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

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.

 

Want to go to IBM Connect .. be nice to a Champion for a discount

Being an IBM Champion is great and it does come with some benefits.

Today all IBM Champions are happy to announce that we can offer YOU a discount of $100 for IBM’s upcoming ICS event – IBM Connect in San Francisco

So what do you need to do – just reach out to an IBM Champion tell us why you want to go to Connect and what your expectations are and as if by magic we will give you the dscont code.

Now is a great time to register .. and I wish I was going to be there with you all (but I will be in Orlando – on a very long awaited family holiday) – so ping a champ and get the code 🙂

Sutol, Pokemon and an awesome time

As blogged over on the BCC page .. a round up of Sutol with some extra Shaz related bits  🙂

Last week we were in the beautiful city of Prague for the 8th annual SUTOL Czech user group. It was a small affair with approx. 100 attendees – making it more like an extended family gathering, which actually worked really well. The sessions were well attended and there seems to be a chunk of Czech business that already have hybrid and cloud environments and are uses of IBM Connections.
The Keynote:
Lots of news which was nice .. some of it revisited some of the information that was made public at ICONUK, but there were updated and NEW news!
So Drew Birnbaum kicked off the keynote with a look at ICS strategy through the ages – admitting that IBM had lost its way a little and how they are redeeming themselves going forward. It was very refreshing to know that the beast that is IBM have taken on board what Customers, Business Partners and IBM Champions have been saying – so positive news on that front.
Drew also covered the #newwaytowork message that IBM have been delivering to us over the past few months, and it seems to be becoming more and more relevant to how normal businesses work. One of the statistics that was shown was the average worker consumes approx.. 15.5 hours of media a day – 15.5 hours!! That is a lot of data, it’s no wonder we can get distracted.
One of the things that the Watson and cognitive engines can do is help us make sense of all that *stuff* and we are seeing it more and more as the API’s become available to hook in to. This message was reinforced on the integration into application and services that are cloud ready. Unfortunately there is no news on when on premises customers will be able to take advantage of this – here is hoping that one day we will be able to consume Watson or some of those features as a web service.
Barry Rosen had a lot to say. He is the new hero of our ICS community, and has become the go to man to pass on concerns, queries and praise to IBM. Always ready to listen and very honest, and had already made some changes since he announced the Road map at ICONUK back in September 2016.
The features and fixes to be released in the Notes/Domino feature packs are to be released via priority. Each cycle the highest priority fixes and features will be worked on for release, rather than promising something and not delivering, announcements will be made on what is coming over the next few weeks we hope and that will continue going forward. Again another improvement.
Sametime will also follow the continuous delivery method, which is fantastic news. There were a lot of speculation that IBM would be killing off Sametime now they had Watson Work (Project Toscana) and the alliance with Cisco, but Barry told us Sametime is not dead and it will have continued investment and fixes. Sametime IS the on-premises chat and meeting solution and will continue to be.
The same can be said of application development and x-pages. There will be an announcement in early 2017 on the future of application modernisation, development and the plans IBM have – Connect 2017 will be the place to hear this. Barry assured us that Martin Donnelly’s x-pages team have plenty to do and to release to us – looking forward to more new on that early next year.

If you are wanting to go down the Verse on Prem route for your email client there is also good news. The Connections entitlement to Files and Profiles has now been updated for Domino 9.0.1 customers to allow Connections 5.5, allowing the additional features for Verse on Prem at no extra cost – Shameless plug for the BCC Connect your Domino offering to help you get to that point to be Verse ready.
The ICS portfolio is becoming like a buffet, allowing us to pick and choose what applications and solutions suit our business and needs as users. Improved integration points should make this a lot easier and with the new framework and set of APIs for that framework will ensure that it’s easier to integrate applications and systems.
So exciting times and generally good and positive news all around. I sincerely hope that this is not too little too late and that IBM really have taken note of what Customers and BPs have been telling them. It’s a good message that Customers that can’t or won’t go to the cloud are still going to get support and updates for on-premises software and that if they do want to go hybrid that there will support for that too – Another shameless plug fpr the BCC Admin Tool for Connections Cloud at this point, as this helps with just that very scenario, manage your Hybrid and Cloud users just like your on-prem ones.

All in all ….
A very positive message was sent out by IBM and the attendees and those following the twitter stream seemed also to be enthused by the message, let’s just hope that message and the enthusiasm stays with us to Connect and Engage and well into 2017.

Personally

This was the first time I had been to SUTOL .. It really was like an extended small family gathering .. which was GREAT .. so good to catch up with friends and colleges in our space and with those IBMers that I only get to see at events like this. I finally got to chat to people that I have only spoken to in skype and on twitter. User groups are so important for networking and keeping in touch with what everyone is doing and sometimes you can’t beat a chat over a beer.

The speaker / sponsor dinner was so much fun – i haven’t laughed so hard and so long for a while .. Prague is also excellent for Pokemon hunting and I caught my first 2 Pikachu on the way, and about 15 other little blighters and many stops (so lots of balls).

The food was amazing, filling and tasty .. and there were many sausage jokes occuring on our two tables (we may have got a little rowdy, luckily we were in a private dining area). I haven’t been to many bars with such a crazy drinks menu .. we had GROG (unfortunately it wasn’t served by a pirate or a busty wench .. or in a wooden jug.. but it was GROG) .. so well worth the night out 🙂

I also won a prize in the closing session – thank you Panagenda for the kit .. I shall have hours of fun playing with that 🙂 The speaker gift was a lovely bottle of Czech wine – made for St Martin’s day (I know it was lovely as I have already finished it).

Thank you Prague .. thank you to the SUTOL team for making me feel so welcome and to Wannes and Roberto for being brave enough to speak with me for a second time. Shout out to Stephanie as well as it was girls on tour for BCC and we had a great giggle too ..  bring on the next one 🙂

 

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It’s almost time for ENGAGE :)

It’s that time of year again when our community gathers in a European city for the biggest user group meeting outside Connect / Lotusphere .. the fabulous Engage User Group. This year we are meeting in Eindhoven in the Netherlands in a fantastic location of Evoluon.

engageLogo Evoluon1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am speaking again with my good friend and college Mr. Christoph Stoettner on Wednesday, March 23 at  16:00 in Room D. Saturn – We will be covering everything connections related, installing, migrating, backing up etc 🙂

Tomorrow I am meeting the lovely Tim Clark for the roadtrip to engage .. looking forward to seeing friends, learning some great new stuff in the amazing amount of sessions and some good old social networking .. see you there 🙂

MWLUG here I come

I have been a bit quiet on the blog lately. I have been a little busy both work wise and home wise what with making costumes and building armour (more of that in another post) but this weekend I fly out to my very first MWLUG.

mwlug2014_banner

I am really looking forward to it after hearing so many great things about it. I will be speaking on the thursday morning, but am arriving on sunday the 24th so will get to spend a few days seeing the sites and working from the hotel room.

If you are going to be there I am looking forward to catching up with old friends and hopefully making some new ones