Yes, nine months since my last blog post, but it's not my fault - I've been busy. Let me give you some background on what I've been doing. Several years ago I began building internal tooling (similar to small scripts) to assist colleagues with mining PMR data. The PMR is IBM's support ticket, and every one you open is meticulously tracked, saved, and reused. Support engineers often mine information in these PMRs to not only aid with increasing technical knowledge, but also to ensure you, the client, are not in need. For example, one might mine client PMR data on how many PMRs are opened in a month, how many defects were found, the length of time it took to resolve the PMR, and so on in order to make future interaction with support all the better.
After compiling these scripts into a cohesive application, I was asked to port the
application to Eclipse (previously in Java Swing). I love Eclipse. And this is
the reason why: Eclipse allowed me to go from yet another "tool" to a platform. Using Eclipse plugin
architecture, I could create extension points and allow others within IBM to build more functionality in the form of
plugins to extend the base I had created. The application was provided internally using IBM's community source site and invited use and development participation. My
vision was a grassroots effort to build an ecosystem of plugins to allow IBM support to quickly build ad hoc solutions to
clients. That vision is a lofty one and a tough reality to achieve by running an open source project alongside my full time
job. Nevertheless, the application - ahem platform - found a fairly large following (~500+ users) and eventually was picked
up by another IBM project.
So for the last nine months I've been working with a small agile team to
polish the application and position it as our next generation IBM support platform (we're still working out the name).
We've integrated the previously standalone application directly into Lotus Notes as a Composite
Application (now unofficially the largest CA in Notes). The CA allows us to deliver the IBM support primary desktop right
into an existing primary application - Lotus
Notes. That placement allows us to marry technical problem investigation with internal collaboration via Sametime, client
communication via Notes mail, and time management via Notes Calendaring. Moreover, it gives us a much higher chance of
adoption. All IBMers have Lotus Notes and to create the application as another RCP or even thin client would segment us from that user
To provide an example of reusing the Notes client infrastructure to build a smarter app, most clients are familiar with the
numbering of PMRs - 36544,999,000. These numbers are passed around via email and Sametime everyday by countless support
engineers, managers, and executives. The result is a lot of copy and paste from Notes into the existing support
application. The solution to this tedious task is leveraging the Live Text (previously auto-recognizer) feature of Lotus
Notes. Now that cryptic number can be single clicked to open the relevant content directly within Notes. So create your
own plugin to recognize your company's tracking numbers, proposal IDs, order information - you name it - and make that
information only one click away. American Airlines cut costs by removing one olive from a salad, why can't you do the same
with a few keystokes ;)
I'll post more examples and progress in the future ...
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Coding IBM Collaboration Solutions
From archive: November 2009 X