Browsing articles in "Blog Posts"

TeamPoint – now a LotusLive application

May 13, 2011   //   by Stuart McIntyre   //   Blog Posts  //  No Comments

As part of the Sping release, IBM has added integration with yet another third-party application, Teampoint.

Heres what Teampoint does:

Teampoint app logoTeamPoint makes the management of your policies and procedures easier than ever. TeamPoint tracks and manages the creation of your controlled documents, helping you remain compliant with employment law, health and safety regulations and standards such as ISO 9001.

TeamPoint also allows you to capture an employee’s acceptance of key policies and procedures and automatically provides a “Starter Pack” for new employees based on their location in your organization. Integrated with LotusLive collaboration tools, now you can share your documents through LotusLive while still controlling versions and access through TeamPoint.

This application works with LotusLive Engage and Connections and requires a subscription of TeamPoint.

This video explains this well:

LotusLive client for Android hits the market place

May 12, 2011   //   by Stuart McIntyre   //   Blog Posts  //  No Comments

Just launched:

MobileLive Android client for IBM’s LotusLive cloud collaboration services.

Rich client version of IBM’s LotusLive, the enterprise cloud based collaboration service. Gives you offline access to your Contacts, Activities, Communities, as well as Sametime instant messaging. Requires an existing LotusLive subscription or active trial account.



Developed by Madibasoft and costing $9.99, this looks a great addition to the ISV offerings around LotusLive.

Hopefully an iOS port will follow soon.

LotusLive gains 99 new features in the new Spring release

May 11, 2011   //   by Stuart McIntyre   //   Blog Posts  //  No Comments

As of last Sunday we have a new release inside LotusLive Engage. A release that both Erik and Stuart have been testing as LotusLive Design Partners for a couple of weeks.

To make clear what has changed, we have used the functionality inside LotusLive Charts which creates different charts based on data/spreadsheet:


Communities

As you can see from the graphs, most of the big changes have taken place in Communities, where new functionality has been added from the on-premise version of IBM Connections.

Changes are
       -        Ability to add Sub-communities (one-level deep)
       -        Not only adding files but also adding folders to communities
       -        Adding (guest) users to communities from within the community (even with CSV input file)
       -        Forum, adding several forums discussions to one community, and move Topics from one Forum to a different discussion if the discussion should take place there.

In my opinion these changes help to make LotusLive Engage the most integrated Social Collaboration solution out there on a SaaS platform. And with the guest feature it is for free for most users also.


Change represented in TagCloud

Here’s the new view:


Administration

We also have seen good changes for the LotusLive company administrators:

       -        Ability for administrators to create and enable announcements on the home screen

       -        Addition of a new role “User Account Assistant”

       -        Directory Options have been extended so that the administrator has the possibility to make profile info of (individual) user visible or not.


Dashboard

Changes in the dashboard are primarily UI changes, meaning less clicks for the end user.  There is now a clear difference between LotusLive Apps and Integrated Apps from 3parties.


Files

Inside the file section we have seen mostly UI changes. Collections become Folders, and now you need less clicks to do the job (again this is from IBM Connections).  Beside UI changes we see that share folders/files externally has got more attention.


IM

The back-end has moved to Sametime 8.5. This is very good news given the extra features we have in Sametime 8.5.


Meeting

The full functionality inside LL Meetings has now become available inside LotusLive Engage Meetings. This means Audiocast and Record functionality has become available inside LotusLive Engage. Very good news ! This means you can record the whole presentation (including audio via conference call number) in a .wmv or .mov file

There is also an extra security option before you start a meeting, see description below:


Integrated Apps

A new integrated App has been introduced, Teampoint.


Performance

Just before this Spring release we also received significant increases in performance, see also the LotusLive Wiki for more information.

In summary, this is a substantial upgrade of most of the features within LotusLive Engage.  Impressive.

Availablogging – Chicago 27th/28th May 2011

May 4, 2011   //   by Stuart McIntyre   //   Blog Posts  //  No Comments

As part of a whistlestop tour that takes in UKLUG, a customer conference in Florida and visiting a favourite customer in Minnesota, I’ll be in Chicago for 3 days at the end of May .

Currently I have a window in my schedule for Friday May 27th during the afternoon and evening and during the day on Saturday May 28th.

If you would like me to visit your organisation to discuss Social Business, IBM Connections, Lotus Quickr or to assist with user adoption strategies then please get in touch – I’d love to get the chance to meet with you and offer assistance.  If you’d like to meet up socially during the Friday evening then that would be great too!

Chicago is one of my favourite cities, so I’m looking forward to being in town…

IBM gets the need for short memorable URLs (finally!)

May 3, 2011   //   by Stuart McIntyre   //   Blog Posts  //  No Comments

A message from the lovely Joyce Davis:

If only we could have shortened the time it took to actually accomplish this…


http://learn.lotus.com => Learn Lotus
http://wiki.lotus.com => Wikis listing page
http://doc.lotus.com => Documentation listing page
http://m.lotus.com => Mobile wiki

As someone that has been hammering on about shorter Lotus URLs for a while (sorry!), I am really really pleased that Joyce and Amanda have managed to navigate the red tape and get this done.  Well done – it’s much appreciated!

Are there other IBM/Lotus pages/sites that you would like to get shortened using lotus.com URLs?  If so, add them as comments here.  We’re on a roll!

So here’s why some of the Lotus products are losing their branding

Apr 21, 2011   //   by Stuart McIntyre   //   Blog Posts  //  No Comments

Loyal readers of this blog will know I respect the analyst James Governor of Redmonk – I’ve quoted James a number of times as well as hosting him on This Week in Lotus 41.  James is a champion of the application developer (the ‘new Kingmakers’) and has a close relationship with IBM.

In a recent post, he discusses his takeaways from IBM’s IMPACT conference (the Information Management version of Lotusphere), getting to the question of IBM Software re-branding:

Finally- something that struck me clearly at Impact when thinking about its expanding portfolio is that IBM now blue washing it’s own products. Bluewashing is the term that IBM uses to describe the process whereby it absorbs an acquisition, getting its products ready to market as an IBM product.

Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Software Solutions Group, explained to me over cocktails that the rules were pretty simple. If a product contains elements from more than one IBM brand then it’s a “solution” and as such will be branded as an IBM, rather than a “legacy brand” product.

So now we’re seeing IBM corporate bluewashing of products previously branded as Websphere, Lotus or DB2. This repackaging makes sense, but also may orphan some practioners.

We are, of course, seeing this already with products like Forms, WCM and now Connections losing their ‘Lotus’ brand.  We’re also seeing a focus on solutions branding such as ‘Social Business’, ‘Exceptional Web Experience’ and ‘Exceptional Work Experience’ for campaigns and marketing.

So, what do Mike Rhodin’s comments add to the mix?  That products containing elements from more than one brand will use the IBM brand only…

It kinda makes sense – to play on the strength of the IBM Software Group portfolio as a whole, to remove the sometimes-artificial barriers between the brands, to make it easier for customers and partners to focus on solutions rather than products and so on.

However, there are some real issues too.  Not least that practically every single product that is part of the Lotus portfolio contains multiple brands under the covers, e.g.:

  • Lotus Sametime – meeting services based on WAS
  • Lotus Quickr – half the product based on Portal/WAS
  • Lotus Domino – contains rights to use Tivoli Directory Integrator

and so on.  So actually, very few products should retain their original branding, if this rule is accurate.

More problematically, the entire IBM Salesforce, Partner/Distribution organisation and Education/Certification regimes are still set up to focus on the old brands.  I am sure that IBM is working on this, but until a significant portion of this backend infrastructure is transitioned, it is hard to see the renamed products being properly treated as generic IBM Solutions.  Also, as James points out in a small comment that covers a significant impact, ‘This repackaging makes sense, but also may orphan some practioners.‘  In other words, a lot of those individuals and organisations that identify themselves with the ‘legacy’ brands (including Lotus, but also Tivoli etc) could be alienated or left behind by the brand changes.

For me, the biggest issue is that as far as I see, organisations still buy products from people.  Solutions are what gets conversations started and business budgets committed (such as wanting the business to use social to drive customer experience, or improving a web presence to be more ‘exceptional’), but once the solution has been framed, products are used to build it and they are procured from people that the organisation trust.

Just as I know of no IT Manager that has yet googled ‘exceptional web experience’ or even ‘social business’ when they have been looking for a new collaboration solution, I don’t see these product renames as being significant, unless IBM finds a way to improve the awareness and reach of IBM Software and the renamed products into the marketplace.  To me that means building the IBM Software brand – if we are losing these long-time and powerful (sometimes in the wrong sense I know) brands such as Lotus and Tivoli, we need IBM Software to take their place.  Simply IBM is not enough – many organisations I speak to have no perception of IBM as a software company.  Software just gets lost amongst the mass of servers, hardware and services.  Ask normal folks what Google and Microsoft (or Jive and Socialtext) do and you’ll get a answer – IBM doesn’t have that straightforward proposition right now.  A standalone IBM Software branding would help that.

The ‘people’ element is interesting too.  IBM has a long-time reputation being almost addicted to shifting personnel around the organisation (IBM = I’ve Been Moved). Customers and partners have always struggled to keep tabs on who in the 400,000 employee organisation they should be dealing with.   In some ways the smaller legacy software brands helped to reduce the impact of this – IBMers tended to have a loyalty to their brand and hence stick around for longer than they might have done otherwise.  Also the branding on roles and responsibilities meant that it was easier to find the right person to build and maintain relationships with.  I have a major concern that once all the smaller brands have gone that we will all be dealing with IBM SWG as a whole – that is a big organisation even in smaller countries such as the UK.  If personnel continue to be moved at the normal pace, that can only have a negative impact on those relationships that are so important to the success of the products.

So in summary, IBM needs to brand and ADVERTISE the IBM Software products.  It also needs to create an internal organisation structure than makes dealing with IBM Software as easy as a customer could deal with a standalone software vendor.

Can I see IBM doing this?  Not so sure right now.  It seems that the old brands are being dropped for a vague feeling that it is the right thing to do, rather than with the decisive and focused plan to launch something better.  I hope I am proved wrong in the long term…  

Another IBM product loses its ’Lotus’ name – IBM Web Content Manager

Mar 29, 2011   //   by Stuart McIntyre   //   Blog Posts  //  No Comments

The Web Content Management product that IBM acquired when they bought Aptrix back in July 2003 has had somewhat of a chequered history…

Originally it was a Domino-based product, then was converted to run on WebSphere and J2EE as well (to fit within the Workplace portfolio), then the Domino version was dropped.

It has been called:

Lotus Workplace Web Content Management (2003)
IBM Workplace Web Content Management 2.5, Standard Edition (2005)
IBM Lotus Web Content Management (2008 and 2010)

It’s been bundled with Portal (in WebSphere Portal Express), included in Accelerators and shipped standalone, considered a major part of the IBM/Lotus portfolio (thinking back to Lotusphere 2007) on occasion, and hardly mentioned at other times…

The fact is that WCM is a good product.  It is robust and flexible, works great for very large sites and supports an almost infinite number of publishing workflows.  Sure, it isn’t as easy to use and manage as something like Drupal or WordPress, but you do gain a huge amount of power for that complexity.

Why do I mention this now?  As of yesterday, WCM gains a new name once again:

IBM Web Content Manager 7.0

I stand by my view that WCM is a good product that is not well known, often misunderstood and occasionally unfairly maligned.  

If IBM could just get the naming consistent and focus on marketing it as a solution, then it would do well.  Sound familiar?

Well here’s a surprise arrival… IBM brings Domino apps to the cloud!

Mar 29, 2011   //   by Stuart McIntyre   //   Blog Posts  //  No Comments

This is terrific news for all those that want to be able to utilise their portfolios of Domino applications but also to embrace the economic and availability advantages of shifting to the cloud:

IBM Lotus Domino Utility Server for LotusLive, a new cloud-focused licensing model, simplifies the discussion and buying decision for deploying Lotus Domino collaborative applications in the cloud and moving end users to IBM’s best-in-class, cloud-based messaging for the enterprise, LotusLive Notes. Many organizations today want to manage infrastructure through streamlined, predictable costs with pervasive connectivity, high availability, and flexible deployment options.

Based on the same model as the Domino Utility Server, this new license allows you, as LotusLive Notes subscribers, to use the included Notes client for access to Notes/Domino applications. That means that instead of paying per-user software subscription to continue to use Notes/Domino applications, regardless of client/browser access method, you can now switch to a server-only based licensing model. Instead of paying for everyone in an organization to continue to use those applications, you can pay for anyone in the organization to use those applications. You are able to more easily evaluate and value your Domino applications in a separate context from the commodity and cost-focused decisions around messaging, and yet retain all the benefit of existing and future investment in building applications on Domino.

Many organizations have wanted to separate the mail and applications discussion. This new approach recognizes that trend and addresses it for businesses moving to the cloud.

I know that some partners (such as Connectria, Applicable and GBS) have had ‘App in the Cloud’ offerings for a while, but I think it is vital to the long-term future of the Domino development community (in-house developers, consultants and ISVs) that IBM supports this model through attractive and easy-to-apply licensing and hosting models.  This announcement seems to deliver on this:

The Domino Utility Server for LotusLive model is available in the IBM Cloud and Amazon models, in addition to on-premises deployments if you are moving or considering a move to the cloud. Special pricing is planned so you can trade up from Domino Enterprise Servers, in conjunction with deployments of LotusLive Notes (or LotusLive Notes and LotusLive Engage).

In addition to the full-featured, enterprise-ready email, calendaring, and contact management services, which are accessible via a web browser or Lotus Notes client, LotusLive Notes customers now have a clear path forward for moving collaborative Domino applications to the cloud, as well.

The Domino Utility Server for LotusLive licensing model:

  • Supplies a simple path for customers moving to the cloud
  • Lowers the barrier for customers wanting to move their Domino applications into a cloud model
  • Includes access to both LotusLive Notes services and Domino applications – via a web browser or Notes client
  • May be utilized with other “pay as you go” offerings through IBM Cloud, Amazon EC2, or business partners providing Domino application hosting services

My comments:

  1. This is, of course, a first step toward delivery of support for Domino apps in the cloud.  I am sure that there will be hiccups and hurdles along the way, there always are when new licensing models are delivered.  However, I really do want to applaud Ed Brill and the team for getting this out there.
  2. In the past, some elements of the Utility Server model have attracted criticism for being too expensive, particularly for smaller customers.  Given that the Lotuslive cloud-based offerings are so appropriate for SMBs and startups, I hope that the pricing is attractive this time.
  3. I note that this offering is still Processor Value Unit-based.  I know that this is IBM SWG’s chosen method for pricing server-based offerings.  However, I have some concerns about its validity for cloud-solutions.
  4. IBM is building an impressive portfolio of LotusLive solutions now, even when compared directly against competitors such as Google and Microsoft.  However, awareness and marketing of the Lotuslive portfolio still lags a very long way behind.  I’d love to see this rectified to give these great solutions the ‘air cover’ they deserve.

’If we teach students the way that we taught them yesterday, we rob them of tomorrow’

Mar 21, 2011   //   by Stuart McIntyre   //   Blog Posts  //  No Comments

Fascinating documentary from PBS Teachers.

Digital Media – New Learners Of The 21st Century: Featuring the foremost thought leaders, innovators and practitioners in the field, Digital Media is a startling preview of a 21st Century education revolution.

As a home-educator (or more accurately, husband of a home-educator), I for sure agree that a traditional classroom environment is not a great learning environment, particularly for boys.  

This movie suggests that use of digital and social media (including gaming) is the way forward.  I absolutely believe it has a strong part of play in 21st Century learning, however I would argue that there are still huge benefits for more classical education techniques (literature, grammar etc) as long as they are tailored for the child’s needs and allowing the learning to be self-directed…

Atlassian Confluence 3.5 Released: Stronger JIRA Integration

Mar 18, 2011   //   by Stuart McIntyre   //   Blog Posts  //  No Comments

As an Atlassian partner, we are hugely excited about the new release of Confluence which has just been released.

Have you ever wanted to create JIRA issues from the Confluence Editor? What about being able to quickly insert recently viewed issues to generate ad-hoc reports in Confluence? Well, thanks to Confluence 3.5, now you can!  A new ‘Insert JIRA Issue’ dialog lets you create new issues, insert recently viewed issues, and search for existing issues to embed in Confluence pages.

Check out the short video below to see the features in action and keep reading for more information.

This is only scratching the surface of Confluence 3.5 – there are many, many more new features.

Confluence 3.5 - learn more

Confluence and JIRA Tie the Knot!
Hooray for less application switching! Shipped in Confluence 3.5 and JIRA 4.3, Application Links makes it a whole lot easier to connect JIRA and Confluence instances. What do you get when you connect the two? A new ‘Insert JIRA Issues’ dialog in the Confluence editor that let’s users insert ‘recently viewed’ JIRA issues, create new issues, or search for existing issues using ‘Quick Search’ or JIRA Query Language (JQL).

When a JIRA issue is inserted onto a Confluence page, key details such as the ‘Issue Type’, ‘Key’, ‘Summary’, and ‘Status’ are displayed. All inserted issues are dynamically updated. For example, if an issue’s status is changed from ‘Open’ to ‘Resolved’ in JIRA, the change will be reflected in Confluence. It’s never been easier to generate ad-hoc reports on the status of your JIRA issues.

With Confluence 3.5 you can transform rich content, like specifications and requirements, into actionable JIRA issues, without leaving Confluence.

Confluence 3.5 - learn more

(We’ve covered other features of the new release in previous posts…)

We’ll be urging our existing Confluence customers to get upgraded to 3.5 ASAP.  If you’d like to know more about Atlassian, the Confluence product or upgrading to the 3.5 release, please get in touch

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About the Blog

Authored by Stuart McIntyre and Rooven Pakkiri, this is the corporate blog for Collaboration Matters covering the topics of Collaboration and Social Business.

However, unlike most corporate blogs, we won't pull any punches or slip into dull company speak, we aim to tell it as it is and to demonstrate true thought-leadership in this space.

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