Monday, December 19, 2016

Mission Worries: Lotus Quickr to IBM Connections Cloud

Who knew so many people still had Lotus Quickr? See IBM I told you people love it still.

There are many things to think about during a migration of data, most of which you as the client will not think about, or even know about, until you have moved and find it out. Do you know why? Because not very many companies, people, or Business Partners have done these migrations like I have over 20+ years. 

These "Mission" posts are meant to help you in this process.

Last post I gave some basic information, now we can dig into some details.

The client uses a plain and out of the box Lotus Quickr so we did not have to worry about meta data or odd forms or whatever else dreamed up by some developers or over eager Admins. I know because I am their Admin.

We did worry about some things and here are some of those items:
  • My name for the most part is tagged to all the files and folders NOW which is how IBM Connections and IBM Connections Cloud works since I am the one uploading the files.That is the down side, however, once you get into the folders and find the files, you can see all the document details and it shows all the past information. Not a bad thing, but not perfect. Client accepted this as a good monetary trade off.
  • MACs lack of a Notes sidebar plugin. No comment. I am not a MAC user so I am not justified in arguing this point but the Windows Notes plugin is helpful....BUT not for the migration itself. Afterwards it acts like the Quickr Places sidebar app and drag and drop and such is fine plus you get Files, Activities and Status Updates in your sidebar to better leverage the rest of Connections.
  • Training users. Actual training is minimal, updating the Notes clients on machines and then the plugin installs and configurations takes about an hour a person on average. If you leverage SmartUpgrade or my friends at Panagenda's Marvel Client you may just need the plugins updated and that is quick.
  • Where is the ROI? Mobility! iPad access in front of a client meeting or potential client meeting is crucial and even better, IBM handles the backup of our data. 
  • Which brings me to backups. IBM doesn't really backup the data, this is an issue to be addressed by me going forward, but IBM does synch data between their data centers and in IBM we trust, so again a trade off. Not to worry the Quickr server running on VM will just be sitting here if we need data prior to January 1, 2017. Just like the Domino.Doc VM server sits waiting for something we lost from the previous migration. For those keeping score, I have NEVER run that VM to find any files that went "missing". 
  • Multiple Folder levels. It is this one item which has prevented the client from moving until now. Promised by IBM over a year ago, and it was delivered, just not the way the client wanted it to work(it also only now lets you edit and create folders from the plugins and mobile which also did not come out last year). We had patience in IBM and since I am an IBM Champion and part of various beta teams for IBM and advisory councils, I pushed for it all to get done, as did quite a few fellow Champions. So if this is what you have been waiting for, you have no reason not to move forward now. January is free for me, let me know when you need your migration done by and I am here for you.
  • Timing. Start testing as early as possible as you need a lot of testing scenarios. Keep in mind that uploading speeds are usually MUCH slower than downloading speeds. So that Terabyte of data will not get uploaded overnight, I don't care who you use or what they promise you.
  • What if they hate using the Cloud? Said, no. one. ever...who knows what they are doing.
Are there more issues? Sure, every environment is different and I am happy to discuss them if you comment or tweet, call, skype or email me.

I forgot to mention this was a Windows server customer, and I could complete the migration no matter what operating system platform you are running Lotus Quickr.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

HUGE Change Coming for non SSL Traveler Customers

This was to go into effect on January 1, 2017 but IBM has relented, edit is from yesterday, so you have 3 months, and not a nightmare on January 2nd to return to from vacation.

IBM published this Technote which lays it all out in black and white: 

IMPORTANT: You must ensure that your IBM Verse Mobile and Traveler connections are secure and compliant with these requirements by March 15, 2017

This is not about IBM Connections Cloud users but is about on-premises installations of IBM Notes Traveler.

As the Technote states:
In the coming months, IBM will be enhancing the IBM Verse for iOS, IBM Verse for Android, IBM Notes Traveler Companion and IBM Notes Traveler To Do mobile apps to require that a secure connection be used between the mobile app and the endpoint used for connecting to the IBM Traveler server. 

The gist of it is, without HTTPS and valid SSL certificates you will lose your connectivity.

Please read the Technote for all the details and plan accordingly if you have yet to setup your SSL certificates.

If you need help, just ask. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Looking Back on 5 Years and Forward as an IBM Champion

"We've got five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot"..David Bowie, Five Years

IBM has granted me another year as their ambassador. Well, me and 122 other friends and colleagues. You can read the announcement here. Congratulations everyone!

This will be my 5th year as an ICS Champion and I was a Websphere Champion for 3 years.

I was not part of the first class. A friend told me at the time, "the people elected in the 2nd year are the ones to watch, so stick with it, your time may come". He was right, in time I was elected.

The people from that first year, 16 are still Champions today, are the pillars of this community. When someone asks me how to become a Champion I point to some of the 16 or any of the 100s of past and current Champions as guides.

It is interesting to note that IBM said there were over 630 nominations for over 170 unique nominees. Think about that for a minute. On average each nominee had just over 3 nominations, no doubt many had more, as well as some who had only one.

Looking at this from a world view, we represent many countries, see this post.. I think I am part of EMEA so we make up 52% of this year's Champions. In some cases, IBM Business Partners have multiple IBM Champions on their team and there are also many customers represented as well.

To be upfront and honest, I am still in disbelief I was reelected. I appreciate it and hopefully, some clients wrote me in and said some nice things. I felt this year was a weak year for me. I need to get cracking on 2017.

I get asked by many friends and family what is an IBM Champion? How does one get to be one?

Here for your review is my "maybe don't follow my lead entirely" examples and my thoughts in the hope it gives people some insights. Keep in mind much of this is the same no matter what vendor you have in mind to reach such status. I have no idea what really determines the judging and if you read the post referenced above, many IBMers voted so it was not just "knowing some people".

So here we go:
My blog posting last year was all of 4 posts. 4! Although I have over 1,000 posts, so if you search for me, a long tail of posts travels well I guess. Hint, blog more than 4 times a year especially if few people know you.

Speaking events, I was limited in travel so had to make do with attending only one IBM event ICON UK. Although I did speak at various other business events, mostly here in Israel, not sure this won it for me this year. However, I did speak at several IBM related events in Q4 in 2015 which counts to this year. Moral of the story is to get out there and speak and you shall be found(and post slide decks to Slideshare, your blog, on SocMed).

I did help IBM with some webinars, internal ones and for Business Partners on messaging migrations and Cloud Migrations for the #newwaytolearn sessions. So if you are a Business Partner, help IBM, it goes a long way. Here is a hint, DeveloperWorks has a search and I found numerous references to things I have posted, like my Sametime 9 Spreadsheet for documenting your environment referenced by other people. This post did get updated in 2016. So IBMers read things we post online and it helps to get your name seen inside.

No tests, for the 2nd year in a row I did not get to create any tests for certification. But this, I felt, always helped.

Social Media. I cut back on retweeting every IBM message and focused on what was important for me and my clients. Whatever SocMed you use, keep in mind there are gripes and there are legitimate complaints. Choose wisely how you do it is all I will say, as I have over the years said and posted a few things that bit me and hurt some people, which I apologized for afterward. However, over 10 years of it has 98% of the time gone well, and brought me quite a few clients, so think about your posting.

User Experiences, Beta codes, Council Memberships, Advisory Meetings. If you don't participate then the people who need to know you, never will. IBM is huge and time is precious for them so if you are not on one of these, if not all of them like I am and other Champions, you are missing out on another angle.You do not need to be a Champion to be part of these, all you need to do is ask and watch for announcements about them. User experience labs used to be at Lotusphere IBM Connect.

But Keith, isn't being an IBM Champion about public displays of affection for IBM? No, it is about PR yes, but we don't have to love all their choices and as I said at ICON UK, Domino is cooler than Pokemon Go to me. Laugh all you want, but in the room at the time it made sense.IBM, like any other company, need all the help they can get on the public side, so while internal things are helpful, external are many multiples more important.

Take a "public" stand. I don't care which, but love Connections or Cloud or Watson or whatever development coolness and make it your own. I spend my time fighting off Microsoft, Gmail, Jive and numerous "messaging systems" ESN and also do the same for CRMs. Some people think I am Don Quixote but it is what I love and enjoy. I think it works for me and if you look at many Champions they have their stake in the ground. What's yours?

Help everyone. Skype, Twitter, Hangout, Forums, Slack chats and posts are there to ask and to help. Do I help everyone? No, I know what I know and offer help where possible. As do almost every Champion I know. We all give our time, for free, to help everyone else. It is called Collaboration, among other words, and if you are not in the discussions, you are not helping IBM nor your clients.

Podcasts, Webinars, Live support tips and other similar things always get you noticed. Why? Easy, IBMers, and anyone else, can take those and reuse them in front of potential clients and existing customers. You don't have to be prolific, but you do need to be consistent. If you think the rest of us cover everything, then you have no place as an IBM Champion. There are so many things to cover, find your niche and just do it! Hint, if you can do it in your native language other than English that goes pretty far as well. Just make sure your local country sales and execs know about your efforts. I posted this in 2015 it has over 800 hits, in Hebrew for the Israel market where IBM Domino is not so strong but IBM Connections is recognized.

Clients. Help your clients, renew their licenses, expand their worlds, make them IBM references. And maybe, get nominated by them. My gut instinct says IBM prefers to see non-related nominations like a client submission, but again, just my thinking. It helps if you ask for the referral once you delivered your project on time, under budget and without a hitch.

Start and run a User Group, known as LUGs (Lotus User Groups) but nowadays go by many names. if you can run an event and bring in clients and speakers and it goes well, you are way above me in credit to being a Champion. I help a group or two in minor ways. Every bit helps. Start volunteering if you are part of one and again, put a stake in the ground.

If you are in sales or a customer then IBM knows you and probably loves you more than you can imagine. BUT that doesn't guarantee you to be an IBM Champion. You have to do all the stuff above, but inside your organization. You can do it. Others have, and it is much easier than you may think.

If you read this far you may say, but I was a Champion, I did all of that, and now I am not one, what went wrong?

I can not tell you anything except the bar, especially this year, is raised pretty high! People I have known for years finally are Champions and although I nominated some, others I really need to apologize to when I see them for not thinking of them.

If you travel frequently, you may see one of us, Champion luggage or backpack or shoulder bag or jacket. We are free billboards for IBM, but if we didn't love what we do, we wouldn't be Champions and we are proud to be out there. Introvert, extrovert, ambivert we are all of you, and more, so no matter what you think is holding you back, it is only in your mind.

So in 5 years it has been fun and filled with great memories and a few failings on my own which in retrospect I should have gone after the lost chances. It happens. Keep doing the public side whenever possible because that is what helps you the most.

At times our discussions, which are verbose, get geekly technical even when not discussing IBM things. As a non-developer I glaze over much of the dev talks but knowing even in general terms how or what to do with the tools and code is worth the feeling like a kindergartener in a University lecture.

And you need a strong sense of humor and not take yourself too seriously, once you are a Champion. We all have our hobbies and preferences of culture and country and generally have a great time when all together.

Don't be afraid to come to talk to us, we are just normal people(very loud normal people when together) and it never fails to warm our hearts to know someone read a post of ours or we helped solve some issue for you because of our efforts.

One pro tip for you, no time to blog or video or social media? Book your own time in your calendar. It works.

So what does the future hold? How will I see 2017 when it comes time for nominations?

I want to be a part of an organization that understands all of the above, is not afraid to try something new or work on ways to make IBM products easier for users to adapt and manage and let me be that front line of engagement. As a non-developer I have the luxury of knowing or at least understanding security, mobility, analytics, CRM, user psychology, executives psychology, architecture and watching the next generation of collaboration come to fruition. And it is cheaper for me to go to Europe, even the US, than some of the places people live in Europe.

If I can find this, then my nomination for next year will be so much more rewarding, and easier to believe I can get reelected because when you are doing great work, it shows in all your efforts.

Thank you, IBM, Amanda and Libby and the Champion program for another year of great opportunities!

See you all next year and hopefully in San Francisco at IBM Connect 2017.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mission Accepted: Lotus Quickr to IBM Connections Cloud

My last Lotus Quickr customer is moving off of Quickr by December 31st.

I love Quickr, still do, but time marches on and maybe you found yourself looking at Quickr wondering:

  • How do I secure this box? You have options, and hopefully have used them, but the server is trapped on an 8.5 server which is basically an unsafe server to run at t his point especially if it has access to/from the outside world.
  • Accessing your data is getting harder as browsers advance but the code on the server does not recognize all the updates of course.
  • Mobile needs, never really got a working Mobile client for Quickr
  • Java, yeah well it was good while it lasted
The thing is, if you are solely using it internally it can just sit there for years on end, some of you out there know exactly what i am talking about too.

IBM does not provide a tool to migrate data from Quickr to Connections. IBM Global Services relies on a tool from a Business Partner and you can go that route. It is priced accordingly.

However, in this case my client is not that large and only has about 300GB of data in Quickr so we decided to move it using the tools available to us.

I did many tests before it was agreed to move to IBM Connections Cloud, the client already owns and uses Mail and Sametime there so the move to it would not involve new licensing. 

In fact, we saved money by not needing to renew our Lotus Quickr, now called IBM Connections licenses and support.

Once it was shown we had viable functionality, which basically meant many tiers of FOLDERS that could be created and edited via Notes, Plugins to Windows and MACs, we were ready to go. 

Sorry taxonomy and search people, but when you need many files quickly, search is not your friend especially if you have no idea what the file is called. This is a religious argument to have at the next LUG or IBM Connect event.

So if I didn't go with IBM, how did I do it? Same way I have done migrations for over 20 years, ask around and build and leverage what you have to work with and it should save the client about 40% of the Global services price. 

Your mileage may vary, but if you are in need of this, my January is free now so call, email, tweet, skype me to help move you to IBM Connections Cloud from Quickr.

Next post will be about the process involved, for those interested let me know so I can provide more details to help you.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

How to Create Multiple Communities in IBM Connections or Connections Cloud?

As a non developer, this was easier than I imagined it would be, once help arrived from my friends.

I have a Lotus IBM Quickr customer, my last one, so any Quickr sites, contact me I am available! Anyway, I am moving them from Quickr to the IBM Connections Cloud environment.

This post is not about the move itself, but about how one can create over 200 new communities(200+ Places and 220GB of data) without having to hire an intern to do it manually.

I posted to the chat for IBM Connections people and my friends Christoph and Ben pointed me to the Connections API documentation. Yes, it looks and reads like gibberish so I asked if there was an easier way and one of them found a blog post by Julius.

Julius, as it turned out, was also in the chat and I asked if this post would work for Connections Cloud, no one knew. So we tried. And failed. Christoph said we needed a header, which as it turns out was the correct answer, an atom+xml header.

Confused yet? Well you could review Julius's blog post where he covers almost everything, but here is what you need to know.

Using Firefox and the RESTClient plugin you get a nice little UI that lets you create your request in pretty simple XML terms. Thanks Julius for coding something simple enough for me to figure out how to swap in the information to make it work.

These are the steps:
1) Set the header. I did not even see the little menu on top of the screen with a drop down to create headers.
Click on Headers to see the choices and select Custom Header.

When the next window comes up, enter the text as in my screen shot. To remember this for future need, click on  the Save to favorite box then say ok.

2) For the Method drop down box, select POST
3) For the URL, you need to use:
4) The body field, this is where the fun starts.

This is what my code looked like in basic form.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>


<title type="text">Jefferson Airplane</title>

<summary type="text">ignored</summary>
<content type="html">Music group in san francisco</content>

<name>Keith Brooks</name>


<category term="community" scheme=""></category>

 5) Once run you should get a 201 Created reply and when you go to the communities you will see it.

Next step is to include members and format the communities. Will post an edit or a new post with that code for those in need.

Thank you again Julius, Christoph and Ben!