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Archive for the ‘IBM Connections’ Category

Lessons from 2014: The Problem with Sentiment Analysis

As we wind down 2014, I’m taking a look back at some items in my reading list and bringing forward the ones I found important from a learning standpoint.  The article The Problem with Sentiment Analysis by Sarah Kessler at Fast Company in November 2014 qualifies as one of those “aha” articles.

Analyzing social media has been a hot topic in the past couple of years.  Ms. Keller points out that during the 2012 presidential election season USA Today had a daily story about President Obama’s “sentiment” score versus Mitt Romney’s score.  The score was calculated by analyzing social media posts about each candidate.  In theory, the analysis could show which candidate is getting more positive comments versus negative comments.  And, in theory again, this could tell us about public opinion for each candidate.

However, Ms. Keller interviewed Marc Smith who pointed out that this type of sentiment analysis is inherently flawed.  Marc Smith is a sociologist who specializes in the social organization of online communities.  He went so far as to say about the USA Today stories that “This is remarkably poor data. That this is borderline criminal.”  As Keenan Thompson says in Saturday Night Live, “What up with that?”

Tight Crowd Pattern Graph: NodeXL Graph Gallery

Mr. Smith argues that this type of sentiment analysis only reveals which group of supporters “shouted” the loudest that day. It really tells us nothing about public opinion of either candidate.

What I found really interesting is Mr. Smith’s work on how crowds form around a topic on social media in six different shapes:

  • Polarized crowd in which two groups form and rarely interact with each other.  This is akin to the political sentiment described above.  The Obama crowd did their thing and the Romney crowd did theirs independently.
  • Tight crowd where a small group of people cluster around a conference.  The image in this post shows a tight crowd pattern.
  • Brand cluster in which people talk about a brand, but rarely interact with each other in the crowd
  • Community cluster where multiple small groups form
  • Broadcast network in which many people connect with a media outlet, but not with each other
  • Support network where something like a service center connects with lots of people, but those people don’t really interact with each other.

According to Mr. Smith, looking at the shape of the network lets you see that not all social media posts can be treated the same.  He argues that you should report on the size, volume and content of each major cluster over time.

This makes a lot of sense to me.  If you are measuring sentiment for a particular brand, event or anything else, you should be interested in how the network aligns with your goals.  Say you are hosting a conference – you’d want to see the social network form into a “tight crowd” pattern.  If it doesn’t then something is probably not working right.  Likewise if you are a brand and see the “brand cluster” pattern emerge, you may want to take steps to encourage your followers to interact more with each other, if that is a goal.

If you are involved in sentiment analysis or any social media analysis, I encourage you to follow the links here and take a look at Marc Smith’s research in this area.  Let me know what you think.

G2 Crowd scores Salesforce Chatter top social collaboration tool

I saw the following tweet from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff:

Image of tweet from Marc Benioff

This was interesting enough for me to follow the link to see why Salesforce Chatter was rated the best social collaboration system.  Barry Levine at Venture Beat had a nice article about G2 Crowd’s grid on social collaboration.  Here are the first two paragraphs:

Salesforce’s Chatter is the social collaboration tool with the highest customer satisfaction.

That’s a key takeaway from G2 Crowd’s new Grid for Social Collaboration tools, the first Grid report for this category. It scored 14 business products based on G2 Crowd’s customary metrics of customer satisfaction and business presence, in this case based on over 325 reviews from business professionals.

This was really interesting to me.  G2 Crowd allows people to rate these systems and then translates those ratings into a 2×2 grid similar to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.  Venture Beat also mentions the 325 reviews used to generate the ratings.

While the G2 Crowd rating system looks good and in theory produces crowd-based results, when you dig a little deeper, you find that G2 ratings are really based on much smaller sample sizes. For example, here is the latest grid as of today:

G2-Social Collaboration

In looking at the Leaders Quadrant, you find that Chatter had 97 reviews and Microsoft Lync had only 11 reviews.  You can click on an icon to see the number of reviews:


I don’t dispute that Chatter is an excellent social collaboration tool and Salesforce should be proud to share these kinds of results.

However its hard to rank these tools on customer satisfaction alone from such small numbers of reviews. First, I imagine you could easily get 11 reviewers to enter lower scores for any product. Likewise, I’m sure you can ask 11 people to go rate a product very high.  I’m not suggesting anybody is doing this on the G2 Crowd site to impact the rankings, its just a possibility.

Second, and more importantly, assume that the total population of users for all these tools were 1,000,000 users.  That’s probably very low, but its a nice round number.  To have any confidence in our survey, we’d need a sample size of over 1,000 users responding to the G2 Crowd reviews. And that would be 1,000 random users.  With only 11 reviews or only 97 reviews, statistics tell us that we should not be very confident in the results.

The G2 Crowd information is interesting and it would be great if we could get the right number of reviewers to make the data statistically meaningful.  But, really, don’t rely on this information alone to make your purchasing decisions.  That’s why Gartner, Forrester and Perficient use a variety of factors when rating these systems.



IBM produces a preview video of Connections Next

Social and cloud technologies are connecting us to more people and information than we ever could have imagined. The challenge is to get the right information from the right sources in the right context at the right time. IBM’s cloud collaboration platform helps you collaborate with extended networks, focus on the relevant and filter out the rest.

There is a lot of excitement around this update, as from the video it appears as though people are placed at the center of collaboration.

Have a look at this video.


Cisco WebEx Social Bites the Dust

Cisco has been a long-time major player in unified communications in the workplace.  Several years ago Cisco started making noise in the social collaboration marketplace.  Cisco had the bright idea to marry their strong telecommunications and conferencing capabilities with enterprise social networking and introduced Cisco Quad.  Quad promised to bring web conferencing, instant messaging, telephony, activity streams and more into a single platform that businesses would love.

Gartner Magic QuadrantIn 2013 Gartner listed Cisco in the Visionary quadrant of their Social Software in the Workplace Magic Quadrant.  I think due the popularity of Cisco WebEx, Cisco rebranded Quad as Cisco WebEx Social along the way.

Unfortunately for Cisco and companies who purchased WebEx Social, Cisco has decided to retire that product and instead will partner with Jive to deliver WebEx meetings and Jabber in Jive’s enterprise social software.

This is a good move for Jive.  The larger players in this space – IBM,  Microsoft, and Google – already have strong social network systems integrated with their own unified communications systems.  Jive now has the ability to market perhaps the best known web conferencing platform as part of it’s social network system. After all, look how people call web conferencing “WebEx” – probably most.

So congratulations Jive and RIP Cisco WebEx Social.




IBM is Enterprise Social Software Market Share Leader Again

IBM announced that it is once again the market share leader in Enterprise Social Software according to IDC.  This marks the fifth year in a row that IBM has maintained the market share leader position. Image of IBM Market Share Leader Banners for 2010-2014 According to IBM, “Tens of millions of users today rely on IBM’s Social Business software…”, IBM Connections.

IBM has spent a lot of time and money making Connections a strong platform for both on-premise users (branded IBM Connections) and cloud-based users (branded IBM SmartCloud for Social Business).  IBM has also done a good job of integrating Connections with other products, including IBM Digital Experience Suite, Smarter Workforce, and Social Learning systems.

CMSWire asked IDC about other companies it cited in its research, however a IDC spokesperson declined comment. IDC does not release market data from its Worldwide Software Tracker to the media. According to CMSWire, it will publish reports in May and June that contain market forecast information, which provides more context of where the market is headed.

Successfully Piloting Social Business Software

Rob Novak and Mac Guidera presented tips on how to make a pilot in social software successful. First why pilot?  A pilot is critical to success because it provides for an experimental trial on a small scale for the future change that you anticipate.A well run pilot reduces the risk of large scale failure and improves chances of strategic success.  You only have to look at the roll out of the website in October 2012 to see how a large scale failure can happen.

What are key components of a pilot?  Pilots should have a defined scope, examples include:

  • a specific business unit
  • a class of employees
  • a region
  • a particular business process.

A pilot should also be short term, but each pilot has to determine the length of time based on several factors:

  • How big is the scope?
  • Are there technologies hurdles that must be overcome?
  • Is there sufficient hardware to start fast?
  • Are personnel available for training? Are these people willing and wanting to participate?
  • How long will it take so determine measurable results?

When conducting a pilot, you must have clear goals.  Goals will vary by company and what you want to pilot.  Little academic and real-life work has been focused on pilot goals, however Rob has identified some Goal Driven Software Development Processes that may be helpful in setting goals for a pilot.

Collaborative Goal Identification is one process.  This starts with a top-level goal and then drives down to sub-goals.

Goal, Question, Metric (GQM) is another approach developed by NASA and others.  Here you have a conceptual, operational and quantitative levels for goals.  Each of these goals have specific metrics.

IBM has a set of collaboration solutions patterns that focus on ROI and strategic process.  These Customer Experience Patternpatterns show how social can be used in the processes and provide a starting point for a pilot program.  Patterns are available for:

  • Customer Engagement (shown here)
  • Innovation
  • Recruiting & Onboarding
  • Supply Chain
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Workplace & Public Safetfy
  • Expertise & Knowledge.

Gaining executive support is always mentioned as critical for success, but nobody explains how to pursue executive support.  Here are some tips for help find the right executive:

  • Open Door Policy
  • Active involvement
  • Must be identified at the beginning
  • Must have same level of decision making influence as the individuals controlling the budget
  • Project should be linked to the executive sponsor’s area of expertise.

Here are some guiding principles for a pilot:

  • Select fertile ground since a pilot is an experiment, not proving what you already know
  • Pilot team is critical, both participants and sponsors
  • Design around business applications or benefits NOT tools
  • Define scope but encourage experimentation
  • Design pilot to learn lessons
  • Provide training and guidance
  • Create visibility
  • Monitor progress and cut or expand

Of course, you need to measure outcomes based on your goals.  During the pilot you want to have interim assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of particular aspects of the pilot.

Infusing Social into Digital Experiences

Adding social capabilities to your digital experience site can bring some nice benefits. One benefit that is often overlooked is the multiplier effect of social sharing.  If you can can get people to promote your brand or product, you can reach larger audiences and save advertising costs as well.  A single “Like” on your product page can translate into millions of people seeing that someone they know endorses you.

Infusing Social Into Digital ExperiencesIBM spoke about combining WebSphere Portal and IBM Connections into a Social Digital Experience.  Traditionally, IBM Connections has been seen as an internal social tool that works on the intranet.  But, in fact, Connections can be useful on your external site as well.

  • Support communities are often a way to engage with customers and then direct them to your other sites.
  • Blogs on your external site can attract visitors
  • Innovation or ideation capabilities let people give you input and can cause those people who engage to reach out on other social platforms.  On twitter:  “Hey Perficient is looking for ideas about enhancing X, go to their site and weigh in…”

WebSphere Portal now exposes and seamlessly integrates all IBM Connections features making it easy to infuse social capabilities in your Digital Experience site.  Portal also has the ability to publish content directly to social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and internal Connections.  You see a video of these capabilities

Be a Successful Social Business in a Highly Regulated Industry

Just because you are in a highly regulated industry doesn’t mean you can’t also be highly social.  You just have to be more careful about how you do it.

At IBM Connect, TD Ameritrade and IBM shared how they made became a social business despite all the regulations and compliance issues.  TD Ameritrade used IBM Connections as the basis of their social business platform, but they also integrated back end systems, gamification, and micro applications.Be a Successful Social business in a Highly Regulated Industry

The first major decision was to figure out their Mobile access strategy.  TDA heavily used mobile devices and needed to address security and authentication strategies for the new social platform.

A second big decision was to figure out how to implement metrics.  Compliance tracking was a big question and has to be addressed early on.  TDA also wanted to measure the success of the program, so figuring out which metrics were most important was a critical task.

Setting up user profiles was another major decision.  Where is profile data stored, what data should appear in the profile, which should be editable and how to sync profile data are all key questions.

Some results that TDA shared:

  • Launched in May 2013
  • Now (January 2014) over 50% of employees engage in social on a daily basis, even though the social platform is not part of the intranet
  • 1000 communities have been built and 85-90% of those are business based communities. 65% are hard business use, 25% are soft business use and 10% are non-work related.
  • About to release a mobile version

TDA had to overcome lots of perceived risks to start with a social platform:

  • Why disrupt our business?
  • Cultural shift?
  • Creating more channels?  Its not about creating more channels, but creating the right channel.
  • Non-business use?
  • Increased managerial duties?
  • More governance and compliance issues?
  • Productivity Drain?

How to get beyond compliance:

  • Partner with Compliance/Legal/Risk Management early on and make them an ally in the effort
  • Leverage monitoring and archiving tools which helps compliance
  • Create simple, practical governance that is based on your organization and includes cross departmental representatives
  • Create rules of the road – don’t post illegal activity, no posts about trades, no client info, no personally identifiable information (PII) etc.

Everyone wants to know about moderation.  At TDA, they do not moderate posts before they get put out.  Everything is moderated by the communities after posts are available.  In one year, they have only had 3 posts that had to be removed.

TDA used several tools to manage compliance and eDiscovery which helped ensure they were meeting state and federal regulations.

  • Everything is using SSL to ensure messages are encrypted
  • Real Time keyword flagging and notification (Actiance Vantage)
  • Uses Global Relay worm device to grab all messages going through the cloud, which aids with eDiscovery
  • Passive moderation is done by employees (crowd sourcing) when they see something inappropriate




What’s coming in WebSphere Portal and WCM

Rob Will, Chief Architect at IBM, presented the future vision for Portal and WCM today.   He started out talking about how the concept of customer experience has been evolving over the past few years.  A core shift has been to enable non-technical users to do more and more with less reliance on IT.

What's Coming in WebSphere Portal and WCMA slight change with profound implications has been the change from a Web experience to a Digital experience, which implies support many more devices and output streams.   Portal and WCM has always been about web sites, not mobile applications.  Portal is now in the mobile web site business to enable multi-channel web site business.  Portal is still the integrating platform for content, applications, etc.  Everything done in Portal and WCM is now done with mobile in mind.

IBM Worklight is the hybrid application platform that integrates with Portal and WCM.   Worklight enables access to all the mobile device features through portlets.  Its easy to create a Worklight adapter to grab content from WCM to display in a native application.  WCM’s personalization engine can also be leveraged from Worklight so you see the same promotions on the web as you see in the mobile app.

Mobile Directions

  • Improving integration to support device classes
  • Fine tuning seamlessness of the theme integration
  • Co-deploy Worklight on Portal

Content and Rich Media

  • More and more convergence between portal and content management
  • Projects and Templates (in Portal 8) are heavily relied on in future releases
  • Content Template Catalog 4.1.2 came out last week – uses latest CKEditor for inline editing
  • Vanity URLs- in beta now.  You can completely control the URL.  URLs are stored in WCM to support Syndication.  This feature will deprecate URL Mappings in Portal.
  • WCM Content Security is more seamless with Portal.
  • Attribute based security means you can control access to content based on Attributes.
  • Project templates make it easier to set up projects, including predefined workflow
  • Now everyone is entitled to EditLive! Enterprise version
  • Customers on have entitlement to WebRadar which is content reporting and analytics
  • Cross Version syndication is supported to ease content migration.  You can syndicate from WCM CF26 or higher to WCM CF09 or higher
  • Syndication – improvements in error messaging, error handling, more retry capabilities.  Also in the Authoring UI, you can see a status of each object’s syndication.
  • Rich Media Edition seamlessly integrates with MediaBeacon.
  • Deliver and Stream HD Videos – this includes integration with BrightCove

Personalization and Targeting

  • In 8.0 IBM added in-context rules editing.  New minor enhancements are coming here.
  • Marketing Management is more of a focus for a richer experience, including Unica Marketing Center and IBM Interact.
  • New Portlet allows user to enter a few details about the spot and the portlets does all the work to bring in offers from Interact.  This reduces the rules that you have to write in portal.

WCM and Commerce

  • This is available now.
  • You can link content from WCM directly into a commerce site.  This also includes preview capability


  • Social rendering in takes content from connections and delivers them inside portal mixed with other content and applications. WCM presentation templates are used to make the social content look like other content on the page.
  • In the next version, IBM provides a bunch of enhancements.  Discussion threads hosted on IBM Connections, but linked to WCM content.   Here the visual experience of the discussion is controlled by WCM.
  • Now you can Like, create posts, comment, etc right in line.
  • Dynamic filters for social lists – these lists cooperate with other page components to filter content and drilling down in lists.
  • This is all available in mobile web too.

For a sample of how well Portal, WCM and Connections are integrated together, take a look at the Connect 2014 Site:

  • News and updates are blogs in Connections
  • Events are in WCM.
  • Session info is in WCM,
  • Speaker profile is in Connections.
  • Downloads are in Connections Files.
  • Session add is a DB2 application

Digital Data Connector (DDC) – this is a new concept and we’ll more information on this shortly.

  • Extends social rendering and WCM to any type of data source.
  • Can take most data source and bring into Portal through social rendering

I had to leave this session early, so I will follow up with another post on the rest of the new features coming in the future.

A beta version of Portal is now available if you want to try out some of these features.




IBM Connect: Becoming a Social Business Success Story

Chris Crummey (@ccrummey) is probably the most adept presenter on the whole experience in using the IBM tools. He gets what makes people successful and incorporates that into how he works.  So it’s a good session.

Here’s what makes you successful:



Types of people:

  1. My social strategy is to have a blog (feature)  You are two years behind
  2. My social strategy is to think of a platform.  behind but not that far
  3. As an executive, I want to enact cultural change and need to the tools to enable that.

Quote: this is not about company size.  Social is not a product.  It’s not a feature. It’s an organic living thing.

How does a YouTube video grow. It goes from one network of people to the other as they share it.  It relies on the influencers.

Collective intelligence and the wisdom of your collective expertise can and should be harnessed

One of IBM key 9 principles is “Shared Expertise”

IBM’s new way of working is an initiative. It’s about going through multiple phases ranging from enhanced profiles at the beginning.  Now social is being pushed into their CRM systems and external events are being pulled into the social network.  Social is a service, not a product or feature.

Results: saved $110M on help desk calls via social support.  Keep in mind that the 800 number only supports Windows 7 / Blackberry.  They had to rely on the social support.

Results: 90,000 communities. CEO Think Friday

Now: Continuous cultural change


  • Start with idea stage: social 2.0
  • created 8 social principles
  • gained 60,000 users in two months
  • Lots of training for aha moments
  • Line of business had to apply to be in the top 24 use cases
    • start small then open up
  • 90% of communities were open, not private
  • Phase 2: Production line moved from 40 to 6 days

RENO (German store)

  • Organic user before Pilot announced
  • used initially for one way store communication
  • then pushed brochures and get feedback to all the stores at once
  • Then use iPad to take photos of their floor setup and share it with other stores
    • Idea stacking
  • Then started taking pictures of their competitors
  • Added an app called 3d foot modeler. Used right alongside Connections

Adoption Best Practices










  • Put your vision on the back of a napkin. Keep it short
  • Next, how to launch.  What is your anchor tenant?
    • Might do standalone
    • Might integrate with portal
  • Get a brand for your social network. Brand the idea not the feature
  • Awareness and marketing
    • Sell it internally
    • T-shirts
    • banners
    • brochures
    • signs in bathrooms (let the ideas flow. Don’t sit on your ideas)
    • Kiosks
  • Champions and Evangelists
    • Avatar
    • The Genius
    • the Adoption team
    • PEPnet pros
    • A lot like the genius guys at the Apple store
    • will go through the BlueIQ evangelist strategy
  • Give the important people more power and fewer limits. (no file limits)
  • Reverse Mentoring – young people help the executives.
  • Publish the Expectations
    • lookup up IBM social computing guidelines
    • set behavior expectations
    • IBM puts those guidelines at the login
  • Communicate the What, Why, and How
    • Spend the time to do the communicate
    • TD Bank had multiple handbooks to set expectations by role. Leaders for example
  • Use Internal Selling Tool
    • Videos. Bosch did a video with before and after.  Omron’s video had a person going up to hit a physical button to follow a persons speech.
  • Look at social business as a business pattern
    • onboarding
    • recruiting and onboarding
    • workplace safety
    • customer engagement
    • etc.
    • You can find those patters by Googling it.
  • Journey Maps
    • Look at how people will use it.
    • It’s a business process
  • Day in the Life demos
    • Customers built visionary demos 5 years out
    • set the stage for that vision

Culture as Best Practice

Sandy Carter says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”

Social transparency is about trust.  One company went into the social platform by opening up their offices and even going to the honor system in the cafeteria.

TD Bank

Corporate culture is about how they treat their customers.  Their social platform started with Wow moments.  “People are fighting over the stories of how they treated the customers”  The social platform helps to support the goal of customer change.

Celebrate good ideas: Good ideas. Bad ideas. One customer celebrated the worst idea in the “Golden Cow” award.

IBM uses the platform for cultural change too.  They created branded emoticons for Sametime.  The HR program called BlueThx is a person inthe directory. They microblog for BlueThx.  It hits the activity stream.  a blue thx thank you hits the social network.

Business Process

Almost all of IBM’s busienss processes are run on the social network.  It could be mergers, sales, support, events, marketing, etc. They are all supported with the social tools.  Obviously their are other systems but the support is there.

It changed the way they create ad campaigns.

They even created a crowd sourcing kickstart strategy.

Back to key initiatives having profiles. You can follow them. They help to further the goals and adoption.

The activity stream has business applications integrated right into it.

IBM has an app store. If you hit like button on the app, you put that event into your social network.  You can even microblog on it.   It’s an ecosystem made simple.

Best Practice: think of social as a service

Email has to have the social capabilities

Mobile should be enabled.  Cameras in phones to upload.  Profiles need to be available

Non business usage:

  • On-boarding clue.  Treasure hunt as a game to teach Connections
  • Fist community could be the Zombie Attack
    • Associate the participation as fun
  • Japan Relief
    • Use social platform for philanthropy
    • How can I help is the first question
    • What happened is the second question
    • Spanish Red Cross uses Connections to communicate emergency strategy

The Digital IBMer

Look at one example of sharing, saving, and networking.











All that sharing saves money in disk space but now the file has one version of the truth.  Sharing that file within a social network went from one side of the corporation to the other far faster than email.

IBM uses a video blog for their CEO.  Her second day on the job she had 205,000 visits, 751 comments, and 175 likes.   Half of IBM saw that video within 48 hours.   It wasn’t long before all the other execs started to do video blogs.

IBM’s Think Academy is a new initiative……….supported by a community.

The use of this “feeds the machine”  Ask a question, get an answer from one, then the other, then the other.  They all learn. They all get deeper into the social networks of others.

Another use case: Using to celebrate everyday heroes. CEO goes to someones wall to congratulate them on a good job done.  Everone sees that. Compare that to email.

Driving unique business events.  They created a stand and deliver badge and people would give the gift badge. That pushed out a whole bunch of other badges.