Yesterday I had the pleasure of being able to speak together with my coworker André Krijnen at SharePoint Connect 2014 in Amsterdam. An annual event that with it’s 500 attendees is visited by many from the SharePoint community both in The Netherlands and from abroad. With a broad spectrum of sponsors and lots of great international speakers this event is a definite must go for those interested in SharePoint in the Benelux area.
Although I’ve been speaking at conferences for more then a few years now doing it here, for a SharePoint audience was a first and I hope we managed to struck a chord. Our slide deck is added below.
“SharePoint is the complete solution for collaboration, document management and sharing knowledge across our organisation, and even beyond. It will drive our business!” For the last ten years it was this message IT-departments used to get budget-approval to implement the platform we all know and love (and yes, sometimes hate). The reality is though that lots of companies struggle to get beyond using it as an intranet or document file storage. What happened to our promise to cover not just the ‘sharing’ and ‘storage’ part but really enhance our business processes with specific functionality tailored to the collaborative working? Like HR who needs functionality to support annual reviews, quality control who wants to monitor key performance indicators or the support departments who want to gage customer satisfaction? “No problem!”, most IT departments standard Pavlov reaction to these request was: “we’ll build it …!” But that takes lots of time, money and can cause massive delays which often also begs the question: isn’t there another way? Aren’t we inventing the wheel when others surely have already done so?
Ok, so people who know me might know that I broke my foot last November. I was training for a 15k race (running) and missed a curb…. Stupid, stupid, stupid….
Seven weeks of a cast, a wheelchair and crutches on I was more then ready to restart my live and decided that I had to get back in the swing of exercising. As running still felt a bit daunting so soon after the break and as I had already kind of committed myself to walk the Dander4Dosh I figured it would be the perfect way to force myself into a regular exercise pattern again. And so it did. For the last 5,5 months I have been walking daily. Doing a morning round before work and an evening round after dinner. I even went up to Northern Ireland for a weekend last March to get some elevation training in (The Netherlands is not exactly big on hills you know…).
Dander4 Dosh… So what is it? Well, figure a team of nerds from all over the globe (Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Portugal and USA) who’ve met each other at conferences or through the social media channels. Not particularly well trained (or at least not all), not at all the typical ‘athlete’ type but with a big dose of humor, a spiderman onsie or two (no not me!), enough connected and GPS enabled devices to get us to the nearest pub and a target to get: Walk 5 days to raise as much money for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) as we can!
This isn’t the first Dander4Dosh although it is going to be my first. The team consists of 7 walkers and two lovely volunteers who will most likely have to rescue us and transport us to the nearest pub at the end of the day. ‘Rescue us’ as we unfortunately lost our designated map reader: Eileen, who can’t attend due to work related obligations. The route will take us along the coast line of Wales through picturesque places who’s names I will probably never be able to remember or pronounce correctly and it will be long… very long.
In the run up to this walk there has been some confusion about the total distance we will be walking in 5 days. Somehow someone said it was 85 miles, some thought 92 miles and others said 100 miles. I’m the ostrich type of person so I opted to convince myself it would be the already daunting 85 miles…. Yes you guessed it, it turns out to be the 100 miles (160km). How are we going to do that?!? Well probably with a lot of blisters, aching muscles and some cursing.
You can help! As mentioned above we will be raising money for MSF and to do that we set up a donations page. Every cent donated there is another incentive (and stick behind the door!) for us to walk. So help us out and donate on our Just Giving page. The money will be going directly to MSF and will be well used by this fantastic organisation. In return I promise we will be posting lot’s of updates on twitter (follow #Dander4Dosh) and Facebook and Steve will hopefully use his amazing (and slightly deranged!) writing skills to write a day by day review of it all on the blog afterwards. Reading last years blog about D4D2013 was what got me into it this year and is well worth it if you are interested in the antics of a group of otherwise quite normal IT folks in the wilderness of Scotland.
Plus you have my promise that as I will be armed with a smartphone, ipad and a MiFi -which I hope will have coverage in rural Wales-, there will be lots of ‘Spiderman & consorts meet Wales’ updates!
ps. As we speak a second group of nerds is doing a related fund raising tour driving up to the northern most point of Norway on bikes. Check out the journey of the Dash4Dosh boys here!
To all organizations who think they’ve got it all sorted out so nicely because they have a community manager MANAGE it all…
Calling them ‘manager’ doesn’t mean they can control everything their community does or say unless you actually:
give them managerial rights over their community members (which you can’t if the community is comprised of customers or external parties);
inform them of the things you are doing BEFORE you are doing them instead of just dropping a bombshell and expecting them to manage the fallout;
understand that their role requires them to build a personal relation with their community which means that they are VULNERABLE when you take decisions that affect those community members without communicating them properly.
And to community members out there that seem to think the community manager is there just to help them….
Loving your community manager is great but that doesn’t exempt you from the responsibility to understand that:
your community manager is no philanthropist and needs that pay check their employer sends them every month just as much as you do. It’s not a case of loyalty, it’s a case of simple economics so don’t expect them to take impossible stands against their own employer;
the fact that they are called a ‘manager’ doesn’t mean they actually have any real managerial power or influence within their organization. In fact a community manager is by far the most powerless manager in any organizational tree. Don’t expect them to change the world, just ask them to help you find the right tree to bark up;
you think you are frustrated by how things go…?!? think again and start realizing they are probably too. Work together and don’t just vent. That’ll get a lot more done.
And to all… give them a bit of respect and TLC and realize they are in general doing a really good job of doing the impossible!
In dedication to some pretty awesome community managers out
there and a few in particular.
Yet again Theo Heselmans and team have managed to do the impossible: get an absolutely fantastic line up together for the upcoming BLUG event in Leuven, Belgium on March 21-22.
I’m honered to say my session “Folksonomy versus Taxonomy, Social Document management in IBM Connections” about document management in general and the new integration of libraries in IBM Connections (CCM) in particular was accepted and I look forward to seeing so many from the IBM community in just over a month!
It has been a weird couple of months. As some of you might have noticed I haven’t been as ‘social’ as I used to be. Not that I didn’t want to, but simply because I was too busy. Busy with work and busy with organizing Social Connections IV, the IBM Connections user group event that is going to hit Amsterdam in 2,5 weeks time.
Today was a major milestone as with the 180th registration we hit a magical (and unexpected) record number of participants and the maximum we can accommodate this time. When we started organizing this event 5 months ago we set ourselves an ambitious goal to reach 150 participants. Ambitious as it would be almost 50% more then we had ever had before. With a location like Amsterdam though, with it’s international airport and its transport links to the rest of mainland Europe, we felt it was possible. And it turns out it is. Better yet, we passed it and even had to set a maximum at 180! Which we comfortable reached today.
I’m sure it is going to be fantastic. With 34 speakers delivering a staggering 28 sessions to attendees from all over the globe there is going to be enough to keep everyone interested. From deep-dive technical Cognos to High-level community management to practical ‘this is how we do it’ case studies.
The most important to me though is the fact that being at an event like this offers everyone the opportunity to really connect and interact with each other. Being able to share your Social Business experiences and challenges and hearing how others solve them, that is where for me the biggest benefit of attending any Social Connections event lies.
Organizing this has been a real learning experience for me in so many ways too… As a business consultant I’m not exactly used to haggling with event bureaus, ordering booth stands, attracting sponsors and speakers or designing printed materials but over the last few months I’ve done it all… and with great pleasure. It has been (and still is!) a roller-coaster ride but one I’m really enjoying and one I’m not facing alone. The Social Connections team is an amazing group of people without whom none of this would have been possible!
So heading into the last 2,5 weeks before the actual event I can see the finish line, but we’re not there yet. There are still wrinkles to iron out and last minute items to check but overall I think we’re ready. Ready to hit Amsterdam, ready to start Social connections IV.