CGate screenshot

CGATE – an easy-to-use front end for IBM Connections

Interesting release from Swedish ISV, EGBS:

CGATE is a delightful and easy to use front end for IBM Connections. It will be customized to your organization and your employees – no need to adapt your processes to the tool, or for your employees to learn a new vocabulary. The users will get started in no time, leveraging the power of collaboration without the need for extensive training or user adoption programs. All content is stored in IBM Connections, so there is no need for an additional system to manage content. You will discover how CGATE will make collaboration a natural part of the work day – powering your intelligent organization.

Look out for more details next week when I get to experience and review the CGate solution in more detail.

More >

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 CSS issue

Avoiding CSS cache issues in IBM Connections 4.5

Many IBM Connections 4.5 admins may have seen this kind of thing in the past:

IBM Connections CSS issue

Users see the page structure in their browser but with formatting badly mangled.

Often clearing cache and refreshing page, or else just waiting a few minutes and trying again, appears to resolve it.  The issue is browser- and platform-independent, and is very intermittent though appears to be seen most commonly first thing in the morning or after server restarts.  The browser and server logs seemed to indicate that a number of files that should be downloaded to the client could not be accessed.

Seen it?  I had in several environments, but after much diagnosis and the absence of anything more concrete, had put it down to server or network loading.

Well it turns out that there is an inherent caching issue in the Connections 4.5 platform that is causing this issue:

Issue Reported 

Major inconsistencies and distortions seen with the UI on Production. Only a restart of the production servers helped resolve this issue only for them to see a reoccurrence every 2-3 hours. The UI gets distorted at this point and all users are affected.

Root Cause for Situation

The Ajax Framework in Connections caches generated Javascript resources in memory for a duration of 4 hours: The Common application also leverages the application server’s dynacache instance, by declaring in its cachespec.xml that responses of the _js and _style servlets to be cached for 30 minutes.

There is therefore a window of 3 hours 30 minutes in which the application server’s dynacache misses the cached resource, because the 30 minutes cache period elapsed, and requests now hit the application server directly. In these circumstances, if the client sends an If-Modified-Since header that matches the last modified time of the generated resource in the “in-memory cache” (which lasts for another 3 hours and 30 minutes), the Common application responds with a 304 Not Modified and an empty response body. This is fine for the client that issues the request, which reuses the response cached by the browser.

The flip side here is that the 304 Not Modified response is cached by the application server in the dynacache for the next 30 minutes. The application server will serve this stale response to every client that requests the same resource with the same values of components declared in the cachespec.xml.

Ideally, 304 responses should never be cached (by dynacache) which is exactly the opposite of what was observed by the customer. At that point, the only way to clear the application server cache was to restart the Common application which is what was being observed had to be done whenever the customer faced this issue.

Specific Action carried out to Fix 

Apply the custom JVM property, and set it to “304 404 500 502”. This instructs the application server not to cache responses that have one of the response statuses included in the space separated list. Essentially, the 304 responses are not cached. This customer property required an iFix PM54521 on WAS which needed to be back ported to the WAS 7.0.0 FP21 that the customer’s environment had. (SM: this iFix is in WAS 8 and thus is not required in Connections 4.5 environments)

Once this was carried out, this issue has now been fixed and the customer’s production system is stable.

From a more permanent standpoint, below are the approaches considered
1. To have the JVM parameters and the WAS iFix as a part of the IC installer to exclude the 304 response codes
2. Code change to fix failing test of Etag value sent by client as If-None-Match header enclosed in double quotes, compared with Etag not enclosed in double quotes. We suspect that the performance fix (RTC 60458) to enclose Etag headers in double quotes to accommodate Edge server caching introduced was incomplete. When coded, would reduce the possibility to incorrectly generate 304 responses.
3. Understand whether it is safe to not use dynacache to cache responses from Common, and look to handle caching entirely in the application space without relying on dynacache for caching responses.

So just in case that isn’t entirely clear, the fix is as follows:

  • In the ISC, navigate to Application servers > *server* > Process definition > Java Virtual Machine > Custom properties
  • Click ‘New’.  Set Name to be ‘’ and Value to be ‘304 404 500 502’.  Add a description as appropriate. Click OKNew configuration variable for Connections CSS issue
  • Repeat for all your Connections-related servers
  • Save the configuration
  • Resync your nodes
  • Restart the WAS servers

In my experience this has resolved the issue for all environments that have experienced it (there have been 4 or 5 so far), and thus I am setting it for all new installs. It may well be that IBM will take steps to prevent this using one of the methods discussed in the quote above, but for now this is still the best solution we have.

A huge thank you to the brilliant David McCarthy in IBM Dublin for helping us track down this nasty issue!

AppFusions logo

IBM Connections and WordPress

As a strong advocate of IBM Connections and a heavy WordPress user (8 sites and counting), I’m really really pleased to see this new integration from the expert folks at AppFusions:

AppFusions logoFeatures include:

  • Post to Connections Activity Stream when a blog post is published
  • Display Connections Community Card as a WordPress widget
  • WordPress gravatar/profile pic replaced by image from Connections profile
  • Show Connections business card on avatar hover
  • Append Connections business card to the end of blog posts

Here’s some screenshots:

Wordpress Conenctions Biz Card

Connections BizCard in WordPress

Wordpress post in Connections actvivity stream

I’m always been really impressed by AppFusions’ work in the past, particularly in relation to integration on the Atlassian Jira/Confluence platforms and with regard to SugarCRM.  

I can’t wait to get this deployed on one of my demo environments and to start demoing it to customers.  Great work!

IBM Connections Activities: too many nodes

Hit this issue the other day with a customer (and yes, it was a mammoth Activity!)… Here’s the IBM technote (emphasis mine):

In IBM Connections, what is maximum number of entries that can be added to an Activity?


In IBM Connections, it is possible to add content to an activity either in the form of an entry, to-do, section, etc. Internally, each of these types of items is classed as a node.

When trying to add a new entry to a large Activity that already has many such nodes, the user will receive the following error: 

“There were problems saving this form.
CLFRA0784E: Error adding node. This activity has reached the maximum allowed number of nodes.”


The maximum number of nodes that can be created per Activity is set to a hard-coded limit of 2000.  The user receives the above error when this limit has been reached.

The limitation is non-configurable. It was imposed because of the load on the database needed to retrieve the data associated with large Activities. During internal testing, it was found that Activities in excess of this size caused performance and stability issues.

It’s unlikely that you will hit this issue very often, but if you do, it’s good to know what that rather technical error message means…

IBM Sametime logo

The new IBM Sametime widgets for IBM Connections are now available

I posted last week that new Sametime integration had been announced for IBM Connections, in the form of Meetings and Chat Room widgets.  However, at the time they had not yet been released.

Well, good news! They are now available for download from the IBM Collaboration Solutions Catalog:

IBM Sametime logoIBM Sametime Meeting Rooms Widget for IBM Connections:

The Meeting Rooms widget can help a social business activate networks of people to make faster expertise-based decisions, speed up business processes and address customer needs.

The Meeting Rooms Widget links to your existing Sametime Meetings server.

The Meetings Rooms Widget provides the following functionality for Community Members:

  • Create a Meeting Room from the Widget (Community Owners only)
  • View the most active Meeting Rooms in the sidebar widget
  • View the full list of Meeting Rooms associated with the Community
  • Click to open Meeting Rooms in your web browser or Sametime desktop client
  • Sort Meeting Rooms by Meeting Room name, owner name, number of active participants, or most recently accessed
  • Click to manage Meeting Rooms (Community Owners only)

For instructions to install the Meeting Rooms Widget, please see the IBM Sametime wiki article: Meeting Rooms Widget for IBM Connections.

IBM Sametime Chat Rooms Widget for IBM Connections:

For organisations that need advanced collaboration, the Chat Rooms Widget allows you to add persistent Chat Rooms to a Community. Chat Rooms allow Community members to communicate and share information with colleagues online and in real time.

The Chat Rooms Widget links to your existing Sametime Chat Rooms server.

The Chat Rooms Widget provides the following functionality for Community Members:

  • Create a Chat Room from the Widget (Community Owners only)
  • View available Chat Rooms in the sidebar widget
  • Click to open Chat Rooms in your web browser or Sametime desktop client
  • Sort Chat Rooms
  • Display the number of active users in the Chat Room, and the number of lines which are unread by you

For instructions to install the Chat Rooms Widget, please see the IBM Sametime wiki article: Chat Rooms Widget for IBM Connections.

IBM Sametime Video Chat Widget for IBM Connections:

The Video Chat Widget enhances social communications with audio and video features that allow you to see and speak to colleagues.

The Video Chat Widget links to your existing Sametime Meetings server. The widget provides Connections Communities with audio and video capabilities, to allow your Community members to communicate in real-time.

For more information about the Video Chat Widget, please see the IBM Sametime wiki article: Video Chat widget for IBM Connections.

As I commented on Marlon’s Sametime Blog post announcing this, I’d love to see some screenshots of the new widgets in action, however that just provides an incentive to get these widgets downloaded and installed!

They all require a minimum of IBM Sametime 8.5.2 IFR1+.  The Meeting and Chat Rooms widgets require IBM Connections 4.0+, whereas the Video Chat widget will operate against Connections 3.0+.

One of the new features in IBM Connections 4.5 CR3: ‘community re-parenting’

As you may be aware by now, IBM Connections 4.5 Cumulative Refresh 3 (CR3) shipped yesterday.  

Amongst the detail of that fixpack, is a description of the new functions contained within it:

1. Reparenting communities

This function allows an administrator to modify a top-level community to become a subcommunity of another community or modify a subcommunity to become a top-level community.

2. Community activities view

This function provides a view that lists all activities that are part of all the communities that the user belongs to. The view is linked under My Activities left navigation bar. The listed activities do not include public activities, activities that the user tuned out, or activities that have been completed.

3. Badging

This function adds a badge next to the “@ Mentions” and “My Notification” links within the Activity Stream view.

4. Ideation blogs filter APIs

The new APIs provide extra parameters to filter the results by blog type (e.g. blog, ideationblog, and communityblog). There are also new VM methods for displaying most commented and most visited blogs/entries by blog type.

Whilst all all useful in some way to all the organisations I work with, the first is a key features that has been requested for a long time – in fact variations of this request have garnered over 500 votes in the Greenhouse ideation blog.

[line]The ‘Reparenting Communities’ feature allows a Connections administrator (not a user at this stage) to move a community to become a subcommunity of another community, or to move a subcommunity to become a top-level community.  

[box color=”gray”]

This is done using two new wsadmin commands:

  • CommunitiesService.moveSubcommunityToCommunity(“subCommunityUuid”)
  • CommunitiesService.moveCommunityToSubcommunity(“parentCommunityUuid”, “communityToMoveUuid”)
[/box] [line]In the first case, of [mark]moving a sub-community to become a top-level one[/mark], this is the impact.  The new top-level community retains the following characteristics of the original sub-community:

  • Original access level (public, moderated, or restricted)
  • Membership list
  • Community logo (picture), tags, and description
  • Community theme
  • Original start page setting
  • Any existing web addresses (Note: The URL to access this community changes slightly because the parent handle no longer exists.)
[line]In the second case, of [mark]moving a top-level community to become a sub-community of another[/mark], there is a bigger change… 

  • First, the new sub-community with existing web address is cleared – Any “Invited” users on the sub-community that have not accepted or declined the invitation are removed.

The new sub-community retains the following characteristics of the original top-level community:

  • Start page setting.
  • Community logo (picture), tags, and description.
  • Community theme.

Membership relationships between parent and subcommunity are as follows:

  • Community owners in the parent are copied to the new subcommunity as owners.
  • Sub-community members and owners are copied to the new parent as members.

There will be an error generated if the following reparenting actions are attempted:

  • Reparenting a community that has sub-communities.
  • Reparenting a community that is already a sub-community
[line]These restrictions make sense to me – I can’t see how else they could have been managed.  It is a shame that users cannot do this for themselves, but given the complexities of ownership and access, I can see why this is the case.  It is great that us admins now have this ability baked into the released product.

As an aside, it is also worth looking at Domain Patrol Social, a third-party solution that offers a UI for admins that allows reparenting communities and much more besides. I resell the product and would recommend it highly, even with this functionality now in the main product.

IBM Connections 4.5 CR3 released

After a couple of false starts, IBM Connections 4.5 Cumulative Refresh 3 (CR3) has been released on FixCentral for download. is 742 MB in size and is available for all server platforms.

It is a fairly major update, and therefore requires database schema changes.  If CCM is installed then there is a requirement to update FileNet as part of the upgrade.

Here are some useful links:

Installing interim fixes
Update strategy for IBM Connections 4.5
Fix list for IBM Connections 4.5 CR3
Information on updating FileNet 5.2.0 for use with IBM Connection Content Manager (CCM)
Updating the IBM Connections 4.5 databases to the required schema versions for Cumulative Refresh 3 (CR3)
New functions included in IBM Connections 4.5 CR3
Step-by-Step for applying CR2 or CR3 for Connections 4.5 with Connections Content Manager

There is also a mandatory update to the Update Installer, (95MB).

I’ll update you as we get I get this applied on my own systems and at our customers.  Let me know how you get on!

More >

Touchpoint Main

IBM Connections Touchpoint: on-boarding for new users

A new project from the IBM Labs – IBM Connections Touchpoint

The IBM Connections Touchpoint provides an interactive user experience that can be used for a wide variety of end user touchpoint scenarios, such as new user profile creation, community and network contact recommendations, organization polling and more, driving user engagement and increasing the business value of your organization’s social business platform.

Perhaps the best way to describe this is via screenshots:

Here’s the starting point:

Touchpoint Main

The ‘Let’s Get Started’ button leads to creating your profile:

Touchpoint Creating Profile

Add some tags/interests:

Touchpoint Tags

Add some network contacts, including some suggestions from the platform:

Touchpoint Network

Then some key colleagues to follow:

Touchpoint Follow

I particularly like the hover functionality on this page, showing recent content:

Touchpoint Hover

And finally, some communities:

Touchpoint Communities

(Unfortunately on the Greenhouse this isn’t populating right now.)

Then your data is processed and you are redirected to the Connections Homepage Getting Started tab as usual.

I think this is a fantastic idea, and is much needed in the product.  It would be a tremendous link to send to newly added users or to be included in an on-boarding pack handed to new starters.  I also believe that this more friendly UI style is something that could be carried into other areas of the product.

Great work, IBM… Hoping Touchpoint makes it into Connections Next!

Try Touchpoint yourself now (Greenhouse ID needed), and let me know what you think in the comments below!

IBM Sametime logo

IBM Sametime 9 Hot Fix 1 enables additional Connections integration

IBM Sametime logo

A couple of great new features shipped in IBM Sametime 9.0 Hot Fix 1 last week:

What’s New in Hot Fix 1

In Hot Fix 1, the following features were added to Sametime 9 Communicate, Conference, and Complete offerings:

The Chat Rooms widget displays a list of Sametime chat rooms and allows a user to enter a chat room directly from Connections. The Meeting Rooms widget displays a list of Sametime meeting rooms and allows a user to join a meeting directly from Connections.

Aspects of this feature had been available as a limited preview before now, so it is great to see this added to the full GA version of the code.  Here’s some more info:

The Chat Rooms widget provides a direct link from a Connections Community to Sametime Advanced persistent chat rooms. In a chat room, users can participate in a live conversation with other users. The chat room conversation is persisted, and can be viewed or revived at a later time. The Chat Rooms widget provides a list of chat rooms which have been created for the specific Community. Clicking a chat room link redirects the user to that chat room on the Sametime Advanced web user interface. Chat rooms can be created using the widget, which will be directly associated with the Community.


The Meeting Rooms widget integrates Connections Communities and Sametime Meetings. Owners of a Community can create a meeting room, and members of the Community can view a list of available meeting rooms and join those meetings. When creating a meeting room, the widget provides fields to configure the room.

The Chat Rooms widget requires a Sametime Advanced infrastructure, whereas the Meeting Rooms one only needs a Sametime Meetings server.

These features were previewed at IBM Connect 2013.

Both widgets will be available for download from the IBM Collaboration Solutions Catalog soon (they were slated for release before the end of November, but have not appeared yet).

Michael Sampson launches ‘Insights on Connections’

Helping organizations with making collaboration work is the focus of what I do. Earlier this year I wrote and published Doing Business with IBM Connections (2013), a book that explores how IBM Connections can be used to help people in their day-to-day collaborative work. I have been pondering how to keep the ideas flowing with respect to maximizing the value of IBM Connections in organizational life, and have decided to write a regular newsletter to share great ideas. I am reaching out to let you know about the first issue of Insights on Connections.

In the first issue of Insights on Connections, you will find:
– Editorial
– Managing the Profile Lifecycle
– Integrating Calendar Information in Connections
– Recent Updates to IBM Connections
– Success with IBM Connections

I invite you to download your copy of Insights on Connections. It is free, and registration is not required.

More >

I’d recommend that you download issue one now (highlights include useful tips from ISW and Intravision), and sign up for Michael’s newsletter while you’re there.

Social Business Online for iPhone

IBM ‘Social Business Online’ app now available

IBM Connect is just around the corner (I travel on Friday, so better crack on with the packing!), and thoughts turn to sessions, schedules and social events.

After a few false starts this year, IBM has settled on the Social Business Online tool as the official means to view sessions, create a personal schedule and network with other attendees.  A combination of IBM Connections, Sametime and Domino/XPages platforms, it can be reached via the web, mobile browser or using the recently released native app for iOS (iPhone and iPad):

Social Business Online for iPhone Social Business Online for iPad

or Android:

IBM Social Business Online Android IBM Social Business Online Android

I’m fairly impressed with Social Business Online, and would advise all attendees to at least check in once or twice to see the latest content.  I do see this as the last year for this particular site though – I had hoped that the days of the ‘for one week only’ social sites were over.

There is also an exciting community-provided alternative from Mat Newman, Turtle Partnership and others ‘The totally unofficial, totally unsupported IBM Connect 2013 session database‘ (it does need a snappy acronym though!). This is available as a Notes database, mobile UI and now as a native iOS app too.

Either way, there is no excuse for not being properly prepared for IBM Connect.  My advice is to create a detailed schedule of sessions you plan to attend, plus a list of backup sessions should you be running late, the room is full or your first choice is not as engaging as you hoped it would be.

Make your mind up… (Community platforms)

I appreciate the willingness of so many IBMers to be social and collaborate with those outside the organisation.

I love the way that they will go beyond the call of duty and step in to help with issues or discussions. 

I adore that so many are willing to find information and share it privately or publicly via social tools and IBM cloud platforms.


I just wish that there was one network that all IBMers (or at least all ICS staff) used rather than a combination of:

  • Greenhouse
  • Smart Cloud Engage (formerly LotusLive)
  • developerWorks

Connections is an awesome platform when used properly – and that typically means one instance for an entire organisation or community. 

I would love to see IBM pick one platform (my preference would be to use the Connections instance on as the place to collaborate with the ICS community (partners, customers, press, analysts – everyone), make sure it is running the latest, greatest version of Connections, and then stick with it!

Do you agree?  If so, which platform would you pick?  Please leave a comment!

Advertising Social Business

Seen in New York City today:

And the ad itself?

Whatever you think of the idea of destroying your own office (I’m not too sure about the details of the ad myself), wouldn’t it have been encouraging to see IBM Connections (and IBM Social Business as a whole) being advertised in this very public and visible way?

[It is one of my dreams to say ‘IBM Connections’ to just one of my non-technical friends, acquaintances or family and them say ‘yes, I’ve heard of that’…]

IBM introduces the IBM Connections Suite

At the Social Business event in the Netherlands today, IBM announced the new IBM Connections Suite.

The Convergence of Social, Unified Communications, and Content Management

Including IBM Connections, IBM Connections Community document libraries, IBM Sametime Advanced and IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite, this new solution is designed to provide an organisation will all the tools to offer its users a cohesive suite of social collaboration tools.  I’m sure that you will hear more from Luis Benitez and others as the day goes on in terms of details – I know that there are some great video demos to look out for too.

From our perspective, this new bundle provides a single part number for a really cohesive bundle of tools: instant messaging, VoIP, microblogging, communities, social profiles, document libraries, instant polls, forums, media galleries and so on.  When you compare the breadth of the solution with anything from Jive, Socialtext, Microsoft or, it all stacks up tremendously well.  Like for like, there really is no comparison in ‘bang for the buck’.  IBM has done a super job of pulling it all together into one product.

As always though, Social Business is not really about the technology.  It is an enabler to help an organisation and individuals working within it to get to a culture where sharing carries less friction, where information and resources are easier to find and where the organisation is flattened to a point where it becomes about the ‘wirearchy‘ rather than the ‘hierarchy‘…

The Connections Suite will absolutely provide an organisation with the bundle of tools it needs in its’ kit bag.  The next challenge is how to implement them in a way that supports the organisation’s goals and direction.  That’s where IBM’s partners (and internal services team) need to step in, to remove the complexity from this bundle of products, make it into a really cohesive single solution and then to layer ‘the interesting stuff’ (user adoption, customisation, business process alignment, community management etc.) on top.  We can’t wait!

Warning for IBM Connections admins – change that Plugin keyfile password!

If you are running IBM Connections (any version) and have configured your SSL connect between the HTTP Server and WAS by importing the WAS SSL certificate into the Plugin keyfile (versus creating your own keyfile) and haven’t changed the default password, go do so now!

As this IBM technote states, the default password expires on April 26th, 2012:

The password to the plugin-key.kdb file that is shipped with WebSphere Application Server expires on April 26, 2012 US EDT. On distributed this file is placed in the [Plugin_Home]/config/{webservername} directory when a web server plug-in is configured on an installed web server.


If you are using the WebSphere Key and Certificate Management generated plug-in key store you are NOT affected. If, however, you are using the key store installed by default with the Web Server Plug-in for WebSphere Application Server and you have NEVER changed the key store’s password, then you must change the plug-in key store’s password, which removes the pending password expiration, to avoid a security exposure. Generally, as a best practice, IBM recommends you always change passwords from the default value to enhance the security of your system.

In reference to this specific security exposure concern, a majority of users do not reference the affected file at runtime and therefore are not impacted. However, a small minority of users must take action and use certificate management tools to remove the password expiration prior to April 26, 2012 to avoid experiencing this issue.

All the instructions for fixing this issue are contained in the technote, so take a read and make sure you’ve got this covered.

For the record, my advice when configuring a new Connections environment is to create a new keyfile with your own password, create a self-signed certificate or request a certified one from Verisign etc, then to import the certificates into WAS.  This is all detailed in the presentation that Rob Wunderlich and I gave at Lotusphere 2011.

Social Connections III – Registration is open, session abstracts invited!

Social Connections (the IBM Connections user group) is back, returning for its third event.

The IBM Connections User Group

Scheduled for Friday 22nd June 2012 at the IBM Labs in Dublin, this is the best chance you’ll have this year to hear directly from IBM Connections customers, consultants, partners, advocates and developers. Yes, developers too! By the kind invitation of IBM we are going direct to their European development base in Dublin, home to many members of the IBM Connections coding team. We’ll have sessions from IBMers on topics such as customisation, widget development, installation and management of Connections. Given that Connections 4.0 is imminent, you may get a sneak peak of what’s coming up in the future too!

However, this is a User Group rather than an IBM education event, so it won’t just be IBMers speaking. With two tracks (Business and Technical) we’re after the best of the best from around the community to speak at the event. As we’ve had at SocCnx I and II, the event will have a mix of customer case studies, adoption advice, technical show-and-tells, panel Q&As, and a few sessions we just can’t predict right now!

The call for session abstracts is open now, and closes on 30 April 2012, so if you would like to submit an abstract to be considered (for a 30minute session) please register for the event today and submit your idea. We’re particularly keen to hear from those outside the usual ‘bubble’ so if you’ve never spoken at Lotusphere or any of the other LUGs please don’t let that put you off. The Social Connections crowd are a very friendly bunch and we’d love to hear some new voices!  If you have any questions, please contact Sharon or Stuart for more info.

All the details are at, so please head over there to register and to submit an abstract.

You can also join the LinkedIn or Facebook groups, or follow all the news on Twitter (@SocCnx).  Hope to see you on June 22nd!

Connections Desktop Plug-ins for Microsoft Windows now available

The IBM Connections Desktop Plug-ins Microsoft Windows is intended for Microsoft Windows users, adding social networking features and functionality from IBM Connections services, including Activities, Communities, Files, and Profiles.

The IBM Connections Desktop Plug-ins for Microsoft Windows provides the following features from Windows Explorer:

  • Upload files for personal use or to share with others
  • Upload files to a community or attach them to an Activity
  • Share existing Connections files with other users or with a community
  • Drag and drop files from your desktop to Connections Files or to a community
  • View and manage versions of your files
  • Add comments to files or recommend files
  • Edit and publish local drafts to Connections
  • Pin or follow folders and files for easier tracking
  • View business cards for people and invite them to your network
  • Easily access all Connections features via browser links

The IBM Connections Desktop Plug-ins Microsoft Windows supports:

  • IBM Connections
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP3 (32-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit), Windows 7 SP1 (32-bit, 64-bit)

I’ve been looking forward to this plug-in for a very long time, so I’m excited we have it for deployment today.  I know a number of customers that have been holding back on full-scale deployment of Connections until they have native access to Connections Files, so this will make a significant difference.  Hopefully the Mac version won’t be too far behind 😉

IBM Connections Extension option (for Notes/Domino entitlements) now available

When IBM (or rather, I*) announced the entitlements for Notes/Domino 8.5.3 licenses to use Connections Profiles and Files earlier this month, it was clearly stated that there would be an option available for those customers to uplift their entitlements to the full release of IBM Connections.  

This is now available:

The new Connections Extension Authorized User part numbers enable customers to upgrade their existing Connections restricted use rights, obtained through an IBM Lotus Notes or IBM Lotus Domino product, to the full capabilities of Connections.

The entitlement to IBM Connections’ Files and Profiles capabilities, which is included with IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.3, provides an example of when customers might choose to use these new part numbers.

IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.3 provides entitlement to the Files and Profiles applications of IBM Connections 3.0.1 to customers, who have the following licenses:

  • IBM Lotus Domino Enterprise Client Access License
  • IBM Lotus Domino Messaging Client Access License
  • IBM Lotus Domino Collaboration Express License
  • IBM Lotus Domino Messaging Express License

The entitlement, provided with the above licenses, enables customers, as an example, to:

  • Share content with other people.
  • Find the people they need by searching across the organization’s content to identify expertise, current projects, and responsibilities.
  • Stay informed of the latest updates from across their social network.

The new Connections Extension Authorized User part numbers permit customers with the above licenses to expand their existing Connections restricted use rights to the full capabilities of IBM Connections.

Some of the benefits from expanding usage to the full capabilities of Connections include the ability to:

  • Collaborate with a community of professionals using activities, blogs, wikis, forums, and shared files, including rich media files.
  • Expand one’s professional network through social analytics-based recommendations for people to connect with, and communities to join.
  • Access one’s social data while on the go using mobile device support.

The new part numbers are as follows:

IBM Connections Extension From Connections Limited Entitlement

Cnnctns Ext from Cnnctns Ltd Entitlmnt AU Lic + SW S&S 12 Mo


Cnnctns Ext from Cnnctns Ltd Entitlmnt AU Annual SW S&S Rnwl


Cnnctns Ext from Cnnctns Ltd Entitlmnt AU SW S&S Reinstate 12 Mo


The licence plus maintenance list price is less than 60GBP so that makes this a fantastic way for existing Notes/Domino customers to deploy the full Connections suite, and makes the competitive situation against offerings from Socialtext, Jive and Microsoft more straightforward.

I can’t emphasise how excited I am about both the entitlement and the uplift option.  If you are a Notes/Domino customer (or a partner/IBMer that works with organisations that have Notes/Domino) you really do owe it to your users to investigate deploying Connections features into your collaboration environment…

* On the announcement…  Whilst I still believe that my reasons for blogging (and therefore pre-announcing) this entitlement were good ones and based on the best intentions, it is fair to say that in hindsight I regret doing so.  I have never broken an embargo or NDA in my time working with IBM (and other vendors) and do not intend to so in the future.  In this case the information had only been shared publicly (and never privately) by IBM prior to my post so it was a grey area.  However, my decision to post before the main 8.5.3 announcement was at its best misguided, and at its worst very damaging to IBM and other partners.  At Collaboration Matters we take our partnership with IBM very seriously and very much regret this mistake. It won’t happen again…

The compelling returns from IBM Connections in support of social business – five stories

I blogged about this a while ago on the Connections Blog but came across it again today.  It’s still a really interesting whitepaper and doesn’t seem to have been widely circulated:

A social business transforms itself by activating networks of people. Whether through online communities and meetings, team spaces, blogs, wikis, profiles or other social tools, people can explore new ways to build and leverage their networks beyond those dictated by traditional organizational structures or means of communication. Information also becomes more transparent and accessible, opening up new wells of knowledge and expertise. As a result, people can be more efficient in their tasks and more responsive, authentic and familiar in their interactions. In turn, the organization as a whole becomes increasingly nimble, engaged and creative.

The key to implementing social software is to set clear, realistic objectives for your social business initiatives and to embed social tools into existing role-based processes. The end point for your organization includes the following:
•        Enable an effective workforce: Operations, human resources and other departments can increase overall employee productivity and job satisfaction through improved knowledge capture, expertise location, and collaboration. Travel, training and teleconferencing expenses also can be reduced.
•        Accelerate innovation: Product research and development teams can quicken internal idea sharing and discovery, as well as transform how they generate ideas, share strategies and gather feedback from key customers and partners.
•        Deepen customer relationships: With more immediate access to content and expertise, customer service representatives can work more efficiently and provide higher-quality service. Marketing and sales teams can have more time to spend with customers and to dedicate to customer-focused initiatives.

Many organizations, including IBM, that have already begun making the transformation to a social business are reaping the benefits and measuring the returns. As the five stories in this paper clearly demonstrate, strategically integrating new social software and tools into your processes—and shifting your culture to support these changes—can deliver rapid, impressive outcomes.

The five stories include case studies featuring:

  • A leading health insurance network with millions of members and more than 3,000 employees
  • A large global consumer products company with more than 10,000 employees in global research and development (R&D)
  • An electric utility with over 10,000 employees, serving more than 10 million people
  • One of the world’s largest suppliers of building materials, with over 12,000 employees worldwide
  • A training institute for continuing education, with over 100,000 members, whose mission is to help members of the legal pro- fession grow their professional competence and careers

Whilst it would be great to know the identities of these organisations, I know how difficult it is to get formal references like that approved by the lawyers.  This format is a super way to get the case studies out there.

Link: The compelling returns from IBM Connections in support of social business (PDF)

Join today’s webinar – Lotus Connections 3.0 Overview

Heard about Social
Collaboration or Enterprise 2.0 tools

and how they can revolutionise your organisation?

Want to know what all the fuss is about?

Join our Winter 2010/2011 Webinar Series to find out more.

Join us today at 4pm UK/11am ET for the second webinar in our Winter
2010/11 series (registration is required):

Date/Time Description Agenda
14 December 2010
4-5pm GMT
11am-12pm ET
Lotus Connections 3.0 Overview

Please register to attend…

An overview of Lotus Connections 3.0, including:

  • What is it?
  • Why Lotus Connections?
  • What problems does it solve?
  • What’s features are in the product?
  • What’s changed since thre previous version?
  • Who uses it?
  • What does it integrate with?
  • What’s involved in installing it?
  • What are the options (on-premise, cloud, private cloud,
    pilot etc)?
  • How to get started?
  • Q&A

Details of the other sessions are on our site.

Collaboration Matters logo

Want to know more about Social Collaboration? Join our webinar series…

Heard about Social Collaboration or
Enterprise 2.0 tools

and how they can revolutionise your

to know what
all the fuss is about?

Join our Winter 2010/2011 Webinar Series to find out more.

Collaboration Matters logo
Starting on Tuesday
7th December 2010, Collaboration Matters will be hosting weekly
sessions working through a succession of topics aimed at helping you
and your organisation through the buzzwords and hype to reveal the
facts behind Social Collaboration technology.  We’ll be focusing
in on the newly released Lotus Connections 3.0
as a prime example of the tools that can enable your users to share,
collaborate and innovate more effectively, whilst also discussing
some competitive and complimentary solutions
from IBM and
other vendors.

Whilst the series of webinars will slot together to start at a high
level, then to drill down in more detail as the weeks go on, we
understand that everyone lives busy lives and thus the webinars will be
available for download should you miss one or two.  However, the
aim is to provide interactive sessions with opportunities for Q&A,
so you should definitely aim to attend as many of the webinars as you
can.  All the sessions will be delivered by our very own Social
Collaboration specialist Stuart McIntyre, with guest appearances by
some well-known experts in the field.

Applicable logo
sessions will be hosted by Collaboration Matters and our partners at Applicable,
providers of enterprise class Lotus Connections hosting and managed
services, and will be delivered via LotusLive Events.

So, please join us for our first session – registration is required:

Date/Time Description Agenda
7 December 2010
4-5pm GMT
11am-12pm ET
Social Collaboration Overview

Please register to attend…

An overview of Social Collaboration / Enterprise 2.0
technology, including:

  • What is it?
  • What problems does the technology aim to solve?
  • What value/benefits does it bring to an organisation or an
  • What makes a collaborative organisation?
  • Where does one start?
  • Where do Lotus Connections, Lotus Quickr, MS Sharepoint,
    Jive and open source solutions fit in?
  • Q&A
Future sessions:
14 December 2010
4-5pm GMT
11am-12pm ET
Lotus Connections 3.0 Overview
Please register to attend…
An overview of Lotus Connections 3.0, including:

  • What is it?
  • Why Lotus Connections?
  • What problems does it solve?
  • What’s features are in the product?
  • Who uses it?
  • What does it integrate with?
  • What’s involved in installing it?
  • What are the options (on-premise, cloud, private cloud,
  • What are the alternatives?
  • How to get started?
  • Q&A
21 December 2010
4-5pm GMT
11am-12pm ET
Upgrading to Lotus Connections 3.0
Please register to attend…
A more technical session for those already using Lotus
Connections 2.5 or previous versions, including:

  • What’s new in Lotus Connections 3.0?
  • What’s changed?
  • How will the changes affect our installation and
  • What’s involved in upgrading to 3.0?
  • How long will it take?
  • What are the options?
  • What are the gotchas?
  • What about any customisations?
  • How to get started?
  • Q&A
4 January 2011
4-5pm GMT
11am-12pm ET
Lotus Connections 3.0 versus the competition

Registration to follow
Agenda to follow
11 January 2011
4-5pm GMT
11am-12pm ET
Social Collaboration – to Pilot or not to pilot?

Registration to follow
Agenda to follow
18 January 2011
4-5pm GMT
11am-12pm ET
Social Collaboration – Overcoming the objections

Registration to follow
Agenda to follow
25 January 2011
4-5pm GMT
11am-12pm ET
Extending Lotus Connections 3.0

Registration to follow
Agenda to follow

Additional webinars are likely to be added to the schedule as we
progress.  If you have particular topics you’d like us to cover,
please let us know.

Lotus Connections 3.0: a Technical View on What’s New

A couple of months ago, I delivered a session to the NLLUG 2010 conference on what’s new in Lotus Connections 3.0, covering both the new features in the release and the technical details an admin would need to know in order to plan for their deployment or upgrade.

At that time, much of the content was under NDA, and I had to have permission to deliver it to the conference audience from the IBM team and thus I couldn’t share the presentation online.

Given that Connections 3.0 is GA tomorrow and the final release is already on the Greenhouse, I see no reason why it can’t be shared now!

So here we go:

Hope it proves useful.  Of course, if you’d like any assistance with planning for, installing, upgrading, customising or extending Lotus Connections 3.0, please don’t hesitate to contact me.