Tuesday, January 19, 2021

SnTT - Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Something new at Openntf for ADMINS

Show n Tell Tuesday

That's right, I resurrected Show n Tell Tuesday for this post because I can, it's my blog, and why wait for Thursday anyway?

A few months ago, my friend Roberto had the luck to join the Openntf Board. 

If you don't know what Openntf is, click on the link and check it out. NOW! 

The TL;DR is Openntf is THE place to go when you need a template for an HCL Domino or Notes application to help your company. It is also where you can go for tutorials on various development topics and all kinds of developer code snippets.

Admittedly, few admins ever add to the site, because, well, historically there is not much for admins there and often what we see/know is proprietary to our clients and companies. This has been my perspective for many years. However, a new world, a new time, and progress is being made, thanks to Roberto.

Openntf was not ignorant of the issue, many of my friends and fellow IBM Champions, and HCL Ambassadors, have worked hard over the years to make Openntf as useful as it is today by their incremental changes and awesome templates and code bits, even if I don't understand all of them. 

We have come a long way.

Maybe we just got older and complained more, maybe they finally realized without Admins there is no server running, or maybe we do bring some benefit. 

After all, as we rise like an HCL Phoenix from the ashes of the IBM years we are seeing new people ask questions and post requests, young and old, and they need guidance from us old, er, wizened people.

Roberto asked many of us what we would like to see as Admins in Openntf and I said I would like to see Lotusscripts, Formulas, and other code bits that help make our lives better, easier, and faster. 

I was worried that as some of us move along or retire or cross the Golden Firewall, we will lose knowledge and that would be pretty sad, given how many years of managing Notes and Domino networks we represent.

I am sure other admins also gave him input and I hope they will look into it further after reading this post or you reach out to Roberto with more ideas.

In December I was asked to test something on the Openntf website and that is what this news is about.


In addition to the existing benefits of the Openntf site, there is now a dedicated section for snippets of code, which is what EVERY admin needs. Here is a link to it: https://openntf.org/XSnippets.nsf/home.xsp

Now when you add a code snippet, the option to select the Language for it can be called "Admin Scripts".

There is a tag field so you can put whatever else you need in it to help your fellow admins find it when they need it.

I have posted 3 snippets which I use frequently, no doubt most of you will recognize the need for these as well.

  1. Create a Forwarding Address in a Person Doc based on Email Address
  2. Looking up and Converting a List of Notes Names into their Email Address
  3. Converting Regular Common Name Lists into Notes Hierarchical Names
The first one is a simple script to grab an existing email and edit it for another field. Helpful when updating domains or in merger situations. Edit it, select all, done. 

The second one is really good for your AAs or Marketing people who need to extract email addresses of employees or clients, and upload those into bulk email sending services like MailChimp or into Salesforce. I have set those users up so they never bother me again. Okay, I lose some billing time but honestly, who wants to look up a few hundred or thousand people's emails anyway? This takes seconds to do it.

The third, a similar request to the second one, is because I was receiving very long lists of names to create ACL groups and mail groups. Names should be listed properly in these groups and this script helps you out. Again, in seconds.

Could these snippets be coded better? 
Could they be used differently?
Will I be adding more over time?
Can any Admin, or Developer, use them?
Should you use these?

The answer to all these questions is YES!

I tried to explain the code and how to use it, so if I need to edit it or you have problems let me know and I will try to help you best I can.

Looking forward to seeing more snippets up there and that we can say 2021 is the year of the Admin.

Have things you need or like to see, let me know, I might have them and get them posted.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Metrics and Data when Viewed by Admins vs Management vs Users

 I get it, but not sure if I like it, or if users should see it, or if I should let management use it.

We have reached the era of metrics and data that can be measured.

But should it.

No question most systems have had usage reporting, patterns, logs, pretty but usually ugly data to make sense of for your boss.

In Twitter with Rachel Happe(https://twitter.com/rhappe) from The Community Roundtable asked: 

Prompted some discussion and some replies from various people.

She found an answer for Microsoft Analytics from Alan Lepofsky:

And then Rachel asked about the admin side. 

Over my 30 years in IT I have been asked to provide metrics, sometimes network items, sometimes user usage. Naturally, as a good employee or consultant, I gave customers what they asked for and automated some of them and others needed some manual efforts.

Should software of course provide this information because it helps IT plan the future, and also be proactive in `their support efforts. 

What I found is many people are ignorant of the data available.

It seems even more people are ignorant of understanding their own data.

Does management really care about the usage internally? Yes, because in some cases they can shut off a service no longer used. Alternatively, they may need to up their licensing or merge some solutions.

But users, do users care what they do or how they do it, or when they do it? I am not s sure.

I know what I do, I think most people if pushed would also know what their habits are but does it imply you are a good employee or not? Does it mean you are goofing off or being more productive?

When I am managing clients or teams I have scheduled one day a week for most of my meetings. I reasoned I'd rather "waste" one day instead of multiple days on meetings. 

This usually has worked for me and my teams because 4 days a week we could work unimpeded.

Meetings don't last 30 or 60 minutes, the time before and after is lost, sometimes as much as 15 minutes or more on both ends before you get back in your groove.

SaaS apps live on the usage data, they want people using their apps and do anything they can to have people using them, but is it a false metric? 

I am in my email all day long, it stays open, so is 8 hours of email, coupled with my network/vpn login time and then my individual application usage(some Saas, some network) to get to some crazy idea I work 20+ hours a day. 

Who wants their company to view them in this way?

No employees.

But management has nothing else to work with usually.

Yes, revenue and sales, ok, that is the only given.

Back-office people, not much to show for their effort. You ran a campaign? You built a server? You rolled out an update? Nice work but quantifying it properly, not so simple, ROI vagueness.

What if all your meetings and online time were tracked to show your actual working time was minimal? 

How would you fight it? 

HR gets involved and guess who is on the chopping board?

People are working from home and the last thing they want is to be picked on for their work effort which they are doing the best they can with what is going on.

Hopefully, this is not going to affect you or your company but it is in the shadows, today. Soon it may be upfront and then it will get interesting with how employees push back or beat the system.

When I worked on Wall Street in the early 90s, we had a database someone wrote to track time. Nothing unusual about that, but the coder was not so advanced and could only set up increments of 15 minutes.

One of the IT guys I knew got yelled at but the boss because it turned out he billed for 30 hours in a day. 


It turns out he was delivering things to users, a mouse, a keyboard, software(they used to come in packages and everyone had a license and we had to leave them with the user) and so in theory if you spent 30 seconds dropping off a box or 5 minutes pugging in a mouse, you still billed 15 minutes per person because you could not select less time, because each delivery was billed back to the person and their business line expense code.

Data doesn't lie.

He got paid but was told to never do it again. 

Next time, he took 3 days off instead because he billed his 40 hours in 2 days and just adjusted the dates.

Not the best employee, but this is where interpreting the data is so important to change systems and metrics as the system is running.

Maybe in time the metrics and data will be edited to be more useful but right now it is still hard to get good data and you should be aware of how to handle this discussion when you get into it.

And the discussion is coming to a cubicle or zoom call soon.