Ok, I admit, this one was a long time in coming but it’s finally here! The next video in my little series on IBM Connections usage questions. This time it’s all about files and especially about the difference between :
Attachments vs Files
Personal vs Community files
I hope it helps explain a little what the difference is between them and how to use each. Good luck!
Sometimes with large updates you miss the little things that make the difference… One I missed with the release of Connections 5.5 was that apparently the indexing on attachments has been added for Activities & Forums now:
in 5.5: “IBM Connections supports the indexing of file attachment content from the Files, Wikis, Library (Enterprise Content Manager files), Activities, and Forums applications. Content from file attachments in Blogs is not searched.” source
Was: “IBM Connections supports the indexing of file attachment content from the Files and Wikis applications. Content from file attachments in Activities, Blogs, and Forums is not searched.” source
For most people probably not a big thing but it means that now at least one will be able to search for content in the documents that were added as attachments to forums and activities. Something that was often causing headaches to users who couldn’t find back information they were sure they had added to IBM Connections.
It’s still wise to train your users to upload files to a community or personal files first and share them from there (as it allows things like locking, version management and commenting) but all in all still a very nice little feature of 5.5 that had slipped under my radar!
With so many solutions touting social capabilities out there and being used for different situations it can be daunting to decide on when to use what and why. Your organization might already have Salesforce, IBM Connections, Sharepoint and solutions like Jira that offer social capabilities but how do you get all these worlds together? The last thing you want after all is to have one department ‘being social’ in one platform and another somewhere else. That completely undermines the whole aspect of cross company collaboration….
but there might be good reasons why they need to use those different platforms. Your sales departments might live and breath in Salesforce and need that direct connection between their Chatter posts and the accounts they pertain to and your developers might scream bloody murder if you take away their JIRA wall. But what if Salesforce and JIRA aren’t being used in the rest of your organization and other solutions are required or used there? Like IBM Connections. How do you prevent a ‘social island’ culture in your collaboration landscape?
Bringing it together
There are several solutions and integration options out there that address the problem of ‘social islands’ and offer integration for a large number of platforms like JIRA, BOX, SharePoint and even Salesforce already. Mostly orientated on pulling information from these platforms into the IBM connections environment or integrating specific parts of IBM Connections into them. But when it comes to integrating IBM connections into the Salesforce environment or two way integration there really was still a lot to win. This is changing as QKOM has been working hard on creating a solution that will allow for deep and seamless integration of Salesforce and IBM Connections.
By allowing the user to connect through OAUTH to use, create, search and post directly and effortlessly from within Salesforce to IBM Connections communities, files, activities and update streams – Salesforce users will be able to collaborate and work in both systems at the same time without having to leave their environment. Keeping other organizational users (or even external partners!) who might not have access to all the info in the Salesforce environment up to date of developments and statuses and utilizing the many great options each system offers. This will save your organization on potentially expensive licenses and allow for a connected yet still also secure and specialized collaborative landscape.
I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with QKOM on this topic discussing further use cases and functional requirements and am excited to see more bridges between the Salesforce & IBM Connections worlds being build. After all, it’s all about finding ways to collaborate!
Please see the following clip for a first glance of what is possible but keep in mind that there is more to come very soon so stay tuned
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:
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?
This 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!
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.