Category: Opinions & Reflections

busy weeks! Zurich & Stuttgart

It has been a busy month all over but the last two weeks have been extremely busy. Both with a major project at a customer going live this weekend as well as with two conferences last week and this week. I had a great day on October 28th at the IBM Client center for SNoUG the Swiss Notes User Group and congratulate the SNoUG team on their effort of setting up a fantastic event. I really enjoyed it and found the sessions, connections I made and information I got from the sponsor booths extremely helpful.

I also want to give a big thanks to the team, speakers, sponsors and attendees of Social Connections in Stuttgart who helped make that a great event. After having left the SOCCNX team at the end of SOCCNX 5 due to work pressures and missing the last three events it felt like a warm bath to join the team back for SOCCNX 9. Organizing an event like that with 270 attendees, 65+ speakers and 22 sponsors in a remote location (ok for me) like Stuttgart always is a big challenge but I think we can say it was a big success and completely in line with all the other Social Connections events!

Below I’ve attached the slide decks I used for my presentations both at SNoUG in Zurich on October 28th 2015 and the one in Stuttgart for Social Connections. As the last one was only a short (15min) one the slide deck for that one is significantly shorter than the first one. Enjoy!


Social Connections 9:

Slidedecks – ICONUK

Bringing your IBM Connections files to the user – desktop integration

As someone whit a special interest in both document management and social business anything that touches the both of them and improves the user experience of file management is of special interest to me.
Today was a great day for me in that respect as I got to see/try out some really good new features that help user work with their files in IBM Connections.

IBM Desktop & MS Office Connectors

IBM Connections as a platform is often host to many files. Files can be stored in communities, personal files, folders and / or CCM libraries. An important factor with these files is that users need to be able to work with them quickly and directly and therefore IBM offers not just the browser interface but also a desktop connector and MS Office add-in ribbons so users can access and edit their files directly from within their productivity tools.

MSWordRibbon_IBMDesktopConnectorThese connectors and the mobile apps are a great asset to any IBM Connections installation and help intertwine the IBM Connections environment with every level of the users day-to-day work. Unfortunately there were still a few points in which this was lacking though… With the release of version 15.7 of the Connectors that came out last week most of these have now been resolved:

1). It is now possible to store files from MS Office directly to the IBM Connections environment. Either by clicking on the “Files” or “Communities” icons in the IBM Connections ribbons while in the document or by using the “Save as” option under the [File] menu:

MSWordSaveAs_IBMDesktopConnectorUntil now you had to store the file locally first before you could upload it to IBM Connections as the system would not allow you to store a ‘new’ document directly to it. People who work with files a lot will probably recognize this and I for one am really happy with the fact that this is now resolved!

2). The second big improvement is the fact that it is now possible to store files not just to the community files section but to specific libraries & library folders within those communities as well:MSWordSaveAsDialog_IBMDesktopConnector

A seemingly simple thing but something that wasn’t possible in the previous release and  that will make live a lot easier for those of us working with libraries a lot.

3). Which brings us to the last big change with this latest version of the desktop connector: the fact that the system will now – on close of a document stored in the IBM Connections environment – prompt you to publish it to the environment. Before this update the document was stored in a local folder and the user would have to open the tray icon to upload/publish it, with the new version that is all handled directly and intuitively right at the moment of closing the file. Which means users are less likely to forget and which is a lot simpler.


File Jockey 2.0

Apart from the IBM Connections connectors there is however also another great product that can help you deliver a seamless integration between your IBM Connections environment and the users other applications: File Jockey. As a WebDav tool File Jockey already allows the bulk syncing of IBM Connections data to mobile devices but with version 2.0 that is about to be released it is now also possible to map a network drive to IBM Connections. Why is this relevant? Well, because it allows you to access your IBM Connections files & communities as if it was an ordinary network drive on both Mac as well as Windows and in doing so making it available for not just the MS Office suite applications but any application that needs to access and store files in the IBM Connections environment. Simply by using the [open] and [save as] options.


This might seem obvious but is something that is currently not possible outside of the MS Office suite. File Jockey therefore really opens up the file management experience to other applications like MS Visio, Project management tools, Acrobat reader, AutoCAD and even simple applications like Wordpad and Notepad. All in all a neat little addition to the IBM Connections experience!

 But…. which one should I use?

A good question…. There are a few things to keep in mind:

Cost/maintenance: The IBM Connectors are included with the product and therefore free whereas File Jockey is a third party product and might require you to purchase licenses and perform an install (although I understand that hosting is possible).

Application integration: File Jockey allows you to access your IBM Connections environment through the [Open]  and [Save as]  dialogs in any application that allows access to mapped network drives whereas the IBM Connectors only allow this type of access for the MS Office suite. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways to store files to IBM Connections from other applications but they usually require extra steps for the user.

Additional features: The IBM Connectors offer far more options then the File Jockey integrations. Where File Jockey really only offers access to the files, the IBM connectors offer additional options like Check-in/Check-out, viewing of the versions and storing content to wiki’s, activities and blogs as well. There level of integration is deeper but therefore also limited to the MS Office suite applications.

On prem/Cloud?: Both connectors work with on prem as well as cloud.

The beauty is that you do not need to make a choice but can use both. So instead of seeing the two as competitors I would strongly advise organizations who want to stimulate their users to utilize their IBM Connections environment for file management to look at implementing both.


All in all these new connectors really offer great new options for users to work with their IBM Connections files and are worth checking out. With these and the rumors around upcoming changes in file/folder management in the new release of IBM Connections I can’t wait to see where IBM will be taking IBM Connections file management from here!

  •  The IBM Connectors are available and can be tried out here
  • A description of File Jockey and an instruction on how to try it out against the Smartcloud environment can be found here. No account on Smartcloud? Try it on Greenhouse instead


Folders versus Tags – Infographic

For a while now I’ve been working on various posts on the topic of “Folders versus Tags” and why there is no such comparison really… This is a topic that is often hotly debated among people involved with social business and definitely close to my heart. The problem is, none of those posts ever saw the daylight as they became too long, too complicated and simply said: boring. There is a lot to say about this topic but most of all a lot of explaining. therefore I tried something different. I hope this infographic will help explain some of the specifics of each of the options and why comparing them isn’t always possible. Have fun!

Click on the image to see a full version preview

Folders versus tagging

Why? – Why not

Sometimes something inspires you, hits you or just speaks to you. Today I saw this fragment on a Dutch tv show and it hit a nerve.

I’m not in science but I am in IT and I still get asked sometimes “why?”. I’ve never really paused at that question, I knew when I started that I was an exception in a sea of men (my then company employed 160 male and only 4 female IT consultants) but I never felt inhibited or held back in any way to become or do what I wanted. The ‘why?’ that I’ve been asked hundreds of times never really bothered me.

Until last week. And weirdly enough it wasn’t even about my work in IT when it did.

Apart from working in IT I also like LEGO. As a kid we had LEGO but I was always told it was my brothers’, so I could only play with it if we played with it together. problem was, we didn’t really play well together so I never got to play much with it and as opportunity dwindled I eventually forgot about it. After all, It was a boy thing.

30 years on and hearing from more then a few people (mostly men) in my circle who still loved building with LEGO I finally got over my own inhibitions and bought my own LEGO set. I loved it!

Showing a picture of my latest set (model of the Mini Cooper) to a coworker who also likes building with LEGO (yes, it’s an IT thing, nerds seem to love LEGO) he quizzically looked at me and stated “you really do love it don’t you?”, and then it hit me.

Even though we are the same age, spend roughly the same amount of money on LEGO and have been talking about LEGO for a while now, the fact that I’m a girl somehow still makes it an oddity for me to enjoy it. And although I’m certain he didn’t consciously mean anything with it I suddenly felt 10 again and being told: “Why do you want to play with LEGO? Isn’t that more something for boys?”. It made me aware of how much some cultural concepts creep into perception and into our culture and how even a simple question can make you question yourself when it is asked often enough.

This speech is not about LEGO, it’s not even about IT but it is about the power of cultural concepts and how those influence us in who we become.

The next time you ask someone “why?”, perhaps ask yourself “Why not?” first.


 note: The reference that started the response in the video above is in relation to a controversial statement made by former Harvard president L. Summers in which he suggests genetics play a role in why women are under represented in science.