Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Updated Attachments for Quickr Post

My apologies but in my previous post I had not updated the qpconfig file in simple english.

My flight back I realized my mistake and so now you can get the qpconfig in simple english, not messed up reading spaced properly, spelling mistakes corrected, etc.

Links here as well as other post.

Get the version in .doc or .odt

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #56 - Social Media helps Customer Service

Your pig with lipstick is still a pig.

Just because you have 356 different social media, web 2.0 accounts and services where you post for advertising your brand, doesn't mean your company stands behind you.

In an era of instant on, we also have instant feedback expectations.

So what are you going to do about it?

As an example, I discuss business uses of social media but when I ask about the execution of the services side, usually you hear, of course we expect the best from our people or some other similar line. Now it is all very nice for marketing and the executives to say they want to use all of this, but what about the front lines people? The ones that actually have to see, speak, touch or help real people? How does this help?

The usual complaint is the executives are not on Twitter or use someone/something else to post for them. Who cares about that, why is this any different than a weekly newsletter they don't write?

But the front lines get it, or so you think. What they get is you have opened the flood gates to any site someone wants to join. This is a great thing, but getting the employees to use it for business is hard. They use these programs for their benefit usually and sometimes for business.

As I am writing this at the PACLUG and The View Admin conference in Las Vegas, I pondered what if housekeeping was on Twitter? What about the bartender? Valet?

As it turns out they are on Twitter, someone from the hotel and they respond fairly quickly. So kudos to them.

Is this the new customer service/ What if you could Tweet to these people? Would they respond to your needs efficiently or properly?

The premise of Social Business is to be more interactive and engage the customer....but what if your front line customer service is not so great? Case in point, my hotel room had 1 hanger.

Presumably the hotel has a checklist that Housekeeping follows and my guess is a previous guest helped themselves to some hangars. There was 1 which held the laundry bag and list of services, so I know Housekeeping was there, but I would think they would make a note to get more hangars to the room. This is where Social Business gets hurt, because what if I or you started ranting on Twitter or a travel site? People don't take the time anymore to go through proper or usual channels, they just want to tweet or ping someone and get instant help.

Social Business should be an extension of customer service in a natural way. Yet, that is not really how it is working in every organization. Make the effort to be prevalent across the board so everyone is part of the solution.

Social media is being used as a shortcut but there is no shortcut to great customer service.

My Quickr Session at The View Admin 2011 Conference

I showed a qpconfig.xml file that was broken up by sub topics in a word document and it was nearly 60 pages!

The interest in having a doc like this was pretty high so I am making this available for everyone.

I may have some posts in the future discussing each sub section but no promises.

Everyone that came to the session were great Quickr people, one lucky person got a copy of my Packt book too.

One person commented that he ONLY came to the show because of this session and I hope I did not disappoint him. The nice thing about the Yellowverse is every one helps each other. Thanks everyone again for coming and to your management for investing in your future so you can invest in your companies future.

There are about 30 subsections. I have tried to clean up the details to be in synch but not everything formats well, but it is good enough.

Get the version in .doc or .odt

The doc version is 8x larger than the odt file.

Monday, June 20, 2011

PACLUG and The View Admin 2011 Heading Out Tonight

I am leaving later today for Las Vegas for both of these events and look forward to seeing everyone and listening to some great sessions.
Also giving away a few copies of my Quickr admin book to some lucky people.
Want a copy? 1 will be given away during my Quickr session.

Netbook has been upgraded slightly so the demos will have enough RAM this time.

Will blog what I can when I can.
Say hello in real life, but if you need to find me, try the usual ways from the links on the left side.
Or 4Square.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #55: My Clients Trust Me

This post has origins in my original FBF#17 post. But while that was a fun post, if you read it you may understand why, this is more serious.

All sales people will say their customers trust them, after all they did business together. But what they don't say is we haven't done business together since that time when...

What happened? Maybe the project turned out poorly. Over run, under managed, over promised, whatever the reason, but in some cases, you lost the clients trust.

The easiest way to lose trust is by lying. Now lying comes in many forms. The worst form of lying is saying anything at all when a client asks you a question that the proper answer should be "I Don't Know".
You can qualify this further to say, " That is an excellent question , I don't know the answer right now, but I will make sure someone on my staff does reply to you with an answer".

Why should you do this? Here are some replies from my classes students and discussions with professionals:

Won't I look stupid in front of your client or potential client?
Shouldn't one look like they are fully knowledgeable of the products they are selling?
How could I lower myself in their eyes?
I might lose the sale forever!
There is no way I wold ever tell a client I was not trained properly!
Do you mean we are not training our staff properly?
Their questions are technical/marketing questions meant to put up simple roadblocks!
 The answer is really not important to the deal.
When you were young, how did you learn? You asked questions. Sometimes your parents would brush off your questions, sometimes they would answer them properly. Maybe your questions were beyond their knowledge and they gave you an answer which you believed, till college or later in some cases.(I have a story about salted butter, ask me some time) And so it is with your clients and potential customers.

Now if you lied to them about something related to your sale, and they found out, do you think they would be happy? Do you think they would comeback to you for help? Ever? Really?

By admitting your own knowledge is lacking, or a specific item in question may be out of your range of knowledge, while that may be disheartening to you, if the client is a reasonable person, they will appreciate your openness and authenticity in admitting your ignorance. In many cases, especially if you reply with an answer within a few hours or at worst a day or 2, the client will have even greater faith in your abilities. Why? Because you could solve this problem, however small, surely you could solve the greater issue they are facing during the project you so want to win.

Bluffing only works in poker, some of the time, and only if you are sure it will work. Still it is gambling and one should never gamble with their clients because the house, meaning clients, wins more often if not every time.

So before you say your clients trust you, make sure you are honest with your self so clients can be sure as well.

Replication Triangulation or Strangulation

Domino administrators are known for excessive replication of everything. Names.nsf primarily, but also important files, like our own mail files. In some cases multiple copies of everything, and on USB or CD or DVD.

One caveat in doing all of these copies is that there is a clean environment and some logic to replication.

While this happens to many employees, it doesn't usually happen to an admin. In this case it was my mail file.

My primary desktop was fine, but my traveling netbook was not replicating.

I was seeing the "invalid or nonexistent document" message in the replication tab. But no other errors.

Yes I did what you would do:
Copied at OS level my mail file, no dice
Replicated a new copy, no dice
Ran Updall, Fixup and Compact on the mail file, no dice
Shut down one client to test the other, no dice

After asking in one of the Skype chats about it I tried something else which then broke all replication!
What did I do? I changed the replication settings, this is on a 8.5.2 client, ODS 51, and under Space Savers tried setting retrieve these documents to "All". Bad idea, don't do this. Reverted it back to "Those matching the selected criteria" and got my original desktop back.

So with no new ideas from Skype I noticed I was getting multiple copies of my contacts. Not duplicates, but replication showed 2 or 3 times as many as there should be always replicating. I began to wonder why.

It turns out, one of the 2 clients Personal Names.nsf  was not using the 8.5.2 template. No idea which one it was using as the properties showed no entry.

Replaced the design template form the local version of pernames.ntf and tested it. NO DICE!

What was wrong now? Checked the properties...Template 8.0.1?!

Turns out a virtual link I use to connect to a 20 year history of Notes nsf's and ntf's held in it an older template. Deleted that one, replaced design, again, this time with a proper 8.5.2 (Traveler has been trolling for hours, I had to charge my phone via my pc) template and tried again. Perfect it worked!

Now to try this at all of them. Checked all templates, mail and pnab and then copied the good copy to the other and got replication going again.

All seemed fine, until an hour or 2 later, same problem, netbook replica was broken again. Turns out if your PNAB gets corrupted, all hell breaks loose.

Quiet and normal replication again. Nothing like a half day wasted, hope you fair better in your endeavors.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Foundation Servers Have a New Home

Recently I found out where everyone's favorite server to rarely get sold ended up.

That Nitix variation of Linux was impressive enough to IBM to acquire Nitix.
It just took a little while for it to find a good home.

Happy to say it is now the base for the IBM Virtual Desktop for Smart Business.
That's right Virtual Desktop Server it is.

This is the original Nitix, no Domino tacked on, just straight server. Run the software on any platform(IBM preferably but will run on HP too) and multiple OS formats.

So if you were a LFS BP or just sold Nitix or liked the software, as I did, this may be a good route for you.

Announcement letter from December here and IBM site for Virtual Desktop is here.
You can ask me about the VDI at anytime.
Support and licensing for Lotus Foundation servers can be found here with Gregg Eldred.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #54: I Am The Man

A few years ago this was almost always the case. Man or woman, it didn't matter, but their title provided them the luxury of making a decision. Period.

While I used to believe this was indicative of a Microsoft leader, and in some cases it still is, it really is indicative of a leader that enjoys the silo, and the penthouse apartment or corner office and their bonus plan because it was guaranteed.

What happened along the way, among other things, was the economic failures, Twitter and Facebook exploded, cell phones became the new laptop and that executive was suddenly being asked questions that they brushed off years ago and looking like a deer in the headlight. They could still retain their jobs, but they had to start making more group decisions. They may not like it and in some cases still make their own choices, but they now face numerous perils. Behind the scenes IM or emails are nothing next to the blatant and outright call outs of blog posts, tweets and Facebook postings.

What can you do? You don't need every thing to get voted on, Liked, +1 or retweeted, but you do need a plan.

I was asked by an IBM executive the other day, "How do you get your information?". A loaded question, no I do not use secret IBM information publicly, however I do understand IBM very well sometimes. But I said I get my information from Twitter, blog posts, various feeds and sites, Skype chats, IM, emails and the old fashioned way...I ask.

If you as the executive, or you as the person reporting to the executive, are not utilizing these tools, and though they may be fun and games to some, they are definitely tools, you are still living in the past. Your employees use them all, and more, but if you have no way to monitor this new messaging or be a part of it in a meaningful way, what do you bring to the table, aside from your attitude?

Attitude doesn't really have a place in Social Media. And soon, it won't have a place in the executive suites either as the younger generation gets there. So if you want to get your way, move up the ladder or just show your boss how you can help them, get more social, find new business or generate more new ideas and beat your competition.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #53: Price Matters

Every salesperson, at one time or another, will tell you this if you are their manager.

Bad sales managers accept it and allow for negotiations.
Average sales managers stress a give and get a return. Lower the price, but lower the benefits.
Great sales managers provide benefits, ROI and don't argue about the physical item price.

Training and common sense are everything. But the price is not.

Yes, if I want to buy a commodity, but software and its ancillary services are not a commodity today. Email may be a commodity, but at what point do you drop the corporate walls to use any Web 2.0 service because it is free? In some cases, never.

I hear about deals that never get done because of price. I hear about special bids and all types of crazy offers. Do they entice some people? Sure, just like Groupon coupons. But the downside of Groupon, as the advertisers, is it can be a losing proposition. A short-term gain but only in quantity, rarely in sales, and does not feed a pipeline of future buyers. It is, of course, great for Groupon because the consumer comes back for more deals. But for the supplier or advertiser, be careful.

Corporates don't have a Groupon...yet. No doubt some sites are out there like it. I don't consider retail or wholesale sites or stores to be like Groupon, but the argument could be made.

When push comes to shove, the money is there usually for what the company NEEDS, not what they want or is nice to have, which means you should focus on this point. This is the key to remember in sales, competitive discussions, and interviews. What the company needs from you and your solution is to gain the future they want for themselves. Help them see themselves in that future with you or your solution, and the money is there every time.

Just don't give it all away every time and belittle you or your solution.

I'm Back In The Saddle Again... FudBuster Friday's Return

For those to young to remember, in readership days that is, or missed them the 1st time, they were about the sometimes Microsoft FUD that existed, sometimes Google or sometimes just bad business choices and how to fight them or work against them or with them in some cases. Google Fudbuster Friday sometime you might like what you find.

When last I left off it was august 2009 and I had posted one every Friday for a year, holidays, vacations, sickness and health. But I got tired of writing a weekly column and wanted a vacation from it.

Why start it again now?

Almost 2 years ago and in that time MUCH has changed. Some for the better, some not. Social Media is much more powerful than before, as an evolution of messaging, and the product range from IBM and others which is available today brings amazing opportunities for businesses.

I have changed, my business has changed, your decisions have changed. It is no longer as important which product you use per se, but how you will choose to use them.

Free is not for you in the corporate world.

You get what you pay for has never meant as much as it does now.

Your employees will not work for free, neither should you expect your business to run itself for free. Everything has a price. Everything.

See you Friday morning.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sametime Media Manager Needs a Dedicated NIC

This may seem obvious to many, but the truth is customers don't always think about this one.

Sametime 8.5.1 installation, 8.5.2 is out now, at a client site.
They used 3 VM partitions and separated everything accordingly.

One problem. Audio was horribly inconsistent. Recorded sessions were impossible to understand.

What was wrong? First guess was the best guess, hardware.

If everything works properly, and it seems to be the case, then what is the hardware story.

As it turns out the VM had dual cores and 4GB RAM. More than enough for the test environment and depending on usage even for production.

What it also had was 1, yes 1 NIC for about 4 servers. Even at 1GB NICs that isn't very fair is it?

My friend Wes, he gave some great sessions at Lotusphere 2011 about my favorite subject, troubleshooting, knows a few things about Sametime. Wes suggested we try to get a separate NIC.

Luckily we could. Once all the VMs had been adjusted, cables swapped and all we tested and sure enough all was good for UAT (user acceptance testing).

More to come as we tweak their setup. They did a great job putting it all together. We have some more fun coming with them soon and maybe some more pieces of interest will emerge.