Conference Notes

Doing Business with IBM Connections Workshop in Switzerland – hosted by WebGate

Today I presented the Doing Business with IBM Connections workshop in Switzerland, at the invitation of WebGate Consulting. WebGate is an IBM Premier Business Partner active in Switzerland and beyond. There were about 15 people attending the workshop today – that being a mix of participants from end user organizations as well as some of the WebGate consultants. It was a good day, and we flexed throughout the day to manage timing as well as the implications of some of the questions raised.

A couple of highlights for me from today:

1. I have strong preferences for how a workshop room should be laid out. Roman Weber, the CEO of WebGate, showed me the workshop room last night after I flew in, and this morning when I arrived at the offices I shifted the tables and chairs around to make it “work” in terms of layout and flow. It took the best part of 30 minutes to re-lay the room. Roman was very supportive of me doing so, and the room looked quite different / gave off a very different “look, feel, and vibe” to anyone entering the room.

2. In my book Doing Business with IBM Connections (2013) on which the workshop is based, there are a couple of case studies aligned with each of the ten core scenarios. It was a tremendous privilege today to have representatives in the room from a couple of the organizations featured in the book. I really liked being able to tell their stories, and then being able to invite them to fill in the blanks or give some more insights into the use of Connections. Some interesting factoids / implications / downstream outcomes were shared.

3. Numerous participants mentioned the power of approaching IBM Connections from the frame of scenarios rather than features and functions. This new frame is the key idea in the book and workshop, and I was delighted that the approach resonated with so many.

4. As we worked through the scenarios, participants mentioned a number of capabilities they would like to see supported in Connections. One was much more seamless integration between files in IBM Connections and Microsoft Office, so that the process of opening a document in edit mode out of Connections, making changes to it, and putting it back into Connections is much more seamless. Another was much better search in and across Connections, such as an enhanced ability to find the things you put into Connections. A third desire was better image handling in blog posts to support multi-image layout requirements.

5. On a final note, Roman and the WebGate team have been very kind hosts. As one example, my Briggs and Riley suitcase got damaged on the way across from New Zealand, and one of the repair centres is in Zurich. They took it there for me today while I was in the workshop, and I’m getting it back tomorrow repaired and ready for my flights home on Friday evening. What appeared to me to be a logistically challenging impossibility given my schedule, they sorted out. Thank you.

Tomorrow is the second of two workshops with WebGate – my User Adoption Strategies one. At least I won’t have to change the room around in advance; we have the same number of people attending tomorrow, although most of the participants are different from those who attended today.