IBM Connections Pilot


En kort presentation (på engelska) av pilotinstallation för IBM Connections.

”My name is Magnus Fasth and I work at egbs consulting, an IBM Premier Partner in Sweden. This is a short presentation of what one needs to understand to proceed with a pilot installation of IBM Connections.

The first thing we need to understand is “Why are we doing this”. We’re doing this to increase efficiency. One way of doing this is to share the problems we have and to discuss the possible solutions. This is a collaborative system for sharing your daily work, making the workday more social. This involves everything from simple status updates to project management within an interconnected social eco-system.

In practice we need to connect to the mail system by getting catalogue data by read-only access to LDAP or AD. We don’t advice using the name of the product (IBM Connection) since that will automatically decrease adaptation and that’s why we also need a good name for the system.

In order to measure the success of the pilot we need to set up a dashboard where we can evaluate various measures, both to get quantitative measures for success and also to do relevant follow-up in user adoption during the pilot. This makes it possible to give the right support on individual level during the pilot. This is complemented with interviews for the evaluation report.

One thing that is very important to understand is that we are introducing a system with a We-focus. When introducing new thing, such as the smart-phone, there is a Me-focus, making it very easy to get user adoption since it immediately solves my problems. With a We-focus we have a much greater difficulty ahead of us and that’s why it’s very important that everybody understands why we are doing this and why this is good for the company.

That’s why we have a strong focus on education and even more focus on the important follow-ups – the Water-cooler sessions – where we take best practice along to a weekly webinars during the pilot. This ensures that we have successful usage for everybody involved in the pilot.

The success factor for the pilot is to keep it simple. Simplicity is the key. Another thing that is also very important is that we want this to spread virally within the company and therefore everything must be easily explainable. When you see a benefit it must be easy to share your experience. Once again, this is yet another reason for the Water-cooler sessions.

There will be different users. Some will test everything and some will be satisfied with a few. That is something that we need to respect since it doesn’t say anything of the success.

These are the competitors that we are up against. We see this as a system that will reduce the number of mails sent, we see it as a system that reduces the need for extensive meetings. Another thing that we want to get away from is “silo-search”. Today you most likely have to search several systems in order to find the information you’re looking for. Making the information more social in ONE system will dramatically increase the chance of finding what you are looking with less effort.

The process changes that we would like to see during the pilot is the willingness to have fewer meetings. I think everybody will find out how much faster response we can have going from the paradigm of point-to-point-communication and instead doing it in a collaborative way. We will also see that this is a very much more including dialogue and that we will get opinions and views that we otherwise would have missed.

What we would like to document is good examples from your organization. How can we re-use the work already done by co-workers, and how can a relevant news-feed change the way we come across new, important information.

One thing we usually explain when we’re speaking about social functions is “Why did Google go G+?” The ways we find information today have changed. Five years ago search and search engines were the key to find what you were looking for. Today, almost everybody have some kind of newsfeed that serves them with new information. That’s what we want to create internally as well, to complement enterprise search with relevant information served by your network of co-workers. Google saw this as a big risk competing with their core-business and that’s why they introduced the complementary social functions. You should as well.

Steven Johnson has written a book about “Where good ideas come from”. He talks about hunches – the half idea. It’s when this hunch collides with another hunch that’s when innovation happens. The newsfeed will help your hunches find others to collide with. Just like talking to somebody by the water-cooler, this is a way to get influenced by people you normally don’t work with but whose ideas can give you the inspiration do find new solutions. For the company this will be a way to foster innovation.

If we look at the obstacles, these can be categorized into three groups.

  • How do we get people to engage?
  • How do we change the culture from “I’m valued for what I know too I’m valued for what I share”
  • How do we get management support?

In practice, in order to overcome these obstacles we need to identify the social actives and have them engaged. They will then lead the change.

Another way to engage people and to get management support is to explain the indirect advantages of working in a new co-operative way. Let me give a quick example: A presentation at a meeting will only last for that meeting, writing it down in a shared post will build a very important knowledge-base. This is a direct advantage. The indirect advantages when writing the post is that it will force me to describe things in an understandable way, this is an excellent learning process. This is something that increases the quality of work not only for the readers but also for me.

To encourage usage it’s important to put the spotlight on the good examples. In this case, focus on the followers – the people who use the knowledge created by others to be more effective.

Since we know what is happening in the platform we will be able to priorities resources to ensure the project success.

When we measure success, this is what it will typically look like. The majority of users will most likely be spectators. 20 % of the users are normally very active, 30 % contributes sometimes and the rest will just learn and observe. To measure success we should be able to beat these figures. That’s what we get with good coaching.

Another important thing is to assure that everyone involved understands why we are doing this change. As part of that we will also find the good internal examples that can be used for the roll-out of the full project.

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En kommentar om: “IBM Connections Pilot

  1. Good presentation. The real challenge is probably the change from a me to a We-focus. How many are ready (dare) to change perspective?


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