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november 12, 2013

Ease on down the road

The road to social collaboration goes through Notes 9

What if a company is not inclined to social, where collaborative work is being done mostly through email, and the general idea is social is not for them because employees need to 'just get to work' ?
Well, you start easing their way in to social, without really saying the 's' word.

I do agree fully with the statement employees should be doing their work. I also believe social collaboration IS work. Whilst having said that, I also am aware that for quite a few companies management and employees themselves don't see the 'work' in social yet.

collaboration for logistics

Recently I started with a new client. A logistics company that has been doing very well, and has seen growth all over in a generally struggling logistics industry. And they are now moving to IBM Notes 9. One of their offices is currently using MS Outlook, but all the others worldwide are using Zimbra for e-mail and calendering, along with Sparks for instant messaging. What, you never heard of Zimbra and Sparks? Me neither. And that's one of the reasons for their move to IBM Notes. They picked IBM Notes over MS Outlook, mainly because of the long term plans for more application workflows and the open character of the platform.

Email and chat is the main form of collaboration for employees. They have to work fast, react to changing situations fast, and talk to people all over the world. So they rely on efficient communication and further collaboration. Yet they also have a problem with huge email boxes. Most are over 5GB, some 10GB.

Ease their way into social

Even though in general the value of social wasn't immediately evident, the IT manager was more open to it, and we've been able to convince them to start with the Files and Profiles entitlement that comes with IBM Notes 9. The company doesn't have any kind of employee directory as of yet, so using Profiles for this is a perfect solution. We're not saying "here's something social which is called Profiles", but we're taking the angle of a 'Who's Who' listing. And along with Files, employees are able to share their files to collaborate on them with colleagues from all over the world. Linked to Profiles it's easy to find someone elses files, if they have shared them with you or publicly.

Within their Notes Sidebar they have the following panels avaliable: Sametime, Statusupdates, Files, and Social People.

Share files easily

In the workshops on the 'move to IBM Notes' the general reaction to Files was pretty good. People saw some real value in sometimes sharing files through here, rather than on network drives. And ofcourse having to email to notify, and have all kinds of comments in seperate emails in different email boxes instead of having those in context of the file itself.

Using the Files plugin in Notes employees can find, share and collaborate on files right from their email.

Some pluspoints they saw were:
  • Being able to control who specifically you share a file with (in contrast to network drive where you share all files with an IT set group), and with what rights (reader, editor);
  • Being able to access their files through a mobile device like an iPhone or iPad;
  • Being able to always have the lates version of a file, without having to look for it in emails or local folders or asking to have the latest version sent to them again.
  • Allmost everyone mentioned their leave of absence excel sheet to be shared publicly through Files, so they would always have the most recent version of it.

Find you colleagues

Profiles seemed to catch employees' attention when we demonstrated how it could help locate an expert. The example we used (you need an expert on import rights in China) was recognized as being valuable. Right now the only way to find such an expert is calling around until you would be referred to the right person (if that would be the result at all!). Especially if you consider Jan de Rijk to be a continually growing company, where not knowing your direct colleagues, or even know of them is becoming ever more present.

There is some resistance in the company to getting a full-blown 'Who's Who' with private information and a photograph. So we decided not to pre-populate the Profiles with a picture or personal addresses. All that's filled in is the name, email address, telephone number. So we're leaving it up to individual employees to fill in what they think is appropriate for them. Like the use of tags, and the search functionality, so Profiles will actually work like it did in the example we showed. Most times employees need some guidance, or tips if you will, what kind of keywords to add to your Profile. Like more meaningful terms for your job role then the official one says (i.e. 'manager' of 'HR'doens't really say anything about what you know, what you can do. So maybe add WHAT you are manager of, what field of expertise, and also what country you are working in).

As an add-on to the standard plugins for Files and Statusupdates and the Search bar in Notes for searching through Profiles, we created a Social People plugin. This plugin displays the colleagues in someone's network, allows a Profiles search where a search can be done on names, or expertise. By displaying the Social People plugin in the Sidebar we are bringing Profiles a little more to the attention of the employees, as it is much more visible now.

We held workshops at all the offices where they would be migrated during that time. And afterwards they receive a follow-up mail from the servicedesk, guiding them through their first set-up steps and providing them with a manual and more relevant information like the webmail address, the Connections address, iPhone/iPad or Android mail/calendar access, and the IBM Connections app setup.

Shared through Files ofcourse, where this information can be easily updates without having to notify all emploeyees again by email of the changes!

juli 30, 2013

From Notes to Outlook, and back to Notes again

One of the many things I do is assist companies and their employees dealing with the changes involved in an email platform migration. This week has been funny, as I have consulted one client to make the move from Notes to Outlook, while the next day I helped another with the transition from Outlook to Notes. Even though it's just moving from one type of Mail and Calendar to another, and therefore the change seems to be not so big, there are some pain points.

inform about change: when, why, how, and what

The main focus on such migration projects is on getting employees prepared and informed about what is going to happen, when and how it is going to happen and make the transition as easy as possible. The latter is being done by getting a group of ' heavy users' or ' ambassadors' to get heads up of all the functionality changes, and letting them prepare communication and documentation. It is important to inform all the employees in a timely and repetitive manner about what's going to change, and why. Employees will have questions like 'will I still be able to find my older emails?' , or 'can I keep my contacts, and will they sync with my mobile?' And you need to have an answer ready.

So before the actual migration, it's important to have a group of people experience the change for themselves and being able to set up a list of important functionality changes in their company or line of business specifically (the way it was versus the way it will be), some guidelines on how to use some functionality and have FAQ documentation or some quick reference cards available.

some changing features require a new way of working

In all my years of doing migration workshops I have learned all the specific differences in functionality and the effects these have on doing your work (as you know it now). Here's some interesting differences between Notes and Outlook that are important to address, as they may require a different work manner or work agreements:

All Documents and searching
Outlook has no All documents, so when Notes users are used to searching through their All documents they need to learn a new way. Searching through (full text search) your complete Outlook mailbox is no problem, but with All documents it's also possible to sort on columns (Who, Subject, Date, Size) which is a different way of searching.

Read / Unread marks
In Outlook the unread mark means the email is unread. In Notes the unread mark means YOU have not read that email. This is particularly important for group mailboxes and for delegates. If a secretary is looking at the managers email in Outlook they see which emails are read/unread, but not by whom: it could be the email was read by the manager or by themselves. The manager sees exactly the same read/unread marks. In a shared mailbox, where multiple people are working in it, in Outlook the general way of working is they pick up the unread messages. Employees can rely on that if a message is marked read, somebody else has already picked it up. In Notes, that is not the case. A colleague may have read and picked up the message, but it only displays as read for that employee, not the other colleagues. They still see an unread message. Therefore, in Notes another way of collaborating is required. Maybe with the use of folders (a folder for each employee, or folders for the status in the process: in progress and closed). Or maybe through the use of Follow Up Flags.

attachments to email messages
Attaching files to an email is different in Notes and Outlook: in Notes an attachment can be put inside the body of the message, where Outlook will always display it in a separate bar at the top of the message, near the Subject. There are pros and cons for each way. It's just different.

An attachment in a Notes email message
An attachment in an Outlook email message

Mail and Calendar delegation
In Notes delegation is pretty straightforward and therefore easy to set up. Delegation can be set to give another employee access to just your Calendar, To Do and Contacts, or your Mail, Calendar, To Do and Contacts. The next step is to decide how much access (read, create, edit) on all of these components. In Outlook delegation access can be set up at a much more granular level, providing much more variation and detail but requiring a lot more clicks and knowledge. So access can be granted to another employee on each component separately To Do, Contacts, Calendar, Mail) with different roles in place to decide how much access is granted, and furthermore access to Mail can be specified for each mail view and folder separately So a secretary could get access to the Inbox, Sent and some folders, but not to a specific folder where confidential email is delivered to through a rule for example.

Outlook Folder permissions

Notes Access and Delegation

Delegates in Notes send email from the managers mailbox, where they create a new message. The message will be automatically sent from the manager (displayed to recipients as sender), sent by the secretary. In Outlook the secretary creates an email message from their own mail box, and uses the From field to specify the message is from the manager. When a delegate sends the message this way, recipients will see the text [Delegate Name] on behalf of [Manager Name] next to From.

Choosing the manager's mailbox to send the mail from in Outlook

Outlook can store several different e-mail Signatures, where Notes can only store one. Where users are used to sending email messages in different languages or roles in Outlook it is fairly easy to add a different Signature. In Notes there is only one to attach, so the workaround here to using multiple in different context is by creating a stationary with each Signature in it. Also Outlook gives the option to attach a different Signature to a new message and to replies/forwards. This prevents e-mail conversations to be cluttered with long signatures.

Organizing through color categories
Color categories in Outlook and Notes start from a different concept. In Outlook Categories have been around for a long time. They give the option to set up category colors along with a label that can be manually assigned to emails and appointments. It can also be assigned through rules. There is one shared list for both Mail and Calendar. In Notes the categories colors for Mail and Calendar are completely separate. In Mail colors can be assigned automatically based on who the sender of the email is. In the Calendar the Color Categories (available since Notes 9) are based on the Categories that have been available for a long time. Calendar entries that are assigned a category (manually) will display in the Calendar in the corresponding color. Both the color categories in Outlook and Notes Calendar are great for distinguishing between types of entries (travel, @Home, Office per location/building, Holiday, Client, etcetera). Both in Outlook and in Notes it's possible to filter/view Calendar entries by category.

Available, Unavailable, or Free ?
Availability settings in Outlook and Notes are a bit different. In Outlook you may choose to create an appointment or meeting and Show as: Free, Working elsewhere, Tentative, Busy, Out of Office, Outside of working hours. In Notes the options are partially pre-configured depending on the type of entry (Appointment, Meeting, Anniversary, Reminder), and the options are: Available (for Anniversary and Reminder default, and for Appointment checkbox Mark available), Busy (Already something scheduled), and Unavailable (outside working schedule).

Mark available checkbox marks meeting as available instead of busy

Meeting Planner in Outlook

Show as allow to specify for a meeting if you should be marks as busy or available etc.

Specifically for users moving from Notes to Outlook the status Free is a bit confusing. In Dutch Free is considered off work. But what is meant here in Outlook is Available (for work!).

Booking Rooms directly from an appointment in Notes helps employees to Find an available room, even before sending the request, or looking at the Planner. Notes will show rooms available based on date/time, AND room capacity (number of invitees and how many people the room can hold). In Outlook when booking a room you need to view the Planning Assistant to see the selected room's availability, and even then it does not take into account the room capacity.

It is best to install the Room Finder add-on in Outlook which will in fact display rooms based on date/time and capacity. The Room finder will display in the right sidebar.

This is not an extensive list of feature differences. But it does provide the main differences that have some impact on the way people work. When confronted with a migration, it is wise to inform employees about these differences in particular and work with them to change the way they work using the new tool, so they can achieve the same result in the end.

juli 10, 2013

Working to a new way of structuring files

As a collaboration consultant I am often confronted with employees wanting to do their work in the same manner they alsways did, in a new software environment. Being confronted with a new software environment (ANY new environment, regardless of vendor or type), employees struggle with how to do things the way they do things now - to the way we do things in the new environment. Why do they struggle? Because a new software environment may bring new features and functionality, may have a very different look&feel, or may lack existing functionality. Or it could even be that the whole philosophy behind the software is completely different or opposite, requiring a different look at 'how we do things'.

It often is a daunting, but inspiring task, to aid employees in this journey from the way they work now, to the way they work new. It is my job to get behind ' the way work is done now' to 'why work is done this way now'. It's important because from the why, we can explore new ways to achieve the same result!

This week I consulted with a client using IBM Connections 4 on how to shift the work for a consultation body or representative advisory board from collaborating and communicating through e-mail and shared network drives to a moderated community using tools as statusupdates, a wiki, files, and an activity for organizing meetings for several sub-bodies.

The problem at hand

So what is the difficulty here? The way work is done now is: using a shared network drive with a big folder tree, and using e-mail to communicate and send files in some sort of workflow.

The organization we speak of here wants to move away from shared network drives to a more efficient way of collaboration and communication through IBM Connections. So one of the moderators started a Community to use instead. But a question came up around organizing files so they can be easily added, and found. They wanted to know "How can they structure files in a manner that they are used to, and so that the list doesn't become a chaotic large list". Bascially: how can we add all our files from the shared drive folder hierarchy structure that we have now to the Community in IBM Connections?

Well, before I can answer this question and get into how to do work in a new way, I need to explain something about IBM Connections and it's organizing possibilities. Let me tell you something about folders and tags.

Folders versus tags

In IBM Connections structuring and organizing is done using tags. Tags are keywords, or labels, that describe something (i.e. a file) so that it can easily be found later. Tags are handy as I can add multiple labels, so I can find my file based on a selection of one, ore more tags.

It's not very different from the way we use folders, really. Not when you look at it from the purpose perspective: both folders and tags help to find back your files. They are very different though from a visual perspective, which is deeply rooted into our system of structuring things.
Folder structures are very visible, and represent what we have been doing for thousands of years: put pieces of paper (dccuments, or files) into organized compartments such as vases (scrolls were placed in vases), bookcases, and later on filing cabinets. Visually that is how we picture organizing. Computers elaborated on this concept, even though their search capabilities really didn't require that. Even the icon for the Files tool in IBM Connections is a filing cabinet!

No folder hierarchy in IBM Connections 4

If you are working with files in IBM Connections you are faced with some limitations: folders cannot be created within a Community but only through your own ' My Files'. Fom your My Files you may share the folder with a Community. And there is no real folder structure possible as you can not create sub-folders.

This literally means that the team cannot keep doing work the way they do now. They need to have a way of structuring their files in the IBM Connections Community using a folder hierarchy.

Yes, I know IBM Connections 4.5 provides more folder functionality and structuring through IBM Docs libraries or CCM libraries. But these are not an option for this group right now, and may not be for a while. Therefore I don't believe in telling them 'that will be available in a newer version' as it is not a solution for them at this time. And, truthfully, I am not too happy about more folder hierarchy, as it may cause employees to not ever shift away from old ways of working to more efficient ways of working, which I believe tags are.

The solution to this problem is to move away from the folder principle alltogether and start using tags to organize files, or to work with a mix of folders for the first level, and work with tags also to manage different types of files within those folders. Using tags instead of folders can be setup by recreating the folder names as tags, where each folder and subfolder gets it's own tag. Or re-think the folder structure.

Re-thinking folder structures

Why did we use the folder hierarchy in the first place? When you get down to the reason why a folder structure was created, and start from there when you think of your tagging system, that might work better.

folder hierarchy
Ofcourse it all comes down to findability! Using folders in a structured way is because something in 'subfolder A' of 'folder 1' has a relation. Now, what would happen if we would use these seperate tags 'a' and '1' ? The relation between the two (a and 1) would not be obvious. But what if we would use the combined tag 'a1' instead?

When looking for files in the sub folder A in the old way, you would expand folder 1 and click on sub folder A to see it's content. In the new way you would have to search within the Community for files containing the tags 1 and a (in case you used seperate tags), or a1 (in case you used combined tags). You can do a search within the Community, and then click the Files tab to only show results form files.

The result will be exactly the same! A list will be displayed showing files that are tagged 'a1'!

Search results on a1 tag

juni 27, 2013

Book on Doing Business with IBM Connections

Recently I received Michael Sampson's new book 'Doing business with IBM Connections 4.5'. Being a huge fan of his previous work I had been awaiting with much anticipation the arrival of it ever since it was announced even before Connect 2013 in february this year.

If you are going to embark on a social busines journey using IBM Connections this is a MUST read! In fact, if you are embarking on a social business journey with any kind of social software this book will give you guidance on a practical approach for improving business processes through collaboration scenarios.

The book is set up with 10 chapters on collaboration scenarios. Each scenario comes with 2 Case Studies from organizations having implemented IBM Connections, showing their experience in that particular scenario. From the 20 case studies no less than 5 are from the Netherlands! These are from Silverside, Saxion (both on managing meetings), Forbo Eurocol (Sharing Team updates), LeasePlan (Finding Expertise), Sasja Beerendonk e-office (Individual Coherence).  Yes indeed, that last case study would be me :-)
5 out of 20 case studies, now that is quite impressive for such a tiny country!

januari 27, 2013

Change is social

Those attending IBM Connect may be very familiar with socializing and networking, but your employees might not be adopting this new way of collaborating so easily. In my session 'Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification' I explain why and how gamification an be used to make employees understand how Connections can be used to collaborate in a new way.

Here's a little something out of my session 'BP304 Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification' for you to get you going.


Gamification helps to spread the 'virus' of user adoption

One of the characteristics of social networks is it easily spreads information. Just like a virus the information can easily flow through the networked components. In IBM Connections the employees are the 'nodes' that are connected. Connections should help organisations to have better access to information, find out what's going on in the separate silos made by organizational structures such as departments and enhance collaboration between people. In order to achieve this, employees need to start building social networks.

Some people are better connected than others. They are the 'hubs' in the connected organisation. These hubs play an important role to change behaviour of the other employees. They can help other employees adopt IBM Connections.

Gamification uses networks of people to enhance adoption. Through gamification the early adopters and influencers start earning point and badges. The colleagues in their network can see their progress through the Activity Stream.


Building networks in Connections with gamification

The theory explained in The strenghth of weak ties states that networks become more powerful the further they are removed from you. Gamification can be used to start building profiles and networks and the network itself can encourage other users to indulge in gamification and improve their profile and network.

Source: Granovetter: the strenght of weak ties

Let's see how this works:

First people are encouraged to build their Profile, the pre-requisite to becoming a networked organisation. Secondly employees are encouraged to build networks, starting with the people close to them at first probably, such as their manager and their direct team members. But this network will slowly grow to other circles as they will work with others on projects or get introduced to previously unknown colleagues through their current close circle of colleagues.

When somewhat connected to colleagues they will be influenced by their peers, especially the ones that are well-connected and perform as innovators. Innovators have a tendency to be 'hubs' in the network of the organisation. They are the ones everybody turns to, to ask for advise and they are the ones who acquire the most links. A phenomenon known as 'the rich get richer' in social nework analysis.

The innovators will most likely start earning badges quite early, as they will adopt the new way of working and actually are writing blogs, participating in or even leading communities, do regular status updates and share and collaborate on files.

Through the network and the Activity Stream in Connections their 'followers' will see them earning points and badges. Seeing them getting badges for this and that can trigger the follower to participate in the same behaviour, trying to accomplish the same thing and as a result seeing the real value of the activity itself. By watching the activities of these innovators in their network, they will soon adopt the same behaviour.


Get more

Come join my session BP304 Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification on tuesday 4:15-5:15 in SW Pelican1-2 at IBM Connect to learn more about gamification for IBM Connections.


januari 15, 2013

using Activities to meet effectively

We meet a lot, especially the larger organizations often have a genuine meeting culture. There's nothing wrong with that in itself, but is that 'meeting time' actually used efficiently? Are we making efficient use of our time and schedule when we actually sit together in a room? And when we meet, are we making effective use of software resources that support meetings?

This article will get you an idea of how you could use Activities in IBM Connections to make meetings more efficient and effective. If you would like to discuss this more, I invite you to join me and Marion Vrielink to come join us in our IBM Connect 2013 session BOF106 Using Actvities to Manage Meetings on Tue, 29/Jan 06:30 PM - 07:30 PM at Macaw 2.

At a meeting people come together where interaction and communication are the main means to achieve common objectives. Interaction and communication are the key collaboration methods. We come together and discuss or debate vigorously. We come to decisions and action points (tasks, todo's) are set. The question now is, is this collaborating efficiently and effectively? The answer is usually 'no'. Many people I talk to  complain about too many and ineffective meetings. The next question is: what can we do to effectively meet?

Top annoyances
Have a look yourself on the internet for the top annoyances of meetings. Chances are that when you Google you get a list like this:
  • ringing telephones
  • email during meeting
  • arriving too late
  • unprepared / documentation not read / outdated versions of documents
  • meetings last longer than scheduled
  • no clear agenda
  • actions from earlier meeting not done
  • no decisions being made
  • tedious
  • not the right people

Some of these annoyances can be overcome with good agreements and good abidance. But there are other organizational and behavioral aspects that  can  be tackled otherwise. An example is that the meeting is lasting longer than scheduled. This of course may be a consequence of other annoyances, such as not reading the meeting documents or lengthy discussions.

What if we meet differently? What if we define a meeting not as the time and place where new topics are being brought to the agenda and where questions about the content are done. But what if we define a meeting as the moment of coming together to just make decisions and set actions. Or as a time where new output or innovation starts, which then is elaborated on at other times. This way meetings will be more than just a moment of getting together. Work is done prior to the meeting and afterwards, by each individual on their own schedule and only on that part important to them - thus the meeting itself can be more productive.

Supporting resources
When a meeting is used only for coming together to decide, prior to the meeting some collaboration has to be done. By using online and social resources, attendees can discuss and ask questions prior to the meeting take place. We could use forums for lenghty, and expected discussion. Or we could use commenting on files and blogs for simple questions and interaction. And meetings can also be supported with realtime resources, such as IBM Sametime Chat, Sametime Online Meeting, video conferencing, or IBM Connections Activities.

Email and Calendar: good for scheduling, not for collaboration
It is very common for organizations to mainly use Email and Calendar to support the process of meeting. A Calendar is a great tool for scheduling the meeting. But these tools are less suitable for discussing documents or assigning agenda items to certain people and setting tasks. Email and Calendar are not suitable for managing documents in the context or for making minutes.

Email and Calendar: information lock-down
A disadvantage of all the information in a Calendar invitation is that this information is only available for the attendees who have accepted. When someone initially declined the meeting, then this person does not have all the information. When a new team member or attendee is added, all the previous correspondence in email needs to be sent again. A disadvantage of sending all information by email is that the replies given by all attendees can lead to conversation chaos and when files are edited and routed through email there is a version chaos as well!

The issues with email collaboration are common: where can I find the latest version of the meeting minutes? Where can I find detailed information on the meeting? How can a new team member find all previous information and decisions? To solve these issues requires more structure. IBM Connections Activities can provide this structure.

Meeting with IBM Connections Activities
Activities in Connections, lets you organize tasks. And a meeting could be such an activity. Connections Activities even lets you create a template which everyone in the organization may use to easily create the appropriate structure to organize a meeting. The structure may of course slightly differ for individual situations, or your organization may have different needs as to how to structure the activity. But this will give you a general idea. Each organizer can adjust the template to their specific meeting objectives and requirements. You can edit content, delete and add.

Every meeting usually has an Agenda with several (sometimes recurring) topics. Usually the agenda is provided in a Word document. But the agenda can very well be an item in your activity. You may choose to have an activity with multiple meeting dates where these are defined as a section (i.e. section 15-02-2013), or create an activity for each seperate meeting. This depends on whether the meeting takes place regularly (every week, every month) with a fairly solid team,  or if it is a single complex meeting such as organizing a special three day event.

Share, communicate and discuss prior to the meeting
When the agenda is addes as items to the meeting section, attendees can collaborate prior to the meeting. To each topic you can add text, but also links and files. In addition, colleagues can be notified (e-mail message or message in the Connections Activity Stream) of new items or tasks. Action items are tasks. These allow you to assign a task to all members of the activity (a group task) or to a specific colleague. When the action items are assigned to a colleague with a specific date, this colleague can easily keep up with the todo's by using the To Do list view in IBM Connections, or simply add them as a calendar overlay in their Lotus Notes calendar.

Meeting time becomes a moment for decision making and setting out new tasks
During the meeting, any decisions made can be added to a desicions section. That way there will always be an overview of all decisions, no matter what meeting date it was made.
Any new tasks decided upon during the meeting, can be easily added to the Activity, where they will show up in the Action items view in the Activity, for all to see and keep track of.

When the Agenda is covered in items in the Activity, then making minutes is really pointless. Because during the meeting action items and decisions can be added, the Activity itself becomes the minutes.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a possible structure of a meeting template in Connections. In a blog of Alan Hamilton a slightly different approach is used. The idea remains the same. e-office work for adoption of IBM Connections regularly with the application of Activities for meetings to actually use in the flow of work to get. This scenario-based approach has proven very effective. Download these slides that once the design schematic and step-by-step display.

If you would like to see more and discuss the possibilities of using Activities to meet efficiently, come join me and Marion Vrielink at IBM Connect 2013 'BOF106 Using Actvities to Manage Meetings' Tuesday from 6.30-7.30 pm at Macaw 2.

The thrill of going to IBM Connect 2013

This year will be my first time actually attending IBM Connect. That in itself is exciting enough, but I am not just attending some great sessions, but I am a speaker as well. I've been doing sessions at several other events before, but this is something different completely!

The last month has been a very busy month, with mailing and socializing on all kinds of platforms with several people from IBM. From mails about the technical preparations to stern yet funny emails from my track manager Susan Bulloch, I've been in awe with the tight scheduling and organizing and information flow coming to me. There have been so many people assisting and answering questions so swiftly, it's amazing.

Ofcourse the thrill for me started when my session BP304 Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification was approved early december. That's when things really became hectic with creating the presentation, and filling in all sorts of forms and ofcourse scheduling flights and hotels.

I've been eager to see what other sessions would be listed. Now they are all known and I'm even more excited! You can check them out yourself, for example by downloading The totally unofficial and totally unsupported IBM Connect session database Mat Newman provided for us, which now is available in a mobile version too! There are some really great speakers and sessions on all kinds of topics. The topic I am speaking about (gamification) has some more interesting sessions:
  • Growing a Smarter Workforce through Social Gaming
  • Using Gamification to Ignite the Widespread Adoption of IBM Connections
  • Social CMO: Engaging the Consumer
  • The wednesday Keynote by Jane McGonigal
So if you are interested in the topic of gamification and adoption, go see any of these, or mine.

Today I joined a webinar about Vivastream. This is the tool used for IBM Connect 2013 which allows speakers and attendees to interact in a great way. I hope to speak to you there soon.  I will also get you involved before they start, on two BOF sessions I am doing:

  • BOF106 Using Actvities to Manage Meetings (together with Marion Vrielink, Saxion University)
    Tuesday 6.30-7.30 pm in Macaw 2
  • BOF108 Metrics That Matter. Insight to Employee Engagement
    Wednesday 7.00-8.00 am in Macaw 1
The Vivastream for Connect will allow us to do polls and contact each other  So you can expect to get some polls for the above mentioned BOF sessions! I invite you to join me in the interaction!

januari 09, 2013

Three times a lady! Speaking at IBM Connect 2013

I am so happy today! It might be a little self indulging but here it goes none the less.

You may have heard this song by The Commodores (or Lionel Richie) 'Three times a lady' ?
That's what I'm singing to myself all day today.

After already having been approved to be a speaker at IBM Connect 2013 in the beginning of december 2012, I today got a confirmation e-mail from IBM that both my Birds of a Feather sessions submitted have been approved as well!
So I am feeling like 'once, twice, three times a lady'.

Birds of a Feather sessions (BOF)
A Connect 2013 BOF is a relaxed, interactive discussion, with no media or AV. This is a 'chalk-talk' style meeting, and the purpose of the discussion is to gather input, feedback, and learn from each other. I will be the facilitator of the discussion. All attending get the opportunity to become engaged. This is not a 'one to many' session.

These are the 3 sessions I will be doing coming january:

BP304 Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification Sasja Beerendonk, e-office
January 29, 16.15 - 17.15 Swan Pelican
User adoption is key to success when implementing social software within your organization. When confronted with social software, employees often find themselves clueless about how to get started, because it requires a different work manner, behaviour and attitude. Step-by-step gamification guides employees into the right direction and takes them to a higher level of understanding and usage. This session covers topics such as: What is gamification? Is it suitable for my organization? What motivates people? From "Maslow’s Need" to "Pink’s Drive", you'll understand the basic concepts of motivation that gamification uses. I will also show a demo on gamification for IBM Connections and the metrics used to measure and stimulate desired behaviour.

BOF106 Using Actvities to Manage MeetingsSasja Beerendonk, e-office; Marion Vrielink, Saxion
One of the challenges for social software adoption is that employees need guidance in understanding how to embed IBM Connections in their daily work routine. Often people say they do not have time to blog, or dont know what they should be sharing. Dealing with these kinds of roadblocks is what user-adoption is all about. Come to this BOF to learn how we dealt with these challenges!

BOF108 Metrics That Matter. Insight to Employee EngagementSasja Beerendonk, e-office
It is generally perceived that in social networks only 1% of people are actively participating by creating content, 9% is contributing by recommending and commenting and 90% is just 'lurking'. Commonly referred to as the 90-9-1 rule. But is this really true for social software in the enterprise? Discuss if this rule shouldn't apply to your Connections user group, and how to measure engagement by user type (creator, contributor, joiner) using the metrics provided in Connections. Metrics provide numbers and graphs that tell you about the usage of Connections. Numbers in itself are meaningless. So what are the right questions to ask to provide meaningful insight ?

Ofcourse I am hoping you will join me in one (or all!) of my sessions. If you have any wishes, or feedback up front, feel free to leave a comment here or send me a message of some sort.