IBM Connections: Default follow on public files is it logical?

At one of my customers a user complained about the fact that every time he opened a publicly shared file it would automatically ‘follow’ that file. This meant that every subsequent ‘like’, change or comment to that file would show up in his timeline. Of course he could ‘unfollow’ the file but found it irritating that it would follow it at all without him making that conscious decision.

After testing and a little digging by our admins it turns out that indeed this is the default behavior for IBM Connections and can be managed by changing a setting in the files-config.xml:

<emailNotification>
    <addOnMediaDownload enabled="true"/>
</emailNotification>

So no big deal but we did have a bit of a discussion as to why this setting is there in the first place and if it is logical. Yes, there is a case to make for auto-follow as that will ensure you keep track of subsequent changes to that file. After all, a publicly shared file that you don’t follow or isn’t in a community that you follow is sometimes hard to track but at the same time it can be quite annoying. In an environment with thousands of users and where public files are shared and mentioned in other sources like the intranet, auto-following a file simply because you opened it once, can cause lots of updates in your activity stream by other people ‘liking’, commenting or editing the file. Information you might not be interested in at all as you only just wanted to read it that once.

To be honest, I think this is one of those settings that can be interpreted either way. The bigger discussion now is do we disable it? This user clearly finds it annoying but what about all those other users? Do they want to auto-follow or not? The setting is org-wide so any change will influence all. You can’t just change the default behavior of a system used by thousands of users without annoying at least some.  I guess this is something that will have to be decided by the the business.

So what do you think: Is auto-follow indeed the logical behavior or not in a Enterprise Social Network and how does your organization handle it?

Re-Thinking mail – Attachment storage in the cloud

2015-05-06_23-42-40This week Microsoft is hosting its big Ignite conference in Chicago and based on comments from some people in my network I was alerted to an intriguing announcement about Microsoft releasing a new integration between outlook and OneDrive by the end of 2015 that would allow attachments to reside in OneDrive and shared and co-authored across recipients both internal as well as external without the need to actually ‘attach’ the actual file in the mail itself.

“Why is this relevant?”

  •  If attachments are stored and referenced from globally accessible cloud storage it saves on data being transfered across networks and cluttering our mail servers.
  • More importantly, it allows for central storage and versioning instead of people blindly sending each other copy upon copy with all the risks of lost changes and incorrect versions
  • Furthermore…. Single point of data means that other great options like online simultaneous co-authoring are possible!

It is in fact the basis of true collaboration and it is something many customers have asked for.

Most enterprise social networking tools and some mail providers already offer or are working on similar features but the main problem has always been “what to do with external recipients?”

This is where Microsoft is trying to make a difference apparently. The idea being that you don’t have to ask yourself whether someone has access to the central storage depository (OneDrive) or not. Based on the recipients email address the system will simply check whether the recipient is a known user, prompt the user to create an account so he or she can then authenticate and open and edit the file.

“Nice, but what if my org doesn’t use OneDrive?”

This is where I actually got a bit excited while watching the recorded session as they recognize this scenario and are actively working on including other cloud storage systems like Dropbox to work with this feature as well. So no vendor lock-in on OneDrive… nice!

I am curious though as to what the larger implications are going to be with this. The main one being data consistency….

Like how do I, as a recipient, ensure that the attachments I receive in this way remain unchanged and available? With attachments received in the old fashioned way the sender would not be able to change my copy of the mail/attachments as it would physically be located in my mail box. With this new way the attachment on the OneDrive location can easily be changed or even removed by the author and/or other recipients. This could cause questions in regards to legal implications and E-Discovery needs.

Overall I think Microsoft has just throw down a serious challenge to the other major players in this market and I look forward to seeing what they are going to do!

Tidbits about this feature from watching the session recording:

  • Automatically suggests to upload large attachments to OneDrive instead of sending as attachments
  • Easy ‘share from OneDrive’ options that will upload and set the correct accessibility settings
  • Previews without downloading (cloud only)
  • Support for non-Office files
  • Real time online co-authoring for MS Office files through O365
  • User can control whether attachments are send as a ‘cloud attachment’ or authentic attachment
  • Works both for on-prem as well as for O365 environments
  • Allows users to connect to multiple cloud storage platforms & accounts
  • Is planned to work with different cloud storage providers. Talks are already underway with DropBox

The session “Rethinking attachments: Collaborating in Outlook with OneDrive” is available online.Watch the session here yourself  (I’m not sure how long this will be up) or check out the sessions detail sheet.

 

Announcement – Starting up a new venture

[dutch translation below]

Ipsamet logoAs of April 2015 I am starting up a new venture under the name of Ipsamet Consulting focusing on business analysis and information management. This won’t change my role within Silverside, where I will continue to work, but I will also be taking on this new and exciting challenge.

I have always been passionate about information, knowledge and enterprise content management. A dynamic area where things are changing rapidly due to the rise of social enterprise networking, big data and analytics. Experience has shown me that organizations need to re-evaluate their processes, incorporate new ways of thinking and change their mindsets on many levels. This can sometimes be a daunting exercise but the rewards are also very exciting! Building bridges between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’, finding solutions for the problems around managing knowledge & information and advising organizations on how to take that next step into the future is where my heart and passions lie.

By starting this new venture I’m creating the space to apply my experience, explore new technical areas, expand my research and to take on projects that will allow me to dive deeper into this exciting and ever-changing area of expertise.

I’m thrilled with this opportunity to explore new areas while also still remaining a part of the incredible Silverside team. The knowledge and experience I will gain in this way will strengthen both my new venture as well as my work for Silverside. The next few months will be an exciting time of sharing and discovery for me as I help develop new projects. It’s an exciting prospect and one I wholeheartedly look forward to!

Do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested in learning more about my plans or if you want to talk about how I can help your business.

 

[DUTCH translation]
Ipsamet logoPer April 2015 ben ik gestart met mijn eigen onderneming Ipsamet Consulting op het gebied van business analyse en informatie management. Mijn betrokkenheid bij Silverside zal inhoudelijk niet veranderen maar wordt wel teruggebracht in capaciteit om hier tijd en ruimte voor te maken. Continue reading

Slides for our IBM ConnectED 2015 session

On Tuesday Jan 27th 2015 my coworker Sasja Beerendonk and I had the privilege to present at IBM ConnectED in Orlando, FL on our favorite topic of Social Business. Below is the session abstract & slide deck for those interested.

BP202: Beyond Theory: Trials and Tribulations in Becoming a Successful Social Business

There are many theories and ideas around “how to become a social business” but what really does or doesn’t work? We wanted to know, and instead of just going blindly with the theory, we did the opposite and interviewed 32 companies in various stages of their journey to becoming a social business. Not just asking them about the big wins, but also talking about the struggles and small successes that really made the difference for them. Taking these experiences and real life examples of companies the likes of Dutch Railways, DAF, Saxion, Forbo Eurocol and Bavaria, and aligning them to the various theoretically relevant concepts, we were able to come up with some interesting concepts. In this session, we will take you through these concepts and theories and, using the examples provided by the companies, show you how these can help you identify the successes and avoid the pitfalls in becoming a social business.

NFL season structure – infographic

Following the infographic I did two weeks ago about Folders vs Tags I decided to do another one on a more light hearted topic this time.

A few years back I got introduced to the NFL. As a non-American this sport had always been completely alien to me with rules that were utterly unintelligible. Thanks to tireless explanations and instructions by some friends however I started to understand and – most importantly – enjoy it and even ended up attended my first ever (virtual) super bowl party.

postit with NFL Season structure explained

One of the important lessons I was given in the run up to that was by my good friend Mitch who explained to me how the NFL was organized and how each season was structured. I still cherish the note I took on a post-it during that conversation and it formed the basis of this infographic. Just a fun experiment and who knows, it might help someone else get a better understanding and love for the game too.

This infographic is also posted to visual.ly and can be viewed or embedded from here

NFL Season structure