and I am proud to be a member of this community and to be an IBM Champion for Collaboration. Thank you Libby and Alan and the whole Champion team for looking after us so well.

I am very much looking forward to the other user groups this year (and we have some great things planned for ICON UK) to hear the updates from IBM and HCL. Think 2019 will be in San Fransico 12 – 15 February 2019 save the date as I am sure it will be as big and ambitious as this year has been.

 

Vegas Baby .. IBM Think 2018

After the gruelling 10 hour flight and the inevitable jet lag .. IBM Think has started.

Kicking off with Champion and Community day. This is the first time IBM have run a day like this tacked onto the main conference AND so far its amazing. A full run down will happen tomorrow but thank you IBM for this.

I am really looking forward to this week. Catching up with old friends .. making new friends and getting to know more IBM champions from different brands ..

Exciting times ahead 🙂

You better Think!

Think 2018

It is early February .. and cold in the UK, normally we would be just returning or just preparing to go on the annual ICS exodus to Orlando for the beloved Lotusphere / Connect  conference ..but not this year. This year IBM have boldly gone –  in the way of the Starship Enterprise – to another world for their annual conference this year. BUT not just for us ICS people!

With a  potential 40,000+ attendees this year all the IBM standard conferences – Connect (Lotusphere as was), InterConnect, Amplify, Edge, Vision, World of Watson and PartnerWorld are all merged into what can only be described as a MEGA conference. IBM THINK! Which is in Las Vegas – which is as close to another world as we can get  🙂

Discover what the world is thinking at Think 2018, IBM’s first business event to go beyond IT conference, exploring cloud technology, data analytics & security.


Yes its going to be big, and that can be a little daunting, but I was pleased to see that Collaboration isn’t going to be swallowed in the sea of sessions, keynotes and events that are scheduled. Collaboration Solutions has its own Think Microsite which details sessions, keynotes and all the good stuff that we would expect at Connect or Lotusphere. There is even a handy PDF which details all the collaboration sessions at a glance with a key, making it super easy to find sessions that will interest you without having to wade through the hundreds that are scheduled. 

Also new for this year is the event site. Much better layout than we have seen in previous years, lots of quality information about the event and watson is embedded now to help you find sessions of interest and to make recomendations. HUGE improvement on previous years so thank you IBM for that.

The IBM Champions will have a big part in Think too, as its a mega conference covering all the software brands the IBM Champions will be mega too. There are now almost 650 IBM Champions world wide across the IBM portfolio and many will be at THINK. I am very much looking forward to getting to know some of the Champions from the other brands and see it as a fantastic opportunity.

 

Speaking at Think

If attending Think isn’t exciting enough …. I will also be speaking with my fellow IBM Champion and good friend Roberto Boccadoro. Our session will be covering troubleshooting IBM Connections 6 (and previous versions) and its supporting software and lightly touching on the new Pink technology.

 

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Troubleshooting IBM Connections

Monday, 12:30 PM – 1:10 PM | Surf B | Session ID: 1409A

 

 

If you want to learn more about Connections Pink troubleshooting you need to be at fellow champion Nico Meisenzahl‘s session – as Nico will be taking you through all the new Pink feature troubleshooting in his amazing session:

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right—Troubleshooting IBM Connections

Monday, 10:30 AM – 11:10 AM | Surf B | Session ID: 1574A

 

Attenting Think? Would you like a discount

Want to attend Think and would like a discount – talk to an IBM Champion

 

I am SO excited about this new big conference – I will be reporting from Think, Tim and I will be hopefully be grabbing some interviews and soundbites for ICONUK – more info coming soon.

If you would like information on BCC’s products and services, be sure to catch up with Tim and I at Think – or schedule a meeting with us. See you there.

 

IBM Champion and the Domino Jam

Friday the 12th of January was a busy day for me ..

Off to London for the face to face #Domino2025 Jam. I was slightly dubious, not really knowing what to expect but what a worth while experience it was. Approx 35 – 40 of us slip up into teams discussing and prioritising what we would like to see for IBM Domino App dev, mail, apps support and sametime for version 10 and beyond. The teams were split into a good mix of developers, administrators, users and managers and lots of interesting discussion was had, and they were not all ‘the usual suspects’. We talked about what we loved, what drove us crazy and a bunch of small things that could be resolved quickly. There were lots of different opinions and lots of very similar discussions.

The openess of it all was very refreshing, some of the IBM guys who have moved to HCL were there, the UK IBMers were their usual awesome selves (we do have some good ones – you know who you are 😉 ) – the fact there was so much positivity, energy and enthusiasm of it all – from a user of this software I am really looking forward to the roadmap and plans for the future. As an administrator (at least for the Sametime piece of this – as everyone knows I am not a Domino Admin) again there were some very good ideas around admin and the infrastructer that is required – some were quite radical at that .. all in all I am pumped, enthused, insert other excitable words here about it all ..

 

I know that has been a lot of critism about IBM for being slow, behind the curve, too little to late etc .. but I think (and really hope) that all of that is in the past. Things are going to be good. Actually no, things are going to be great .. the momentum has started – we are running downhill, lets not stop or there may be a pile up 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The word on the street is there is going to be lots of news at the IBM Think event in March – if you are thinking about heading to Think talk to me or another IBM Champion for a discount

 

 

 

 

 

Talking of IBM Champions, I also recieved an email Friday morning confirming that I was indeed an IBM Champion again this year.

For those of you who do not know what an IBM Champion is – IBM Champions demonstrate both expertise in and extraordinary support and advocacy for IBM technology, communities, and solutions. The IBM Champion program recognizes these innovative thought leaders in the technical community and rewards these contributions by amplifying their voice and increasing their sphere of influence. IBM Champions are enthusiasts and advocates: IT professionals, business leaders, developers, executives, educators, and influencers who support and mentor others to help them get the most out of IBM software, solutions, and services.  – you can find out more information here.

This is such a big deal for me, I am so honoured to be a part of this amazing group of people .. so thank you IBM , and thanks Libby who heads up the IBM Champion program across all the brands world wide and Alan who has the task of wrangling the collaboration solutions champions inbetween his day job (you legend).

What a great start to 2018 – I work with the most fantastic group of people at BCC, have lots to look forward to this year work wise and I have been elected as an IBM Champion again. Lets do this 😀