Sunday, February 20, 2011

Experience with Lotus Connections

My reply to David Wharton of Blue Man Group when he asked if anyone has experience with Lotus Connections:

David, hi. I love Blue Man shows! Full disclosure here, I'm an IBM employee. That said, I'm brand new to IBM and I'll give you my impressions as an employee who's been using it for 15 days. I hope my enthusiasm doesn't come across as a sales pitch. It is genuine, I assure you!

In short, its an amazing tool that has given me an Exceptional Work Experience as I've used it to quickly get up to speed working in a world-wide team. It has provided me with a wealth of information, all in context of Activities and Communities that the team has created for specific projects (Activities for projects which sunset, Communities for ongoing work) or in context of Profiles people have established. Not only can I quickly go to a Profile and see the entire collection of what that person has contributed, I can search all of the Blogs, Bookmarks, Wikis, Profile pages, Communities, Activities, Forums and Profile pages of all users, with a single search, and quickly locate information, in Context, and by Contributor. Since my team uses Profile Status Updates daily to share information, solutions, and solicit ideas on problems, I have the benefit of all of that information to search historically, or view in real-time. I can think of several examples where I posted a question on someone's Profile Page, only to have it answered instantly by another co-worker, in another time zone, who I would have never known to ask. New employees coming in behind me will have the benefit of all of this information too.

The most impressive part of Connections (to me) are the Analytic tools. The Analytic tools “Do You Know”, “Things in Common,” and “Who Connects
Us” are widgets that give me insight into others I should be following in the system.

Planning and analysis of the business processes you'd like to improve are important too. For example using IBM Lotus Connections, you could establish an Activity (or even a Template for this Activity if you do it very often) for starting a show in a new venue. This may be a business process you'd wish to examine to understand the "Current State" of how schedules, tasks, and files are managed today. You could then create new "Future state" process flow and give people in the organization training on how to use the new tools to maximize return on effort. For example, instead of emailing the contracts, technical specifications, and graphics, and other items needed for the new show, the staff could now upload and share these files within the Activity. I'm confident just the ability to retain and organize this type of information would be beneficial for the team doing the work as well as teams with follow-on efforts.

I'll stop here and provide you with a couple of links and things to look at.

A reviewer's guide for IBM Lotus Connections 3.0 is located here:

You can "test drive" IBM Lotus Connections in the Greenhouse. This is a demonstration area where IBM has all of its social products fully functional and on display for customers to kick the tires. If you sign-up for an account and log-in, you can navigate straight into a fully functioning Connections 3.0 site by selecting Products -> IBM Connections Home Page from the black menu-bar at the top of the screen. Please see if you can find my profile and "Add me to your network". Another really good person to add to your network is Luis Benitez:

Speaking of Luis, he has a blog. I found a wealth of information related to Connections, Integration with Microsoft desktop tools, and other IBM products by following his blog:

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Lotus Connections 3 Demonstration

This is a great video that demonstrates IBM Lotus Connections 3.0