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december 01, 2012

Social Connections IV community twitter graph

Another great Social Connections event full with brilliant speakers from all over the world has taken place this November 30th in Amsterdam. Social Connections IV had more attendees than ever (200) and was packed with three tracks of presentations by IBM'ers, business partners and customers solely about social business with IBM Connections.

As usual there is quite a bit of tweeting going on during an event, and Social Connections is no exception. The hashtag for the event is #soccnx. Doing some network analysis delivers a great graph of the Social Connections IV community. The graph displays all the connections between attendees (and even non-attendees) that have tweeted #soccnx.

Graph of #soccnx twitter network during Social Connections IV
Graph of #soccnx twitter network during Social Connections IV
Download a larger version of the graph to see more detail.

Social Connections community is tightly connected
The graph is compiled of 210 vertices (nodes) and 4010 edges (links). These are the twitter accounts and their connections to eachother. The average geodesic distance is 2,113666 and the maximum still only 4 - meaning that the Social Connections community is a tightly connected community. On average every person is only two links away and the maximum is 4 degrees of separation. So even less than the famous (unproven) theory 6 degrees of separation. Just exactly how close everybody involved is to one another is also apparent from the number of connected components: there are only 5 'subgraphs' of tweeters that are connected to each other but not to anyone in one of the other subgraphs.

When digging deeper into the table underlying the graph I can give some insight in various types of measures of the centrality of a vertex within a graph that determine the relative importance of a vertex within the graph 
(devided into degree, closeness centrality, betweenness centrality, eigenvector centrality and PageRank).

Top 20 vertices (tweeters) by Eigenvector Centrality
Top 20 vertices (tweeters) by Eigenvector Centrality

The top names are not surprising. They are the ones organising the event, speakers, IBM employees or very influential people in the IBM social business arena.

oktober 01, 2012

Create Connections Blog posts with Word

Use Word and its full formatting features to share information in IBM Connections Blogs  

Have you tried the IBM Connections toolbar in Microsoft Word? It allows you to work efficiently on Word documents, yet publish your information easily online in you IBM Connections environment. And I'm not just talking about adding it to your Files or to Community Files. Yes, it can do that too. But you can even post your Word document to a Blog, attach it to a Wiki or add it as an item in an Activity! I am particularly happy with the functionality to actually transform your Word document to a Blog entry, as it might help people to start using Blogs more.

There are two adoption hurdles to using Blogs that I encounter regularly:
1.   The old habit to put information in a file
2.   The limitations of the IBM Connections Blog editor

The old habit to put information in a file
One of the hardest habits to kill is for people to create information in Word documents. I've written about this before in blog posts and created a whitepaper even back in 2010 (dutch) Omzeil het gebruik van mappen en bestanden. Over Wiki's en het werken in de 21e eeuw. Employees automatically revert back to putting texts into Word documents, that they then save on a computer drive in a folder of their choice. In itself, of course, there is nothing wrong with creating Word documents. Word can prove to be a useful tool when information needs excessive formatting, such as table of contents, headings, page numbers, headers and footers, embedded images, tables or graphs. Especially when the document needs to be preserved in a specific system for archiving or compliancy, for advanced workflows or for sharing with others outside the organization, a Word file may be the appropriate way of creating information.
There is a down-side though to using Word documents, in a social environment such as IBM Connections. Social software provides many ways of sharing and collaborating on information that might prove to be better. Better how and why? Any information in a file requires extra steps to get to the content itself. Information in a Word document is accessible to me only after clicking it and opening it in Word. Other tools, such as a Blog or a Wiki give instant access to the content itself. I don't need an extra click, nor a program to open it.
As far as I am concerned Connections social tools such as Blogs and Wikis are more appropriate to create and share content when:
  1. the content does not require advanced Microsoft Word formatting functions
  2. the content is for internal use only (not to be sent to others outside the organisation)
  3. the content needs co-authoring (Wiki) or commenting (Blog)

The limitations of the IBM Connections Blog editor
The IBM Connections plugin for Word brings all the Word functionality within IBM Connections Blogs. Many people are struggling with the Blogs editor in IBM Connections. It's not easy to use, people are not familiar with it and you can't create your content offline. Using Word instead brings the familiar functionality into Connections, allowing you to create your content offline as well to save it to Connections later.

The IBM Connections toolbar
Whenever you feel like posting your Word document to Connections, it provides several options for you to choose to get your Word document online through the Save & Send menu:

How can you save a Word document as a Blog entry in IBM Connections?
Basically you need to take these easy steps below, or watch the video demo (also embedded at the bottom):
1.   Make sure you install the IBM Connections plugin, which will give you the IBM Connections toolbar:

2.   Start a new Word Blog post document
Go to File – New – Choose Blog post

3.   Create your Blog post content
4.   Save & Send the document to Connections
5.   Go to File – Save & Send – Send to IBM Connections – Choose Send to Blogs
6.      Choose your Connections server and Blog

7.      Add some Tags

Watch this demo:

september 28, 2012

These are a few of my favourite things ...

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings. these are a few of my favourite things."

Connections 4 has been out now since September 7th and since then I've been playing around with it on our own demo environment which we are preparing for our Connections 4 Testdrive on October 4 in Rotterdam. And yes, it has a few of my favourite things... .

Of course there was the already familiar bits announced through webcasts and even from way back Lotusphere in January through slides and demos. Yet, there is nothing like test driving something yourself!

I have even found some little cool things that I did not see in any of the demos I watched. This is not a full list of all new features, and definitely not a full list of everything that's great about IBM Connections. But it is an overview of some great enhancements that allow employees to do their work efficiently.

Most of the improvements in Connections 4 are about context.
This means: getting information presented within the same context without having to move from one page to another or switch applications. The next paragraphs will show what some new features have in common with the concept context.

1.    The embedded experience in the new Activity Stream. For example when a colleague shares a file and I'm seeing this because I follow the colleague (or the community where the content was published) I can take action immediately from the Activity Stream. The possible actions depend on what is posted, but for instance with a shared file I can download the file directly without having to go to the file page first, or view the comments, and even make a new comment myself! The embedded experience saves me time and focus, because I don't have to click through separate windows.

2.    Second is the Mail and Calendar integration. As I mentioned in my blog post earlier, integrated Mail and Calendar allows me to do my work from one entry point for about 90% of my work. No need to switch back and forth between Connections and Mail/Calendar, as I can quickly see new mail arriving within Connections and responding to it without having to leave my browser. Most Mail functionality that I use on a daily basis is available through integrated Mail, and if not, I can easily go to my webmail from there and do more advanced stuff in my Mail or Calendar.

3.    I can Repost a Statusupdate so the information becomes available to my network as well. This is particularly valuable because it broadens the reach of information through networks of networks, as explained in an earlier post about the Strength of weak ties. Being able to repost a message is an easy way of sharing to my network what someone else has said, without having to send links (via email) to colleagues.
4.    Somewhat the same idea is the Share button, that is available always at the top of the screen, no matter what page I am on. When I find interesting information I can share this as a Statusupdate within my network by clicking this Share button.
5.    Fifth is the improvements to Communities which allow me to stay within the context of my community work. To prevent information overload or to focus solely on what's going on in a particular Community I can use the new Recent Updates view in the Community. In one single overview I'm up to speed again with everything that's been going on there.

Of course the possibility to post Statusupdates to a particular Community helps to prevent information overload as well. Instead of posting a Statusupdate to the whole organisation (anyone who is following me), I can direct certain information to a specific target group through posting it to a specific Community.

Events are a great way of making Communities all about work. All the meetings important to Community members can be posted as an event, to which any member can subscribe. Why not just use the Lotus Notes (or Outlook) Calendar scheduling instead? I can give some arguments for working openly through Community events.

·       Because meeting invitations sent to particular people will only attract these people, and nobody else will know about them, eliminating serendipity. It could be someone else in your organisation is interested, or could provide input or help with an event. But they can't if they don't know about the event.
·       Another reason is that when the event is for a large group of invitees, the organiser might not be interested in accept/decline messages. With events, there is no such thing. Members simply add the event to their Calendar through iCal subscription.
·       If the team or department for which the meeting is intended changes members (new employees, employees leaving the organisation) the organiser might forget to alert the new members and they don't get invited. In the case of a Community event, they can simply add the event to their Calendar themselves.

6.    As for the previously mentioned Statusupdates, they offer some more improvements that provide contextual work. Both Statusupdates on the Home page as within a Community allow you to include a file (uploaded or from Files). This way I can post a status message related to a file and give readers the opportunity to access that file right from the embedded experience. No need to copy/paste file url's or refer readers to another location. Again this embedded experience helps employees remain in the same context, not having to switch back and forth to different pages.
7.    And of course there is the hashtag (#). Using hashtags in Statusupdates makes information easier to find. Tagging your Statusupdates keywords with the '#' turns them into tags. And the new search functionality allows me to search through Statusupdates as well. This is bringing Statusupdates information within the context of all content, whereas before the information in Statusupdates sort of got lost because there was no way of searching for it.
8.    To make it easier for people to start using files instead of working locally with My Documents on their computer, the Bulk file upload is a welcome gift. Whether from the Explorer Plugin or from the browser employees can upload multipe files at once, and even add/change tags for multiple files at once. Once employees have their most used files in Connections there will be less chance that they will resort to emailing attachments, and they are more likely to remain working in Connections.

9.    Discuss This is a means to bring information that is somewhere on the internet into your organisation to discuss it within the context of an interest group. Any page can be discussed in a Forum. Discuss This takes the information that's outside of the organisation, and makes it into a topic in a Forum of your choice. Without having to copy/paste url's, it simply creates the link. Anything on the internet that you wish to discuss further with a group of people can be drawn in to the Community that it is relevant to.
10. With Related Communities different Connections Communities can be bridged, so that Community members get all relevant information delivered within the same context.
A Related Community shows up on the overview page and pulls in recent activity from one into the other. It could be that you wish to bridge two Communities on the same Connections environment. Maybe because they are covering the same or are somewhat related. It could be a project Community that wants to bridge work done in another project because what happens in one is relevant for the other. Even Communities on different Connections environments can be bridged. Thus allowing to collaborate in two environments without losing oversight. Maybe you have an internal directed Community on one server, and an external directed one on another where you collaborate with clients or partners. From the internal Community you can relate the external Community to it, so you can keep track of what's going on in both all from the same context.

september 12, 2012

Testdrive IBM Connections 4 on October 4

sustainable highway to improve internal collaboration and knowledge

e-office would like to invite you to get acquainted with IBM Connections 4 - the latest version of the collaboration platform from IBM -on October 4.

IBM Connections is social software for the leading collaboration and knowledge sharing easy. The new version makes it possible to no longer work from your inbox. In Connections 4 are all sources of information and actions together. Connections 4 offers can also be integration with SharePoint, making it an integrated workplace for employees arises.

Are you ready for this way of working? Come experience Connections 4 and see for yourself. On October 4, you can use the software hands-on. Even if you do not know IBM Connections this is a great event to start discover the capabilities of the software.

As e-office, we are convinced that our future as effective, sustainable and profitable organizations lies in solutions that are possible with IBM Connections. On October 4, besides a test drive of Connections 4, we offer you an additional testdrive: in an electric car. All participants can drive several electric cars during lunch time. 

Donderdag 4 oktober, 9.30 – 14.00 uur

Elektrisch Vervoer Centrum Rotterdam, Delftseplein 24, Rotterdam

9.30 uur    Reception in Rotterdam
9.45 uur    vision on social business  
                Roland Hameeteman, ceo e-office 
10.00 uur  introducing IBM Connections 
                Luis Benitez, social software product manager IBM
11.00 uur  break
11.15 uur  testdrive Connections 4  
                Sasja Beerendonk, social business strategist & trainer, e-office
12.45 uur  lunch & testdrive e-cars 
14.00 uur  roundup (and return e-cars) 

sign up

You can register via the registration form.

Do you have a preference for a particular electric car? Look here for the list of available vehicles and give your preference to us via the registration form!

Note: for the test drive yYou need a valid drivers license.

september 09, 2012

Change habits with Connections Mail integration

With IBM Connections 4 being released a few days ago the discussion about Mail starts again. As you may know, IBM Connections integrates Mail and Calendar into the browser window. Is integrating Mail into social software a contradiction? Should users not just start using the social software tools instead if e-mail?

Lately I have been talking a lot with customers, thought leaders, colleagues and business partners about IBM Connections Mail (and Calendar). Mail has become something ambiguous these days. There are those, mostly innovators and forerunners, that believe using e-mail is not done, almost something to be ashamed about. They fully embrace social and the new way of communicating and interacting that comes with it. As do I, being an adoption specialist, ofcourse.

I love social and the new way of working (I call this work21) that comes with it. I am a strong believer in IBM Connections for companies to become more agile. I will advocate working openly at any time. In fact I use e-mail less and less in favour of statusupdates, blogs etcetera.

And there are those who are using e-mail all the time as it has been their primary tool for getting work done for about twenty years. And they wholeheartedly believe e-mail is going to stay forever as it is now, and social is not for them, or just a passing phase.

It seems many of the advocates of social are horrified with the idea though that IBM Connections 4 integrates Mail (I never hear them say anything about the Calendar actually). Their point usually being email is a bad way of communicating and should be replaced by Connections social functionality.

But this is, to me, such a harsh stand to make. This will work out fine for 1st wave adopters, but in my opinion is only going to put second wave adopters off. As an adoption specialist I am very much aware of how social software is impacting the way of work. Basically, employees and organisations as a whole need to change their way of working. By now I think it is generally accepted to say that they will not just come if you build it. Adoption is very much necessary, however easy to use a software tool may or may not be.

Adoption is about changing behaviour. The innovators that have long moved to working open and social are amongst the 1st wave adopters. Quite often using new software such as IBM Connections is part of their work. And there's the point I am trying to make: the employees that are now using email as their primary tool for communication and collaboration don't just 'get it'. They need to be taken in to a new way of working, until it becomes natural to them. Unlike 1st wave adopters their work is NOT using new social software. In fact, they might not even enjoy using software at all! Any software to them is just a means to an end. Until the new way of working becomes natural to employees, they will fall back on the tools they know: Email.

Habits die hard. Once you are familiar with a way of working, you're not likely to change that over night. And this is exactly why I think integrating Mail into IBM Connections is so great. It makes it easier for employees to ease their way in to Connections. It takes the familiar way of working into the new environment. It allows for people to work in a browser with their e-mail and calendar, within the context of social. It takes away having to switch between two environments, therefore improving the chance of staying in Connections. Making it easier to transition to social tooling, because they get familiar with the user interface and might see others working in a social manner which will show them the way.

Luring them in, is wat Mail integration does. And once in they will surely start seeing the benefit of social. Why? Because they start to familiarize themselves and they will see some of their peers using it. Because change is social. Change is a process, not a one-off event and takes time. And change is made real by what people do! Once in Connections employees see what others are doing, and are more likely to try it out themselves given a little time to get more familiar. This is what Mail integration does: give 2nd wave adopters a chance and the time to adapt to social collaboration.

Watch this demo of the IBM Connections 4 homepage to see Mail integration in action (among other things).


impression of UKLUG 2012

Last monday and tuesday I was at UKLUG, the UK Lotus User Group, which this year was being held at Cardiff University. First of all, Cardiff is a beautiful little city, located on the coast and the city centre very pedestrian and cycling friendly, with beautiful shops which unfortunately I didn't have time to visit.

As a speaker I did visit Cardiff Castle. We enjoyed a fun short tour of the castle followed by a dinner at the former servants area. A speakers dinner is a great way to get to know some of the other speakers and organisers. Since I am fairly new at this type of thing it's an excellent way of getting in touch so the first day of the event you feel a little familiar already.

At the first day some of the people had a little trouble finding this particular university building, so we started a little late. The opening presentation was done by Uffe Sorensen, Social Business and Collaboration Director of IBM Software Group, who took us on a tour from the early days of Lotus to the contemporary Notes Social Edition.

Some ofthe highlights of the two-day event for me were Simon Vaughn's and Jon Scott's presentation 'Targeting an Exceptional User experience - Connections in Education'. I loved how Cardiff is looking at 'what student excpect from their IT environment'. After all they are the employees of the future!

During lunch break the first day, Nerd Girls hosted by Gabriella Davies, organised a 'Spark Ideas' session. Kind of like TED talks. A short (5min) freeform talk started at Lotusphere 2012, from anyone who has an inspirational story to share. Really nice to attend. I hope they will be doing this again at Social Connections IV in Amsterdam on 30th of November.

For all the admins and developers there were plenty of technical sessions to attend by some great thought leaders from around the world, such as Paul Withers, John Head, Sharon Bellamy, Gabriella Davies, Paul Moony and many others. There were actually quite a few presentations on XPages, amongst which one of my colleague Frank van der Linden about 'Yellow and Blue stream - Make use of the Activity Stream, oAuth and XPages in your Social Business applications' . Also I enjoyed the two bickering brothers Roy and Tony Holder presenting their great HADSL FirM engine in 'User Management - How to improve service and security while reducing costs'. Ofcourse I won their give away iPad so I will love them forever.

I loved Mat Newman's session 'Lotus Notes, Yeah Baby, Yeah...'. In a very enthusiastic manner he talked about all the cool features of Lotus Notes. One thing struck me most: he said "if your users are not using it, it's your fault!" (receiving a hearhear from Susan Bulloch) Something I recognize very much. Often at user adoption sessions with clients on Lotus Notes I find a lot of the cool stuff not being properly implemented or known by IT. Take the Sidebar for example, which can be used for many great things by adding great widgets. Mat showed us some really nice widgets that can be installed in seconds which make work so much more efficient....and fun!

Mat wore a Yellow&Blue outfit, unknowingly (surely), advocating the e-office Yellow&Blue vision on the new way if working. So thanks for that Mat!
If ever you have time to attend one of her sessions, go see Susan Bulloch! She did two sessions of which I attended 'Troubleshooting C&S in Notes'. She dynamically presented about all the difficulties admins may encounter with Calendar and Scheduling in Lotus Notes. It seemed like the large group of attendees recognized the issues and she gave some great solutions on how to go about it. Allthough being an IBM'er, she wasn't shy to be critical of some things herself, while at the same time showing a deep love of Lotus Notes. I have to figure out how she was doing the remote control presenting from her iPhone!

The two days were so packed with interesting stuff, that it is impossible to mention everything. You really have to come see for yourself! Or go get the slides from the UKLUG website. In the meantime, you may want to attend some IBM sessions on Connections 4: september 19 in Amsterdam and september 25 in Brussels. Or join the Connections 4 testdrive on October 4 in Rotterdam (Netherlands), and ofcourse Social Connections IV on November 30 in Amsterdam! Plenty of events to learn more and meet people!


augustus 27, 2012

Lotusphere to become Connect

Not Lotusphere 2013, but Connect 2013. That will be the new name for the yearly conference in Orlando in january. This joins two conferences: Connect, which was introduced last year as a smaller parallel conference, and Lotusphere.

In 2012 the central theme was 'Business. Made Social.' I believe that this year it's going to go even more in that direction. This year the theme is 'Get Social. Do Business.' emphasising the next direction of social software for the enterprise: social business. Connect 2013 will probably be social, social, social. And user adoption. Last year saw some really good adoption sessions. Probably the emphasis on technical Lotus Notes, Sametime and Quickr presentations will be less to make room for more how to be social, best practices, customer stories and user adoption. The technical sessions needed now are probably social or connections related, such as Connections 101, analytics, integration and XPages.
Looking forward to it already!

augustus 17, 2012

New Connections Mobile apps

As of this morning I saw the Connections mobile app being updated on my iPad (but also available for iPhone and Android), offering some really nice enhancements:
One of the main new features ofcourse is access to Smartcloud, even allowing for offline access to your files. Just as with Greenhouse the account is already preset, so it's easy to get connected to your Smartcloud account.
I also like how you van save Profile information to your Contacts or sharing it through email or sms.
And then there are some enhancements that users really neeeded to work and collaborate effectively, such as accepting network invitations and sharing files and folders with colleagues.
What I recommend as a future enhancement is how the editors work. When writing a Blog post, there are still no formatting features, just plain text. And after posting, the breaks (enter) are all gone. I would also like to see a better interface for adding a comment. The box to type in is simply too small.
Right now I am waiting in anticipation for the next release which will support Connections 4.

augustus 13, 2012

Re-thinking WIIFM, really?

On the 'User Adoption Insights from Tri Tuns blog' Jason Whitehead wrote a post called Whats's wrong with WIIFM? Allthough the post is from october 2010 it came to my attention recently because it was added to the chapter 'What we know about change' in Michael Sampson's 2nd edition of User Adoption Strategies: shifting second wave people to new collaboration technologies.

WIIFM stands for What's In It For Me, which means that in order for users to embrace social collaboration software and to change their work practice, they need to be proven that its beneficial to them.

Both Jason and Michael agree on the need to re-think WIIFM. Instead of selling people on what they get for using the new system, they believe the focus should be on helping them focus on the need to shift their behaviour.

My first reaction was that I didn't agree with them. But then I realised I had to allign my definition of WIIFM with theirs. I have always believed that users need to be shown the benefit of the changing work practice. Yet, I didn't really see it as a personal benefit only. And as is clear from Jason's blog post this is really his scope for WIIFM.

As I always saw it the benefit could be seen in a broader sense: what's good for the team or the company. And what's good for the company has a direct link to the organizational improvement required to attain a higher goal. The higher goal - for example improved collaboration between departmental silos so each knows what the other is doing and they can use eachothers work to cut costs - is a factor that makes users willing to change. Because it is clear for them that to get there they need to change their behaviour. When circumstances, environments and expectations change, so does the work practice and behaviour that was used to be succesful up until now.

When put into this perspective, I do agree with having to re-think WIIFM. It shouldn't be about personal extrinsic motivation or personal benefit. It should be about the work (and how to do the work) that needs to be done in the company to achieve the business goals.

I am curious as to how others feel about re-thinking WIIFM. A search on the internet will provide plenty of opinions that state WIIFM is crucial for user adoption. So far I have not found any others who are re-thinking.

The end of the 'I' age

This weekend two completely seperate things captured my thoughts and formed a logical combination. I started reading Michael Sampson's brilliant 2nd edition of User Adoption Strategies shifting second wave people to new collaboration technologies. There is a piece in there where he speaks about document co-authoring which I have always experienced to be the hardest of social collaboration tools to be adopted by users. And I watched a dutch tv program called Zomergasten (Summerguests) where the guest of the evening was Lidewij Edelkoort and she briefly spoke about the end of the 'I' age and showed us a beautiful crowd-sourcing project.

Wikis require a different work practice and culture

Usually there are roadblocks to adoption of social software. I am currently reading Michael Sampson's brilliant 2nd edition of User Adoption Strategies shifting second wave people to new collaboration technologies, which deals with these roadblocks among other things.

He is talking about the roadblocks to adoption and as an example he speaks of collaborating in a wiki. Of all the components (tools) that are available to users for collaboration, my experience is that wikis are very hard to grasp for many users. Part of that may be because they're stuck in 20th century ways of working with documents and folders (I wrote an article on that in Dutch). But part of the 'wiki adoption problem' has to do with other factors.

Many times the roadblock to collaborate in a wiki is exactly that what is also the benefit! Wikis are a way of co-authoring documents. Instead of sending around Word documents by email to collaborate, colleagues collaborate in an online web-based document. Each member can work on their own wiki page and later have them grouped together as a whole through linking. Using wikis this way is not that different from creating Word documents, apart from the emailing around. But the true power of a wiki lies in the possibilities to really collaborate on the same wiki page by directly editing the content of the page or by adding comments to it. So a wiki requires members to change their work practice.

Wikis are a different work practice from what most people are used to. And the different work practice requires some cultural change: from individual work to openness and transparency. When everybody is creating at the same time! work is done openly instead of individuals working privately until ready to share their work. There has to be a culture of willigness and trust for people to see eachothers work and to contribute to it so that it may grow to a next level. When everybody is collaborating in a wiki it is also unclear who is the owner. Especially in organisations where ownership is important, the openness of a wiki can be a roadblock.

Trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort at Summerguests

Lidewij Edelkoort is one of the world’s most renowned trend forecasters and she was the guest of the evening at a dutch tv program called Zomergasten (Summerguests). Each year this show has a new host who interviews thought leaders from scientific, artistic or business areas for 3 hours straight. The one-on-one interview is broadcasted live from a studio. The audience is taken on a journey through their life and thoughts through a combination of conversation and a series of videos (tv series, documentaries, art projects, interviews or film fragments) that were picked beforehand by the person being interviewed.

The 'I' age is over

Almost at the end of the inspiring evening (at 2:50) she said something that struck me. Something that means a lot for the future of social collaboration. Freely translated she said this:
"The 'I' age is now over. The whole idea of individualism is already gone. A lot of big companies still believe in individualism.... It is over now. We are reconsidering. People want to do things together, create things together, solve things together. National, regional, international, global, all mixed. That's a fact, you can prove that. But ofcourse you can also feel that. That it is about a group effort. That collaborating in a group makes you less lonely. The working of a familiy: the family business is coming back. That is what people are thinking, saying and feeling now."

From individualism to harnessing the corporate brain

This 'collaborative age' is exactly what we want with social collaboration. Social software for the enterprise is all about unleashing the collective power of employees through collaboration. The 20th century type of working is done. The 21st century business needs to harness the 'corporate brain' to be more agile, nimble and responsive. Collaborating in a wiki is all about unleashing the collective power of employees.

So would that mean that this new collaborative age will make the cultural change easier? It seems so, that if businesses and it's employees are changing their culture it will be a lot easier to change their work practice. If it is not so much about the individual anymore, aspects as ownership and openness will become the common values in the collaborative age. And the goal for any type of collaboration will inevitably be reached by a group rather than an individual.

A communal work to create a living portrait

Towards the end of the show Summerguests, Lidewij shared the Johnny Cash project, which to me is the ultimate display of openness and collaboration and how a collective effort can surpass the individual components. The Johnny Cash Project is an interactive website where participants draw their own portrait of Johnny Cash to be integrated into a collective whole. As people all over the world contribute a drawing to become a part of the new music video for the song “Ain’t No Grave” the project will continue to evolve and grow, one frame at a time.

Be sure to watch the whole (yes almost 6 minutes) video which starts with an explanation of the project and shows contributers and finishes with the music video.

augustus 11, 2012

IBM software transforms the digital experience

Using Smartcloud IBM delivers a whole new Interactive Online Experience for 16 Million Tennis Fans on

IBM sent out this press release: You may also find more on

From the press-lease:
For the summer of 2013 Wimbledon will be offering a completely re-designed Championship's website to reflect the heritage and appeal of the event, as well as to offer the tournament’s anticipated 16 million unique website visitors a more creative and immersive experience through improved content, more powerful imagery and intuitive navigation process.

Watch this video:

augustus 03, 2012

Woohoo! Connections 4 underway on Greenhouse!

Greenhouse started upgrading Connections yesterday. And it shouldn't be much longer now.

Waiting in anticipation how users will respond to Connections 4.

juli 27, 2012

The social arena match begins!

Is SharePoint 2013 catching up with IBM Connections?

Recently Microsoft released the SharePoint 2013 public beta. And on july 16th there was a press release with Steve Ballmer's announcement of Office 2013.

Many are eager to stress the point that this beta release is now much more social than SharePoint 2010 was. Up until now it was generally agreed that it was more document centric (which it does very well) than people centric, and IBM Connections has therefore been leading the social entprise market.

With acquiring Skype, and more recently Yammer and now also announcing Facebook and LinkedIn integration in Office 13 Microsoft is clearly making a huge effort to enter the social arena.

And indeed it seems there are many social improvements. The newsfeed provides social features such as commenting and liking. And also an embedded experience for document/media preview so there is no need to open a new window and you are not taken out of the context. It is possible to do statusupdates including hashtags and @mentions, to all or specific groups (sites members).

Users are able to follow sites, documents and hashtags (the latter are also searchable). Communities have been introduced, something that was clearly needed and they even include some form of gamification through badges.

Since it has always been strong with document management, it is no surprise Microsoft came up with Skydrive Pro. Documents are automaticall saved to Skydrive by default and allows users to sync document libraries to their computer for offline access. Instead of granting someone access to files, this has been renamed to 'sharing' which is ofcourse a much more social term.

Allthough Yammer isn't directly visible in SharePoint 2013, it has become part of Office 13. Microsoft seams to be buying these social companies to use them as a free gateway to paid premium services. Hotmail leading to Office 365, Skype to Lync, and Yammer to SharePoint?

What does that mean for IBM Connections?

Many of these SharePoint 2013 social features have been around for a while in IBM Connections, or will be available in Connections 4, which is being released in beta on Greenhouse today!

Communities, Blogs, person card info everywhere, and microblogging through statusupdates has been key functionality of IBM Connections. Connections 4 will be enhanced with searchable statusupdates with hashtags and Communities will get many great improvements such as a Community Calendar. The Activity feed will give an embedded experience so files and media can be viewed directly without changing windows, and allowing for workflow applications to integrate into Connections. And Mail and Calendar will be available straight from the browser as well.

Similar features, but what of the future?

So feature wise, the two really start to be more alike. The same thing happened with email programs. All vendors grew more closely together, up to the point where since Lotus Notes 8 - and especially iNotes - many couldn't really tell at first glance if they were looking at Outlook or Lotus Notes.

But, will the social features in SharePoint really cut it? Is it still in time for Microsoft SharePoint to position itself as social software ? What will IBM do in response? Only time can tell. What it tells me now though, is that social is really the arena where the players will fight for their customers. Social is now and it's the future. Social is here to stay. And it is going to be interesting.

But for now, we still have to wait for the final release of SharePoint 2013. It is believed that it will take at least another 6 months, as that is usually the case for Microsoft between the public beta and final release. I am also curious what IBM will do with Connections after release 4.

juli 25, 2012

Vote: IBM Connections vs SharePoint ?

Want to express your opinion ? Click to add to the count for IBM Connections or for MS SharePoint. Which tickles you more?

You can now vote on the Live Enterprise Blog:

I have made my choice.

e-office Gold sponsor Social Connections IV event

e-office is happy to announce we are Gold sponsor for the Social Connections IV event on november 30th in Amsterdam.


After Cardiff and Dublin, Social Connections is coming to Amsterdam at the IBM venue. Social Connections is THE IBM Connections event. A usergroup completely focused on social collaboration with IBM Connections. My ex-colleague Pim presented at the 2nd event about the LeasePlan adoption program , and I presented last time about leveraging user adoption using gamification.

The event is very exiting, fun and informal. It's a great place and time to meet other Connections users and see and hear what they are doing and what experiences others have. There are visitors from around the world. Unfortunately last time there were hardly any Dutch clients, but I am sure that is about to change!

The 1st event attracted some 60 visitors, the second already grew to about 75, and the 3rd got around a 110 visitors. The organisation is expecting around a 150 visitors for Social Connections IV in Amsterdam. But frankly, I think we could easily beat that number!

You can register already for the event on

Hope to see all of you there!

juli 23, 2012

Migrating IBM Connections to 4 Beta

Today is the day that we will be migrating our e-office Connections environment to IBM Connections 4. Allthough still only in beta, for us it is critical we experience quickly what possibilities it offers for us as IBM Premier business partner.

Testing mail integration and Activity Stream

We can't wait to test drive mail integration, and to start working with the Activity Stream API. Lots of suitable Domino applications are available to integrate, such as timesheets notifications. So we can enter those Tinstantly through the embedded experience the Activity Stream will provide.

At a loss without it

In the meantime, I'm sort of at a loss, as Connections for me is where I do most of my daily work activities. It's my connection to what's going on at the office while I am at clients or working from home. It's how I organize information that I want to store for later reading or for processing work later. Connections is where I keep my colleagues informed of what I am doing. If I need help or want to communicate I use Connections. Projects are organized into Activities, and I use Activities as my GTD tool.

Hopefully the homepage will soon display something else: