Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Where to find Connections (and me) at Think

I'll be spending the next week out in Las Vegas for the Think conference, and while I know it won't be the same as Lotusphere/Connect, I am excited to get to spend time with those of you who will be attending.  While a smaller crowd, it's good to already see a lot of familiar names on the speaker and attendee lists.  

Here's where to learn more about what's going on with Connections (and find me) at Think.  (And when I'm not in one of these places, I'll probably be down somewhere on the Business and Innovation campus.)  I'm always up for discussions on Connections - or anything else I might be able to help you with - so please come find me.  This isn't an exhaustive list - there are many other hands on labs and deep dive sessions that I didn't include, so please look through the agenda guide or app to find those.  (And if you're not able to join us in person this year, see the links below for the livestream.)  

Where to learn about Connections (and find me) at Think:
Champions Day

Lots of 1:1 meetings, but probably at the campus for the opening reception

8:30 - Chairman's Address with Ginni Rometty
10:30 - Connections Grid hands-on lab
12:30 - Client Session - Collaboration in a Regulated Industry with IBM Connections:  How Wells Fargo is Building Community
2:30 - Connections Grid (Project LiveGrid) Think Tank
3:30 - Keynote - Collaboration in the Age of Disruption (Bob Schultz)
4:30 - Keynote - Empower an Agile Workforce by Putting People at the Heart of Collaboration (Danielle Baptiste)

8:30 - ICS Community Day
1:30 - Keynote - Reimagine Work in the Era of AI (Bob Schultz)
3:30 - Client Session - The Power of Social Data at a large Telecom provider

8:30 - Keynote - The Future of Collaboration and Engagement (Adam Gartenberg/Rene Schimmer)
10:30 - People Service Think Tank
11:30 - Engagement Center Think Tank
12:30 - Client Session - How IBM Connections Helped Dislub to become one of the Beset Companies to Work For in its Region
1:30 - Client Session - Transforming Revenue Collection in Kenya with IBM Collaboration Solutions

Livestream Coverage:
Live coverage kickoff: Monday, March 19 // 10:30 AM PDT
Chairman's Address with Ginni Rometty:  Tuesday, March 20 // 8:30 AM PDT

Upcoming Change in Connections Metrics

For those of you who use the metrics function in Connections, we published a tech note today regarding an upcoming change that you should be aware of.  (The formal announcement on this change should be published in the next 2 weeks.)

The Component Pack for Connections that shipped last month includes an alternative  for the metrics component of Connections, using Elasticsearch instead of Cognos 10.2.2.  As the tech note published today describes, Cognos metrics in Connections will no longer be supported after April 30, 2018.  (While you can continue to use Cognos for metrics, after that date only the Elasticsearch-based metrics will be supported.)

We made this change based on feedback from our clients and alignment with the longer-term roadmap for Connections.  As always, we are interested in your feedback and experiences here.  Please feel to comment below or to reach out to me directly with any questions, comments or concerns.

(And if you haven't checked out the Component Pack yet, it also includes new capabilities for customizing the IBM Connections user experience, the IBM Connections App Registry for storing specifications from IBM Connections Customizer and other sources, and the latest release of the IBM Connections Orient Me home page feature.)

Getting started with IBM Connections Engagement Center

An excellent guide on getting started with IBM Connections Engagement Center is now available on DeveloperWorks.  Head on over and check it out!

IBM Connections Engagement Center (ICEC) provides an easy way to build a social intranet by creating a portal-like experience using various out-of-the-box and custom widgets. ICEC does not have its own content store, but aggregates content from different backend systems. Mostly, IBM Connections is the back-end system, since it is the underlying foundation for a set of key ICEC services, such as user authentication and authorization, personalization, top-level navigation, and news.

The goal of this article is to explain basic ICEC concepts and get you started using it, to give you a basic foundation on which you can build in later development work. To do this, we’ll use an example Community called “Global Communications."

Getting started with IBM Connections Engagement Center

Connections Customizer now Generally Available

An important part of the "Pink" vision for the future of IBM Connections is the ability to extend and customize the environment.  We took a big step forward in that vision with the general availability this week of the Customizer capability.

As its name implies, Customizer allows you to customize the look and feel and behavior of Connections, such as inserting your own company's branding, modifying standard UI elements such as photos or buttons, or even making larger changes (e.g., replacing a Community name list with tiles.)  Heath McCarthy shares more details on Customizer and how it works on his blog post here: IBM Connections Customizer Is Now Available!  I've also linked to more technical details and the Customizer video series below.

Customizer is available in the Americas and European Connections Cloud, and will be coming soon to AP.  If you use Connections on-premises, you can download it as part of the IBM Connections Component Pack  To register to use Customizer in the Cloud, send a message to  (See here for more details, especially if you were already using Customizer on a trial basis.)

Examples of customized sites:

Additional information:

Now Available: IBM Connections Engagement Center on Cloud

As of today, IBM Connections Engagement Center on Cloud is now available.  This is a big milestone, and my thanks goes out to the many, many people involved in getting us to this point.

You can read the announcement here, and head over to the IBM Marketplace to try it out for yourself!

IBM Docs 2.0 CR3 Now Available - Track Changes and Linux Conversion Server

The IBM Docs team shipped Docs 2.0 CR3 yesterday, with a couple of much sought-after features, notably a conversion server on Linux and track changes functionality:

Support for the Conversion Server on Linux:

This way you can know deploy all of Docs one platform of your choice: Windows or Linux. No need for a mandatory Windows server at customers, that run a Linux only strategy. Important note: currently the Linux Conversion Server does not, yet, support the Graphical Installer. So if you are planning on deploying using it on Linux, install all needed components except the Conversion server first in version 2.0, then upgrade them and then in the last step install the new Conversion Server manually via scripts.

New track changes functionality in the text document editor:

This will show you not only who has changed content in the document since the last time (and longer periods) you had been in this document, but also what they changed and what they might have deleted. Especially the last part was something where the color marking of the content by editor fell short: You could only see what they had written. But if the removed something or replaced it with new text, then you would not have been able to see it. Now you can see exactly what has been changed. You are able to filter the changes by time or by person.

The SocialIBMer blog has the details on the full list of enhancements, and you can download IBM Docs 2.0 CR3 from FixCentral.

Additional information:

Introducing Connections Engagement Suite

It's been really encouraging to see the interest that we're getting in the IBM Connections Engagement Center (previously known as XCC).  And one frequent request we've received is for a way to simplify the purchase of Connections and Engagement Center for businesses completely new to the portfolio.

With that in mind, today we are introducing IBM Connections Engagement Suite.   Designed to give organizations the tools needed for collaboration and improving employee engagement, the Engagement Suite is a bundle of Connections, Engagement Center and IBM Docs (and priced very attractively -- if you reach out to your sales representative or Business Partner, they can fill you in on the details).

For those new to Engagement Center, here are a brief overview a few customer case studies

Case Studies:

  • Ernsting’s family:  Fashion retailer creates a digital workplace hub to help employees thrive in their roles.
  • Berge & Meer:  Travel company strengthens collaboration, fosters innovation and consolidates communication.


IBM Connections Engagement Center now Availabile (7/28/17)

I missed posting about it while away on vacation, but IBM Connections Engagement Center was released for general availability on 7/28/17.

It's encouraging to see all of the interest we're already getting from customers (both large and small), and if you're an IBM Business Partner, hopefully you're checking it out for your customers, too.

You can read more details on Connections Engagement Center on, and we will have additional resources for viewing and downloading added to the site shortly.

My thanks go out to everyone involved in getting the solution to this point; it's exciting to see it out in the world!

IBM Acquires TIMETOACT GROUP’s XCC Solution; Introduces IBM Connections Engagement Center

Earlier today IBM announced that we have acquired the XCC solution from TIMETOACT Group and that we will be making it available in 3Q as IBM Connections Engagement Center, an add-on to IBM Connections.

I’m guessing that many of you may be familiar with XCC already, but for those that are not, it extends the collaboration functionality in IBM Connections by making it very easy to create a “social” intranet homepage and landing pages based on content from Connections (and elsewhere).  It can have you up and running in a matter of hours, with setup and customization as simple as dragging and dropping widgets around on the page.

There are many advantages to this approach. It makes it easy for companies (and Internal Communications teams, in particular) to aggregate and surface important and relevant content from Connections without requiring that people jump around to multiple communities, blogs, or other sites.  For example, you can automatically present employees with the latest updates from the CEO’s office, from HR, and from a departmental or regional head, as well as listings for upcoming events, search tools, and so on, all aggregated on a single page.

This approach also removes the need to manage separate content stores and authoring tools, and since content is all stored in one place (Connections), it eliminates the need to separately search across the intranet and Connections to find the content you may be looking for.  On the authoring side, anyone who can author a blog post can now become an author for the homepage or landing pages, greatly increasing the number of potential content contributors.

The biggest benefit, however, may be that all of this is integrated with the social tools in IBM Connections.  Each post on the homepage includes like and comment capabilities, which all feed back into the Connections activity stream.  Similarly, personalization is tied into Connections and Profiles roles, eliminating the need to maintain that information separately in order to tailor the content each employee sees on the intranet.

The end goal here goes beyond simplifying the environment and reducing redundant content.  As the product name indicates, our goal is to improve employee engagement.  A traditional intranet is focused on one-way company communication to employees.  We are looking to help companies establish an “engagement center” that can be a single destination for both company-to-employee communication and peer-to-peer collaboration.  

The use of the same underlying content store, expanded authorship and integrated commenting turns what for most companies is likely a slow, rigid intranet into one that is dynamic and responsive and allows for two-way dialogue that will help employees feel heard and will ensure that management understands how they are being perceived. It also opens up the possibility of extending Connections content to employees who might not have been given access in the past, or might not have been comfortable navigating through Communities and the other components to find the information they need.

I’m really excited about expanding on the success XCC has seen to date by making it a formal part of the IBM Connections portfolio, and look forward to increasing awareness for everything it stands to offer to both existing and new IBM Connections users.  

You can read more about today’s acquisition and the existing solution at the links below.

Now Available - IBM and Cisco Integration

Yesterday marked the general availability for the integrated solutions combining IBM's collaboration offerings with Cisco's communication capabilities.  These solutions, which were first announced last year and have been undergoing early adopter testing for the past several months, provide organizations with single sign-on for Cisco collaboration capabilities and the ability to launch them from within IBM Connections Cloud and IBM Verse.

As we have been discussing since the we first announced the partnership, we are focused on providing organizations with the ability to choose the real-time collaboration solutions that best meet their needs, while still offering all of the advantages of a seamless, integrated experience.

As noted in the solution brief, highlights of the integrated capabilities include:


  • Launch Cisco WebEx from Connections Cloud
  • Leverage my Cisco WebEx Personal Room as the default
  • meeting in my IBM VerseTM calendar invites
  • Launch or join a Cisco WebEx meeting from Verse

Share content from Connections Cloud or Verse within Cisco WebEx and Cisco Spark on your iOS device:
  • In the Cisco WebEx Meetings app, share a file from Connections Files Cloud mobile client
  • From the Connections mobile client, choose a file to be opened in the Cisco WebEx Meetings app or Cisco Spark app
  • From the Cisco Spark app, share a file from Connections Cloud mobile client
  • Share an email attachment in the Verse mobile client to the Cisco WebEx Meetings app or Cisco Spark app

  • Click to launch Cisco Spark from Connection Cloud Navigation bar
  • Click to Chat from Connections Cloud business card to Cisco Spark
  • Click to launch Cisco Jabber from Connections Cloud Navigation bar
  • Click to Chat from Connections Cloud business card to Cisco Jabber

IBM VP Marcy Pearson, writing on the Social Business blog, highlights the benefits that organizations can see:

Collaboration Solutions with IBM and Cisco allows your organization to re-think end-to-end collaboration. IBM’s Connections Cloud redefines enterprise engagement by helping workers make better-informed decisions, speeding up access to the right information and expertise inside a connected enterprise. The new Cisco Spark platform redefines real-time communications by changing the way teams work together before, during, and after meetings. Meetings can become simpler, easier, and more effective – all while the technology seems to disappear. Together, this solution joins knowledge and decision-making, in the cloud, to change the way enterprises get things done.
The solutions are integrated not only through single sign-on, but through cross-platform launch, use, and share of capabilities, making users’ each and every workday lighter, simpler, faster and more effective. We accomplish this by providing both real-time and asynchronous collaboration functionality through a single, integrated solution offering. The offering is cloud-based, subscription model, with automatic updates and improvements over time.

The integrated solution can be purchased from IBM sellers and IBM Business Partners.