Michael's Happenings

Visit to Denmark; Thanks to IntraVision, DanNotes, and IBM Denmark

Today I was in Copenhagen to present the Doing Business with IBM Connections public seminar. The seminar was hosted by IntraVision and DanNotes, and we used the IBM Lyngby facility for the day. I’ve had a great day; there was lots of discussing, exploring, and laughing together.

Here’s the highlights for me:

1. Many of the people in the room already had IBM Connections available in their organizations. Just over half of the delegates represented IT, while the remainder were non-IT (eg., sales and marketing, research and development, internal communications). The vast majority agreed, however, at the challenge of how to explain IBM Connections to the people they work with. This is where my “collaboration scenarios” based approach comes in.

2. We talked through nine of the ten scenarios, plus the need to have up-to-date profiles available. Due to time constraints during the day, we were unable to get to the scenario on Making Decisions. Some of the questions from the delegates were about specific technical approaches in using Connections, and some were about the human behaviors and disciplines required to make each of the scenarios work.

3. It was a big group – much bigger than I normally work with on a public seminar (although I knew this going in). We had 40 people in the room for the day, and divided the room into five tables with about eight people per table (some more, some less). The large nature of the group presented a couple of challenges for me, given how I prefer to facilitate a group. First, I like to have an open introductions session at the beginning of the day, but having 40 participants made this impossible. I instead asked the people at the tables to introduce themselves to the other people sitting at their table, and then I asked for some summary statistics (show of hands) about the composition of the group. Second, I like having an open discussion at the end of each session, but again, with 40 people this would have been too difficult. So I held a brief “open questions” section at the end of each scenario, then asked the groups to talk together about the scenario and its applicability to their work, and then we had a reporting back section with a summary comment from two or three of the tables each time.

4. I tried to use music to call people’s attention back to the big group, but the music seemed to stimulate conversation rather than attentiveness. I had to revert to my whistle a few times.

5. Many people are looking forward to hearing what the next version of Connections has to offer. We know some high level ideas based on the information out of IBM Connect 2014, but it will be mid-next week before we know what is actually coming and when. We had some fun with the possibilities today.

6. A few add-on products to IBM Connections were mentioned during the day – IntraVision’s OnTime (for calendar and meeting management), Trilog Group’s ProjExec for Connections (a project management add-on for Connections), and ISW’s Kudos Boards (for turning Activities from a flat / nested list, into a visual Kanban board). People were also interested to know about third-party add-ons to provide an aggregated view of all ideas across all ideation blogs (or a selection thereof), and a couple of others. On the way to the airport, Lars from IntraVision mentioned DominoPatrol Social and some its capabilities for merging / integrating communities and other data elements across Connections.

It was a great day, and I enjoyed the opportunity to work with the delegates, most of whom were from Denmark, but a couple of whom had flown in from Sweden.

Thanks to the IntraVision team, the DanNotes committee, and the team at IBM who all collaborated to make the day possible.

And thanks to DanNotes for the yellow mug. I’ll drink my coffee from it with great pleasure.