Two very interesting new partnerships in the IBM Connections space

Firstly, two extremely well-respected IBM ISVs are forming a strategic alliance:

Infoware-logo-plain-trans-BlackSpecialists from all over the world are preparing themselves for Social Connections 10 – the core event for the IBM Connections community. So did Infoware and panagenda, both sponsors at the event, and formed a strategic alliance to jointly market both parties solutions.

panagenda-Logo_2000x676The solutions Infoware DomainPatrol Social for content and user management and panagenda ConnectionsExpert for monitoring, adoption and analytics complement each other perfectly.

I’ve been a strong advocate for Infoware‘s Domain Patrol Social product for a number of years,infoware1feeling that it fills a much-needed hole in a Connections community manager’s toolkit – managing communities, profiles and files in a way that the product itself does not allow.

ConnectionsExpert-LogoI have also heard great things about panagenda‘s upcoming ConnectionsExpert product, which is about to be launched at Social Connections 10. This will offer metrics, analytics, realtime monitoring and adoption measurement all in one package. Given Panagenda’s network of partners and their own strong consultancy team (including Femke and Christoph), this is sure to do well.

As the press releases state, these products should prove to be highly complementary, and knowing the two organisations as I do, I think they’ll work tremendously well together.

Secondly, a social collaboration company that I’ve followed for a very long time, nooQ, is now partnering with IBM on adding visualisation features to IBM solutions, including IBM Connections:

nooqlogoWe are excited to announce we have entered into a partnership with IBM.

Since we won product awards at Socialnow we have been speaking to IBM on working together. The next logical step for that was to apply for IBM partnership status, which has been approved.

nooQ will work with IBM their customers using IBM Connections to apply our intelligent, machine learning algorithms and visualisation to sit on top of existing IBM Connections data.

There are a lot of features in the IBM product that are not in nooQ such as blogs and wiki’s but now IBM customers will have the added benefit of an alternative interface to surface personalised content. They will be able to use our volume controls to filter and display visually what is important to them.

We will be focussing on IBM’s next generation Social Business products such as IBM Connections and also excited to see what powerful combinations we can complement and improve including their other next generation social business products with machine learning such as IBM Verse, IBM Watson, and Toscana.

I watched nooQ’s presentation at Social Now and it was fascinating to see the response from the audience in terms of being wowed by the potential of their solution, and could almost hear the cogs whirring in terms of the potential for the visualisation techniques and insight to be layered on top of other collaboration platforms – including Connections and Jive.  It’s impressive to see that IBM and nooQ have moved so quickly, and I look forward to hearing more about the partnership and roadmap.

soccnx_logo_900x250Both alliances will be in action next week at Social Connections 10 in Toronto, so if you have the opportunity to attend, you really should! There are still tickets available so register ASAP!

Asus Zenbook 3 Announcement

No Steve Jobs…

Or even Tim Cook…

Sometimes it takes a really poor performance and presentation style (from ASUS CEO Jerry Shen in this case) to see the excellence elsewhere:

However, even looking past the presentation itself, I find the Zenbook 3 announcement to be fascinating.

You can’t deny it’s a good looking machine, nor that shoehorning an i7 into a <12mm thick notebook is impressive, but if announcing your new flagship model as simply a thinner Macbook clone with a faster CPU, then what does that say about the innovation and vision of ASUS itself?

New Start

Fostering Community

Those that know me well will recognise that I have three true passions and priorities in my life:-

  1. My family – my wife and four beautiful children
  2. My work – helping individuals, teams and organisations become more productive through the use of online communities
  3. Providing a home to foster children – for the past three years we’ve provided short-term placements to individual children and sibling groups

So when it came time to revisit number 2 on that list, it made sense to bring in a little of 1 and 3…

Leaving Jive

After a whirlwind and very enjoyable 15 months working for Jive Software, my full-time employment concludes in the next couple of weeks.

I have loved working with so many fantastic colleagues in Jive EMEA and further afield, and never before have I had the opportunity to consult for so many fantastic customers in such a short period of time.  With over 25 major projects in just over a year, it has been a phenomenal opportunity to influence the program strategy at well-known organisations that rely on their internal and external communities to support and transform their businesses.

It is my hope and expectation that I will continue to work with Jive going forward – directly, via partners or with customers. Despite the change in circumstances, I will be delighted to keep a positive working relationship with such a great team, plus my admiration for the products has only grown in the time that I’ve had more time to focus on the features they offer.

However, I never envisaged working as an FTE for too long – I’ve been in the independent consulting game for too long and enjoyed it too much to leave it behind long-term. So whilst I’m sad to leave Jive’s employment, I am thrilled to start the next chapter…

So what next?

So, it’s time to start a new consulting business. I’ve been here before with Collaboration Matters (2008) and Social 365 (2011), so what has changed since then?

Internal Communities

I still see massive opportunity for revolutionising work within organisations through the use of interactive intranets and enterprise social networks, plus the application of wider changes currently being considered under the banner of ‘the future of work’.

My involvement with colleagues in the incredible Change Agents Worldwide network only re-emphasise that whilst we’ve come a long way in terms of reinventing and transforming organisations towards openness and transparency (becoming ‘teal’ organisations if you like…), there is still a way to go in so many of the businesses that I interact with.

Many organisations still do not have access to platforms that properly support connecting, communicating and collaborating amongst individuals, teams and communities, and too many of those that do are still only partially-committed to shifting away from traditional M&E (meetings&email) practices towards fully open workstyles.

Given the current marketplace, I anticipate continuing to spend the majority of my time focused on enabling and facilitating corporate clients to accelerate their transformation in this area.

However, over the past few years there are a couple of areas where I’ve felt a deeper and more powerful surge of change occurring, and therefore see a greater opportunity for my input…

External Communities

Whether for customer support, peer-to-peer assistance, product marketing or partner management (or typically some combination of all of these use cases and more), it feels as though an increasing volume of organisations are seeing the need for building vibrant, passionate, collaborative communities outside of their own structures and corporate boundaries.

These types of communities are not new of course, we’ve been discussing ‘extranets’ and the like for at least a decade or more. And yet, the technology available is less mature than on the inside (though products like Jive-x, Lithium’s online community platform and IBM’s Connections Cloud and Digital Experience are improving fast) [note]I plan to work with Jive and IBM technologies going forward, plus potentially others in the future.[/note], but more significantly, the best practices and strategic approach are some way behind. Complexities such as multi-lingual landing pages, content segregation/curation where supply or specifications are controlled by region, efficient SEO, and spam-eradication are challenges that are rarely an issue on internal platforms, yet can make or break an external community.

My analysis is that fewer than 1% of organisations have effective external communities today, and thus the opportunities for both new launches and improvement of existing communities are significant.

Social Communities (outside of traditional corporate structures)

I mentioned both family and fostering at the top of this post, and here’s the reason…

Foster Carers

Whilst I have utmost respect for local government institutions and fostering/adoption agencies – they do incredible work under tough conditions and tight financial restrictions – they are hardly paragons of technological excellence!

What we’ve seen through a number of years of working with both official agencies and those that work or volunteer on their behalf is that there is a massive and unanswered need for secure yet accessible online communities. Security and privacy are incredibly important – these are very confidential matters that are being discussed – and yet the needs for connection, communication and collaboration are probably more important than in any other form of organisation.  After all, these are folks that are effectively working 24/7 in stressful and emotionally-demanding roles dealing with crises on a daily basis in many cases. Whilst much of the discussion amongst these groups takes place on Facebook and Twitter today, the communication resides on ‘secure’ email, and the collaboration typically takes place face-to-face, if at all. Given the confidentiality concerns, there is no way this can all be moved to a public social platform.

For these reasons, I see huge need for revolution in terms of how these kinds of public service communities operate, and yet neither enterprise vendors nor public networks are really providing an adequate solution today.  I plan to take this on as a significant goal for the new business.[note]I’d include user groups and other independent bodies in this category too – there are few platforms that really suit this requirement today.[/note]

Launching the new company

Fostering Community screenshotHence the name we’ve chosen… Fostering Community.

Whether internal, external or public service, I want to see communities launched, develop, mature and deliver value to their members, and I’m throwing all my efforts into making that happen for my clients and my peers.

If you’d like my assistance with a project you have planned, or just a spark of an idea for a community that you’d like to bring into reality, please do get in touch.

Modern jive sketch

Time to learn a new dance…

I love my job.

Seriously. I know that’s a cliché, but honestly, I love what I do.

Since early 2008 when I started Collaboration Matters (which morphed into Social 365 back in 2012), I’ve been privileged to have the opportunity to consult for some of the most insightful and forward-looking organisations around the globe.  7 straight years of helping companies improve the productivity of their workforces through using social technologies; working with not-for-profit agencies developing online communities (the real meaning of ‘social enterprise’); assisting 600-year old publishing houses to develop internal communications strategies that will take them forward into the next decade or more.

With these projects and many many more besides, I have been lucky enough to have almost constant work to take on, plenty of challenges to get my teeth into, and to be blunt, to continue to put food on my family’s table.  That’s not to mention the opportunity to blog, to podcast and even to start a user group that has now met in 8 different countries over the past 4 years.

From Collaboration to Enterprise2.0, through Social Business and ESNs, then onto Working Out Loud and Digital Transformation, the terminology may have changed in those 7 years, but here in 2015 I believe even more strongly in the value of these technologies and approaches to make a real impact on working practices and to help change organisational culture for the better.

I love doing my own thing, feeling as though there are no boundaries to what can be achieved through my own energy, drive and commitment.

So all that said… I’m giving it up.

Jive Software logoI am delighted to announce that later this month I will be joining Jive Software as a Senior Strategy Consultant in their Customer Success organisation.

If you’d have asked me 6 months ago whether I’d give up my company to go permanent again, I’d have said ‘no way!’, at least not for the foreseeable future.

However, there have been a few nudges along the way that have convinced me that this is the right next step in my career…

Firstly, at one of my most recent engagements, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to review and analyse more than 30 different platforms in order to create a short list for their procurement process, and then to take those solutions through to final selection.  There is no doubt in my mind (both objectively and subjectively) that Jiven emerged as by far the strongest offering in this marketplace.  Whilst the analysts might squabble about the final order of their leaders, they unanimously view Jive Software as one of the strongest and most focused vendors in this space. My own personal experience in past customer engagements, and again during this selection process, leave me with no doubt that this is almost certainly the most rounded offering out there, and if there are any weaknesses at all, that Jive Software are driven to resolve them at the first opportunity. In addition, rather than having one offering to fit all organisational scenarios,  I love Jive’s approach of having packaged solutions for internal and external communities, plus their focus on different work types and on new solutions for those organisations that need lighter and more mobile-driven apps.

Secondly, I’ve been hugely impressed by everyone I have met in the months since I was first approached.  Every single individual has been focused, insightful, passionate about their roles and hugely pumped up about the future of the company.  One review of the organisation on GlassDoor said the following:

Jive has flipped the typical corporate ratio of top performers to mediocre performers on its head. At most companies 90% of the workforce has middle of the road performance with 10% being top performers. Jive is just the opposite. 90% of the staff are top performers and 10% are middle of the road. This is truly the most competent and highly skilled group of colleagues I have ever worked with. It makes it a pleasure to come to work.

I’ve been honoured to work with some fantastically talented colleagues over the years, but I am genuinely excited to be joining my new team.

Thirdly, moving to Jive does not undermine the friendships I have built in the wonderfully unique Lotus/ICS community. I consider so many people in the community to be my very best friends in the world, and I will stay in touch with you however and whenever I can. However, this is the right time for me to take a different path, to switch gears, and to embark on a new adventure with an organisation that is 100% focused on making the social collaboration ideal a reality.

So, in summary, you’ll probably have realised that I am really pumped up and excited by this opportunity at Jive. It just feels that the environment, the timing and the role is right.  I have no doubt that I’ll miss some of what I have now, but boy, I can’t wait to see what else is out there!

IBM movements

As Ed Brill moves onwards and upward into a fascinating new role:

Earlier today, it was announced internally at IBM that I have taken on a new role. I am moving into our corporate organization as Vice President, Social Business Transformation. In this position, my team and I are responsible for advancing IBM’s maturity as a social business, and continuing the development of a culture of participation.

Craig Hayman makes a bid for freedom:

eBay has tapped former IBM executive Craig Hayman to lead its eBay Enterprise business. Formerly GSI Commerce, eBay Enterprise develops and runs online shopping sites for brick-and-mortar brands and retailers.

Hayman spent 15 years with IBM, with his most recent work with the computing giant focused on its Industry Cloud Solutions and WebSphere businesses.

Congrats Ed! Craig, we ICS folks barely knew you, but good luck with the new role at eBay.

IBM's IDC Championships

IBM extends championship run in Enterprise Social Software

News from IBM today:

Armonk, NY – 24 Apr 2014: IBM today announced that for the fifth consecutive year, IDC ranked the company number one in worldwide market share for enterprise social software. According to IDC’s analysis of 2013 revenue, the worldwide market for enterprise social software applications grew from $968 million in 2012 to $1,242 million 2013

Impressive run of success for IBM Collaboration Solutions and, specifically, for IBM Connections.

This graphic sums it up rather nicely… 🙂

IBM's IDC Championships

Given the press that other vendors such as Jive, Salesforce and Microsoft get for their Social Business offerings, it’s somewhat surprising that IDC considers IBM to be such the dominant player in this market. One could suggest that IDC is alone in this analysis, but Gartner and Forrester award IBM impressive accolades in their analysis too.

Or perhaps the question should be the other way round… Given IBM’s dominance, why do these other vendors have such a high profile, and are seen to be doing so well?

What do you think?

IBM extends championship run in Enterprise Social Software

News from IBM today:

Armonk, NY – 24 Apr 2014: IBM today announced that for the fifth consecutive year, IDC ranked the company number one in worldwide market share for enterprise social software. According to IDC’s analysis of 2013 revenue, the worldwide market for enterprise social software applications grew from $968 million in 2012 to $1,242 million 2013

Impressive run of success for IBM Collaboration Solutions and, specifically, for IBM Connections.

This graphic sums it up rather nicely… 🙂

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” align=”center” height=”428″ width=”600″][/image_frame]
Prague Skyline

Beautiful European capital city? Check. Great social program? Check. Awesome Social Business conference agenda? Bingo!

Social Connections is back, this time for our sixth major European conference:

Social Connections is headed for the beautiful and historic city of Prague in the Czech Republic! What’s more, we’ll be bigger and better than ever… It will be our first ever two-day event, starting at 12pm on Monday 16th June and concluding our formal agenda at 6pm on Tuesday 17th June. This schedule is designed to allow those short of time to travel in on the Monday morning and out on the Tuesday evening if required. However, if one has more time to spare, then it would be easy to tack on a leisurely weekend stay too. What won’t change is that we’ll be making sure that ‘Social’ is not just a buzzword, but is instead at the heart of all that we do. Once again, we’ll have a very special complementary reception for all attendees (this time on the Monday night), splendid catering, plenty of Czech beer on tap (including the original Budweiser!), speed-sponsoring and much more. The team is planning some exciting new networking opportunities too. However, there will also be some awesome business and technical content too – this is a Social Business conference after all! The extra day means that we’ll have a series of fantastic keynotes and main tent sessions on the Monday afternoon, and then a full day’s multi-track agenda on Tuesday – featuring at least three rooms/tracks for business, technical and case study sessions. As usual, we want to keep the content varied and the energy high, so most sessions will be 30 minutes in length giving plenty of opportunity for great speakers to enthral you with their knowledge, passion and expertise.

That’s right, the event is headed for the Czech Republic this June, and to the wonderful city of Prague. It is sure to be a very special couple of days.

Prague Skyline
Prague Skyline

A few comments to add to the official announcement:

  • This is genuinely a ‘Social Business’ event.  Whilst our core focus has been on IBM Connections in the past, the widening of IBM’s vision in this area to cover other products and solutions (SmartCloud for Social Business, Domino/XPages, Social Business Toolkit, Exceptional Digital Experience, Kenexa etc) has meant that we definitely welcome sessions and attendees across all these areas.
  • This is an independent conference (though we are also very thankful for ongoing support from IBM) and hence we have licence to take a more rounded view on the sessions, discussions and topics that are covered that you would see at an IBM event.  We are therefore inviting session abstracts that cover integration with solutions with other vendors’ products, take a vendor-agnostic view of the Social Business landscape (that means you, analysts and authors!) or focus on the human side of Social Business (cultural change, personal productivity etc) as well as the technical.
  • That said, the agenda will feature an entire track of technical sessions – both on development and administration aspects.  One of the joys of Social Connections has always been the high-energy mix of 30-minute sessions, and this event will be no different.  We promise that you’ll have the opportunity to geek out in Prague!
  • We are getting really excited in advance of announcing our keynote speaker – it’s someone we’ve wanted to get to Social Connections for a few events now… Look out for more details very soon!

So, what are you waiting for?  Two days in a fabulous European city in the balmy long days of summer, a stellar location, packed and varied agenda, and free admission! What’s not to like?! 🙂 Can’t wait to see you in Prague!


IBM Connections 4.5 IFR2 – Ephox Edit!Live now bundled


As announced at IBM Connect 2014, all IBM Connections customers on active maintenance are now entitled to use Ephox Edit!Live as their default editor throughout the IBM Connections platform.

IBM Connections product manager, Luis Benitez, has an overview:

Today, we are announcing our first delivery for 2014: IBM Connections 4.5 IFR2. This release provides an entitlement change to allow all of our IBM Connections 4.5+ customers to use an advanced rich text editor.

This advanced editor streamlines content creation allowing users to focus on creating and sharing content and not on formatting.  This in turn accelerates adoption and usage across the enterprise. The new advanced rich text editor adds several features such as:

  • High fidelity copy/paste from Microsoft Word or a web browser
  • Inline spell checking as-you-type, with alternatives and synonyms
  • Embedding of social media links
  • Track changes and commenting
  • Hyperlink checking
  • Content templates
  • and more…

Here’s a quick demo so you can see it in action:

Many IBM Connections specialists will have already deployed the Ephox Editor in customer environments at least in pilot – it has been available as a standalone license for over a year now. However, the bundling of this entitlement for every organisation using the platform is a really big deal. Connections can be a significant purchase in its own right, so asking customers to then purchase an additional licence to allow fully functional rich text editing was a tricky sale. Now that IBM have licensed Edit!Live on customers’ behalf, that obstacle goes away.

I’ve seen a great response from users to this new functionality, so I definitely recommend that all organisations deploy it even just for evaluation purposes.

An IBM webcast you must not miss!

“From Liking to Leading”: Transforming Your Business with a Next Generation Platform for Social Business
Event Date: 03/13/2013 11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

A comprehensive platform for social business can deliver business value and help you beat the competition. Join us and see first-hand the latest collaboration technology advances and adoption techniques. You will learn:

  • how a complete social business platform can best position you to unleash creativity and create a more effective and engaged workforce. 
  • what you should consider when looking for a social business platform 
  • why thinking early and often about adoption can speed the time-to-value

Hear from Jeff Schick, IBM Vice President of Social Software, and from speakers from organizations just like yours. They will share how social integration has transformed their organizations for competitive advantage. Learn how Microsoft customers in particular can make their existing environments even more social.

Whether you’re a business leader looking to transform your front office, a CIO looking to build a social platform to support organizational growth, an existing IBM customer, or even a Microsoft customer, you cannot afford to miss this exciting and informative broadcast.

Jeff Schick, Vice President, Social Software, IBM
R. “Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO, Constellation Research, Inc.

More >

Think announcements.  Think IBM Notes and Domino 9.0, IBM Connections 4.5, IBM Connections Content Manager and more…  

You need to be on the call!

‘IBM plans to expand the IBM Connections supported server platforms to include support of IBM i’

Interesting announcement of enhancements to System i 7.1, including:

However, this line way down the document could make the biggest splash of all:

IBM plans to expand the IBM Connections supported server platforms to include support of IBM i.

No idea on dates yet, but this is big news for all System i customers.


IBM plans to provide IBM i native support for Lotus Notes® Traveler on IBM i 6.1, 7.1, and later. With the IBM i native support, IBM i users would be able to deploy Lotus Notes Traveler server on IBM i to keep a consolidated and simplified environment.

This is fantastic – Domino, Sametime and now Traveler and Connections on the System i platform.  Choice for customers and great performance and reliability for end users.

Kudos to Steve Pitcher for helping to make this happen.  I know Sharon is going to be very very excited!

Thrilled about this… Kudos Analytics!

As you should be aware by now, Collaboration Matters is a reseller of Kudos Badges.  We’ve recommended it and implemented it at some very large (and very small) Connections customers over the past year, and it is a fantastic tool for enhancing user adoption within the Social Business platform.

When Adam Brown (of Kudos Badges developers, ISW) and I met during Autumn 2012, one of the concepts we discussed most passionately is the knowledge that developing Kudos Badges has given his organisation.  Knowledge about the use of Connections within organisations, the speed of adoption, barriers to use, the demands of internal communications departments and Connections Champions and most importantly, the way in which Connections itself has been architected at the application and database level.  As I told Adam at the time, I don’t believe that anyone else outside of IBM development now better understands how the Connections database tables are linked and updated.

So, where has that got ISW?  Today, Adam announced Kudos Analytics:

We have found that most users of Connections really just want some light weight reporting that is easy to access and install. Kudos Analytics takes about 10 minutes to install and get started. This is just the first step and we are planning on adding Kudos Analytics capabilities for individual Communities so Community Managers can see what is happening in their realm. We would also love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what else is needed so come visit us at IBM Connect pedestal C49!!

The new Cognos integration within IBM Connections 4.0 is amazingly powerful, but it is also a chunk of technology that needs to be deployed, managed and customised to get the most from it.  For larger customers it is absolutely the tool they need to get metrics and trends from Connections deployments.

However, for smaller organisations or for those without deep Cognos or BI knowledge or skills, Kudos Analytics could be exactly what is required.  Take a look at the video above and make sure you meet with ISW at IBM Connect 2013 if you attending.  If not, then get in touch with either ISW or Collaboration Matters and we’ll be delighted to take you through this great new solution.

IBM Connections 4.0 announced

At a glance

IBM Connections V4.0 is designed to help you:

  • Track the activity of your network and respond more quickly using the embedded experience within the activity stream.
  • Bring external applications and content into the activity stream to respond in context, saving time and reducing context switching.
  • Track and respond to the activities of community members using the community-centric activity stream and embedded experience.
  • Quickly bring content from external sites and related communities into your community for faster response and better customer service.
  • Develop insights into community adoption and usage with new standard and customizable metrics and graphical reports.
  • Receive relevant recommendations on people and content using social analytics that now also utilize status updates and microblogging content.
  • Use hashtags to follow important topics and “Like” updates with a single click.
  • Schedule team events and incorporate into a personal calendar using a new community calendar.

More >

The GA code will be available on Friday 7th September from Passport Advantage and PartnerWorld.

There will be much more to come on this new release now that embargos and NDAs are being lifted.

To say I’m excited about having the 4.0 GA code in my grubby little paws is a massive understatement. Many fun days ahead!

Upgrading to Mountain Lion?

If you’re thinking of upgrading your Mac to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, here are a few tips:

  • Read Jon Siracusa’s incredible 24 page review of the new release
  • Check that your Mac is compatible
  • Check that your key apps are compatible
  • If you run VMWare Fusion, get the Tech Preview
  • If you run Skype, get the very latest version
  • Remember that none of the IBM products is yet supported on Mountain Lion!  Lotus Notes 8.5.x has some issues, not least because the new OS X Notes application shares the name  Check Alan Hamilton’s post for a workaround.
  • If you have an alternative, don’t upgrade your primary machine first!
  • Make a copy of the ‘Install Mountain Lion’ application outside your Applications folder before installing (you can then copy this on to other machines instead of re-downloading)
  • Do not upgrade on the day you record a weekly podcast 😉

As a member of the Apple Developer Program I’ve been running the betas of Mountain Lion for the past few months and have had very few issues. I love Notification Centre and the new Messages apps.  Definitely evolution rather than revolution, but worth upgrading all the same.  At $19.99 for all your Macs, you really can’t go wrong!

And another one bites the dust… Acqhires are not good for users.

So many recent acquisitions (or so called acqhires) have lead to the effective death of great third party solutions.

Here’s the latest:

We’re excited to let you know that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!

You can view our public announcement here, but I wanted to reach out directly to make sure you were aware of the news.

We will continue to make available our existing products, and we will provide support and critical updates to our users. However, as we’ll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.

It’s been an honor and a pleasure to build products for all of our wonderful users who have supported us over the years. We can’t thank you enough.

We look forward to working on some new and exciting projects at Google!

I adore the Sparrow email clients, especially the Mac OS X version.  However, I’m guessing that Google wants to get the iOS one off the table, and to get the very talented working on messaging clients for Android. Very disappointed indeed.

IBM Connections 4.0. About to go public…

News from the IBM Greenhouse:

We are targeting our upgrade to Connections 4.0 Beta for Thursday July 26th. Connections will be down for the entire day while we upgrade and test the new environment.

Less than a week away!  As many of you will be aware, upgrading the Greenhouse install of Connections is one of the most significant public steps that takes place as an IBM Connections release nears GA.  The wraps are thrown off and everyone gets to try the code themselves first-hand.

With well publicised enhancements such as the embedded experience, share box, Connections Mail (aka ‘Social Mail’), community activity streams and a brand new UI, this is a massive release for the Connections product.  Where 3.0.x saw Connections hit maturity as a social platform in my eyes, 4.0 will see it really leap forward in terms of the impact on enterprise users – it can definitely become the centrepiece in an organisation’s messaging and collaboration infrastructure.

These are exciting times…  Make sure you check out Connections 4.0 in the Greenhouse this time next week!


The community now has a hashtag for IBM Connections

Niklas Heidloff and the team at OpenNTF recently raised the question of which hashtag should be used for IBM Connections development-related posts and tweets.

It’s a very fair question, after all having an agreed common hashtag that is used on relevant posts makes it much easier for advocates and newcomers alike to find and follow Connections-related content.  Given that IBM is pushing Connections as a development platform of the future, it is crucial that the community makes Connections as open and prominent for developers as we possibly can.

Therefore, I asked the question on Twitter, Skype and LinkedIn over the past 7-10 days, captured a number of suggestions, and opened a vote.  The results are now in:

Results from the IBM Connections hashtag survey on LinkedIn
Results from the IBM Connections hashtag survey on LinkedIn

So, the community has spoken…  #ibmcnx and #ibmcnxdev have been chosen!

Let’s see them being used! 😉

IBM tidies Collaboration Solutions product line

One in a while IBM takes a scalpel to the set of products it sells and adjusts the offerings that are marketed to new customers. That’s just part of the cycle of product management…  The changes haven’t been communicated particularly broadly (though they are mentioned on the Greenhouse), so I thought it was worth a blog post.

This month we’ve seen an announcement of the demise of a couple of products, replaced by others in the line. First up, Mashup Center and Lotus Mashups:

Effective on the dates listed below, IBM® will withdraw from marketing, part numbers from the following product releases licensed under the IBM International Program License Agreement:

5724-V06 1.0.0 08/07/12 IBM InfoSphere® MashupHub V1.0.0
5724-V06 1.1.0 08/07/12 IBM InfoSphere MashupHub V1.1.0
5724-V06 2.0.0 08/07/12 IBM InfoSphere MashupHub V2.0.0
5724-U69 1.0.0 08/07/12 IBM Lotus® Mashups V1.0.0
5724-U69 1.1.0 08/07/12 IBM Lotus Mashups V1.1.0
5724-U69 2.0.0 08/07/12 IBM Lotus Mashups V2.0.0
5724-V33 2.0.0 08/07/12 IBM Mashup Center V2.0.0
5724-V33 3.0.0 08/07/12 IBM Mashup Center V3.0.0

Mashup Center is not being directly replaced, but the features and functions within it have been subsumed into WebSphere Portal, and hence customers and partners are recommended to purchase that solution instead. MashupHub is replaced by IBM Web Experience Factory Designer.

Secondly, Lotus Forms Turbo:

Effective on the dates listed below, IBM® will withdraw from marketing, part numbers from the following product release(s) licensed under the IBM International Program License Agreement:

5724-W05 3.5.0 05/08/12 IBM Lotus® Forms Turbo V3.5.0
5724-W05 3.5.1 05/08/12 IBM Lotus Forms Turbo V3.5.1

In this case, the replacement is an almost direct one, with IBM Forms Server, which has always been the more comprehensive offering, albeit at a higher price.

In all cases support for the withdrawn products will continue for a significant period of time, it is just that they won’t be marketed or be available to purchase from IBM. Check the announcement letters for more information.

These changes also see the removal of two more Lotus-branded solutions, leaving just a few remaining, principally Lotus Notes, Domino and Quickr.