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Get Out the Vote…For your pick of the 2016 edition of Lotusphere


Lotusphere, IBM Connect, IBM ConnectED.  Whatever you call it, There is a 4 question Anonymous survey asking for your feedback on what you would like to see in 2016.

It is done by Survey Monkey.  Go Here and speak your opinion.  My opinion is not so anonymous.  I find Las Vegas to be the most useless city in the country.

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Connectosphere 2014 Final Day: GURUpalooza!, Ask the Product Managers, Ask the Developers sessions


(Long article. Jump to the meat at the end if you don’t want the full story) If you left before the end of the conference, you missed the best part. Thursday always holds the crown jewels: GURUpalooza, Ask the Product Managers, and Ask the Developers.  Each of these sessions have a panel on stage and give attendees a chance to ask any question they wish or give their suggestions.  If you were there, you already know this is my favorite day of the conference. No surprise given my love for product design and chronic divergent thinking (I don’t think outside the box. It’s more like there is no box.)  This can be a curse at times, but on Thursday I revel in it.

At GURUpalooza, the panel consists of all the conference speakers who are not IBMers (not counting Susan Bulloch  who hosts the session and Mat Newman who recently transcended the independents to become an IBMer).  The big selling point of this session is you won’t get marketing fluff and they won’t skirt the question; just direct, truthful answers.  And if they don’t know, they will candidly say “I don’t know.”

Then comes Ask the Product Managers.  Originally started at Connect 2013 by Ed Brill, probably in response to the many questions that were more befitting of the product managers than the developers, as they were more about product direction than specific bugs or features.  This is where all the hard questions are asked that the audience tries to put the panel on the hot seat.  Since Ed started his new role in Mobile at the end of the conference last year, this session was hosted by Kramer Reeves, Director, Product Management, Messaging and Collaboration.

Third comes Ask the Developers.  This session has a long tradition of being the final session before the closing session.  It has taken on a more light-hearted atmosphere as most of the toughest questions have already been fielded in the Ask the Product Managers session, hosted by John Woods, Director of Development, Domino and SmartCloud Notes.

To paint the picture, these Q&A sessions are all held in the Swan.  they open up the 5 large conference rooms to make one large, wide room.  There are 4 wide isles between the chairs and at the front of each isle they set a microphone for anyone in the audience to line up in front of and take a turn to ask their question.  The rules for these sessions are all the same: Each person gets to ask one and only one question and must then go back to the end of the line at one of the mics again to ask another question.  Questions are taken from each mic in a round robin format.  I took my usual spot at the mic in the isle directly in front of the stage.

I believe these sessions were recorded this year and are available for replay on the web.  I am working on getting a complete list of all questions asked in each of the sessions.  Meanwhile, here are the questions I asked this year.  I am hoping that by publishing it, next year we can reflect back on what happened over the year and see if our input made a difference.

GURUpalooza!
1.  Roaming is not officially supported by SmartCloud, even with the data stored on a local server.  Do any of the Gurus have personal experience using Roaming with SmartCloud that can speak to any issues using it in a SmartCloud environment?
A:  No one on the panel has experience with it yet.

2: What is your opinion of the impact adding Kenexa to Lotusphere has had on the conference?
A: As expected, the responses spanned the board.  Great that it draws people from line of business (HR users and decision-makers) so they can see what solutions are available and not rely on IT staff to spread the word.  Bad that the Opening General Session had all the technical details of substance removed to appeal to the non-technical audience.  Interesting to see them focus on the solution and not the technology behind it, but unfortunate that they made no references whatsoever to what software was used in the case studies they showcased.  Also disappointed that the party at a park was moved to Tuesday night because the kenexa sessions only ran through Tuesday.  I expect there will be much controversy on this conference merger for a long time to come.

Ask the Product Managers
1. While the “Hollywood Squares” style multi-camera web conferencing is a great stride forward, most of us still operate our web conferences from a meeting room with a group of people.  When will Sametime support a roundt able camera like the competitors have?
2. We need SAML to work with Sametime and Traveler.
3. The Notes admin client hasn’t been updated since R6.5.  Can the UI be updated and possibly include integrated tools to administer SmartCloud?
4. When will we see migration tools to move from Microsoft Outlook and Office 365 to SmartCloud?

Ask the Developers:
1. In the user preferences on the Basic Notes Client Configuration tab, Additional Options list, Can you add numbers to the list so it is easier to find and to refer to the items?
2. SmartCloud web mail has a button to mark messages as SPAM.  Can this function be added to the Notes client experience?
3. SmartCloud does not update the person documents with the users’ client version.  Can this functionality be added?
4. The Notes Workspace originally designed by Ray Ozzie has proven to be a great design by being copied by iOS and Android.  Can the workspace be revitalized and clean up the functionality?  Dragging and dropping icons between tabs and 5. adding applications to the workspace are examples.  (This one actually got HUGE applause and was noted by the team.)
6. Add official support in SmartCloud to use Roaming with the data stored on local servers.
7. Add support for middle initials in SmartCloud.
8. Allow the customer full control over all SmartCloud system-generated emails sent to users.
9. Improve the SmartCloud administration website and consider integrating it into the Notes Admin client.

Here are more suggestions I made in the Meet the Developers lab during the week:
1. Provide functionality to remove the icons of the old mail files when a user is migrated to SmartCloud.
2. In the SmartCloud OPT tool, add the test to count the number of messages in the inbox and the number of folders in the mail file before migrating to alert to possible performance problems.

I’m sure I offered many more ideas, but this it what I remember.  What are your thoughts about these?  Do you have ideas of your own?  Please share them here. Or better yet, Call IBM technical support and open a PMR for it.  From that they will create an SPR and if enough people request it, you will almost certainly see it in the product. You should also post them on IdeaJam to get more visibility.  Just know that IBM doesn’t monitor that website.  They only listen to PMRs and Lotusphere attendees.  Don’t think they are listening? Think again. The Purge Interval Replication Control is just one example of a feature I pushed for that made it into the product (after presenting it in the Meet the Developers lab and at Ask the Developers session).

replicationsettings

The tone is set for #IBMConnect 2014 and How Computing Power is the next Utility


If you arrive for IBM Connect on Sunday, you’re late. There has already been a flurry of activity from great 2-hour Jumpstart sessions that dive deeper into topics that other sessions during the week won’t have time to do; to the chance to visit the product showcase Sunday evening where it isn’t competing with your time networking and attending sessions. As a business partner, the Sunday BP-focused sessions have been a wealth of info on how to better inform customers.

The diversity of the conference is actually quite refreshing.  It’s not all just about Lotus Notes.  Sessions covering Connections, Sametime, SmartCloud, Mobile, Kenexa, real world examples of using it all, and even some amazing Smarter Planet stuff, like a display in the center of the product showcase demonstrating how it can gather and distribute traffic data between cars in an area.  With such a diversity in sessions, you can’t complain if you feel pigeon-holed with no opportunity to learn new things.

For all the talk about communicating and collaborating via computing (mobile, tablet, PC) in more natural ways, the underlying tone is cloud computing.  It permeates everything.  With so much focus on IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, at this point there is no longer any doubt in my mind that computing power has become the next utility.

What do I mean?  For comparison, go back in time to the end of the 1800’s and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  When a business built a factory, they also built a power plant to supply it with energy.  Then along came the notion of creating large power plants and a network of power lines that would supply electricity to every household.  Then, these businesses realized they could also tap into that grid for supplemental power and eventually get all of their power from it without ever building their own power source.  Electricity as a Utility was born.

Jump ahead 100 years.  Businesses are building large data centers to house and manage their computing power needs.  This is the beginning of the Information Revolution.  Then along comes this network called The Internet.  It connects households to computer resources and “information suppliers”.  Then businesses realized they could also tap into that grid and now there is a movement to get their computing power from Cloud Computing providers like IBM, Amazon, RackSpace, and Google.  If history repeats itself, as I fully predict, the day will come in the very near future when data centers at corporations will all but vanish.

The one small, but significant difference is that information, unlike electricity, is not just consumed.  It is also created and stored, almost like houses that have solar panels which are wired to “sell” their surplus back to the power company.  This distinction is the wild card that adds complexity to this otherwise close parallel.  What do you think?

Get the most out of your Connections account at IBM Connect 2014 (Connect O’Sphere)


If you’re attending IBM Connect 2014 next week you can get much more out of the experience by taking the time to get set up in the community on the conference Connections community well in advance of arriving in Orlando.  This will give you access to the session information, allow you to create your own schedule, connect with other attendees, and get a more socially interactive experience at the conference.

First, you should have received an email from connect2014@us.ibm.com with your login credentials.  Your credentials for logging in should consist of long numbers.  Secure, but difficult to remember if you’re trying to log into the website.  My advice: don’t.  Instead, go to the app store on your mobile device and download the IBM Connections app.  I actually like using the app better than viewing it in a browser. The website is great, but in the app everything just flows a bit more smoothly.  But best of all, you don’t have to keep logging in.  Enter your credentials once and you’re done.

The details:
1.  Download and install the app on your mobile device.
2.  Launch the app.
3.  Add your account credentials for the Connect 2014 Connections server.  (The app allows configuring for multiple Connections servers)
Enter a title:  Connect 2014
Server URL: https://connections.connect2014.com
Username:  <your user ID from the email>
Password: <your password from the email>

You’re good to go.  Start by entering your profile information so people know more about you.  Be sure to post a photo of yourself (a photo or bitmap of anything other than you is really quite useless.  A simple head shot is perfect.)  Add tags about yourself to indicate your areas of interest.  Next, go into the profiles and search for people you already know and add them to your network.  After you connect, tag them with relevant tags that will help define who they are.  Then go into the schedule area and add the sessions to your schedule so you have a plan.
Unfortunately, the forums do not appear to be available via the app.  This is disappointing given that most people will want to interact on the forums via their mobile device.  Who wants to log into a website to get to the forums, especially with those numeric credentials? Still, I think you will find the app very handy for getting the most out of the conference.

See you at IBM Connect O’Sphere 2014!

How IBM is raising the stakes with Social Business right in Microsoft’s back yard.


IBM is coming to Seattle to talk about Social Business!
See the event schedule. The event is March 5.

Did I have anything to do with this?  Not that I’m aware of.  But I am glad to see IBM finally recognize the Seattle area market is tired of having no options besides Microsoft to choose from.  Like everywhere else, businesses here like innovation and they like competition.

So from the makers of Watson, the computer that beat the champions on Jeopardy! and the perennial leader in new patents awarded, comes the innovation of Social Business.  This is a game changer in business communications technology much like email, Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing have been.  IBM has the first and only legitimate offering in this new market.  IBM recognizes their leadership in this market and is making it a point to let the world know:
– What is Social Business
– How businesses are using social technologies to drive business value: reduce costs, accelerate communications, increase collaboration inside and outside the organization
– A path for integrating Social Business into your existing systems, regardless of what brand it is and regardless of the size of your company.

Did I mention IBM is doing this in only 3 locations in the United States and one of those places is Seattle, Washington?
If you work with a team or company of more than about 5 people, it is worth your time to see what they are doing.
Read more about what will be presented.
This will also be an opportunity to network with peers and discuss with others how Social Business has transformed their companies.  The ROI comes quickly and the metrics are compelling.  If you can’t attend in person you will miss out on the networking with everyone else, but they also have a session available online.  Be sure to register.

Passport Advantage Revisited 2 years later…


In August 2011 I posted an article giving a detailed analysis of the design of the IBM Passport Advantage website.  That article received a great deal of attention, not only from the Lotus user community, but also from executives at IBM.   I was even contacted by the person who oversaw the team responsible for the site. Finally, I thought, we would see some relief in our pain dealing with this website.

It’s nearly 2 years later.  There have been some changes to the IBM websites, but Passport Advantage has had no significant changes.  I’m here at IBM Connect 2013 to once again ask the question “When will you fix this website?”  If you’re here, watch for it at “Ask the Product Managers” session.  I will report the results later.

Preparing for IBM Connect 2013 (Lotusphere) and another “Outlook can’t do that” moment


As I review my flight itinerary, I’m looking forward to the Alaska Air non-stop from Seattle to Orlando, fondly known as…The Disney Flight.  No lie.  See the photo.

20130122-6 disney flight

This time there will be no missing B.A.L.D. due to missed connections, flight cancellations or delays because of a storm blanketing the center of the country.  Wuhoo!

As I added my IBM Connect (Lotusphere) Conference travel plans to my IBM Lotus Notes calendar, Alaska Airlines graciously pointed out on their website yet another limitation of Outlook.  They have a handy “Add to Calendar” feature.  When you click it, it gives the option to add each flight to the calendar as a separate entry with the stipulation: “(not compatible with Outlook)”.  See below.  Just more proof that popularity does not equate to quality.  In a way, I’m thankful.  If everyone used IBM Lotus Notes, that would be one less advantage my clients had over their competition.

See Y’all in Orlando!  If you’re going, tweet me @davehabz and let me know so we can meet up!

Click Add to Calendar

Click Add to Calendar

Click Add to Calendar
Too bad Outlook users...

Too bad Outlook users…

But if you use IBM Lotus Notes...

But if you use IBM Lotus Notes…

Import the entries so they are available when offline.

Import the entries so they are available when offline.

Voila', individual entries for each flight.

Voila’, individual entries for each flight.

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