Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

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.

Links:

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 ibm.com, 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:

MEETINGS:

  • 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

MOBILE:
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

REAL-TIME COMMUNICATIONS:
  • 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.

Links:

Connections 6.0 now available for download


IBM Connections 6.0 is now available for download!  Congratulations to the entire team involved in developing and bringing these new capabilities to market.

In addition to the core offering, add-on packages for Orient Me, Touchpoint, the Ephox editor and type-ahead search are available for download from Fix Central or the Business Solutions Catalog.

Links:

IBM Connections Compliance for Social now available


It's been a busy month.  In addition to Connections 6 shipping today, IBM is also announcing the availability of the new IBM Connections Compliance for Social solution.

Connections Compliance for Social is provided by Actiance and offers monitoring and compliance for the cloud-based social and chat capabilities of IBM Connections Cloud Social and Connections Cloud S1.

IBM® Connections™ Compliance for Social helps protect your brand image, and supports communications governance and regulatory compliance. The platform actively monitors and provides alerts, as well as captures and stores information in an easy to view format. IBM Connections Compliance for Social is provided by Actiance, an IBM Business Partner and industry leader in security, management, and compliance solutions for unified communications, collaboration, and social networking systems. This offering requires an existing subscription to IBM Connections Cloud Social or IBM Connections Cloud S1.


More details and pricing/ordering information can be found here:  IBM Connections Compliance for Social.  (And for those interested, here is the announcement letter.)

IBM Connections 6 - Availability Announcement and Orient Me


It was great to see the official availability announcement for IBM Connections 6 come out yesterday, with general availability coming at the end of this week.  (Sorry for any confusion on the GA date from the press release the other week - the ship date is in fact 3/31.)

Rene Schimmer does a great job summarizing the new features that will be introduced with this release, and over the next few days I'll dive into a few in particular, starting with Orient Me.  

Orient Me is important both for the features it offers (more on that below) and because it represents the first step towards the Connections "Pink" vision that is the future for the offering.

For those that didn't catch the details from Connect, Pink is not so much an individual product or a specific release of a product, but rather an evolution in the approach that IBM will be using to build and deliver software in our social collaboration portfolio.  The Pink vision includes being designed for extensibility with APIs throughout, flexibility in deployment and data residency across on-premise and cloud environments, a micro-service architecture where every small capability is isolated in its own small service, and cognitive capabilities integrated throughout the offering.

The easiest first step you can take - and one you can take now (well, soon) - to get a taste for what's coming in "Pink" is to deploy Connections 6, and in particular Orient Me.  The Orient Me capabilities are the first features built on the Pink principles, and like Pink, Orient Me is built on modern opensource technologies and deployed as individual Docker containers.  If you're not yet familiar with Docker deployments, now's the perfect time to start. (And for those interested in more technical details, on the front-end, Orient Me uses Bootstrap, React and Redux.  The backend is built on Nodejs and Loopback and separated into various microservices communicating with PubSub via Redis.)  

So, now that I've discussed the strategic importance of Orient Me, what does it actually do?  In a nutshell, it creates a personalized and prioritized home page, using advanced analytics to bring forward the information that is most relevant to you.  

Orient Me allows you to:

  • See, at a glance, the updates and information most relevant to you, displayed in a new visual layout and prioritized based on their interaction with content and people.
  • Apply new content and people filters to better control what you see.
  • Easily view updates grouped by a person, a Community, or content
  • Receive suggestions about the people most likely to be important and relevant to your work
  • See a snapshot of your day in the Action Center, accessible throughout Connections.

Please take a look for it when available on the 31st, and let me know what you think!

Links:

All you need to know is…


I was introduced to a story shared by Larry and Ann McDuff about the lessons they learned long-distance hiking by Seth Godin a while back, and it immediately resonated with me.  I went to share it with my son’s FIRST Robotics coach recently and was dismayed to discover that the original link no longer worked.  Fortunately, the Wayback Machine didn’t disappoint.


Five years ago we started the Appalachian Trail with nearly three times our starting pack weight this year. Two weeks into that hike we met Keith, trail name Wolf, a legendary long-distance hiker.

On the trail, the most respected hikers are the ones with the fewest possessions. Wolf was carrying a super-small pack which weighed 14 pounds including food and water. When asked how he got his pack weight so low, Wolf would reply, "All you need to know is that it's possible."


Think about that last line for a minute. Can you think about a time where simply knowing that something was possible allowed you to rise to an occasion, to solve a problem you might have otherwise have given up on?  

And now, what if you take it one step further.  What if you assumed that the task you were tackling was solvable... does that present a different set of options for you than if you had gone into it not knowing whether or not it can be solved?

Link:
 Lightweight Living