by December 5th, 2013
One of the challenges with managing social media is getting your message out to the many, many social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. I wrote recently how I use IFTTT to send blog post announcements to various sites from our WordPress blog. Companies like HootSuite have created platforms that solve this particular problem. So using HootSuite and others, we can easily publish and manage content across lots of social platforms.
However, none of these platforms that I know of let you cross over from external social sites to internal social sites. If you want to publish to Facebook and your internal social platform, you had to do it twice. Not any more. HootSuite has announced a new integration with IBM Connections. This program is in a beta stage right now, but the potential synergies look good.
According to HootSuite, here are the things you will be able to do with this new integration:
- Access IBM Connections communities and content in HootSuite streams, alongside social network streams for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.
- Share social content and messages from Twitter and Facebook with colleagues and communities in IBM Connections.
- View and interact with IBM Connections community updates, including viewing and leaving comments, viewing and downloading file attachments, liking posts and more.
I didn’t see an anticipated date for a non-beta release. You can request access to the beta version here: HootSuite IBM Connections Beta.
by July 17th, 2013
Larry Bowden kicked off IBM’s webcast today about their new focus on Exceptional Digital Experiences. In the past couple of years, IBM has introduced the Exceptional Customer Experience suite of products and the Exceptional Employee Experience suite. These suites combine various IBM products such as WebSphere Portal, Connections, Sametime, etc into pre-configured suites focusing on specific target segments.
With Exceptional Digital Experiences, IBM is now broadening their focus to the larger concept of digital experiences. To address the digital experience needs of the market, IBM is adding and enhancing capabilities in the areas of:
- Mobile experiences include mobile browser and mobile apps across the product suites
- Analytics and Optimization introduces better integration between the analytics engines and marketing management solutions such as Unica.
- Rich Media Management allows for displaying and managing rich media including video. Not only can you display video easily, you can now manage video, including editing clips and right sizing it for multiple devices.
- Social technologies includes tight integration between Connections and other products.
So does this mean IBM is announcing a new product or new suite? No, but this not just a marketing campaign. The focus is on enhancing the existing IBM solutions to deliver capabilities needed for even better digital experiences. There are new editions of existing products, such as the Rich Media Edition of Web Content Manager. But really, the Exception Digital Experience is about better integration and added capabilities to WebSphere Portal, Web Content Manager, IBM Connections, IBM Forms, Web Experience Factory, Sametime and Worklight. You can learn more about IBM’s Digital Experiences here: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/collaboration/digitalexperience/
If you want to get in on the conversation with IBM, you can join in Twitter and Facebook chats. IBM is hosting an online radio show about Exceptional Digital Experiences. For dates and times, take a look here: http://www.pammarketingnut.com/getrealchat-ibm-exceptional-digital-experiences/ You can participate using the following hash tags:
Edit: You can view a replay of the presentation here: http://w.on24.com/r.htm?e=644727&s=1&k=8DFDF46E6CC9EBACB33E09A450671F3C
by July 9th, 2013
In working with our IBM Connections clients, we usually recommend not changing the standard Connections theme much. The theme controls the color scheme, fonts, headers, footers, page layout, etc. Making significant changes can impact features on the system as they can be somewhat connected to each other.
IBM has recently introduced a new theme for Connections. Luis Benitez, with IBM announced this new theme on his Socialize Me blog. This new theme was shown at IBM Connect in January this year. The image below shows Connections using the new theme.
The new theme removes some of the boxiness of Connections and introduces more background color on the left and right sides.
Overall I think this is a nice improvement over the existing theme.
by July 1st, 2013
On June 25, IBM announced the availability of version 1.0.3 of IBM SmartCloud Docs. If you haven’t heard of IBM SmartCloud Docs, it is similar to Google Docs. You can store and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations right on line without having to have desktop software installed. IBM allows you to edit both Microsoft Office and Open Office documents. I have linked to a introductory video here so you can learn more about IBM Docs.
There are two important new features in this version of IBM Docs. First, this new version allows you co-edit a document or spreadsheet with another person or a group. Each person involved in the edit session can see exactly what the others are doing and changes are highlighted in colors associated with each editor. This goes beyond the typical feature of allowing multiple people to edit and then merge changes into a master document – this is real-time collaborative editing. The second video shows the co-editing features of SmartCloud Docs.
The second new feature is the integration with IBM Connections. According to IBM’s announcement letter, here is how Docs and Connections work together:
IBM Docs leverages the file management features of IBM Connections Files allowing users to upload and share documents and manage versions – and letting users always work on the most current version or restore back to a previous version if needed. Furthermore, IBM Docs lets users share online documents with others as readers or editors. Editors have full rights to edit the document with other editors. Readers have the ability to view the most recent version of a document. IBM Docs also leverages the features of Communities so that community documents, including Microsoft Office templates, can be shared or edited within the context of that community. IBM Docs can be purchased as an add-on to and requires IBM Connections Files.
Note that you need to use IBM Connections Files to make this work.
Here is a summary of the new features.
- Author presence awareness, letting you know who has been in your document and who is currently making changes to content
- Real-time or asynchronous co-editing support designed to help quickly edit content and meet deadlines
- Directed contextual commenting and discussions designed to help team members collaborate on the content
- File version management that helps keep everyone working on the latest version and reduces the time required to manually merge input from multiple users
- Allows the creation of new documents or upload existing Microsoft Office or OpenOffice documents to edit and share
- Share templates with individuals or a community, designed to reduce the time needed to create new documents based on your templates
by May 21st, 2013
The IBM Exceptional Web Experience Conference session “Social Web Experiences leveraging the Power of IBM Connections and WebSphere Portal” was delivered by Mac Guidera, Social Business Evangelist, IBM and Jon Brunn, IBM Connection Architect, IBM. The session focused on bringing WebSphere Portal and Connections together in a single cohesive solution leveraging the capabilities of both products to deliver unified customer or employee experience.
The session started with the Forbes “5 Ways Social Media Takes Customer Relationships to the Next Level” to set the stage of why and how social is important.
- Make it easy for people to share a story
- Leverage the social in social media
- Make it about the customer, not the product
- Takes every opportunity to gain feedback
- Breaks through barriers
Today, customers are in the driver’s seat. Connecting with them individually requires a consistent and engaging online experience. Winning customer loyalty requires delivery of meaningful customer self service on the web. Some of the key supporting statistics are:
- 86% quit doing business because of a bad customer experience
- 75% would prefer to use online support but only 37% try self service
- 50% of “How to” questions could be deflected to self service.
by March 30th, 2013
In January, IBM announced an update to IBM Connections. Now called IBM Connections 4.5, the major new feature is the addition of a document library. The document library feature is based on IBM Filenet, and includes the standard features you would expect to see: check-in/out; upload documents; search; the ability to set document types, and more. Since this library is integrated with Connections, you also get the ability to like and follow documents, two key social aspects of Connections.
You can watch the video here from the IBM YouTube Channel to see a demonstration of the document library and other new features of Connections 4.5.
by March 13th, 2013
IBM recently released a Redbook on “Building and Implementing a Social Portal“ As you know, Redbooks are basically technical guides on a variety of subjects. This one was written by eight different IBM’ers and IBM Business Partners.
Why is this of interest you might ask? When IBM released version 8 of Websphere Portal, they solved one thorny problem that has plagued them ever since they released IBM Connections, the two products just didn’t integrate all that well. Yes, you had Connections portlets but all too soon, they took you from your portal into the Connections UI and you lost a lot of context and of course, the UI completely changed. There were plenty of workarounds but those involved significant effort. Version 8 created the concept of a community page that let you fully integrate Connections without having to jump back to the Connections UI.
To help you with the Social Portal aspect, they walk you through what it means, how to install Websphere Portal and IBM Connections correctly, and what it takes to get an existing Connections Community in the portal.
In addition, the Redbook focuses on how IBM Web Content Manager (WCM) can integrate with IBM Connections. Here’s the Summarization from the Social WCM section:
In this section, we consider two main patterns as summarized below and action a workflow action request:
6.1 Publishing content to from WCM to IBM Connections using Social Media Publisher
In the first pattern, we use the Social Media Publisher to publish short article summaries to Connections, with a link back to the WCM content. This tool can also be used to publish to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but we do not cover those cases in this document.
6.2 Sending a WCM Workflow Notification to Connections Activity Streams
In the second pattern, we demonstrate how to use a WCM custom workflow action to post an approval notification to nominated content approvers Connections Activity Streams.
6.3 Action a Workflow Action Request via an Embedded Experience Open Social Gadget
In this sub-section, we discuss how to extend publishing workflow notifications to the a user’s activity stream with the use of OpenSocial Gadgets.
by January 31st, 2013
Miguel Estrada and Nan Shi presented the session Getting the Most Value Out of Metrics in IBM Connections 4 at IBM Connect 2013. Metrics and analytics are critical to understanding your customer, employee and partner behavior and interactions. Some of the key points in the session include:
- Connections provides quantitative and qualitative metrics in Connections. Quantitative metrics are measurements and qualitative metrics are descriptive
- They are presented using charts that provide at a glance views
- Connections metrics supported by IBM Cognos Business Intelligence which is part of the Connections deployment
- Can leverage Cognos BI for further analysis on social behavior
Read the rest of this post »
by January 31st, 2013
Michael Porter (@porteronportal) and Saren Sakurai (@saren) of Perficient spoke at the last day of IBM Connect 2013. The title of the talk is the Social CMO: Engaging the Consumer. The goal of digital marketing is the right message to the right audience at the right time on the right device.
4 primary objectives of social: Awareness, Engagement, Acquisition, and Retention.
Saren talked about how to get your message out you must
- Define a specific target
- Set a specific goal
- Craft the perfect message
People usually engage with brands they already know, whether that’s through having already done business with the company or a recommendation from somebody they know or trust. Saren talked about the Movember campaign for men’s health. Nick Offerman was used in commercials, videos and images as a familiar brand to engage people would already associate him with great mustaches.
Mike offered several tips for IT to support marketing:
- Make content easy to author by providing templates, training, quick turnaround, and reporting
- Support video in your websites
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by January 28th, 2013
IBM has had a cloud based social product in Lotus Live / IBM SmartCloud for Social Business for several years. It’s had problems with lack of integration and lack of feature parity with it’s Connections sibling. I’ve heard multiple times this week that those problems are about to be resolved with a “Cloud First” strategy. That’s why I’m at this session.
- IBM is ranked #1 in Enterprise Social Software by IDC
- Forrester ranks IBM as a leader for online Collaboration Software Vendors
IBM has a number of cloud options ranging from PaaS, to IaaS, to the true SaaS solution like SmartCloud for Social Business.
- 60 SaaS products
- 300,000 trading entities in the cloud
- 6 million users
- Kenexa joined the portfolio as a cloud solution
- Introduced SmartCloud Docs
- Introduced SmartCloud Archiving
IBM strategy is:
- Cloud First
- Mobile always
- Offer multiple choices for installation
What is the value proposition for IBM and how does IBM differentiate itself?
- Keep Private business private. What you put in the cloud is owned by you and no one in IBM can see that data
- You have many choices for public, dedicated, or hybrid
- We allow and even excel in bring your own devices. Great Connections app for example
- Fastest way to make your processes social
- Simplest way to interact beyond the boundaries of your business
- It’s unique guest model lets you share files outside of your company. It’s a two step process and costs nothing with those you share to. Read the rest of this post »